I can tell that you are still healing.
-Faithful Spouse “Observer”
Statements like this bother me.
They are judgments. I am being judged when someone says this. Someone is looking at me, and giving me their assessment of my healing process–usually without invitation.
Such judgments often times put me on the defensive. I feel like I have to assure this person that I am not defective or “unhealthy.”
We are all healing from something, after all.
Statements assessing my “healing” serve to separate me from the individual saying such things. They create a false divide between this person who assumes the position of “healed” or “whole” versus me as “still healing.”
It feels dismissive. It’s like I am an object of the speaker’s pity.
Now, that is different if this is a person I have approached for help in my healing process. It crosses the dismissive line when this is an armchair “helper” making the assessment, IMO.
Surviving adulterous betrayal marks and changes you forever.
Along with not taking adultery seriously, this basic understanding or assumption too often is missing. Of course, a faithful spouse will seem different after surviving adulterous betrayal(s)!
Faithful spouses have just endured the greatest betrayal known to human relationships–i.e. a spouse committing adultery against them!
Someone who has never experienced such an intimate, contemptuous trauma has the luxury of assuming the world is safer and kinder than it is. A faithful spouse knows otherwise. They have firsthand knowledge that evil walks among us.
Is it really a matter of healing or bearing witness to the ugly reality of what happened to the adultery victim?
I suspect people who make these comments about faithful spouses are really trying to offload their own discomfort.
They don’t like seeing–and feeling–the messiness that comes with such betrayals. Making a judgment helps them create emotional distance from that messiness.
The grief from the situations must be contained!
Observer: “I can tell you are still healing.”
Me: “And I can tell from that statement that my story makes you uncomfortable.”