Have you ever noticed how a bird is capable of tilting its head, almost upside down? And then looks inquisitively at you as if it’s doing a full analysis while gazing into your eyes. That’s how I look at everyone now. With my head tilted, questioning what they are saying, doing, even thinking and then wondering if it’s truthful.
I used to be a trusting person; I valued being trusted and therefore openly and easily offered my trust to others.
In May, weeks before I found out 100% about the affair (until this point I was about 90% certain there was another woman), things were beginning to spiral downhill. I told Dick* one night that I thought he had a devil on his shoulder. He admitted that he did (past tense) but that “she” was gone. I asked if he promised. He said he promised that “the little devil was gone”. I asked how did he know. He said he “punched it and told it to go away”. I believed him. But it was a lie. She wasn’t gone! The devil hadn’t gone anywhere.
Later I learned that a few family members and friends had known of the situation for months. But not one had the courage to step forward in my defense. These were people – women, family – whom I helped and stood up for in various instances. It saddens me that they didn’t do the same for me. Instead, they allowed me to continue to live in an unsafe situation of lies and filth. Yet, another reason why I will always look sideways at others determining their motive – ulterior, or otherwise.
Determining your relationship boundaries, must-haves, and deal-breakers: I decided early on in this process that I would establish my boundaries (compromising, priorities), must-haves (empathy, intelligence, good moral compass), and deal-breakers (lying, cheating, addiction, abuse). I had to do this in order to better navigate current and future relationships; relationships of any type. (In reality, this is something that should absolutely be done in the beginning of any relationship. It’s so important to have this conversation, to be open and willing to have this conversation.) Upon establishing these criteria, I actually found that there were certain individuals that no longer deserved space in my life. I would be doing myself an injustice by not adhering to my own needs my keeping them around. It’s sounds harsh but in reality they were dead weight that I just didn’t need. It was time to start building my life back up.
One attribute that falls into all categories is TRUST. Fortunately I met a man (an amazing man, by the way) who believes the same as me, and we have agreed in a “100% open book policy”. No topic is off-limits. No feeling or thought is “shoved under the carpet”. It is a must-have, and anything less crosses a boundary and therefore is a deal-breaker. Living in a relationship full of lies felt like walking on glass – you were always tip-toeing, wondering if you would get stabbed and hurt. Whereas establishing a relationship based on genuine truth and honesty is liberating (no lies – white lies, little lies, any lies)! It also allows you to be your authentic self and know that you are accepted and treated appropriately. It’s so much easier to love and accept love when you know it comes from a genuine heart.
For the time being, I feel like a bird. Stepping out of its nest. Walking around, looking at the world through a new perspective, albeit a bit jaded to small degree. But make no mistake, I still value honesty (to an even higher level) and I still believe in love.
In fact, I believe in love in a way I never thought possible.
Wishing you truth and love,