General’s Petraeus and Allen’s cheating though, gone public is between them men and their Wives UNLESS, there is PROOF of confidential national security leaks. They betrayed their wives and children.
I feel empathy for their wives and kids. I have been the betrayed wife. The pain of your spouse cheating on you is hard enough out of the public eye. In the public eye having to endure the looks, whispers, paranoia, people pointing at you or even just in your direction you are sure they are pointing at you. It is as if you are trying to endure the jet of flame engulfing you from the flame thrower in your spouse’s hands and he has his hand on the trigger. With the news articles assaulting you every other minute via radio, TV, and internet it must exponentially expand the sense of free-fall of pain and grief. You feel you have to put on a smile. Hide the pain. “I am stronger than that,” you tell yourself in a stern and powerful internal voice. Reality, though, is very different. You just cannot stop the heat of the artesian well of tears about to explode from your eyes. You fear those waves of pain moving over the beach of your being sending your sand particles into a maelstrom of emotional confusion and disarrangement forcing saltwater geysers to explode. Breaking down into the “bad cry face” in private is difficult enough to control. But, when the grief and shame splashes down on you in public like the bucket of blood poured over Carrie, keeping your composure can be impossible.
I hate the term “affair”. It makes it sound glamorous, as in “You are invited to attend a Black Tie Affair.” Whee, let’s have a party. This
When your spouse cheats, you feel shame and shamed. As if you are supposed to know or have known it was going on and if you had known why didn’t you have any control of your multi-decade spouse’s behaviors. There is pain and more shame at not knowing or not suspecting this was going on. The shame is woven tightly throughout every moment since the shell protecting the cheating cracked. Did their co-workers KNOW and you DIDN’T? If they knew why the HELL didn’t one of them tell you?
You ask yourself, “How stupid must I be not to have seen this going on?” “Every time I walked into his office all of his co-workers must have looked at me like I was foolish or worse unintelligent. Were they all laughing behind my back? When I left the office did Patty run over to Becky’s desk, “Did you see her? Did you KNOW what he is doing with our co-worker? Why doesn’t she know? How could she NOT know? Oh, She must know. Why is she allowing the cheating?”
Now we all openly know what has been going on between your spouse and co-cheater. It gets worse. You find you actually know the other party. You may know them publicly. You talked at office and friends parties like you were friends. Said “Hello” when you visited his office and stood, leaning on the door jamb of her office, catching up for a minute or two. The whole while she knew you didn’t know. Was that fun for her? Was that part of the fun for your partner, to humiliate you?
How do you get the moving pictures out of your head? It is bad enough not knowing who he was cheating with. You cannot put a face to someone you don’t know. This hurts drastically. Knowing her face, and voice, and having been privilege to her personal history makes getting those horrible movies in your head of them together to stop. It isn’t a matter of keeping those videos, in HD3D DolbyDigital Sound, out of your head. They are the burglars breaking into your head that appear wholly against your will. It is internal pornography. Suddenly, the automatic brain porn is triggered by a thought, or memory of him and you in intimate times or of times you spoke with her or both while standing in his or her office.
The pain extends to the children. They become shamed, and angry with the cheating parent. Naturally the kids feel and become highly protective of the parent betrayed. Kids have a difficult time overcoming their own sense of betrayal, grief and fear. They do not know whether the parents will stay together or whether they should stay together. We all wonder if and why should or would the parents stay together. Whose choice is it and what are all the choices.
The questions bombard you. There are decisions to be made and choices to pick through. The pain, the shame, the fear, the earthquake in your soul make living immensely difficult. But, you muddle through. You really have little choice about the next breath you take or the next event your kids have to get to. You, not the cheater, do it all. You are responsible for it all. You the weight of it all is on YOU!
He cheated. His cheating left you to do ALL the rest. You have the privilege of doing all the hard work of recovery on your own. Lean on your true friends. Share with others who have also been cheated on. Listen to them and work to recover. Do not mistake it. Recovery IS work. It is in some ways the hardest work I have ever done and I am still working at it. Understand recovery may be a multi-year process. Do YOUR best. Your best is not someone else’s idea of what is best for you.