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User Topic: What is the new narrative after the A?
NoGoodUsername
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Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 12:40 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

After infidelity, everyone's life is turned upside down and everything is called into doubt, for Betrayed and Wayward alike. The story of our lives is not what we ever thought it would be and the expectations of a lifetime are gone. What comes next, what do we get to be?

We Waywards get to try and participate in the idea of redemption and have a role 'redeemed sinner'. There is a socially acceptable label and idea for that. What about the Betrayed? Who do they get to be? What socially supported identity do they get?
The person who took the loser back?
The lonely, embittered divorcee?
Those are some great options that we have left for our spouses.

I'm completely serious in asking, who do Betrayed people get to be in our society after infidelity?


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
karmahappens
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Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 12:45 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Society doesn't get to define me.

I do that on my own.

I am a strong independent woman who chose a path of healing, forgiveness, strength and love.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3845 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
bionicgal
♀ Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 12:47 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The person who fought for their marriage/family;
The person who showed strength in a crisis;
The person who embodied/demonstrated the true spirit of love when attempting to reconcile;
The person who upheld the wedding vow, "for better or for worse";
The person who saw past the terrible actions of the wayward, and saw the person inside, instead;
The person who didn't let ego dictate their actions, but let love preside instead;
The person who acted with integrity;
The person who, even when tremendously hurt, was a loyal friend and partner.

I could go on.


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2058 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
Lark
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Member # 43773
Default  Posted: 12:52 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm still working on who I am...

I think even the definitions of the WS depend on who you're talking to. It could easily be "the cheater who got away with it" alongside the BS as the "spouse who was stupid enough to stay with them"

It really just depends.
Right now, from the people who do know of the A - they view my husband as someone who has lost his path and is essentially a lost soul right now trying to figure out who he's become, working on it, and trying to find himself again.

I do not know their perception of me. I have found out that several people had been told before I knew - and in his 'confessional" moments to those people, he put the blame at my feet. So right now I'm in somewhat defensive damage control mode as I discover who those people are and want to scream at them that his entire perspective of what was happened was completely F*d up and want to share *my* perspective to finally give myself a voice in all of this nightmare.


“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore

Posts: 724 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: California
jo2love
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Member # 31528
Default  Posted: 1:12 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What about the Betrayed? Who do they get to be? What socially supported identity do they get?

I get to be jo2love. His A doesn't define me. It is part of my journey in life, but not the whole picture.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 1:14 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


Posts: 35846 | Registered: Mar 2011
bionicgal
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Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 1:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

jo2 - That is lovely.

God forbid my life be defined by my husband's mistake. And I hope, eventually, his life won't be defined by it either. (Or our marriage. I really feel like we are making progress in getting there.)

[This message edited by bionicgal at 1:35 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is a personal crisis, not a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 2058 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
wert
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Member # 34478
Default  Posted: 1:42 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The good person who is centered, didn't loose his cool and accepted his W as a failed human being. Not to mention the kick ass guy I always have been who never lost his moral compass.

I find it curious that you are interested in a "socially support identity." Validation comes from myself and those who I know and value. Not from society. It is an interesting question, but perhaps as a WS you should ask yourself why you look for validation in the society?

take care...



Posts: 1428 | Registered: Jan 2012
Lark
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Member # 43773
Default  Posted: 1:48 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Maybe I misunderstood the original question - is this a question about how society understands the WS and BS, or is it about how we understand ourselves?


“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore

Posts: 724 | Registered: Jun 2014 | From: California
seethelight
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Member # 43513
Default  Posted: 2:04 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The person who took the loser back?
The lonely, embittered divorcee?
Those are some great options that we have left for our spouses.

Well, the OW sent me emails, claiming I did not take care of my husband properly and provided him with what he needed at that is why he cheated.

It doesn't matter that my husband dropped her like a doggie bag filled with dog doo, on dday.

She insists, he loved her more.

Anyway, IMO, the BS is not viewed by society at large very well.

Yes, she is pitied as the chump who stayed with a low life cheater.

At least, that was the way I heard the gossip going when I heard of other women being cheated on. That's before I was cheated on.

So, I do think the gossips who don't know the betrayed might judge the betrayed spouse, man or women harshly.

Gossips usually say the a betrayed wife, wasn't giving the man what he needed.

And, a betrayed man is typically seen as henpecked.

Of course people who know me think differently, and blame my wayward, but the general society is different, IMO.


“If two people truly have feelings for one another then they don’t have an affair. They get a divorce and they sort out their feelings. You are accountable for the people you hold hostage in a marriage when your mind and heart refuse to fully commit

Posts: 1369 | Registered: May 2014
Mac4
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Member # 43122
Default  Posted: 2:12 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

bionicgal nailed it! and wert is spot on!

The ability to continue to love and forgive in the face of infidelity is a refelection of strength not weakness for those who chose that path.


BS me 41
WW 42
Married 11 years
R for now I guess
DD 9 & DS 8
DDay 2 (PA) - March 3rd, 2014
DDay 1 (EA) - July 2nd, 2011

Posts: 102 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: Midwest
NoGoodUsername
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Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 4:43 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I posted at lunch and have been working all afternoon. I'm not going to respond to everyone to avoid derailing my own thread.


Wert asked:

I find it curious that you are interested in a "socially support identity." Validation comes from myself and those who I know and value. Not from society. It is an interesting question, but perhaps as a WS you should ask yourself why you look for validation in the society?

We don't exist in a vacuum. Our identity is affected by what goes on around us. We are social creatures and what we believe others think of us matters. I'll be the first to agree that overvaluing what other people think is extremely unhealthy. Seeking cheap validation is at the core of my personal sins, but that's not what I am talking about here. Regardless, the lens other people view us through shapes how they treat us and, like it or not, that affects our feelings, our relationships and our self-image. What label other people apply to us does matter. It's not the whole story, but it matters.

Lark said:

Maybe I misunderstood the original question - is this a question about how society understands the WS and BS, or is it about how we understand ourselves?

Lark, you really hit upon the important piece here, it's some of each. These things influence each other. The words we use, the archetypes that we share, the way we see and treat each other help shape our understanding. This drives the vocabulary of our thoughts and the options available to us in our lives. George Orwell illustrates this principle in 1984 in regard to Newspeak being a language whose vocabulary shrinks every year, removing words that might leave people the language to even conceive of unorthodox thoughts. By extension, I am seeing the same problem here. What shared image do we have of Betrayed spouses to help envision a way forward? What archetype can they use to embody their humanity and worthiness after the people they trusted most in the world made ripped everything away?
When we are in crisis, it helps to have clear paths, shortcuts and trained reactions to dealing with hard problems while we are in the middle of being traumatized. These social labels are bundles of characteristics that we use as shortcuts instead of having to think through every painful piece of who we are. We use them on ourselves and other people use them on us. I want to know what the helpful image is for the person who got cheated on. I'm not seeing one and it's not right.

This is not just what other people think of us. It is the shared stories in our culture that help us find our way. Where are the stories for the Betrayed that tell of a successful life?


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
rachelc
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Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 4:55 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The ability to continue to love and forgive in the face of infidelity is a refelection of strength not weakness for those who chose that path.

I haven't forgiven yet. But I don't consider myself weak. I don't consider those who've chosen the D path weak either. It's all a struggle, for sure.


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.


Posts: 5253 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
painfulpast
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Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 5:09 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

We Waywards get to try and participate in the idea of redemption and have a role 'redeemed sinner'. There is a socially acceptable label and idea for that.

Very, very gently - this is your opinion of what a WS 'gets to be'. It's based on what you hear, read, see as a WS.

Just as an alcoholic may feel that there is a societal redemption for those that stop drinking, others will always look at that person as 'a drunk'. Sure, they know the person stopped, and good for them, but just look at what they did.

Again - no offense, but you're looking at this from one perspective. You seem to believe there are no good outcomes for the BS. I think we are viewed as compassionate, strong, pretty smart in the aftermath with all the lessons we've learned, and other than loving someone that cheated, we really don't have any dirt to brush off.

This is me, looking at this from MY perspective. You're right - we don't live in a vacuum, but we also don't live for the world, we live for ourselves and our families. How we see ourselves, and how we interact with our families, is the only label that matters.

Where are the stories for the Betrayed that tell of a successful life?

Honestly, I don't even know how to respond to this, it's so demeaning.

I'm going to make a suggestion. Read SI. ALL OF IT. Read a lot in Reconciliation. Read in General. Even read JFO and see the strength, compassion, and self assuredness of those posting and responding.


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1898 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
wincing_at_light
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Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 5:19 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Actually, every narrative for the BS is a successful one.

If you stay, you're the awesome spouse who was willing to give their spouse a second chance -- the one who modeled forgiveness and strength while everything around them was trying to destroy their family and their children.

If you divorce, you're the spouse who knew when it was time to stop putting up with shit and take charge of your life.

Doesn't matter which way the BS goes, there's a narrative that fits like a badass glove of awesome.

Even if you try to R and get cheated on again or whatever, you're still the person who gave their spouse every chance to turn things around for the sake of their children (or dogs or whatever).

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS. Anyone who tends to argue the other way is usually a not-so-former WS or someone for whom infidelity remains an open option.


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
sisoon
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Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 5:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I see a lot of congruence between kh, jo2love, & w_a_l.

I'm not all that impressed with reformed sinners. They need careful monitoring, IMO, which makes them higher maintenance than ideal.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10345 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
wincing_at_light
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Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 5:48 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

NGU,

As an aside, it seems to me that the fact that you *can't* see any good narratives for the BS is something you ought to look into (likely from the perspective of power dynamics).

Narratives all start as empathy -- what you can imagine a life of dignity would look like if you were in those shoes. (Everything else is just caricature and plot, not really "narrative" in a mature emotional sense.)

The fact that you can only imagine negative social outcomes for your wife is a bit troubling -- but, then again, I tend to believe that Grace is the whole reason we exist, so I'm biased toward redemption and the power inherent in helping the fallen become redeemed.

ETA: Or it could also be related to the idea that betrayal, in the early stages, is often described in terms of loss -- which is a faulty comparison. At eight years out, I can tell you that I loss nothing inherent to me as a betrayed spouse. I didn't have to rebuild myself from a faulty foundation. All I "lost" were some illusions based on lies I was being told by someone who chose to be untrustworthy.

Their untrustworthiness (and my ability to trust) didn't say anything about me. Their behavior didn't erode anything from me or steal anything sacred from inside me.

Betrayal presented, instead, an opportunity to evaluate where I wanted to go from there: what commitments I wanted to confirm, what rules I wanted to change, what I wanted to write on the clean slate of a life that was suddenly relieved of all the social obligations assumed as part of marriage in the 21st century.

From my perspective, the power dynamics had all shifted to my side, because I'd already paid the bill. There were no changes required of me to keep moving and living my life except those that I deemed valuable to me (because, honestly, if my wife didn't like it, what would it have cost me? A marriage to a cheating wife? Wow.) What my future would hold was completely in my hands instead of our "collective" hands as a married couple.

It's a pretty intoxicating existence to find yourself suddenly, with reason, and with adequate social justification, completely free of obligation. You can, literally, do whatever you want and know you've made the right choice -- and you can do it in the open, in front of God and everyone, without any fear of social consequences or disapprobation.

Sort of like all the grand parts of an affair without the D-Day.

[This message edited by wincing_at_light at 5:58 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6750 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
NoGoodUsername
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Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:28 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Painfulpast:
No offense taken. I knew that I was stepping into dangerous space when I posted. I felt it was important enough to go ahead anyway. You'll notice this isn't in General. I wanted to have a conversation about something hard with a larger group and there are risks that come with that.
Regarding your quote from me, I didn't say we get to be, I said that we get to try and there is a big difference between the two. Your following points are well taken and you are right, what I can see is defined by my perspective and others may not share the vision of where I think I could go with enough work. No dispute there at all. I think that you missed my point that there is a social narrative for Waywards that accepts the possibility of redemption in addition to the more negative labels. My point is that the wrongdoers get the chance at an potentially respectable ending, but it seems to be hard to find big stories where the people we wronged end up doing well.
In regard to you feeling demeaned, I apologize. That was in no way my intent and I am sorry that I hurt your feelings by expressing myself so poorly that my intent failed to be clear.
My goal here is to have a conversation about what the identity of a Betrayed spouse becomes. I'm looking for answers to these questions, I want to know the stories. Outside of SI, I don't see a large, shared vision for Betrayed partners. I think it sucks and it's not fair. I sometimes see unfair labels applied to you that victimize you all over again and I am sick to death of it.

I'm going to accept your urging for me to read all of SI with the assumption of good intent, because that is where you have a habit of coming from. I do read SI. Every day. I see many, many people posting with strength and bravery despite their hurts.
(edited to finish my post)

[This message edited by NoGoodUsername at 8:28 PM, July 1st (Tuesday)]


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
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Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 7:34 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I beg your pardon, I am on my kindle and it isn't good for long entries.
I am reading and considering your replies. Responding with good answers for each of you is hard right now.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
NoGoodUsername
♂ Member
Member # 40181
Default  Posted: 9:14 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wincing_at_light

Thank you for your replies and your investment in the conversation.

You wrote:

There is no lose, at least not in decent society, for the BS.

Perhaps there is the line that separates us. I'm not convinced that we live in a decent society.

Maybe I'm so jaded by the badness that I see in myself and others that I don't have much expectation of other people treating people who have been victimized well. Maybe it's more than just being jaded, we do a lot of victim blaming in this culture. I really wish what you said there was true, it would mean there really was some justice in the world.

You also say:

...it seems to me that the fact that you *can't* see any good narratives for the BS is something you ought to look into (likely from the perspective of power dynamics).

I can't see any good narratives that are shared on a societal level for Betrayed partners. If you have any to share, I'm all ears. I've been asking for it all along. Hell, man, I'm desperate to hear something substantive.
For power dynamics, it's a tangent, but worth talking about. I think about that subject a lot and there has been a profound and deliberate shift in power to my BW in order to try and restore a sense of safety and control in her life. Committing infidelity steals huge power from the Betrayed and I sincerely believe that Waywards need to get as much power back into the hands of their spouse a possible for a variety of reasons.
There is a lot more that could be said here, but I'll stop jacking my own thread now.

You say:

Narratives all start as empathy -- what you can imagine a life of dignity would look like if you were in those shoes.

A worthy point to raise.

You go on to say many things about the freedom of choice and power that comes from bringing this out in the open. What happens when that isn't how the Betrayed spouse feels? How does the Betrayed spouse get from the place where the entire world is hostile and untrustworthy to taking power and believing all of their choices are going to be good ones when all of the evidence in front of them says otherwise? When the societal memes tend to offer condemnation rather than a good vision for life?

You have my appreciation, for taking an honest dive into the conversation.


Me: WH
Her: BW
Dday 7/11/13
"May you be protected from hearts that are not humble, tongues that are not wise and eyes that have forgotten how to cry."

Posts: 252 | Registered: Aug 2013
painfulpast
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Member # 41038
Default  Posted: 9:36 PM, July 1st (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I sometimes see unfair labels applied to you that victimize you all over again and I am sick to death of it.

And I often see WSs labeled 'cheater' despite years of non-wayward behavior. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Once a cheater, always a cheater"? This is a fairly common social phrase. Hell, I've even heard it on 'Friends'. THIS is how a great many in society views a WS.

There are no winners in this infidelity game. No one comes out 'redeemed', and no one comes out a saint.

I still think you're viewing this through your eyes, and with rose colored glasses. If that's how you see things, then that's how you see things.


The stones from my enemies, these wounds will mend
but I cannot survive the roses from my friends

Posts: 1898 | Registered: Oct 2013 | From: East Coast
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