They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
– I John 2:19, KJV
In this dream, I was reuniting with an old, former friend. I will call him, K. K played a fairly central role in the demise of my first marriage. As a fellow minister who attended seminary with me, he was even cited by my now ex-wife as her “spiritual adviser” as I recall. What an enviable position to hold as a spiritual adviser who volunteered to provide “oversight” as she committed adultery!
But I digress…
I dreamed about meeting up with K. The warm feelings and times of enjoyment we had together were what colored this initial reunion. My hope was that we would be able to put the past behind us and move forward restoring the relationship.
But this was not to be.
K turned on me in the dream and belligerently re-engaged on the matter of my divorce attacking my character and thereby blaming me for the end of the marriage.
The dream ended with me having a sick feeling in my stomach:
I was foolish to try reconciling without his repentance evident.
This made me reflect upon the broader concept of the faithful spouse’s internal pressure to reconcile.
I think many people do not see how much a faithful spouse really wants reconciliation. They see him or her choosing divorce or accepting divorce as them not wanting to reconcile. This is far from the truth in my experience and in numerous stories of others.
My heart clearly wants or wanted to reconcile with my former friend, K.
However, the dream taught me an important lesson:
Sometimes reconciliation is not healthy or wise when it is with someone stuck in aggressive sin.
This is true for both adulterous spouses who continue attacking the faithful spouse with slander, lies, and blame-shifting plus former friends and even family who join in for whatever reason. It is not wise to open yourself up to such abuse if you have a choice. At some point, you need to accept this person is stuck in aggression and walk away/set boundaries to stay healthy. Reconciliation is not on the table with such a person until they cease sinning and repent.
And this realization brings grief with it. I grieve the loss of my friendship with K. Some truly good times took place with this former friend before he was successfully triangulated by the former spouse.
It is a loss.
I think that real loss is what was at the heart of my sick feelings towards the end of my dream.
And it is okay to feel sad about loosing such friendships.
But it is not wise to pretend such “friendships” are still friendships. Do not give into the internal pressure to indulge in a fantasy that the adultery and their role in supporting it did not impact your relationship with him or her.
That elephant needs addressing first.
Perhaps, you grieve the good times and memories you had with your former spouse? Yes, these may be tainted now. However, they felt really good and real at the time. It is okay to grieve them. They are a loss.
The internal pressure to reconcile comes from a desire–I believe–to put back the puzzle. You want the piece of you back in its former place. Unfortunately, that piece was permanently destroyed with the spouse’s infidelity and/or betrayal of the former friend. The puzzle will never be the same again even if reconciliation takes place. You cannot return to the past. And you cannot re-write the actual reality of your history.
All you can do is accept reality and move forward.