Living with betrayal

QUESTION: Masters, I have been committed over the last two years to learning from the betrayal I experienced. I take responsibility for my part and appreciate the lessons of humility, compassion and forgiveness for myself and my partner. However, I seem stuck in a limbo where I look back and regret, struggling with accepting the child he now has. I strive to move on from self-pity, martyrdom or being a victim, yet this final hurdle eludes reconciliation for me. I find it such a painful lesson, I would value guidance on the best way to move on, since this is becoming an unhealthy obsession and preventing me from living in the now. As well as creating a circular experience where I keep revisiting old wounds despite the futility. I also struggle with feeling he has ‘got away’ with what happened, even though I love him deeply and feel the hypocrisy. ~Louisa, UK

ANSWER:  The one lesson you have not mentioned is jealousy, and that plays a big part in your dilemma. This revolves around the child and how it is a cherished result of the betrayal and something you cannot duplicate to return your life to where it was before the unfaithfulness. The salve of healing is unconditional love for all souls and the journeys they have chosen.

As deeply as you love your husband, since you feel he “got away” with something, you have not truly been able to forgive him. Imagine if this affair were an unfortunate financial situation into which he was lured and lost all your savings. Could you completely forgive him for causing you to change your living conditions because of lack of money? Since this involved your sacred marriage vows, you take it as ultimately more important.

There is no right or wrong answer to this lesson. You have loved this man in the past but cannot reach the state of unconditional love for him now after his deceitful actions. You have no obligation to remain with him. The choice is yours.

If you desire to return to a place where you accept him as the imperfect person he is, then you have to change some aspects of your life. First you have to stop living in the past. Concentrating on his faults won’t have any effect on them. You have to start ignoring the emotions that are only destructive and begin making a new life with the facts around you today.

Focus on your daily life together. Since you can’t change the past, see if you can become a stepparent to the child, who is blameless in this situation. The child’s life is going to be difficult because of the deception surrounding its birth; help it overcome the anxiety that will be present in the future. If you harbor negative feelings about the birth, the child will sense it and feel responsible; how stupid is that? If you cannot see yourself doing this, then maybe it is time to move on.