Cheers Sexy People!
I felt a massive weight had been lifted off of my shoulders after I recently truly forgave my boyfriend for his indiscretions that I talked about in this post. We had a really powerful conversation – not only about forgiveness, but ways in which I wanted to take ownership of being a great, attentive and loving partner as well. My boyfriend had stuck with me during periods of deep sadness and depression, and I wanted to acknowledge also how hard that must have been for him, as well as how much I appreciated him often acting like a silly clown to try to get me to smile, or to also point out areas where I could stand to have more awareness. We started to speak to each other as equals again instead of “man in the doghouse” and “pissed off / betrayed girlfriend.” It was refreshing after weeks of walking on eggshells and pain management.
Later, I did start to reflect: What now? Just because I forgave him for his actual actions, that does not mean that this is all over. We still have damage to manage, trust to build, wounds to heal, and communication breakdowns to remedy. I actually felt a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it all. But I am enjoying the calm of both having forgave him, and him not dating any other people at the moment. I realize though that I can’t “sit on my laurels.” There is much work to be done, hard conversations to sift through and revelations to have.
So I’ve been doing a bit of research while I decide what steps are next. I am not “in a rush” and don’t need to demand one productive conversation a day or anything. But a concept I learned recently keeps playing through my head: “Life is urgent.” Meaning, we could die tomorrow. Don’t leave loose ends today that you will regret later. Fix what needs to be fixed. Have the tough conversations with your loved ones when you need to have them. Your life and who you actually are isn’t your thoughts. It isn’t your car and possessions. It isn’t your job. Your life is the people that you choose to surround yourself with. It is your actions. It is your word (and keeping it). We are in this mess partly because my boyfriend did not keep his word (and also lied). WHY? We have to find out why, and really have the courage to dig deep into the motivations and thought patterns that got us here. Also, how can he help heal my wounds, and help me feel better loved and appreciated by him. And on my end, what can I do or say to help make this relationship ROCK? How can I heal my own wounds completely (not 80% but ALL THE WAY, so there are no leftover resentments lingering)?
One of my readers shared with us an excellent article about forgiveness and trust. Here is an excerpt: (full article here). This was written after someone spoke of their partner’s infidelity:
Don’t trust him. You shouldn’t have trusted him before. The fact that you were surprised by his behavior shows that you misjudged his trustworthiness. He’s willing to lie to you in order to get what he wants or avoid conflict. Therefore, you should not trust him to tell you the truth when telling the truth could cause conflict or prevent him from getting what he wants. Your goal should not be to rebuild your trust to where it was before – that’s putting yourself in the same position. The only reasonable goal is to accurately assess his trustworthiness and conduct yourself accordingly.
Sadly, I see this sort of thing all the time. My theory is that it’s a kind of motivated reasoning that looks something like this:
(1) good relationships require trust
(2) I want this to be a good relationship
(3) Therefore I must learn to trust this person
This sort of reasoning is, of course, completely backward. A person isn’t worthy of your trust just because you want them to be. A person is trustworthy because they tell the truth, even when it’s unpleasant, even when it causes conflict, and even when it could result in unwanted consequences. Unless you have specific, articulable examples of a person doing this, your trust is nothing more than blind faith.
I also went into an online forum, and found these wise words:
While you are contemplating your choices, please remember.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. – Einstein
Are you planning on doing something different? or just getting over it? If you don’t change anything, nothing will change. Seems logical, but when you are hurt, simple logic can slip by covered by heartache.
I’m in a relationship with a long-term partner who cheated and lied. I won’t pretend it was easy and there’s so much to say, but there are a few reasons why I am here still with him right now:
1. He took full responsibility and it stopped.
2. What we have together is really important — values, interests, shared experiences (no kids, no property)
3. We did couples counseling with a poly counselor who pretty much put him on the spot as we worked through issues. I decided I was done with him and he asked me for one last attempt. Things aren’t perfect, I don’t fully trust like I used to, but I do believe that he has changed, continues to change, has become a better communicator and better at understanding his motivation and behavior.
But the most important is this:
I was ready to leave him. I was clear. My life could go on without him and could be wonderful and I would survive. In a very real sense, it was an ultimatum, witnessed by the counselor, that he had no space for mistakes anymore. The issues that continued prior to seeing the counselor were not cheating or lying, but were about not keeping agreements to the letter (weaseling around time, etc.). At that point, it was all or nothing and I told him if he really felt he couldn’t live up to it, that was fine, but he couldn’t be with me anymore.
I will also say that one of the things that swayed me to try is knowing that I’ve made mistakes myself and that some of us do have the capacity to change. But, again, I set a limit and it was important. Forgive, but don’t forget.
How about you? What do you think? Any words of sage advice? Any lessons learned from your own dealings in your relationships?
Today, my family and I (including my poly family, my mother-in-law, my sister and her partner) are all going to spend a wonderful day seeing beautiful World War II warbird planes fly over the mall in Washington, DC to help celebrate VE Day (Victory over Europe Day). I can’t wait! And I plan to soak in every minute of it, enjoy everyone’s company, and not worry too much about what I have written here. But it is mulling around in my brain. And in the days and weeks to come, I will address all of this as we continue on our journey of healing, recovery, personal growth, and better communication. I will keep you posted! And rock on in your own lives! Sending love and big hugs!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)