“Your Partner’s Feelings Do Not Matter…”

Tuesday, Dec. 7th 2010 10:18 AM

 

Of course your partner’s feelings matter. But yours come first. After last week’s blog, How to Deal with an ‘Untrustworthy’ Mate,” a reader sent this response:

 Every once in a while, my mate brings up my past mistakes, where I broke the trust he had for me. How do I go the extra steps for him to heal from the hurt I caused?  I want back the love and attention he used to give me. 

First, I am not a fan of guilt.  It is a very popular and socially-acceptable weapon, one most of us have been trained to use effectively by having been on the receiving end of a few good guilt trips.  But it is unhealthy for everyone involved. Anyone interested in manipulating you this way does not respect your God-given right to act in your own best interest, to make decisions based on your wants and needs, independent of anyone else’s feelings. But while they may seem similar, there is a significant difference between feeling guilty and being willing to improve or learn from your experience(s) (look for more on this in a future blog).

This reader’s question is laden with guilt.  I don’t recommend she take “extra steps” to heal the hurt she “caused.”  She has nothing to heal.  All she did was reveal who she is and what she may do in a given situation. While she did not explicitly state that she had an “affair,” I’m going to make that assumption for the sake of my argument. But the point holds true for any reason someone would employ guilt against another person – or him/herself, for that matter. This reader (or anyone in her situation) may not appreciate this characterization, but she can be officially labeled as someone who might have another “affair.”  I’m not judging this action.  But the history is too significant to ignore.  If you selected this option once, it means you wanted to do it and were able to justify it to yourself, at least in the moment. So, you may do it again. Accept yourself and your possibilities – without judgment. 

So the question is not how she can convince him that she won’t do it again. The issue is whether he can be OK with what happened and what might happen down the road, and just love the complicated individual she is, rather than hating what she has done.

This is a hard pill for many to swallow. But your partner’s pain is not your pain. And your choices are a reflection of what you want. From our reader’s question, it doesn’t sound like she did whatever she did to hurt him. She simply did what she wanted. 

For example, imagine that my friend, Elizabeth, and I are at a fireworks celebration.  Afterwards, I am elated by the beauty that just lit up the sky.  But Elizabeth, whose father died during a fireworks accident, is crying in despair.  Am I being insensitive to Elizabeth by being happy?  No. I am simply being honest. If I later asked myself, “Did I enjoy the fireworks?” independent of any outside influence, the honest answer would have been “yes.”  I enjoyed the experience, not because of Elizabeth’s pain, but despite it – because I like fireworks. My response wasn’t about her; it was about me.

 Your partners’ feelings do not matter when you are on a journey to discover your own. After becoming clear on what you think and how you feel about a situation, then you can consider what they think and how they are affected. Clarity makes for responsible, sincere decisions. So, instead of attempting to change yourself to make your mate more comfortable, present who you are, and ask that your partner accept you, your history and your possibilities.  He/she may or may not.  There is bliss in both of your futures either way, if you each allow it. 

This is not to say that our reader should tell her mate, “It’s not fair for you to treat me this way. I was just doing what was best for me. Deal with it, or leave.” I realize most people have been taught that acts like “cheating” and/or “selfishness” are bad, and so he has been conditioned to think this way about relationships. If she wants to help him understand her perspective, he will probably respond more favorably if she is patient, gentle and compassionate with him as she shares her current understanding of herself.

After something like this happens, you can’t go back to the relationship you once had. To even want to is a form of regret/guilt.  You have the opportunity to create a new relationship with your mate today – a more authentic one where you better understand each other and love one another despite, and because of, the complexities that make you an individual.  Enjoy the new. Believe it or not, it could make your relationship even stronger.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

www.FrankLove.net

…and please do not multi-task when driving.

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How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

19 Comments on ““Your Partner’s Feelings Do Not Matter…””

  1. sherry Says:

    My husband asked me one day, how can you act normal like nothing happened when you had affairs and now I am still trying to trust you and still reminded in my mind of your mistakes you’ve made??

  2. sherry Says:

    My spouse seems to be negative all the time even when I am excited about new things ….I don’t know what to do cause I hate being around anyone who’s negative and could him not trusting me as I’ve made affair mistakes be why he is like that…he doesn’t give me much attention and says he’s tired from work but he always wants to engage in sex as much or everyday and says I should want to and asked do I still find him attractive and do I still love him…ask also alot am I happy with him and I just don’t know what to think…I feel like sometimes he’s playing mind games with me and I hate it….

  3. sherry Says:

    Ty for your good advice and basically information that just makes plain sense!

  4. Yao Khepra Says:

    My question is, should the 2 people agree on some set of criteria that will allow for some type of mutual healing if they both are willing to move forward in the relationship??

  5. Barbara L. Sellers Says:

    Sorry, but I draw a hard line when it comes to cheating. I cannot feel sorry for a cheater. If all you lost was your partner’s love and affection, you’re getting more than you deserve. You should have lost your partner, too. A loyal partner deserves to have another loyal partner.
    In my opinion, only a very selfish person could cheat on a spouse and have an affair. In that moment of passion, you are saying to yourself, “My feelings and what I want counts more than anyone elses.” Otherwise, you would not be able to do it.
    I left two former husbands for cheating. If you truly love your husband or wife, you would not be able to inflict the pain of cheating on him or her. That’s not love. We do not purposely choose to hurt the people we love … and cheating is a choice. More often than not, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” Only God could fully forgive a cheater.
    The time to worry about the damage done to a relationship is BEFORE, not AFTER the damage has been done.
    In my opinion, there is nothing a cheater can do to make up for it to a spouse.

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  7. sherry Says:

    THIS BLOG WAS MEANT FOR FRANK LOVE QUESTION, NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE…BLAH BLAH BLAH,,,,,BARBARA SELLER OF LOST DREAMS AND NON-FORGIVENESS, YOUR A SINNER THATS FOR SURE LOL,
    my spouse was also unfaithful miss mean, inconsiderate person, with no feelings of others, you dont know what or your pretty heartless when it comes to people you dont even know or the whole story, if you dont have nothing good to say dont say nothing at all

    who the people really are , then you shouldnt say nothing, like my mom said , if u dont have nothing nice to say dont say nothing at all, and yes alot of people have problems and it matters how much your soulmates and love each other, god can help people heal and be great, and now we are great so chew that up and swallow yes people that make mistakes still deserve to be happy, or you must hate people and have no love of god in you , just devil, if you cant forgive people you will be a lonely person in life… happy in love with me and my soulmate, peace to everyone and happiness!!

  8. sherry Says:

    MY QUESTION WAS FOR FRANK NOT FOR ANY OTHERS MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY WORKING THROUGH PROBLEMS , IT CAN ONLY MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP STRONGER, IT TAKES A BIG BIG PERSON TO FORGIVE AND HEAL AND THINK ABOUT WHATS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE AND IT TAKES STRONG PEOPLE TO TUFF IT OUT AND STAY TOGETHER!!
    PEACE, LOVE AND JOY OF HAPPINESS TO EVERYONE, WE ALL DESERVE IT!! MERRY NEW YEAR SOON YAY…….

  9. sherry Says:

    A PROBLEM IS A PROBLEM NO MATTER HOW BIG OR LITTLE, YOU CAN CATAGORIZE HOW BIG OR LITTLE , IT MATTERS IF THE PERSON CHANGES THEIR WAYS TO BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP BACK TO WHERE THEY WANT IT TO BE, MY HUSBAND LOVES ME MORE THEN ANYTHING AND I ALSO HIM THATS WHY WE ARE DOING SO GREAT NOW, 15 YRS AND GOING TO GROW OLD TOGETHER CAUSE WE STICK IT OUT AND TUFF OUT ALL SITUATIONS, AND WE DONT THINK THAT THEIR IS ANY LINES, LINES ARE WHAT YOU MAKE WHEN YOU WANT A CHOICE OF GETTING OUT, MARRIAGE IS FOREVER , READ THE VOWEL WHEN YOU GET MARRIED, THEN YOU WILL REALIZE , NOT TO GET MARRIED IF YOUR GOING TO DRAW LINES OF MEANS TO A END MARRIAGE SAYS “TILL DEATH DUE US PART”…….

  10. Massander Says:

    I hear you. I have noticed that I value empathy pretty highly. How my loved ones feel and how they are impacted by my choices matters to me, even though I share your belief that martyrdom doesn’t really work. I have struggled a bit with the notion of being “considerate.” I have felt manipulated by others who claim I am not being “considerate” of them when I don’t do things they want me to do. I have also felt hurt by not being “considered” by others who have made choices that impact me. I notice that in any given moment I can be more or less considerate of others. Coming to terms with the choices made is important, regardless of the extent to which we considered others in making the choices.

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  12. Prince Jamal Says:

    Although our happiness and health should always come first, it’s best to think about others at times regarding various choices and situations. Child support is no punk, and a vengeful ex can be detrimental to the kids. And then there are more harsh consequences.

    But as a general rule, it this perspective can be useful.

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