This is part two of Lisa’s story. Please read part one before continuing. All names have been changed but this story is very real.
When Pastor Dave found out about the note (because Jack told him) he became ballistic. He made us come and meet with him immediately. It was not a private meeting. Two others from the staff met us there in a neutral place. It was like me against THREE others. It was awful.
Jed was still reeling from the hurt of the betrayal from me – and actually bought into a little of what our pastor was saying – when he said I was sick – like I had cancer. And didn’t I know any better? He underlined everything I wrote in the note that I had written IN FRONT OF MY HUSBAND and accused me of flirting and still wanting the relationship.
It was awful. It was sabotage in it’s truest form and I will never forget how his huge form became even larger and his face seemed to turn green in his rage – like an alien creature. I sat numb – did not cry – which I know now made him even angrier. He was trying to break me.
He threw scripture verses at me, I think “create in me a clean heart” was thrown in there. Meanwhile I was suffering from separation anxiety from my friend and brother. Couldn’t understand why he sided with our pastor and would not tell me why he did what he did and then went into hiding.
I did get an answer to our note that evening by Jack. But with Pastor Dave looking over his shoulder writing it – it was not written like Jack. Gone was the easy “give and take” and cheerful lighthearted banter. Totally gone. I was blamed for everything. It was stiff and condescending in its tone.
In the months and years to follow I have heard from Jack a few times. Once when he wanted validation for feeling bad (told me he cried for months) – and to tell me that he was okay – never asking if I was (after what he pulled on me). Another time to open communication up and forgive and forget – only to shut it down again.
When questioned he became agitated and accusatory – again blaming me – telling me I must not be “over it” and telling me how inappropriate the whole relationship was – I mean “it was you who wanted to leave your husband and had thoughts for me”. I had never said that. I had leaned on him pretty heavy and told him I had doubts and thoughts about my life – and that I wish things were different – but never said what he accused me of saying.
Ugh. It’s hard to write this and remember it. In fact I know I’m leaving out many details – but you get the general idea. Why did he turn me in? Turn everything around? When I had ended it? I will never know.
One female counselor that I saw only one time really helped me. She validated me. She herself had been involved in a physical affair years before and she knew what I was feeling – even though mine was emotional. She believed the pain and hurt from anything emotional is even worse.
When I shared my story with her she did not condemn me. She gave me healing words of love and validation. She told me I was not crazy – even though my pastor and this man had made me feel like I was. She told me that Jack must really have loved me. I don’t know why – but I needed to hear it.
It was truth that everyone else who knew our situation were afraid to say. She said, “they will never tell you the truth because they are afraid it will perpetuate the emotions and drive you right into his arms. But it doesn’t, does it?’ No it didn’t. All I felt was terrible overwhelming sadness. And I missed my friend.
What would have helped me? If my pastor would have been able to see through this. To validate that we are all human and this can happen to anyone given the right circumstances. To have been able to see a troubled man scarred from a bad relationship and that he was very responsible for much of the drama and communication.
I felt scarred for so long after this. He also should have said, “hey we’re all sinners and capable of great mistakes”. To tell me that I was not totally to blame – that I made bad choices and should not have trusted so much but that it’s not the end of the world and can be fixed.
He made me feel dirty and small. He wanted my facebook account closed. I felt like I had people spying on everything I said and who I talked to. I was afraid to talk to anyone of the opposite sex – fearing they would think anything I was saying or doing was inappropriate. Jed said that was going a little too far and never supported him in this. And no, I never stopped talking with people and finding those who also had a story to tell.
I started writing a blog and found many who could relate with my “general” state of mind – and many took a journey of healing with me back then even though I never mentioned any specifics or named any names. My facebook account was never closed.
I am happy to report that in spite of these very sad events I am well and happy today. My marriage is stronger and better. Jed showed me incredible grace during this time. He has come to see that our pastor was wrong to jump to the conclusions he did. We are no longer associated with that church or pastor.
He has come to understand what drove me to seek the attentions of another man – even though I did not look for it. He sees how easy it was for me to be flattered by the attention and even feel powerful for helping someone. It has taken this long path and these sad circumstances in order to help our rather dry and emotionally dead marriage and to WAKE US UP out of our slumber and complacency.
If any of you are involved or have been in an emotional relationship with someone – here is what I would tell you:
1. You are valuable.
2. You are not a bad person for wanting connection with someone who really understands you
3. Just remember those feelings of validation and connection can seem “heightened” when it is done in “secret”. I am sure that my friendship would not have crossed into inappropriate feelings (and I had plenty) if those around me did not disapprove so much – even forbid it.
4. The feeling of “you and me against the world” can actually make the relationship seem like it is something that it is not.
5. Create ways to make the relationship with your spouse “fun” and playful.
6. Go back to the time when things were in their early stages with your spouse. What did you like – what were you drawn to about them?
7. Ask yourself, “Would my spouse ever find emotional connection with someone else because I’m not emotionally available for them”?
8. Be that person you are seeking.
9. Forgive yourself.
10. Forgive others.
Here’s something else you can do. Mourn the sadness and loss and then move on to new challenges and things that excite you.
Talk with your spouse about your plans, thoughts, dreams and fears.
You may be surprised what you find – right within your own marriage.
Find people you trust and talk things through with them. Don’t isolate yourself and feel like no one understands. You are not alone – and there are plenty of us that do understand and have been there and lived to talk about it.
Get involved with helping others who are not as far along on the journey of sadness, betrayal and loss. This may be just what you are created to do. Be an inspiration and blessing to others.
How can you help someone involved or vulnerable to emotional relationships?
1. Validate them
2. Don’t shut them down when they try to talk and express themselves
3. Try to create an atmosphere of safety
4. Remain constant and steady
5. Quickly diffuse a volatile situation by being accepting of friendships your spouse may have with the opposite sex
6. Don’t shut down conversations because you’re jealous and threatened (remember things heightened and got to a crazy place because Jack and I both felt the disapproval to our “friendship”)
7. Keep asking questions and stay tuned in
8. Do you understand how your spouse likes to communicate? Ask and get involved!
9. Remain calm when things look and feel scary to you
10. Be that person your spouse wants to talk to – don’t let someone get the job!
I will always miss Jack and be forever grateful for what he added to my life. He helped me open up and address some deep dark things in my past and in my present life that I didn’t want to talk about. Because of him I was able to clearly get an understanding of what I needed to do to stay healthy – NOT STUFF.
I am not happy how he chose to “throw me under the bus” when he got hurt – but clearly my marriage and my life are in so much better a place because of him. So Jack – I bless you. I miss your friendship and what you taught me. I wish you well. A part of me will always love you.
If you need someone to talk to – I have been there and I would love to talk to you and it can be arranged through Allison and Ray just let them know and they will make sure I get your message.