How I’m surviving infidelity
By - TearitTossitTorchit2
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According to the Bible cheating is one of the few reasons to divorce your wife.
Yup, in the situation of sexual infedility, the Bible allows you to dovorce your wife.
Yeah and in the OT you didn't even get a choice to stay together because cheaters were supposed to be stoned to death therefore removing the possibility of R.
Given that fact doesn't sound like staying together wouldn't be God default choice, since he didn't even allow it before.
The point being I don't see any evidence that God wants people to stay together like the Church seems to think. More like he gives you the choice.
If anything he warns against it a lot. There are lots of scriptures that say to stay away and adulterers lead to death.
Poor God, everyone makes him out to be such a bad guy.
Anyway, it's OP's life I just wonder what damage has been done to his kids if he has them.
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My mother, a good catholic remained married until my father's death. He gambled, stole from her, slept around and slapped her around but she stayed. We kids begged her to leave but she had no faith in herself and had old school catholic parents who said "You married him, he is your problem". I would not presume to tell you what to do but in both of her childrens view and in her own retrospective opinion she wasted her life. I wish you well. God can forgive. I'm not God, I have a short mortal existence and would never tolerate affairs outside of the holy sacrament of marriage. That is a deal breaker.
But for all these reasons you listed God says you can leave. She staying in her abusive relationship is not of God. Blaming the creator for your poor choices is not right.
What a tragic case, for what she endured, for her lack of support by her own parents and a terrible misunderstanding of God and faith.
A good person leaving a bad person may actually be the best thing for the bad person. Setting oneself apart can be an act of charity.
It makes divorce "permissible", it doesn't direct divorce as the only answer.
Moses allowed divorce because of hardened hearts, but marriage wasn’t made to be entered and exited so easily.
In the original Greek language, the word they use to justify divorce was "porneia", which is not the same word used to identify adultery "moichao". About the real meaning of "porneia", there have been a lot of discussions going from only incest to any kind of sexual transgression.
Thanks that’s really interesting
Brother, if you're happy I'm happy.
Is he happy? Cuz I didn't read that. What I read was more like resigned.
You’re both right. I found peace in letting go.
My goodness! An adult!!
A very literate discourse on your internal life but not a word on what you and she actually did to turn her attitudes around and reconcile.
I’m quite active in this sub with specific advice in scores of comments. This is a more reflective post.
The best answer I can offer is we separated from one another, looked inward and focused on making ourselves better. We put our oxygen masks on first.
Once she realized I’d leave her, and with individual counseling and group therapy among other wayward women, she experienced _metanoia_. She changed completely in a penitent way. She stopped lying, being defensive, and playing the martyr. She unpacked childhood trauma and family baggage that held her back. She worked hard and I could see iterative progress that kept me engaged.
For my part, I grieved a thousand tiny deaths, and some major deaths too. I got very good at recognizing stages of grief, both psychologically and physiologically. I trusted the process as our body’s best means of healing deep wounds.
And in sharing what I’ve learned, it’s given my suffering a sense of meaning. That’s why we commonly hear betrayed people say they would never wish their misfortune on their worst enemy, but still recognize how their recovery made them stronger.
Where would you say your marriage is emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally? I didn’t hear a lot of how you’re doing. It sounds more like religious constructs kept y’all together and y’all are ‘existing’ but where does true love and happiness come into play in your story? How truly happy are you?
Fair play and good questions.
My post is intentionally reflective, I’ve shared specific advice in many comments in this sub and similar. My efforts in helping others is a big part of my answer to you. It helps to be helpful.
I’d say my faith informs my conscience, but I freely chose to act. No doubt, some days, perhaps years, feel like merely existing. It’s especially painful when my heart is restless.
I believe my loyalty to her, our kids, extended family, our community and society at large is true love. It’s what I have to offer. Love is not always congruent with happiness, though sometimes it is. While happiness is not my pursuit, our home is warm and playful and thoughtful and helpful. We are transparent with pretty thin walls. We laugh loudly and cry openly. We make messes and clean them up. We’re pretty tight knit, we love to visit with friends, travel to new places and make memories together. In these ways, yes, I’m truly happy.
Interesting take as myself being a Gen-Xer and practicing Roman Catholic in a faithful and super abundantly happy marriage (but had no infidelity).
I’m more interested to hear you expound your takes that love isn’t always congruent with happiness and of happiness isn’t your pursuit, then what is?
I recognized a kindred spirit when you referenced TOB. “Super abundant” reminds me of TMIY of which I’ve been pretty deeply involved.
Love expressed in corporate acts of mercy and words of affirmation on a deathbed, fasting and alms giving come to mind. I wouldn’t say these are happy times, but helpful and often more deeply satisfying.
It’s not arguing for unhappiness, or against the cheerful Christian. I’m saying happiness is a feeling or brief state of being that’s fleeting. It’s good to pursue comfort snd safety and peace, but these times aren’t always marked by happiness.
I hadn’t really made these distinctions before being hurt. Seeing that I can survive pain, that rainy clouds can have silver linings, I’m finding deeper satisfaction in pursuing truth and goodness and justice and mercy and wisdom in leisure. To those ends, I do feel happy.
Love me some Steve Bollman (when he’s not showing charts full of numbers!). Sounds more like the Matthew Kelly ‘happiness vs joy’ talk. I’m really happy when I eat a big piece of chocolate cake (but maybe regret it later) but it doesn’t bring me joy. Joy is a far deeper state found in things like you mention such as corporal works of mercy and seeking and seeing God in both faith and works.
I’m glad you were able to find your faith in the face of trauma. It is definitely providing a source of growth. Similarly, I’m glad your spouse was able to confront her behaviors as well as the source of those behaviors and make true changes. So many folks want to change but just are truly incapable of it. You’re truly breaking the cycle and beating the odds. Glad you are finding peace.
Well said. Thank you.
>How truly happy are you?
No one is promised happiness anywhere in life. You make happiness by a meaningful life. Catholic theology ultimately holds that the purpose of marriage is not to make either spouse \*happy\*, but rather to grow each spouse through a shared higher spiritual mission: the birth and raising of children.
It's one of the rare cases that reconciliation can work because it answers the question of "why put yourself through that suffering?" It's the reason that I always say that the only reasons to consider reconciliation is if marriage or children are involved. Because redemptive suffering is partially about finding and growing through pain. It's the good that is worked through evil.
What I worry the "never reconcile" crowd misses is this: what matters in reconciliation (and in life in general) is not that you are always happy, not that you are never sad, but that when you look at yourself in the mirror in the sunset of your life, that you like the person staring back at you.
Peace be with you, Tercer.
>what matters in reconciliation (and in life in general) is not that you are always happy, not that you are never sad, but that when you look at yourself in the mirror in the sunset of your life, that you like the person staring back at you.
Thank you for this.
It's sometimes hard thinking about the events that have transpired, choices made, and being content with my choice to stay. Especially comparing my relationship with seemingly better ones. Society seems to have this drive for happiness, and social media tends to be overwhelmed with perfect lives, something that my life couldn't compete with, unless, perhaps, I had a time machine. BUT, I do know I'm trying my best for myself and my children, and I am content with who I am as a person and what I stand for.
Concerning society: "tell me what you brag about and I'll tell you what you lack".
The obsession with happiness, perfect lives, sexual drive one finds in media is a complete imposture which only tells us about the deepest deficiencies of a society where "other people has turned into hell".
Any healthy society would not be suffering from an "opioid epidemic". But, this is out of the scope of this sub.
I highly encourage you to reread Theology of the Body to depend your understanding of love and marriage.
Theology of the Body is not any one work, but rather a collection of the theological teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II. That said, there are several compendiums of his teaching in that area, and I'm quite familiar with Theology of the Body as a whole.
I respectively disagree with your ‘purpose of marriage’ thought and it sounds very ‘pre-Theology of the Body’ driven.
I don’t have a problem with people that reconcile,as long as they are ready if things go wrong.
I have a lot of empathy for you.
I empathize because I grew up in fundamentalist Christian household (which I now think of as a cult), where I was told a lot of lies about God, religion, redemption, etc. I feel for someone being so immersed in the paradigm that it really seems like truth, and actually getting deeper into it in a time of great emotional need.
I empathize because you were faced with terrible acts of betrayal that undercut the very foundation that your life was built around. Wherever you can find strength and the ability to cope at such times is fair game. The situation that you experienced is heartbreaking, and has been the destruction of many good people.
I don't particularly empathize with your bizarre mental gymnastics of you personally wrestling with God or God laughing at your misery. But that is why we have freedom of religion, and even the freedom not to have any at all.
I do empathize in wanting to save your family from the pain of divorce, although I do not agree that this is always the best choice, depending on the individual circumstances and not some church dictum.
I wish you and your family the best as you work through this together.
It occurs to me my cultural reference to Gen X may be lost to older and younger people, and those unfamiliar with the grumpy angst of our music and film and literature. I meant to imply in a phrase my generational way of being, both suffering as we all do, and holding a witty cynicism about it. It’s infuriating. We see a better way, but we’re too involved to change it, so we rage against the proverbial machine.
All that to say, God didn’t laugh at me. He laughed with me and lightened my heart. It’s the same way a good friend understands the nuance of teasing to help us see better versus a cruel put down.
Wrestling with God is a nod to Jacob who did the same. It’s a confrontation of our fears, darkness, loneliness, impotence, agony and exhaustion. It’s ultimately a surrender of our weakness and need to control. It’s a renewal of endurance, courage and freedom.
I hope this helps. Thank you for your kind words.
Thank you for your response. We have such widely different frames of reference here that I don't think it useful to carry the discussion further. I am afraid things I might say in response would come across as being harsh and unsupportive, which is not my intent. Good luck on your journey and path of discovery.
Well said. Were we enjoying a beer in person, I think it’d be easier to learn from one another. Until then!
Really well said...
Enjoy your marriage! Who cares what other people think. If you're actually happy, enjoy your peace.
I am sure this will spark controversy. I am equally sure that I found some measure of beauty, truth, and usefulness in it. Peace be with you, brother.
How did she react when you found out? did she show real regret? how long was the cheating of her?
I discovered many years after the fact she had a series of one-night stands during one month. She masked her guilt, shame, embarrassment and general indignation in all the typical ways a cheater behaves when they get caught. Yes, I believe she regretted her behavior, but didn’t express true remorse until she recognized the injury she caused me.
She didn’t express remorse until she was caught, did she repented from the act itself? A repentant person would confessed, in my humble opinion. It’s your prerogative to try forgiving her as it is to suffer from this choice. I just don’t believe it’s healthy to mask convenience as some kind of spiritual revelation.
Scriptures had a justification for you to divorce but you chose an ontological vision with religious content to justify not divorcing. Actually you kind of put personal perspective first and religion beliefs after. Simply put you were hurt but simply didn’t want to divorce. If you could live through the pain of what she did, good on you. But if you need to mask it as religious conscience it might crumble someday, not due to lost faith but it was shaped in your head. When that comes, the void will be excruciating…
Just hope I’m wrong and you can live a life as wholesome as possible.
Just hope I’m wrong.
Keep in mind, I’m reducing years of work to a single Reddit post. Many details aren’t offered here, though I’ll try to answer specific questions as they’re asked.
I’m not following your mask references. On the contrary, it feels quite vulnerable for me to admit my survival is steeped in personal values.
And neither am I claiming primacy of my opinion, rather my opinion is informed by my faith via spiritual and temporal discernment. It begins with an attitude of, “I may be wrong.” I’m very very careful to never presume I know more than collective humanity, ancient and new. I merely know a part, the trauma of deep betrayal, and sadly know it too well.
Said another way, I’m letting go of my need to control and look to fallible sources of help. It’s been quite liberating. I hope this helps explain.
How did you found out?
Intuition. Stories didn’t add up re: her whereabouts. I kept pressing, each time she’d admit a little more, which led to more questions. Eventually I snooped her phone, search histories, old DMs and came across a diary.
have you talked with a priest about any of this? the infidelity, the dream/vision? might be good to get their views.
Yes and yes. You’re right, good conversations in leisure and the confessional. Thank you.
Let me start out by saying that I am sorry you’ve had negative experiences here. It is your life, therefore it is your decision how you live it. No one has any right to make this decision for you, and if your mind is made up I wouldn’t even attempt to change it. Instead, I would like to defend the more measured responses you have gotten here that were not supportive of your decision. However, I would like to point out that further abusing someone that has been through such terrible trauma is not giving them the difficult truth that they need to hear, it is only perpetuating a cycle of abuse.
There are absolutely people here and everywhere else that respond from their own pain. Some of them out of anger, but many out of concern even compassion. Most of us here have been where you are and wish someone would have told us or that we would have listened. Many here have attempted to reconcile only to get betrayed again. My situation is complex, like many are, but the lies never stopped until I stopped giving her the opportunity to speak to me.
Try to hear the passion in those voices and words as an attempt to save you from a fate many of us have already suffered. In many of our eyes you are driving your car off of a cliff and we are shouting, screaming “Stop!” Because we have driven off that cliff ourselves and only barely survived.
I know that there are couples that have healed from infidelity. I believe that. I’m sure some of the responses you’ve received have been motivated by jealousy. Others wishing they could have fixed their relationship as I hope you’ve fixed yours. But successful reconciliation is so incredibly rare that I feel it’s only responsible to point out all of the difficulties and hazards anyone choosing that path is facing.
If you are truly happy and healthy, I congratulate you on your success. If you are not, I hope that you find a path to healing soon.
Where anyone’s concern is expressed as eloquently as you have, it is well received with the intend it’s offered. Thank you.
You bring up a critical point of trust I wish this sub fostered better. I suspect it’s a problem of the medium, anonymous and public with a layer of impulsive popularity signals in karma and awards and brigading.
Beneath all the sterility of the platform we lose respect for the agency and dignity of the individual person speaking from a place of vulnerability. Just as I know my capacity and ability to reconcile, as well as my wife’s, so do others who know their situation best. Nobody is called to suffer needlessly, or ever enable wretched behavior in others. To do so is a violation of one’s own autonomy.
I do admit one unpopular opinion. Our marriages are not ours alone. They are public in nature and therefore confer a mysterious sense of ownership in those radically moved by our pledge of fidelity, permanence and openness to new life. We know this to be true because we grief unexpected and unwanted divorces. Neither is the pain of divorce something we’d wish on those we love. For these reasons, I recognize a stewardship responsibility in each married person to care for what they’ve created to the best of their ability.
Regardless, my core advice to work on yourself is independent of whether the relationship survives. I hope my post helps.
Congratulations to both of you, together you fought to save your family & keep your family together. Be proud of yourselves, I sure am.
Sounds like an awful existence
It’s interesting: through all this shit you’ve gotten closer to your faith while it drove me to abandon mine entirely.
I hope that you’re achieving and not just subsisting, man. Regardless, here’s wishing you peace as well.
Oh, my faith wavered mightily. It’s just different now. I’m much more sympathetic to those who lost it completely.
This is an incredibly thoughtful post. My only concern is that you've employed a certain amount of hermeneutics and exegetical constructs to rationalize the grief and betrayal and to - potentially - trust your wife again even though she cheated multiple times and only expressed regret after being caught.
Certainly, only God's love is truly unconditional and ours can only aspire to such heights. Perhaps, that's why I worry that faith *may* be employed here as a form of deception on your part and your wife's.
I could also be totally wrong in such an assessment though I'm not at all unfamiliar with faith being employed in such a manner and have witnessed it to exhaustion. Regardless, God knows best. Be well, friend.
You raise a great point. People do hide behind their faith as a way of avoidance or narcissistic self martyrdom or rationalizing suffering as God’s will. These are all means of putting God or ourselves on a pedestal. I sincerely hope I’m not doing that.
I don’t know that I trust my wife has told me everything, actually. She’s obviously prone to lying, and memories have faded in 23 years. I’ve just accepted I can’t know. I’m lamenting the pain of her lies brought us to a place where I’m not sure I can fully trust her.
All isn’t loss. We’ve learned a good deal about ourselves and each other. We are both better people post discovery and reconciliation. We communicate well and are committed to raising our children and being helpful in our community.
Ask yourself, are you happy with your marriage or are you just "tolerating it"? You sound defeated and tired. Not trying to insult you but that's the vibe I got from your post. A marriage should give you joy, strength and unmistakable fulfillment. If you are content with your marriage then good for you. If you're not, there is only one person stopping you from being happy. And it's not your wife!
My melancholy tone is intentional, it’s not been an easy path. No doubt I merely tolerated my situation at times. I’m glad we’re turning it around, though I’m not always happy. I addressed happiness in other comments. It’s a fleeting state, and therefore not the goal I’m pursuing.
While I might admire your determination, I can't help but think you are in two unhealthy relationships.
Thank you. It certainly was unhealthy, but better now.
I am a recovering Catholic and I don’t practice it anymore. However, I found forgiving my wife to be most empowering and liberating decision I have made, a gift to myself, that started my own healing. I am at peace and I can focus on days to come, not the past I cannot change.
I'm a little confused. The guy is flaunting superior intellect, yet shows ignorance of basic sociology and psychology. Jesuits.
While you're at it, C S Lewis and Immanuel Kant should also come in handy.
Help me understand what I missed.
If your faith gives you comfort and guidance, then stay with it. You can get a lot of suggestions on Reddit, but nobody can really tell you what you should do.
I don’t regret trying to reconcile. I had my own myriad of reasons, most significant my bundle of joy. I also believe that people deserve a chance to grow and be forgiven. There is no shame in trying, nor is there shame in ending a relationship with someone who is not capable of honesty or fidelity.
Well, choosing to reconcile for all the reasons listed is valid.
My question is only this:
Why did your wife choose to fuck around clearly not use a single one of the reasons you listed to not fuck around?
It was early in our dating before those reasons were manifest. I rejected our hookup culture, she did not. She lied repeatedly at the time, and throughout our marriage.
I admire your strength and this post in general. Thank you for it. Provides some hope to those of us who would reconcile. I probably shouldn't. My situation is terrible. But thanks regardless.
Thank you, it means a lot. I wish you well, my DMs are open too.
As someone raised Catholic but who pushed back against it with every fibre of by being, all I can say is:
Catholicism, gaslighting believers for over 2000 years now.
The "god" you feel you're conversing with is actually your inner codependency issues and inability to stand up for yourself.
That's a fact!
It’s an opinion. See username.
Nope, it's an onion. Read more carefully. It has layers. Onions make such good metaphors, they're truly OP.
LOL, I misread. I like it.
The whole point of the name is that people misread it.
Like onions themelves, they're very misunderstood. ;)
"I’ve faced appalling personal attacks and ridicule on Reddit without any respect for my decision that is germane to my situation." Your post history shows no evidence of "appalling personal attacks and ridicule".
I have an extensive comment history. Some still exists if one cares to dig, I’ll not dignify these exchanges with links, but a couple examples found their way into this thread. The most egregious cases have been reported by me and others as harassment or abuse and removed by mods and/or Reddit. I’ve also received disgusting DMs.
“Our hope is not in this world, but of one beyond.”
"When will the kingdom come?" Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is'. Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it."
Yes. Imploring intentionally on earth in anticipation of beatific vision.
There is nothing to anticipate. We are the blessed in heaven. You are there right now…how’s it going?
And there it is, the classic presumption of cuckoldry on the betrayed man who reconciles.
Why do you say such hurtful words? Are you better for it? Have you made the world better?
Or do you think your comments so meaningless as to assume they don’t hurt?
I’d wager you don’t care either way. You’ll hide behind the weak smugness of “brutal honesty”, a contradiction of terms that’s never offered in genuine care, but of power and domination. Such crassness is ALWAYS a personal confession of disordered desire.
That ain’t me, amigo. Good luck with that.