I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile…hopefully it comes out the way I want it too. (Side note…trying to type with a broken finger sucks)
I have a couple of friends who are trying to repair their marriage after the light was shed on infidelity on the husbands part. He had fallen in love with a friend of theirs and needless to say, the affair rocked everyone’s world.
Now…I want you to remember a few things here:
- although my hubby didn’t fall in love with Erin, I get the idea of the affair being with a friend.
- yes, I was a mistress who was “friends” with the wife regardless of my situation
- Yes, I realize that I have made mistakes in how I have dealt with my past
Keeping those things in mind, lets jump into it.
After my hubby’s affair with Erin, we went to marriage counseling for about six months (not a great counselor/counseling experience overall, but that is besides the point). I also did a lot of reading on my own about healing after an affair. One of the main ideas that seems to be consistent throughout all of the things that I have read and heard about this is that whoever had the affair needs to be transparent with their life if they want to rebuild their trust with the “wronged” partner.
Okay, I get it. How do you rebuild trust if you have been wronged in the past? Step by step. Transparency allows people to show that what they say is true.
After my hubby’s affair, and still to this day, we have a transparency “rule” in our marriage. At first I felt this obsessive need to check his phone. I looked through his messages. I looked at who he was calling. I looked at the websites he was on. I tracked the location of his phone. I became obsessed. It became a way of life for me…for years.
Now, do we have transparency? Yes. When was the last time I checked his phone? Years ago. Do I have access to check his phone anytime I want? Yes. Do I feel the compulsive need to check on him? No. I don’t need to check on him. Even if I checked on him, what would I gain? Not trust. It would just be another little reminder to both of us that we aren’t healing from the affair. I will admit that I do occasionally check the location on his phone. HOWEVER, this isn’t to “catch” him doing something…it’s a “has he passed the store yet or can he stop and grab a loaf of bread on the way home”. LOL. Or if he decides to go snowmobiling that I know he isn’t stuck somewhere needing help.
Do I believe that a certain level of transparency is needed in a healthy relationship? Yes. Transparency to ideas and thoughts…feelings and beliefs. Transparency of “I can, but I don’t have to”.
However, when does that transparency become control?
The minute I hear the words “I’m told I can’t/can” or “I can only”…I start to wonder. Who’s idea is this? Is it yours? Is it your spouse?
Let me put the situation out there. I reached out to the husband who had the affair with a simple question: “how are you?” (keep in mind that the affair came to light almost two years ago). His response: “I will only reply in our group chat, as that is what we are doing with all opposite gender friends per our marriage counselor”. Then his response in the “group” chat: “we are good”.
Okay…time for me to lose my shit for a moment:
- Can you talk to anyone who is of the opposite gender without tagging the other person in the chat? Co-workers? Acquaintances? Is it only me because I know both sides? Is it because you know I’m poly?
- Why is it only opposite gender friends? Why not all friends? Why discriminate? Your wife has been with a women before…so why is there a double standard?
- I didn’t ask you WE were. I asked how YOU were. I know that the standard line is going to be “We are fine.” I don’t want the standard line. I care about you as a person too. What happened to having your own identity? Are you even there any more?
- How can you build trust if you are never given the opportunity?
- Do you not trust yourself to say “no” in the event that I would throw myself at you? (not going to happen)
- Are you scared that someone might actually see how you are really feeling rather than what you are told to feel?
- How is a marriage therapist saying that this is healthy?
- How is this not control?
I’m okay with transparency. I’m NOT okay with control.
Control takes away a persons ability to be themself. Control takes away their individuality and replaces it with the wants/feelings of the person doing the controlling.
I understand that an affair is a HUGE thing. I’m not trying to justify it or say that there doesn’t need to be some sort of “punishment”. But, as someone who has been through it…control does not lead to healing…it leads to contempt and more hurt and pushes off healing.