The pain men feel when their wives are having affairs and are on the fence is excruciating; and the mixed signals their wives’ regularly send them can be nothing short of crazy making. From an outside perspective, though, their wives’ behavior really isn’t all that confusing, because as everyone knows, it’s a lot easier to see the truth in a situation as long as we’re not “in it.”
But, unfortunately, it can be difficult for someone who is perceived as a victim to get an outside perspective from talking to others. The reason is simple. Most people don’t want to cause someone who is already in pain – more pain. Consequently, the advice that betrayed partners receive from friends and family members (and sometimes even from professionals) is often filled with half-truths, fuzzy-truths and feel-good-truths that are intended to spare one’s feelings “in-the-moment.”
Feel-good truths do provide momentary relief, but, at a cost; the cost for that warm, fuzzy feeling is confusion and long-term suffering.
In Radical Honesty, Brad Blanton writes, “…it’s only your willingness to feel worse that will allow you to feel better.” He also says, “What causes the ongoing persistence of any problem…is trying to avoid certain sensations in your body.”
Men who were cheated on and divorced by their wives often say that in hindsight the choice they needed to make from the beginning was to either feel pain now or feel pain later. I understand what men mean when they say this, but the truth is, these men lived in continuous pain, the entire time, they were trying to save their marriages. In fact, on a pain and fear scale of 1-10 most of them lived at a level 7 for six months to two years; whereas if they had let go from the beginning and stopped trying to control their wives behavior, they would have moved between an 8-10 on the pain scale for approximately 2 weeks (the worst of which being the first 48-72 hours) and their fear would have subsided immediately, because what they were actually afraid of was facing the full impact of their pain.
Our minds fool us into thinking that we need to avoid feeling worse at all costs, but allowing the sensations in our bodies (that’s all feelings really are, sensations in the body) to move through us without trying to resist them is what leads us directly out of not only our pain, but also our confusion, and that’s why it’s the first, necessary step to saving a marriage after infidelity.