Somehow the inspiration that used to drive this blog seems missing, and for someone like me that is difficult to admit, hell I didn’t even recognize this fact until a few days ago when a conversation with someone I was coaching brought this into stark focus, I speak of “Synchronicity” in the title to this entry because the situation in this person’s life and my recent experiences are so similar, it was shocking! Sometimes the message comes from the one being coached instead of the coach!
Anyway since this lady is a follower of this blog, and out of common decency, I obtained her permission to use this example in my blog.
Like most of these stories of intrigue, forbidden love and tangled webs of deception, one (she) is married, one (he) is not… (see the similarity yet?) Even more of a similarity is that apparently he went through a period of also believing that she was “available”.
So here is this woman talking to me about her feeling of guilt, frustration, indecision and anger about the situation, lets break it up…
She loves her husband and he is a good provider, she doesn’t have to work hard and she gets (within reason) every material thing that money can buy. He spends some time with their children, and especially the younger one loves him very much. She also feels guilty that she “misled” her lover into the situation and that he is now “trapped” in this little box. He appears to care for her very much from what I was able to gather, but at times he gets angry and frustrated because he has so little access to her and he reminds her that it was her that got him into the situation in the first place and that she therefor needs to take some responsibility for the situation too. He dislikes the fact that the woman he is involved in sleeps in her husbands arms every night, while he sleeps alone, and she feels guilty about this and for “holding him back”
She feels frustrated because she feels that no matter how much time she gives her lover, he is never satisfied and he gets sullen often. SHE feels like so much pressure is being put on her that she can hardly cope, she steals so much time during the day that her family life is suffering, and her household duties are being neglected, and she is also aware that she is intruding into HIS work day, and that as a result HE is suffering financially… She feels trapped between a rock and a hard place, whichever path she chooses will lead to some people being hurt, which leads to the next issue…
I of course asked her what she wants, and there is (as usual) where the real stumbling block lies; She is undecided, she FEARS losing the safety and security of her boring existence, yet at home she feels unloved and unappreciated, she longs to be loved, admired and adored the way her lover does her. Yet she even used the “rather the devil you know” cliche in her reasoning. And as a result of all this indecision she simply does NOTHING. She tells me she expects her lover to be in a place where he can support her and her children in the manner to which they are all accustomed, and only then will she make a decision.
When he tries to explain why it is so difficult for him, he often uses the lies and manipulation that led to this place as a point of reference, a reason for HIS anger/frustration and impatience, she says it makes HER angry that he keeps bringing up the past, that “what has happened has happened” and that she can’t keep on apologizing!
I said to her that on the one hand I can identify with the situation so much that I am almost ideally suited to coach her, but on the other hand my own perception is still so clouded by the rawness of having just been in the position that her lover finds himself in, that I cannot in good faith guarantee being able to be objective. I have offered to coach, limited to addressing her issues of financial stability and self-reliance, but that as far as her love triangle goes, I cannot be of any further use to her. I did say that I would write this blog entry to try and give perspective since in my life I have found myself more than one in either the shoes of the cuckolded spouse and as the “hidden away” lover, so here goes with my five cents worth…
It is very easy for us humans to get fired up with righteous ire and assign guilt to parties, we all tend to judge so quickly, so easily and to spend so little effort practicing any form of empathy. It is easy, and ingrained in us to judge a woman as an adulteress the moment she strays from her marital bed. In a purely ideal world a woman (or man) would take action, make every effort to re-kindle the love, passion and caring in a relationship and, if that bears no fruits, to take a stand and to make it clear that this no longer serves her (or him) and hopefully THAT would be enough to shock the neglectful/abusive/whatever spouse into the reality of the situation. But so often there are SO many factors that need to be weighed up against each other that such snap decisions are not so easy to make.
It is also easy for spouses to fall into the trap of complacency and apathy, we often feel that as long as we work conscientiously and provide for our families that our partner will have nothing to complain about. We get so used to the same warm body lying in the bed next to us that we forget to appreciate it’s beauty and needs.
And “Lovers”, hell they have feelings too, there is a distinction to be made of course between a purely physical “affair” and those who overtly or covertly find themselves in a position where they believe there is more to the situation than just the physical. Some, like I back then, and this guy find themselves deeply in love with the other party BEFORE they are aware of their marital status, and then the choice to just walk away becomes clouded with the “treacherous heart”s feelings. ESPECIALLY if they are led to believe that the “married” party is desperately unhappy/unfulfilled/abused/neglected in their marriage. The usual cliche is a married man and his secretary, and he convinces her that his wife no longer loves him, that they NEVER have sex anymore and that home-life is an unrelenting hell and that he is going to divorce his wife and marry her so that they can live happily ever after, and she CHOOSES to believe him and waits, and waits … and waits while he finds EVERY excuse to NOT divorce his “cold, heartless bitch of a wife”.
I think it’s even MORE difficult for men, especially single men, who find themselves in the role of the lover because traditionally they, as men, are expected to provide, to protect, to support, and yet they sit in their little corner with hands tied, trying their best to create the physical circumstances that will enable the realization of their desires, while at the same time the entire deck of cards is stacked against them. I know, from prior experience what it feels like to lie alone in a bed while the person you love is lying in the arms of another…
So HOW does a situation like this get resolved?
Each of the parties involved in this situation bear a level of responsibility;
- The Wife (married party in this case); needs to decide WHAT she wants, and WHAT she needs. She needs to be ABSOLUTELY clear about the situation, what the costs (financial and emotional) are and will be, who will be affected and what and how the children (if applicable) will be affected. I am not suggesting that one stays in an unhappy/destructive marriage “for the sake of the children” because more often than not that does more harm than good, even if the children are not exposed/aware of the tension/unhappiness and arguments, one still needs to be aware that children tend to follow the example of their parents, and one needs to ask what example one is setting for these innocents. Do you really want them to grow up believing that marriage is an unhappy, un-fulfilling situation which one grins and bears for the sake of stability and financial security?
- The Husband (the “other” married party in this case); just because someone stood in front of a minister and promised “to love, honour and obey, to ‘forsake all others'”, does not mean that you can EVER fall into the trap of complacency, YOU might see his or her every fault, but to someone else your spouse might be the most desirable person on the planet. We all have needs, physically, emotionally, spiritually and materially and if YOU no longer feel the need to fulfill your responsibility to be THE ONE in your partners life, then don’t be surprised if one-day you wipe the sleep outa your eyes and find yourself alone. This is especially true if your spouse has taken the time, effort and risk of informing you of his/her needs.
- The Lover; I have, I am ashamed to admit, found myself knowingly and unknowingly in this role more than once in my life, and it’s NOT all it’s made out to be, the movies will have us believing that “the lover” has the best of both worlds, meeting a “desperate housewife” in a cheap motel for a session of unbridled passion and then leaving to blissfully continue his/her single life. The reality is that it is often far less glamorous, more often than not it’s a life of loneliness, of a cold empty bed at the end of a day filled with unfulfilled longing, lying awake wondering if the sexless, loveless existence the love of your heart describes is really the truth? Of waiting, and waiting… and waiting! The Lover bears the responsibility, not only of his/her own happiness, nut also of being honest enough to allow the choices that his/her married lover is going to need to make. Are YOU sure that he/she is what YOU want, don’t allow him/her to change their lives, only for you to not want that which you profess to want.
Each needs to accept responsibility, each needs to acknowledge that to a greater or lesser degree, the situation they find themselves in is their own creation.
Each party also needs to be ABSOLUTELY honest about the situation;
- The Wife; needs to honestly decide whether she has taken EVERY single step to rescue her marriage, is it REALLY that bad, does she deserve happiness, did she openly and clearly make her needs and feelings known, has ANY effort been made? Has she taken the effort to find out WHY he is uninterested? Has she made the effort to investigate if there is someone else? Does she want to know? Has she “let herself go” to the point where she is physically unattractive? (although considering that there is a smitten lover around this might not be the case)
- The Husband; why are you uninterested in your wife? Is it a health issue? Do you still Love her? Appreciate her? Lust for her? Do you still love her the way you did when you met her/married her? Remember that very often the weight/wrinkles/grey hair are a byproduct of the years/children/hard work that happened during your years together. If she is straying, the chances are that she wouldn’t have if you had just given her a bit more attention! (of course the same applies to a husband that has strayed, but this is a particular context) Have YOU been unfaithful? Just because you THINK she doesn’t know doesn’t mean that she actually doesn’t, or is not picking up subconsciously on your infidelity.
- The Lover; Did You know from the beginning that you were involved with a married person? Did he/she mislead you? If you KNEW, then sorry for you, what DID you expect? Does he/she make ANY effort towards changing things so that you can be together? Is he/she putting the responsibility of your being together squarely on YOUR shoulders? If so WHY is he/she not making effort of their own? While the dissolving of a long term relationship might take time, what are the signs NOW? Is he/she voluntarily taking on MORE responsibilities/circumstances that tie them to their present life? Are they buying a house, a car, a pet together? If so, what is that saying regarding their readiness to move on? There will always be complications, but if you open your eyes and look honestly, you will know if they are gradually separating or gradually drawing together!
The longer the indecision and inactivity draw out, the more EVERYONE will be hurt. Stay in the marriage if you feel really loved, appreciated and cared for, not or ANY other reason. Don’t play with the feelings of other people. If you are not prepared to take the often scary steps to freedom, then don’t string another along as a crutch propping up a collapsing life, YOUR happiness, fulfillment and self-worth is YOUR responsibility. Don’t believe that the only way to survive financially is to stay with someone you no longer love/want (there is a word applied to women who exchange intimacy for financial gain) nor is “jumping horses mid-stream”, exchanging one dependent situation for another the answer. If the FINANCIAL security your spouse provides is the only reason for staying then you are not acknowledging the awesome power within yourself. Stop making your life everyone else’s responsibility, you have an awesome mind and the tools and body to create your OWN abundance, make your choices and take your actions for the RIGHT reasons, stop lying to yourself, stop blaming others, stop and ACT!
If you are the “faithful” party, and your husband/wife is showing you that he/she is unhappy, unfulfilled or feeling un-loved or unappreciated, then decide if that person you once vowed your undying love to is worth the effort! In this little town I live close to, I see the guys who choose to go to the pub every night and spend hours there before going home and eating the meal their wives have prepared and then watching sports on TV until the alcohol drives them to an early, flaccid sleep… And then they wonder “why” “the battle-axe” is so difficult or “why” the day she leaves, or “why” when they find her in the arms of another man… If she’s having an affair, the chances are you drove her to it! If he’s having an affair, the chances are YOU drove him to it!
And You Mr/Ms Lover, be aware, you probably have months against their years, he/she is more than likely exaggerating just how bad things are, if it really is SO bad, then why is he/she still there? You might be the “forbidden fruit” the “greener grass” or the “new toy”! It is equally likely that he/she REALLY and truly loves you, that they REALLY do feel trapped in a loveless/abusive marriage, where fear keeps him/her from moving on, if you see the signs of commitment to you, if even in just small ways he/she is making an effort to move on, doing what needs to be done with enthusiasm and without being nagged, the chances are that he/she is genuine in their professed desire to share a life with you, on the other hand, if they getting MORE involved in their spouses life, buying things together, having a child together, buying a pet together, if you need to nag to get him/her to do what is needed for the two of you to be together, then the writing my-friend is on the wall!
Or maybe you just too available, maybe YOU are now the one who “is just there”, maybe if YOU move on with your life, maybe if your married lover wonders each night who YOU are sharing a bed with, maybe if YOU are not available 24/7/365 YOU will be appreciated, maybe, just maybe THEN he/she will actually make a plan to be with you. Remember the old saying “why buy a cow if you can get milk for free”? Male cattle give milk too, smaller quantities… but before I need to add an age warning to this blog, I’ll resist elaborating 🙂
Remember “Catherine”? I found out she was married, she explained how she is neglected, unappreciated and is expected to “just be”, and that her and I “just happened”? Well I told her that if that is the case she needs to do what she needs to do, that I hope her happiness is valuable to her, and that I hope one-day soon she will have taken the steps necessary to pursue an open and honest relationship, and that I hope I am still available when she does so, that every day she dawdles, every month that goes by, the chances get slimmer of it ever happening. If I had agreed, without conditions, to “just be available”, what real incentive would there ever be to change while she enjoys the best of both worlds? Does it mean that I don’t miss her? That I don’t still Love her? That I don’t still hope? No it doesn’t! I am doing what it takes to be ready IF that day arrives, and if she NEVER takes action, well then I am sure that MY intuition which served me so well in the past will advise me that it will not, and then some other lucky lady will reap the rewards of all the action I am taking to be ready for her.
Love, Feelings and People’s Hearts are precious, sacred and are not to trifled with, respect yourself, value your own happiness, value YOURSELF!
Go Forth and BE Awesome
All My Love
PS: Even More Synchronicity, after publishing this entry I found THIS feed on Facebook about whether we really Are meant to me monogamous, interesting reading and kinda supports my feelings that it remains a partners responsibility to EARN monogamy