As I see more grief experiences every day, I am amazed with how “clever” many minds are in adapting to the times. In the past people may have smelled an unusual perfume or cologne on their partner’s clothes, sometimes noticed longer working hours, and sometimes actually seen or heard about their partners with a new love interest which may have been shared as a “friend,” a “colleague” or a “business meeting.” One of my clients years ago had a life-changing moment when his wife came home with her blouse on backwards; another had a feeling something was up when her 14-year relationship started being less communicative and she followed him secretly to confront a woman driving him back to her home from a local bar.
Today, more and more, people are going out less and communicating on their cellphones more. We know that parents often worry about kids hanging out with poor friend choices and many apps even help parents stay on top of their kids’ communication on their cellphones. Of course, kids often find new ways to hide information from parents! What I am amazed about today is that many adults are also hiding secret communications with new interests while maintaining long-term relationships. This is not new behaviour, just new tools with which to do this with.
I have been contemplating today and I know that there is a window of opportunity for such behaviours to come to light, be addressed openly and honestly, and for all to learn from the experience. What matters most, it seems to me, is once a secretive behaviour is discovered, that it is no longer continued. I truly have compassion for all sides here. There are innumerable reasons that such times can arise in relationships. What matters most is the respectful and honest communication for all sides. I see that often the person outside of the long-term relationship is only learning bits and pieces of the full story; it seems even inside the relationship only bits of the full story are shared. What happens for the healing for each person is important. The dis-honest party needs to take ownership of their behaviour and communication; the long-term couple needs to acknowledge how each can work on themselves to improve their relationship, and the “extra” person needs healing from their own painful awareness too. Each party is working through pain, and often times, hurt people, hurt people. This is not a good time for finger-pointing as that never helps anyone long term. It is a time for reflection, understanding and healing.
Once trust is lost in a relationship, lots of healing time is needed. Anyone who finds themselves in such a position needs healing time and effort. Can you imagine being the partner who is too caught up in work or other family responsibilities who is finding out that their partner has looked elsewhere for (at least) emotional support and perhaps love that is not felt so clearly at home? Or the partner who feels forgotten by such a partner but hasn’t got the heart or courage to mention this repeatedly to the partner who is not really listening? Or the person starting a new and fun romance with a person who never honestly shared they were not truly available? Each is needing healing.
What I do encourage people to try to do is to heal and move forward without re-living the past hurt in the mind. This is not so easy. To be present in the current moment is the only way to bring true healing. This may be the best way to bring healing to many situations in life and it can be learned. It is a practice that requires people to monitor their own thoughts regularly to truly experience the now, and now is shaped by the thoughts people think about most regularly in the present moment.
I see that most of the people who are deceiving others in their relationships with them are too fearful about the likely angry or upset reactions from the people that may love, which holds them back from sharing. I encourage anyone doing this to take ownership of the dis-honesty and recognize the hurt being created for the many people involved (this includes extended friends and family as well as the direct participants in this “unfolding drama”). It’s not fair to anyone. And it’s not worth one’s own peace of mind to do this. I do feel it is this person who hurts the most. Yet they leave a trail of low-vibrational energies of sadness, pain and loss.
To be consistently honest is the backbone of respect that I feel every long-term relationship can lean on. If this has some weakness in it, practice that honesty muscle often and regularly, to re-build the strength that will support every relationship.
For those affected by dis-honesty in relationships know this: it’s not “the unknown other” that is the concern. It is the not-fully-honest person. Focus on bringing in honest communication regularly. Know that if honesty is truly being practiced, it may not be easy to hear what is said. Hear it. Lovingly, not reactively.
For each person in such situations, let yourself feel the love and the pain of such a situation. Each is still there. Recognize this, and know that you can trust again (either yourself or another). Healing is possible. Take it one moment at a time. You can do this.
I am here if you’d like to work through such grief. My heart goes out to each of you who is reading this and has experienced this personally, or has felt the hurt of a friend or family member in such a situation. I encourage us all to be able to share freely and openly our cell-phone communication with our loved ones. We are not children and being adults does not give liberty to un-truths, secrecy, or even just the comfortable avoidance of speaking the truth. Let’s live honourably and with genuine love through our thoughts, words and actions, especially to those we love. Otherwise one may learn to use this powerful word (love) without truly understanding its depth and meaning. And true love is magnificent. I wish this for each of you.
Wishing you all a healthy grieving journey ahead.