I can’t remember if I shared this story before:
Picture it, Christmas, 2011, in a Starbucks. Christmas music piped through the airways, the ‘Bucks was decorated with folly and jolly, snow fell softly outside the big, picture windows. My lifelong friend, Flavor of the Week, was home, visiting from down South (remember her?). We had completed an hour of Zumba, and decided on a late night treat. We sat across from each other with our egg nog lattes and coffee cake and talked. I’ve known her for over 10 years and we are able to talk about anything, no holds barred. We always let it all out. We have dogged each other and hugged and walked away. We tell it like it is. And then we laugh about it. She was the one who followed me to the bathroom at our friend’s wedding and cried with me as I revealed for the first time that he had cheated on me. She was the one who wiped my tears and my snot, and cried with me. She was the one who volunteered to ride with me to old girl’s place and give her an old fashioned beat down. She was the one who gathered the other girls in a circle and prayed for me. She is my sista girl!
So I got comfortable in my chair and went in on him, again. She listened intently and nodded her head at all the appropriate times and made all the agreeing “hmm mmm” noises. All of this was only encouraging to share more. “I still feel so much hurt, so much anger, so much pain, it’s so unfair!!!” She asked me how long had it been and I told her about 5 or 6 months. She asked was he still cheating, and I told her I didn’t think so. I ranted some more and then some more! When I was done, I was exhausted! I felt like I had done another round of Zumba! She looked at me and said (I will never forget this) “(her nickname for me), I love you, but you need to get some help!”. Well slap me STUPID!!
Chile I got indignant after that one! “How do I need help?!? He is the one that lied! He is the one that cheated! He is the one that ruined my life! No! He needs help!” My neck got to swirling and my index finger punched the air with every new point I made. She went on to explain that she felt he was so relieved that he was existing on grace and mercy. He knew that what he had done was reprehensible, yet God saw fit to still allow him his family (even if only by a thread), no diseases, no illegitimate children. He had enough common sense to repent and turn from his cheating, low down dirty, lying ways! (OK I added that last part.) Because of all this he was anxious to move on, to get on with life, to start a new life with me and our children. Whereas I was still stuck on my anger. Well ya’ll know I got angry with her, and you can guess that she didn’t care. I said “Why would you take his side?”. She explained that it was not about taking his side, that she was ticked that he had hurt her friend. But she saw what my anger was doing to me, it was destroying me. Where was my laughter, where was my smile, was I happy….He had grace and mercy and I had…anger? Wha the what?
I come from a society where help came from the alter on Sunday morning, not therapy. We are too strong for therapy. Every woman in my family is single, save one. And she might as well be! No one has stayed married. So I’m pretty sure they are giving me the side eye for staying. I can imagine what they would say abut therapy. They are more of the idea that you should leave and Jesus will take care of you. But just like I said in my last post, there comes a point where you have to make choices for you and not for everyone else. So I sought help. In my head I imagined me and a sister-girl whose husband had cheated on her. We would be able to relate! We would sit on a couch in her office and drink coffee (what is it with me and couches and coffee!) and hmm mmm our way through sessions. We’d eat fruit and cheese and I’d tell her my awful tale and she’d say things like “Girl he did WHAT?!”, and “Oh uh uh what you need to do is….this stuff right here (as she hands me a small vile) this does not show up in the toxicology report. He ain’t no good. We must do away with him!”. We’d hmm mmm some more and then I would go home and ‘cook dinner’. wink wink
I chose a man instead. I expected to sit across from him and stare at him for an hour in complete silence all the while thinking, “he’s just like him, he gone take his side, they all no good”. When the clock struck my hour’s up, I would stand, gather my things, swing my bag on my shoulder. He would say “Same time next week?” I would nod yes, and sashay away. In other words I’d seek some help, but I didn’t want nothing they had to offer.
When I actually got to his office I told him he needed to straighten up. And he laughed. I cried the whole first session, then told him he needed tissue. He said ok. That’s when I figured we would get along. Therapy isn’t all that bad. There isn’t any food, and if I want coffee I have to stop and get it before I get there. There is no couch which means I can’t lay my head back and cry the way folks do on tv, with my hand dramatically draped over my forehead. But he listens, he points me to scriptures and he says things to make me think. And when he tells me I’m right?! Chile I wanna high five him! (FYI: I’m right a lot! jk)
My point: I encourage anyone who has experienced adultery, the giving end, or the receiving end, to get help. Talking to my friends has been great! And I applaud the fact that they have remained fair, consistent and supportive. But it’s important to talk to someone with neutral party who shares your faith. It helps! Whether you stay and work on your marriage, or pack up and walk away it’s good to be able to just get it out, whatever it is. Better out than in. In may lead to unnecessary illness, or an incubator for your hatred. Therapy is like a safe place with no judging. And who is he going to tell? He’s bound by law to shh. And even if he didn’t comply, we don’t know the same people, so I don’t have to worry about being church gossip or work gossip. I would assume the same would be true talking to a Pastor or Spiritual Leader you trust. If you have access to this kind of help, please use it, even if you don’t feel you need it. Take it from me, you probably do (sorry). So with that being said, see ya later, doc!
Write ya later! :-)