But When Are We Going To Talk About HER?

I’ll never forget one day talking to Rick and I interrupted him and said “But Rick, when are we going to talk about HER??!! What about all the things SHE did wrong too?” (While I’ve been stupid at times in my life, very stupid indeed, I was smart enough to ask this question when I was meeting with Rick alone.)

I felt like I was being hammered on time and time again so I figured it was time to ask that question. I mean, Samantha wasn’t perfect. She was unkind,  rude, rejecting, never wanted to have sex, never said anything encouraging about me and what I was doing, so when were we going to talk about her crap?

Rick was patient with me and my stupidity. He simply smirked and said “As soon as you are able to talk about and own all of your own crap first, without being constantly defensive or justifying it all.”

Although deceived and stupid, I wasn’t being a jerk in my tone. I simply was frustrated and wanted to know when we would address Samantha’s insufficiencies.  I think Rick knew that, and didn’t lay into me like he could have. He realized I was genuine but still lost.

Until the unfaithful is willing to talk about and own THEIR unfaithfulness, the betrayed will be reluctant to own or talk about any of their own struggles and failures as a spouse. They just don’t feel safe yet. They also are still too angry and vulnerable and can’t see straight for the hurt and pain.

Rick didn’t hammer me or shame me. He educated me. I’ll never forget when he said that. He explained more about the betrayed and helped me understand that until I would humbly own what I did and embrace the fact that I could have done a litany of things instead of cheat, Samantha would never feel safe enough to discuss where she failed too. He literally promised me that if I would do what he was encouraging me to do, things would change.

When I owned my crap if you will, and didn’t revert to defensiveness and justification, it was like clockwork. Samantha started to discuss her own shortcomings and where there were vulnerabilities in the marriage that she allowed. Looking back it seemed I would own up and embrace my failures on a scale of about four to one. Illustrating that I would probably have to own up to four times as much blame and then she would eventually feel safe enough to own maybe one part of her own. This continued for several months and is the way I would describe year one.

The next year, it decreased to about three, sometimes even two to one.

By the third year, it was a level playing field. She would own her own shortcomings and failures about equal as I would. It was not, or ever will be a mentality that she caused my affair. Not at all, so before a few of you hit send and try and get me fired up by your accusations and unresolved personal anger, please re read that.

Yet, she finally felt safe enough to own about the same amount of blame for vulnerabilities in the marriage as I did. Is this a true paradigm for all marriages in recovery? Absolutely not. Is it a trend? Without question.

I wonder what your paradigm looks like. I bet it’s all over the board, depending on the help you’ve received and how far out you are from disclosure.

If you’re an unfaithful and you want movement in your recovery, own as much as you can. Stop being defensive and blaming your mate. You cheated. Maybe you both did. Who will own it more and who will own it first, genuinely, humbly? Face it like we did. You could have done a congressional library of other things, but you didn’t. As soon as you own that fact, it will help pave the way for your spouse to embrace and own their own responsibility. 

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