Warning: Following is a rant. It rambles and probably doesn’t make a lot of linear sense. I don’t do this often but once in a blue moon a thought gets into my head that I can’t get out until I write it down. This is simply my opinion on this subject and not meant as an attack on anyone else’s opinion or moral code. And let me caveat, when I say judgment I really do mean judgment not advice giving in a caring manner meant to help. There’s a vast difference.
I dislike judgment.
A whole hell of a lot.
Especially because I was (still am) judged so heavily by my x and his family. Because of my own experience, I have swung my pendulum to the far side of non-judgment as frequently as I can.
This post is generated at the responses I received over the Bennett posts. I knew that they would get some negative feedback because he is married and living at home. I’m ok with that. I’m ok with people having their opinions. Creates interesting dialogue on a blog for sure.
What I’m not ok with is the fact I lived through what Bennett is living through and was lucky enough NOT to have surrounded myself with non judgmental people in my life who understood my situation both from a close inside perspective and from a distant outside perspective. I count myself very lucky that I created this network of wonderful people because without them, I may never have left the marriage for fear of being stigmatized as a “divorcee.”
These were friends who watched a deteriorating marriage and prayed I would see the light to get out because I was stumbling around in the dark.
It’s so easy to judge and say “married means married.” That means you do not ever step outside your marriage. You made a choice to be faithful. But no one, and I mean no one, knows what goes on between any two people in their private marriages. Or why things happen like they do.
It’s not always the man who isn’t faithful. If I am to believe Bennett, his wife was unfaithful more than once and doesn’t seem to care about repairing their marriage. I feel so deeply for this story because it was mine too. At some point we hit a wall in a bad marriage and know it’s time to exit.
I cheated after my x cheated. It still doesn’t make it right. I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. I made my decisions for reasons that today seem weak but they are the only ones I have. Those weak reasons got me out of my marriage, at least.
Had I been a stronger person I would have left my marriage years and years ago.
This is not a post in defense of Bennett. Not at all. In my opinion he has to live with himself for his choices. I do not view my intimacy with him as contributing to the breakdown of his marriage. His marriage is already broken.
And I don’t think it makes me immoral either.
I do not think that having an affair makes you devoid of integrity or a moral code. I think it makes you confused and lonely and seeking answers. Maybe you make the wrong choices and go down your path sideways and backwards and flopping all over the place for a while until you find the right way. But I don’t think it means you are a horrible person.
For my part, I am with Bennett for the moment because I am lonely and he fills a need. I am horrible. Shoot me. As every single betrayed spouse would say to me: I am delusional because I have to take responsibility for his adultery. Hey, I don’t think so. I know what I am doing, as should he. I am single and free to make this choice. If he is not, then he can stop at any time.
People make choices and some of those choices are bad. Some of them are just poor choices. Some are weak. I think, when you are intentionally hurting another human, that’s a problem. So if Bennett is not being honest with me about the breakdown of his marriage and is, in turn, going to hurt his wife…then I see that as a weakness of (his) character.
But it is not a definition of a human.
It is not the be all end all of human integrity.
I make mistakes every day. I made them in my marriage, my career and I’m significantly struggling with my motherhood right now. But mistakes I made in the past are the building blocks for a better me in the future. I actually resent the thought that someone would think I am devoid of a moral code because I:
- Cheated on my husband
- Knew my husband cheated and didn’t leave him
- Had an affair with a married man who wasn’t planning to leave his marriage.
Yes. I did those things. Not things I sit here and say “hey I’m proud of myself for doing these things!” But hope the choices and experiences I made helped me to grow and made me a better person today.
And…are these the only things that make up my moral code? Are these the only things I can be identified as forever more?
- What about sitting by my best friends bedside, when we were 21 years old, while she was dying and all her other friends left her alone because they had more fun things to do? I sat with her every single day I could that last year.
- Or how about nursing my mother through the end of her life while my brother watched helplessly and my father ignored the fact she was actually dying?
- Or maybe the time I organized a food drive for a friend with cancer to ensure she had enough food prepared for her family to get her through the worst part of her chemo without having to worry about cooking?
I suppose, to those people where adultery is the only thing they see in the Bennett posts that none of this part of me matters. I am forever identified as an other woman.
We are all humans who make choices. I do not view Bennett as a bad human because of his situation. Because if you sit in such judgement, by God, you had better be perfect and whiter than white.
So while Bennett actually does gets defended in his post it’s really all about me (like everything else on this blog) I did what he’s doing and I learned from it. I had a long affair with a married man and I will NOT allow that to happen again because I got hurt. I need to let Bennett go because I shouldn’t be hurting him, not because he still lives in his home and is still married.
So if my choices define me for the rest of my life, I’m doomed. I’ve already been admitted to hell permanently and I might as well be making poor choices forever and maybe even raise horrible children in the process, right? Because that’s where I feel the judgement of those not involved goes to… there is only one side to every story and those that are perfect can say “don’t engage with a married man.”
I wish for all people more understanding, live and flexibility. Life is fluid. We are humans and born into sin. We can course correct and hope that we all find peace and understanding of the human condition at the end. But I know my course is crooked and most possibly even wicked.
And I’m ok with that.
A postscript: unlike every post on my blog, I may not engage in comments on this subject just because it is so painful to so many. We all have our opinions, I am simply stating that no one has all the answers and we should all be less judgmental of others.