The wayward spouse and “off-the-table-itis”


Well, whatever you do, don’t take the topic off the table. Nothing good can come of it…but…the conversation must proceed with as much mutual respect and compassion as manageable. Appropriate anger is one thing, abusive anger is not permitted or tolerated.

If H has wanted to discuss the affair, I have gone out of my way to stay strong and face him with humility and honesty. He has brought the same things up in the same [sometimes nasty] ways over and over, and I have never shut him down unless he was way out of line. It took me a damn long time to get there too. I listen, I respond if requested, I show compassion for both of us, and am intent on doing my part to establish boundaries based upon respect where there were none. We are definitely not on the same page as this developmental process goes. But he’s trying and so am I.

Even though I am what seems to be en vogue as the “wayward spouse” [whatever. Labels don’t help much.] I am also a damn good wife who got overwhelmedly invisible and lost. I know what I did was wrong and have done everything short of destroying myself to try to make it right. I know I hurt him. I know I jeopardized our family. I am taking full responsibility for the hurt I’ve caused anyone. But I will not allow anybody to treat me badly by verbally or emotionally abusing me. Nothing justifies an affair and nothing justifies abuse.

I am NOT “WS”, I am ME. I am HUMAN. And for those WSs who are not human, I’m sorry they’re so damaged and I’m sorry they crossed any spouse’s path. Short of a pathological barrier, many of us who have had affairs wish we hadn’t created chaos in the lives of our spouses and we tell them that all the time, complete with sincere apologies. Many of us “horrible people” are not any more horrible than our spouses. We are hurting. We know we hurt others. Don’t stand back and judge all of us as being heartless, cruel, fucked up sociopaths because we are not all that way! Let’s face it, lack of respect – in all regards – is why we’re having this conversation in the first place. It’s how we got here. More of the same is definitely not going to help.

I can totally understand and/or fathom the range of emotions that people like myself and my spouse go through. If your spouse has not sincerely tried to make amends and aggressively work on things then they suck. For those of us who are, remember that we have feelings too. If you don’t like that line then please think about why it bothers you, sincerely.

No, there’s no “off-the-table-itis” here. That’s why it’s so goddamn painful.


4 thoughts on “The wayward spouse and “off-the-table-itis”

  1. My ex husband cheated on me repeatedly during our marriage, but I know in my heart that I had my own full share of faults in our marriage. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but there was lots broken before that came to be….

    Sometimes it is really hard, and really painful to look in that mirror.

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