About a year after I found out about my wife’s first affair (yes, I said “first affair”. SMH), and long before I’d even considered trying to get a divorce online, we were watching a show called Nurse Jackie in which the main character was having an affair with a coworker. This scenario hit pretty close to home for me, and I teared up a bit.
I guess she noticed the tears so she paused the show, looked over at me in disgust and said, “Tom, when are you going to grow up and get over it. It happens.”
Did somebody die?
I told that story to an acquaintance who told me that when she cried – shortly after learning of her husband’s infidelity – he asked, “Why are you crying like somebody died? Get over it already!”
I have two things to say about this.
The Grieving Process
First, all of us will grieve at some point during our lives – and all of us will grieve differently. The grieving process is personal and unique for each person and each scenario. Nobody but you gets to decide how you should grieve, how long you should grieve, or over what you should grieve.
YES! SOMEBODY DID DIE!
Second, somebody did die and that’s why my friend was crying.
You see, it used to be that when you got married, people would say that the two people should “become one”.
That’s complete horse shit.
The bottom line is that a traditional marriage consists of one husband and one wife. Two separate people who come together to create a couple – a third entity in the relationship.
The husband is still a person. The wife is still a person. And both of them must maintain their individuality just to remain sane. But despite their separateness, they are each ½ of the couple they created when they got married. Here’s a TikTok video I did explaining my thoughts.
But when one of them chooses to have an affair, the husband is still a person, the wife is still a person, but the couple itself is dead.
So of course she cried. Of course she grieved. Because someone did die; the couple.
The danger of “becoming one”
But what if they had “become one” and she had truly lost her self-identity? Then, instead of surviving the embarrassment, sadness, and betrayal, she too may have lost all hope and taken drastic and tragic measures.
But instead, since my friend hadn’t merged with the couple, and had maintained her sense of self, she didn’t just survive the pain, she’s thriving.