Why should I give him any respect or care? Good question!! But let’s look at this way. Anger and revenge in some circumstances is very understandable but also can be unproductive and in many cases genuinely counterproductive. If the person you love is at this present moment hooked into the passing (but very potent) excitement of an affair you may feel like killing them but in the heat of the moment try not to kill your marriage at the same time!! If you love them and want them back it may be wiser to focus on the bonds of love you had rather than rehearsing endlessly the area where trust has been broken. In the same way, a constant litany of the failure of your drinker to behave properly may be true, but hold up a mirror of guilt and shame to an alcoholic and they are likely to retreat back into their drunken world of denial where uncomfortable words stay safely buried.
Isn’t that excusing bad behavoir?
Absolutely not!! Of course all these issues need to be processed and some challenging decisions made. That goes without saying. However; it is a curious fact of emotional life that if we focus on what is still good, right and functional we facilitate an atmosphere where perspectives can change and the ground of love reclaimed.
In closing, both because I have worked this through with clients as a therapist and seen it in my own life I would say this . I believe ultimately that love is more powerful than anger and revenge. As I have been writing this article I have remembered my own strong feelings of pain, loss and desolation in seeking to come to terms with deep betrayal and disappointment . So in no way do I want to be trite and appear uncaring BUT there may be more hope than you could possibly grasp or understand right now. Relationships do survive addiction or unfaithfulness and can even become deeper and more enduring. My heart goes out in compassion to you whatever you are facing right now. But hang on in there. Change can happen and very difficult situations come right again.
If you feel betrayed and would like to find out what help and support is available go to Bottled Up where you will find others in a similar position who are dealing with the issues.