With all due respect…
You know when someone says ‘with all due respect’…and then they follow it up with a comment that leaves you wondering how on earth that could ever be considered ‘respect’? On that note, I know this reader may not have wanted to sound condescending, but I just have to wonder how some of these questions could be taken any other way? Nonetheless, their questions appealed to me as great conversation starters, so here is my response to a recent comment made on one of my posts. Cheers!
What is it exactly that you regret?
I regret thinking that love meant unfettered trust without objective skepticism. I trusted Honey and every word he spoke. I trusted he had grounds for divorce from his cheating wife, and that his claims about her affair were true. It’s only now that I’ve learned he’s a pathological liar that those claims from so many years ago become suspect in my mind.
Was he telling the truth? If true, I still regret that I didn’t wait to date him until after his divorce was final. I was young and naïve, and felt entitled to because he had solid grounds for divorce. I should have waited regardless because it was inappropriate – something that could only be learned with time and maturity in my life and in my walk.
Was he lying? If a lie, I became an unwitting accomplice in his cheating and was the ‘other woman’. Will I ever know the answer to this? It’s unlikely.
I detail more about this in the post entitled HONEY.
Did the previous wife’s infidelity and subsequent divorce make it, in your view at the time, okay for him to leave her for you?
I saw Honey as the VICTIM. I didn’t see it as him leaving her for me at the time at all. Rather, I saw us getting together as a byproduct of what he’d presented as fact: his wife was cheating, admitted to loving this other man, but then minimized Honey’s feelings of betrayal and announced ‘well, we can just stay married I guess’, as though that was some great gift to him. When he walked out on her, I saw it as a pre-emptive strike against what was already coming, and his absolute right. Again, all of this on the presumption that what he said about her affair was true.
Do you still consider Honey yours even though you two have separated because of an infidelity?
No, I do not consider him ‘mine’ in any way. I divorced him and he is remarried. The honorable person I believed him to be was not real, so I mourn a figment of my imagination anyway. Furthermore, I would never tolerate that in a partner, and would divorce any partner if infidelity were confirmed because I believe cheating is about a lack of impulse control, poor character, and is abusive…and I would not knowingly subject myself to abuse in any relationship.
How far does permanence of marriage go for you? Do you believe sex before marriage is morally wrong as well?
I believe it’s permanent in that there’s no such thing as biblical grounds for ‘irreconcilable differences’. However, adultery and abuse are grounds, so I do not hesitate to counsel others that these abuses should not be tolerated under the guise of upholding their end of the marital covenant. Counsel, fix, and reconcile, or divorce…but never tolerate. And yes, I believe sex is designed to be best within marriage. The version of me from 20 years ago who was fine with living with a man is nothing but a memory. I have grown and changed in my lifetime due to my beliefs, and have been humbled by and learned from choices I’ve made in the past. I am abstinent by choice because of my beliefs and if by some miracle I ever felt inclined to get remarried, I would wait until marriage. This may not be for everybody, but it’s my personal decision. Would you also like to know the results of my last MRI or the contents of my private journal? I feel like there should be a 2-way mirror here and a chain-smoking cop with a plate of donuts.
Lastly, have you ever thought that this situation may be happening to you because of the decisions you made in the past concerning Honey? That you are reaping what you had sown? (Galatians 6:7-8) You’ve explained in great detail what Honey has done to you. I just wonder if you think about how you might be responsible for this as well? (In that, you will find the release you seek.)
If you are asking do I feel as though I’m getting what I deserve for trusting someone who turned out to be a pathological liar and sociopath with no empathy or remorse, the answer is no. But did I wonder about how I may have been responsible for this? Oh Lord, yes. I spent months lying in a heap sobbing, wracking my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to ‘cause’ this. So yes I did, but I don’t anymore. Because, you see, I learned that that kind of thinking is exactly the problem here. It’s called victim-blaming. It’s the same as asking ‘What did you do to cause your husband to beat you?’ We don’t compel people to abuse us, as Chump Lady says. No, I don’t believe in that notion at all. There is nothing a spouse could do to ‘cause’ someone to cheat on them, because cheating is about entitlement and selfishness. There are counselors and lawyers by the truckload on this block alone – take me to counseling, or divorce me. Be an adult and open your mouth and speak of your ‘unhappiness’. You do not have permission, no matter what type of spouse you think I am or am not, to abuse me.
But what I do seek to do is learn about where I missed the red flags, give myself grace for those failures, and to use that knowledge to empower me in the future. The goal of this site is to share this kind of story so other people victimized by these sub-humans will not go around blaming themselves for trusting their spouses, either. I also seek to empower similarly victimized people (who were victimized but who are NOT eternal victims) to flip the narrative on those who would shame or blame the victimized. For example, a person such as yourself suggesting that I should consider that I’m ‘reaping what I have sown’ either hasn’t read my story in its entirety, or has, but presumes that nice, innocent people don’t go around getting themselves cheated on and that I must have caused it somehow. Either way, I implore you to read on, or to go to Chump Lady for a rock-solid education about cheaters, or both. In that, I’m certain you will find the release that you seek.
With all due respect,