The Air Wave War

In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

-Proverbs 18:17, NIV

IMG_6082Stories are powerful.

They give hope in hopeless places.

And they can crush the spirit as well.

Stories are well known as effective manipulation tools. Despots the world around recognized this and engage in promoting propaganda for good reason.

It works.

Faithful spouses are usually playing catch up in the story game by the time the awful discovery (-ies) are made. This time of catch up can be weeks, months, years, or even decades long. Trust me, it is very disorienting as the faithful spouse has to put into question the entire marriage narrative after discovering such a deep betrayal as adultery.

Part of the grief cycle is making sense of a world shattered by a loss. Putting together a story is very helpful for a faithful spouse looking at the splintered pieces of his or her marriage following infidelity discovery. We need to have a sense of what happened. And we need assurance that our pain did actually come from something!

I think this is why the tendency for faithful spouses to “over-share” in the beginning following infidelity discovery is so strong. We instinctively know we need to get this out. Our reality has been exposed as a sham. We need to have validation that the new reality we now know is reality.

It is important for that reason alone for a faithful spouse to have a friend or two who can be trust completely. Barring having such a friend, I recommend journaling out one’s heart to God. The pain must come out. A story must be reconstructed from the pieces.

The faithful spouse’s story needs to be reconstructed in part because the adulterous spouse’s past and possibly current version is a lie. It is a lie they have used to triangulate people and curry sympathy thereby enabling their adulterous sin. And the faithful spouse is at a double disadvantage in setting this right–i.e. they usually do not have all the information about the infidelity, and they are late in the “game.”

Part of my issue with people who take the “two sides to every story” or “I want to remain friends with both of you” approach is how it enables the adulterous spouse’s slanderous lies to continue and actually does not help that individual turn back to God.

Add to this, those who shut down faithful spouses when they are courageous enough to share. They shut them down by playing the “bitter card” and/or “angry card” as if anger over adultery is a bad thing.

Now, I am not saying the adultery needs to be the totality of all the conversations. However, if it comes up, a caring and loving sibling in Christ is going to listen without judging realizing the faithful spouse’s need to share the story. They do not withhold what is needed and what they can readily provide–namely, a listening and non-condemning ear.

And I wished more Christians realized how truly wicked these situations are!

My former spouse prepared the way for her infidelity by slandering my character even trying to triangulate my own mother and my sister-in-law with insinuation that I was a wife-beater, which they quickly dispatched in questioning as it was and is a complete lie. Personally, I am convinced this tactic worked quite well with others including her own family. It was truly wicked.

Besides my own experience, I know of a situation where another–female–faithful spouse endured an air war where her cheating spouse pretty successfully silenced her voice for a while by labeling her crazy. Even with her now exposing it as a lie, Christians still cling to the adulterous spouse’s narrative. This stuff is nasty.

Silence gives cover for evil.

It plays both into the further destruction of the adulterous spouse and further wounding of the faithful spouse.

That is not to say the adulterous spouse will give up his or her position of power willingly. Some really want to have full control of the image game, which is managed by keeping their story unchallenged. I think this is doubly so in the Christian community where looking good seems more important that being good.

In fact, I suspect the focus on avoiding divorce over teaching against adultery follows from this image idolatry. Divorce exposes the rift publicly. Adultery can be covered over as long as the victims are willing to continue to be victimized and silenced.

Playing the “bitter card” or “anger card” are effective ways to shut up a Christian faithful spouse.

And they are an effective way to enable evil.

6 thoughts on “The Air Wave War”

  1. DM as usual this came at the exact moment for me today. Leaving my unfaithful spouse of 31 years has been hell to say the least. This article summed up the sequence of what happens. Labeling me “crazy” even though he is the one who carried on this double life charade for 31 years, trying to make sense of the “shattered glass”, I feel almost like we are battling over who’s story is going to be believed. At this point I don’t care anymore, GOD knows, my close family and friends know (although it is shocking) and his disordered thinking is still twisting and turning every event. My sbtxh is twice my size and was bullying his way over me coming into my room. I pushed him (not too successfully) out of the doorway. He told everyone that I ATTACKED him, Im out of control and crazy! Now its no contact to the point he doesn’t know he exists.

    I do have my side of an ugly story even if its uncomfortable to hear. This site has been so helpful for me to understand the dynamics of putting my life back together again and most importantly leaving this insanity.

    1. So glad it was an encouraging and timely word for you, Gigi! It is so hard dealing with the alternative narrative. My encouragement to you is to hold onto the truth even if your unfaithful spouse rages about it. 31 years is an awful long time to be living a double life! We were not designed to live that way. Glad you are finding your way out of the insanity!

  2. Spot on and so helpful DM. Before my husband left he confessed to things he had done over the last 35+ years that I knew nothing about. In retrospect he was just telling me things that he was worried that others would tell me once he left for new woman. I am sure that there is much more that he is nor telling me. When I asked for more information about what he had told me he wouldn’t tell me, and said he forgot, he didn’t know it was better to move forward. No discussion allowed . but in retrospect am glad I found out that much, and from talking to one of the women I know that what he told me was a very much bowdlerized and sanitized version of what really happened. But a counsellor he went to at the time was not told any of this, just loads of stuff that was frankly very incomplete, left out 90% of the truth and designed to make me look wholly wrong and unreasonable. Eventually both of us were referred to counselling by our docs, separately, and my counsellor acknowledged that it was going to hard for me to process things without knowing more. His apparantly told him that it was best to put the past behind him and move forward, how convenient. Well eventually his controlling out of another woman’s bedroom went too far and when he forbade me to go to a mutual friend’s funeral I used the burst of anger to ring up the lawyers I’d been recommended and chose one and filed for divorce. It took some getting to did anger but It has been helping me to keep going. Yes there have been times when I have slipped back into grief and depression, and had panic attacks so bad I was sent for a 3 day heart monitor to make sure nothing else was wrong. For the first time in my life I went onto antidepressants just after Easter. When eventually I manage to get divorced I hope that the righteous anger will help me to try and share things that others need to know about what my husband did to others which he is keeping hidden. I’ve made a start. Not for revenge but to protect others.
    If you want some examples for your book of things that he confessed to that shows that the decision to cheat was nothing to do with me and everything to do with him, I have some toecurling examples about which I knew absolutely nothing. I do find your idea of the shattered mirror helpful Gigi. I will ponder on that.

    1. Thanks, Nell. The book project is on hold for the time being until Mrs. DM and I have more time…many projects and demands going on at home…good things. Appreciate your offer!

  3. Great job DM. In the midst of her affair and our separation and impending divorce, my ex wife told our pastor, friends and family that I’d “tricked” her for sixteen years. To this day, I have no idea what that means. Only my mother in law elaborated, stating something vague like “she thought she married a Casanova”….? When my ex accused me of tricking her during an argument, I simply said “if I’ve tricked you for 16 years, that makes you pretty stupid doesn’t it?”. The thing more shocking then her accusation is that those she told it to, accepted it as valid. The irony is, I’m the one that was tricked. While silence may enable evil, at this point I find no need to battle my ex’s revisionist history. What is indisputable is that I filed for divorce. I initiated the legal ending of our marriage after SHE broke the convenant. If anyone asks her why we divorced, anything other than ” because I had an affair” is a lie. I have no problem stating that to anyone that has the cajones to ask. Fortunately what I’ve found is that most people, who engage in the gossip and spin, are sniveling cowards like my ex, who scurry away from the confrontation I more than welcome.

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