But there is typically no INTENT to injure.
CT thanks for posting because I think it reflects the deep chasm of world views we may have.
I suppose I could stretch this observation to the breaking point and see if it snaps. So let's see: There are actually factions within the United States who believe a husband should discipline his wife. If done with the intent to correct his wife's misbehavior, is this abuse?
I hear a snapping sound.
Intent is beside the point. Abuse is abuse. Now as far as adultery being abuse, we had a long thread on this topic some time ago here on SI, and the crowdsourced consensus was that, yes, adultery is abuse (or use "infidelity" if that makes you more comfortable). The crowd consensus here on SI has typically been in the right direction. I feel quite comfortable leaning in that direction but that doesn't mean you have to.
Adultery is undertaken by individuals who are fully aware of the evil of this act, the destructiveness of it, the toxicity of it. Every single human culture, past and present, across the entire planet has held infidelity to be taboo, anathema and among the worst acts a human being can carry out (although some cultures have institutionalized wife swapping within agreed-upon boundaries). This probably stretches back 100,000 years, possibly longer.
Why is this? Because, in wonky terms, it depletes social capital. In more visceral terms, it rips apart societies where it runs rampant. It breaks up families, the most basic unit of most successful societies. It robs children of financial and family security and scars them. It causes immediate and long-term trauma to betrayed spouses. It implodes basic trust, another building block essential to functioning societies.
The rationalizations, justifications, excuses, blameshifting, gaslighting, etc are all attempts to avoid the true horror of the actions that have been taken.
You write extensively about infidelity as abuse. In doing so, you invite yourself and others to focus on being victimized by abusive WSes. We all do that to some extent.
This strikes me as a form of magical thinking or even superstition, like characters in Harry Potter novels being afraid to name Voldemort. I think we should be bold and unafraid here -- in the face of actions carried out that bring real harm to real people -- and to avoid suggesting to anyone they are just feeling some mild precipitation if their leg is, in point of fact, being urinated upon. I'm fond of quoting Orwell's dictum that "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
That's real mindfulness, Sisoon. And no it doesn't invite one to see oneself as a permanent victim, but it does acknowledge the real outcomes and the real abusive nature of what has occurred.
Sisoon asked why I weave the theme of adultery as abuse through my commentary here on SI. Well, because of comments like the above from CT and from Sisoon. It should be a non-controversial statement to say that adultery is abuse. Yet we still see pushback against the notion.
So I don't think the point can actually be made often enough and I think many new arrivals here probably haven't yet thought of it in these terms. I think often when it is pointed out to them, it shifts the Overton window in their minds and allows them to see the situation more clearly. And no, I don't think it enhances a victim mentality.
Happily the tide seems to be turning here on SI. I see "adultery as abuse" as a much more common theme among most commenters now.
Demanding timelines, polygraphs, STD tests, NC, etc. of the WS will tell the BS something about whether or not the WS is a good candidate for R, but it doesn't help the BS heal from the feelings that come with being betrayed.
Talking with a lawyer may help a BS decide between D & R, but it doesn't help the BS heal.
Looking for an IC who is a trauma specialist may work out well, but having watched lots of therapists work with clients (they give demos at conferences), I am confident that some therapists over-hype themselves, and some don't.
Actually I think I point out the same thing all the time. We're saying the same thing here. The "DIY kit" of initial steps for a newly betrayed spouse are not an incantation. They aren't magic. Nor am I looking for a magical formula myself. That said, I think most would agree that these steps are fairly SOP. Of course, some situations might have distinctives that would lead an individual to leave out certain steps, but I can't think of very many situations I've seen here where that would typically be the case. There are always exceptions. The initial steps a betrayed spouse can and should take are important for placing a betrayed spouse in the driver's seat, restoring some of their agency and autonomy and putting them in a much better position to heal. Again, frankly I'm surprised these steps are even debated anymore.
Lastly insofar as my own motives here, they aren't actually that important. I've noticed a repeated attempt to stray into my motives for positing here on SI. That's a form of the genetic fallacy. But regardless, my motives are the same as everyone else here: figuring this out and hopefully helping others figure this out. I find the lack of intellectual curiosity about these subjects odd; I myself am very curious about what's going on here, what's the dynamic, what's happening in the brain chemically and neurologically, what is the endocrinal impact, what's the impact on the nervous system, what else is happening in the body, what are the long-term outcomes, and much much more. I feel I've only scratched the surface. Lacking curiosity about such things, in my view, is a bit like suffering from a major illness and having no interest in finding about it at all -- but merely turning oneself over to medical practitioners and having a strange listlessness about what is actually happening. That seems foreign to me, but as the kids like to say these days, "you do you."
Having this interest, diving into it, writing about it, talking about it, discussing what common steps can help newly betrayed spouses regain their own footing ... well, I'm sorry but this isn't about finding a magical combination of words or ideas. It is about learning, seeking to understand and finding out what works and what doesn't work. That's why, for example, SI essentially has landed on a standard piece of advice to avoid MC after D-Day, at least in the short term. Because a large enough crowdsourced contingent wrote consistently about negative experiences with marital counselors who sought to save "the marriage" and privileged that over dealing with the actual toxicity and fallout and trauma from the adultery itself. If we hadn't been curious and compared notes and sought to understand, it's unlikely this type of wisdom would have developed.
You write about safety.
When I hear safety, I think about physical safety. Relatively few of us are in physical danger on and after d-day. I sure wasn't. I probably thought of hitting my W, but I didn't. Neither of us was in physical danger. I knew our M was shaky. I knew my life as I knew it was gone. But neither of us was in danger of immediate physical harm.
About this. Well, I think we fundamentally disagree here. This is angels on the head of a pin stuff, frankly. Externals can in fact put a person in a place of safety. This is a bit like saying there's no difference between a small town in Louisiana in August, and a mountain ski town in August. Of course there's a difference, and this external has an impact on psychology, on behavior, and more. The Buddhist masters like to talk about ignoring one's externals, but as a former Buddhist practitioner I found this type of thing laughable (and it's why I no longer am one). A seatbelt makes a person more safe in an automobile and reduces the chances of grave harm. Not allowing oneself to drive drunk makes one's chances of safety increase. Generally not staying out after midnight is an external condition that can increase safety (ask just about any police officer). Etc. Etc.
I think there's nothing wrong with the term as it should be applied to infidelity situations. Betrayed spouses are very much placed in an unsafe environment with a wayward spouse on just about every level -- mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Unsafe unprotected adultery sex exposes a betrayed spouse to grave potential harm. But even if STD's aren't shared, the new science about microbiomes has only scratched the surface of this complexity within our bodies. An unfaithful spouse exposes a faithful spouse to microbiomes that are against the betrayed spouse's will, knowledge, consent. Once that Rubicon has been crossed, the microbiome is altered. And we don't yet fully understand the long-term consequences of this, aside from the more horrific damage an STD may cause. Yet that's only one small example. I could fill pages more of examples in which a betrayed spouse's safety is threatened (to say nothing of false domestic charges fomented by so very many WW's). it just seems unserious and rather silly to argue this point about safety, and I think better of you, Sisoon.
By the way, as an example of a worldview that would ignore safety, I find the story about Epictetus just sitting there enduring leg torture until his bones broke to be absurd. It's meant to be laudatory. I find it laughable and egregious. It's one of the points at which Stoicism reveals its internal contradictions and deep flaws as a workable philosophy. The philosopher-king of Stoicism was no great shakes, either. He forced his adulterous wife to have sex with her AP while he watched, then slaughtered him in front of her, then forced her to have sex with him bathed in the blood of the affair partner. Yeah. Anyway. The placid image of Marcus Aurelius as some sort of saint is belied by his actual actions.
So what harm do you see that a separation (therapeutic or not) will prevent? What scares you about your specific sitch.
I'm glad you asked this. Insofar as my own situation, there are probably two ongoing harms I can spot almost immediately. There are others, but let me just address two: 1. The external (yes, external) of being constantly re-triggered in my own home, where the adultery happened. 2. The re-triggering nature of my WW's presence on a more daily basis. That's why I found my experience on my recent sojourn so interesting and informative. I felt the actual harm decrease based on externals. Duh.
What scares about my specific situation? Lots of things. I've already written about that extensively here on SI, and feel it's getting off track to catalogue it all again here.
[This message edited by Thumos at 8:10 PM, Thursday, September 16th]