Thursday, February 22, 2018

For men who believe they have been "replaced": Helpful resources

Last night (Feb 24th 2018) I went to a men's yoga group in Botany, and shared about my wife having initiated a separation two months ago, having a relationship with another man, living with not knowing and uncertainty, and the traumatic fallout from all of that. It turned out that at least a third of the men there had been through similar or parallel experiences - at least as far as separation goes, and one also the state of not knowing.

The amount of environmental support available makes a huge difference to our ability to function, be happy and create wellbeing. This was graphically illustrated when we did a tree pose. We were arranged in a circle, and first we each did the tree pose individually. I did not even try and lift my supporting leg of the mat, but left it with toes on the ground and heel pushed in aginst the ankle of the load-bearing leg, believing I did not have the strength or balance to stand unaided on one leg. I tyhink the majority of men there did lift the supporting leg completely off the ground.

Afterwards the facilitator, Jeff Miller, invited us to stand closer, and extend our hands so that we were all pressing against the hand of the person to our left and right. Now, with this environmental support to lean on, I was able to easily do a full tree pose with confidence and a sense of possibility. It was a wonderful illustration of how mutual support and interdependence can transform our experience of everything.


Useful Eckhart Tolle talk on Ego relationships vs real love


For those men  who decide to continue their marriage after an affair: some resources (not my own experience, the experience of others)

"For my own part, just as she needed to let go of the affair, so too did I. I needed to stop talking about it, stop voicing every thought, stop throwing it in her face. She isn’t sleeping with, pining for, secretly meeting with anyone now, so what am I angry about? My ego is bruised, my trust has been damaged, my belief in my marriage has been shaken. It’s legitimate anger. But it’s anger based on past events. She is in the marriage now. She is reaching out to me. She wants to be with me. I still need to accept that completely, but I’ve found the less I dwell on this, the better I feel.
It was also helpful to accept that I can’t depend on her for my happiness. I need to secure that for myself. It’s not a bad result to all of this. I am less beholden to her and I think she appreciates me more for it.
One important aspect to keep in mind (and it helps the betrayed understand the mindset of the betrayer during the affair) is that one can become addicted to the pain of betrayal. Wallowing, anger, ruminating are all bad habits I’ve fallen into. I’m used to waking up and thinking about them. I’m used to passing by places they met and getting mad about it. It becomes Pavlovian after a while. I found I needed to have those negative feelings because I became accustomed to having them. They became a sort of crutch for me. Without them, without being the betrayed husband, who was I? I imagine my wife felt a similar need. She developed a bad habit of needing to hear from him, to see him, to read his emails, and when she tried to break that habit, it was too difficult.
I’ve really tried hard to break my own habits, to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. And one really important lesson I’ve learned is that tomorrow really is another day. I get the one day at a time mantra.
We will never be as naively trusting as we once were, but we will never be as dependent either. I think that independence allows one to take a chance on love once more."

Of limited use, delineates the problem from the point of view of the person - but I find more useful approaches which point out that the person itself is the ultimate 'problem', and that only moving towards Presence can return us to our completeness. Such as the Eckhart Tolle talk above. He points out that words like "betrayal", and "abandonment" are stories that lock us into victimhood and powerlessness.

Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved | Esther Perel


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