Was it all a lie?
This is what many betrayed spouses ask themselves. My answer is “yes” and “no”.
YES: It was a lie.
The person you thought was devoted to you and your children, lied to you, and to others. The person you shared the most intimate experiences with, lied to you. That person abused your trust. That person had sex with another without your consent and without your knowledge. That person risked pregnancy and STIs and put your health in danger. That person lied to you and others throughout the entire affair, every day, every night, every weekend, during the holidays, while attending family outings, while “present” at the family dinners. Yes, it all was a lie. The betrayer lied to you and everyone else including the AP and the AP lied to them.
‘No”, it was not a lie for the person who was betrayed.
Betrayed spouses, listen! You did not lie, and you did not believe in a lie as you did not know that your partner was betraying you. You believed that your spouse was as trustworthy and honest as you were. You found out that they were not. It is not a reflection of you or your marriage, it reflects their selfish and harmful behaviour and what they did to the marriage.
When you were flirting with your own partner, it was not a lie. When you were intimate and said “I love you”, it was not a lie. When you disclosed your most embarrassing moments, and when you talked about your flaws or your shortcomings, you were open and honest. You were vulnerable as a person can only be with a person they trust. That you trusted a person who could not be trusted, is not your cross to bear.
How do I know that the past is the past and my partner is no longer the person they were?
Use your brains and see what is rather than what you want to believe. If indeed your partner shows genuine remorse, then your partner is not an individual who falls in any of the categories as discussed in my Post 83. If a partner is no longer keeping secrets, they are unprovoked disclosing experiences, thoughts and feelings. If they have nothing to hide, they do not hide anything.
They put your needs and those of your kids first. They answer questions and are no longer defensive. They state what their values, hopes and beliefs are and they behave consistent with those. They ask you questions and use active listening to make sure they understood your answers. They implement changes that are important to you and the kids and do nothing before talking it through with you. They use effective communication skills including acknowledging and validating. They value equality in the relationship. They are givers and they are patient and they truly understand that you need time and lots of evidence before you can trust again. They want to give you all the time you need as they want to see you happy again.