I kind of hate reading books and websites dedicated to the topic of infidelity. I believed that my husband–and our love–was great, strong, and unique… it is infuriating to read about how textbook, typical, and so damn cliche these last few years really have been.
I hate being “just another statistic.”
I hate it.
I do read the books and websites though. I read them hoping to find a clear answer. Hoping to find comfort, or assurance. Hoping to find…hope. Hope that I will one day sleep soundly, hope that I will one day find a new “normal” hope that I will once again love my life.
Man, I loved my life.
I do not believe that there is a soul living in this world that has ever loved their life more than I did.
I loved it, and now I know that all that time was a lie. And that knowledge is crushing.
And that word, “lie” that word is key.
The reason I loved my life was because it was true. I knew it wasn’t perfect, I was very open about that, but I could look at my world, warts and all, and love it for exactly what it was.
But it wasn’t love for real.
What is real is this:
I now understand that Adam has never made a habit of telling the truth. He has been sending out a representative version of himself since he was a child. Really and truly–just like pastor’s children often learn to hide–Adam was raised in a very beautiful and loving family, but a family that was under a microscope none the less.
I believe the “public-ness” of his life taught him to turn on the charm when he wasn’t feeling happy. He learned to smile when he felt like fighting. He learned hide…
But lets call it what it is, Adam learned to lie.
Now lets double down on that hiding by pointing out that our society does a real disservice to men.
Boys are taught to be tough, which means they can’t be emotionally hurt, spiritually exhausted, or sensitive in any real way. They are meant to be heroes, always strong, always ready. Adam wasn’t supposed to care what people think, wasn’t supposed to be open or honest about his struggles.
Adam was trained to lie. Conditioned for it.
Definitely not an excuse, but also definitely part of our reality.
(I have already, in my son’s short 8 years, been told that my cyclone is “too sensitive” or that he needs to work on getting his “feelings hurt too easy.” To which I say “get behind me satan!” I will not teach my son to hide or feel ashamed of his emotions. I am SO GRATEFUL that my boy feels comfortable enough, SAFE enough, to share with me when he is sad or broken. The refrain we use in my home is: you can be as sad as you want, you can be as angry as you need to–>you just can’t use those things to hurt or be rude to anyone else. Anger is healthy, rudeness is mean.)
Ok, bringing it back:
I have had the pleasure of a hundred open, honest and vulnerable conversations with other women just this week. Adam hasn’t had a conversation like that in his entire life. He has no idea how to recognize or express things like pain, heartbreak, rejection. His real self is quite honestly trapped inside of the shell he uses to represent him.
But, that is changing. And I’m so grateful.
I’ve said quite often that Adam could not have maneuvered our marriage any worse. BUT! The way he is handling our rock-bottom could not be better. Something has switched in my husband’s basic DNA and he is suddenly open. And this u-turn could only be attributed to God himself. This huge break in our relationship has opened the flood gates and suddenly this closed off man is absolutely flowing with feeling, words, and truth.
PRAISE GOD WE FINALLY HAVE THE TRUTH!!!
It’s amazing to witness.
But here’s the other side.
Adam was never fully his true self with me, which means that no matter how much love I showed him, no matter how many times I praised him, even when I said his whole name because I could tell he wasn’t hearing me: “I love YOU, Adam Hobbs.” He “knew” I didn’t really.
Adam wasn’t real with anyone, which means he didn’t accept love from anyone. If he wasn’t his real self, his real self couldn’t be rejected.
Are you ready, because here’s the flip…
I WAS my real self. I am far and away the most honest, the most open person. I loved Adam fully, with my arms and my heart wide open…And I WAS rejected.
For who I really am.
Adam’s false self wouldn’t accept my love, which means my REAL self was never loved back.
The hurt, betrayal and rejection that I feel from this are overwhelming.
And the huge gap between what Adam is feeling and what I am emotionally going through are hard to marry. (Do you get the reference: marry? We are a difficult couple to marry in every since of the word.)
To bring it back to the cliche’s, everything I’ve read says that one of the hardest things to overcome is this: The person who strayed got to feel wanted by two people, (In Adam’s case he was wanted by me and the other woman.) However; the person cheated on wasn’t wanted at all…by anyone.
Yes, we are typical in this way as well.
Since accepting and sharing the truth, the real Adam is being welcomed to the world by almost everyone. I am, and will be forever grateful for this.
I desperately want the real Adam to stay.
It’s funny because this is truly the worst time for Adam to decide to start telling the truth, and yet he is receiving love. Even in his scummiest, most deplorable state, the people who matter don’t mind.
I had a girls night with one of my favorite women. This woman was part of the couple that Adam confessed his true self to first. This amazing woman was my very first advocate in encouraging Adam to become a truth-teller. I praise God everyday for her amazing gift of friendship.
So, this lady and I are out together and having one of those open, vulnerable, honest conversations that women are so blessed to partake in, and I start thanking her for how great she has been for my recovery. I tell her how her conversation with my husband was a real turning point in our relationship. How her acceptance of him was the encouragement Adam needed to continue to heal, which in turn heals me and my babies.
Then she said something so incredibly profound. This sage-of-a-woman said that up until that conversation she had always liked Adam, but that conversation–the one were Adam admitted to his darkest truth, was the first time she’d ever really loved him.
When I got home I immediately told this to Adam.
“Your false self was liked, but your real self is loved.”
In a very real way Adam is experiencing love for the very first time.
Which means I am experiencing being loved by this man, the real man, for the first time as well.
Loved for real.