My pain is mine. My process is mine. 

My griev­ing is not about any­one else. I have to process the grief and the pain and the nasty stuff that wells up from time to time. I know from expe­ri­ence that if you don’t process it, if you don’t turn that nasty spir­i­tu­al com­post pile, it gets more and more tox­ic. You devel­op emo­tion­al sep­ticemia. Give it long enough and it will kill you.

Work­ing through what’s happened—even if it is hurt­ful to those who caused hurt—is my right. I have to do it if I want to live and be healthy—and I do want that.

It’s cycli­cal, too. You think it’s over, and sud­den­ly you’re cry­ing or pissed off and you have no idea why.

Those who hurt me made their choic­es know­ing what they were doing. They weren’t vic­tims, or inno­cent at all. They delib­er­ate­ly did harm. They live with the con­se­quences of their choic­es. I don’t deny any pain they might feel now—but that’s theirs, not mine. They got to choose.

I care about Sam’s pain because I love him—but I also know that he deserves that pain. If he finds deal­ing with my heal­ing process too painful, he can choose to leave.

I did­n’t choose to be betrayed.

The choice I did make was to give Sam anoth­er chance. I bear par­tial respon­si­bil­i­ty for every betray­al after the first because I let him stay in my life after hurt­ing me once. “Chil­dren are vic­tims. Adults are volunteers.”

No, life isn’t fair. To be hon­est, I nev­er got a chance to pre­tend that it was. See that lit­tle girl in the pic­ture? She’s 3–4 years old. She’s already been raped and threat­ened with her lit­tle sis­ter’s rape if she told anyone.

What she learned about men, sex, love, pow­er, trust, and secrets was rein­forced by Sam’s betray­al. Sam knew that would hap­pen when he chose to cheat.

Funny—this is prob­a­bly on my mind par­tial­ly because some­one I love, who did cheat with Sam, is being delib­er­ate­ly hurt by an unfaith­ful part­ner now. Do I think she deserves that? Hon­est­ly, no—despite what I said in my anger. Do I think her unfaith­ful hus­band is right, fair, or jus­ti­fied? Hell no. Iron­i­cal­ly, I think she’ll under­stand what I’ve writ­ten bet­ter than any­one else.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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