This post (http://divorced-diva.blogspot.com/2010/06/lesson-in-forgiveness.html) is the reason why I listed The Divorced Diva’s Guide to Survival on my blogroll. The blogger put into words a question that I have carried around with me for years without quite being able to articulate it. It occurred to me that listing the blog wasn’t sufficient, though. Some people might never find the particular article that I found so poignant, so here it is.
When I think of my actions in the first few years after discovering the affairs (spying around, hoping for answers from one of the other women, etc.), I realize one thing. I wasn’t necessarily hunting for the truth because I was under any illusion it would make me feel better. I wasn’t looking for the magic solution that would somehow make my marriage not end, either. My marriage did not have much going for it by the time my former friend (for instance) came along. I had gone through the motions for years. Like a robot. Not letting myself think about it too much. Ignoring the subtle stench of the dying relationship. Her appearance on the scene was just another confirmation that the union was over. She and all the others were merely a symptom of a pre-existing, chronic, life-threatening illness. I suppose this is why I found it easy to forgive her almost right away. In my mind, she had little to do with the death. She was just a symptom – an opportunistic infection (for lack of a better term) that could not have arisen in the absence of the foundational, pre-existing illness. Whether she had appeared on the scene or not, death was imminent. It was only a matter of time. If it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else or something else – and, of course, she wasn’t the only one anyway.
In spying and stressing myself out searching for the truth, I just wanted them to care. And since they didn’t seem to, I was determined to find something that I could confront them with to make them care. Or to get one of them to confess something that showed that, in the end, they did care.
I wanted my hurt to matter.
I am thankful that I am now beyond this torturous phase. My current, even-keeled life is only interrupted periodically by some unexpected distractions. A couple of weeks ago, I got a series of five texts from my former spouse. Each arrived within a few seconds of the other. He’s been ill lately, and I suppose he was looking for some attention, and perhaps being a bit alarmist. His messages went as follows:
Message 1: “I’ve lived in fear of the uncertain the past month. It’s not easy. I don’t fear to die, but there’re so many uncertainties. Should it happen, I’ve prayed for you and the kids.
Message 2: “I believe in your abilities. I know you are well able. Just try and bring them up in God … Please, try. My only regret is that I may not have made you as happy as I wanted. God can do what I desired to do. He can make you happy where I couldn’t.”
Message 3: “Just in case, let these be my guiding words to you. But I still believe my healing’ll be complete. I continue to feel uncomfortable congestion in my chest. People are praying. I’m praying and believing but preparing also, should anything fatal happen. No need for fears.”
Message 4: “Rest assured by God’s grace and account of the cross, I’ll go to heaven if it happens. To clear the doubts, live the rest of your life with this fact: [The Other Woman] didn’t come to your house. Your husband cared so much he couldn’t do that to hurt you.”
Message 5: “Finally, my family cares a lot about you. Of everybody, they loved you so much and accepted you absolutely. You’re still welcome any day. Keep the kids close to home. God’s grace.”
I’ve grown accustomed to these periodic, minor disruptions. My approach is to simply ignore them. I’m a pro at it these days. I leave them undignified by my silence. They show that my former hurt (which made its abode somewhere in my heart and simply refused to leave) doesn’t quite matter.
As I said in A Beautiful Mind, there are some things you just have to learn to live with.