Goodbye Protector, Hello Cake

Yesterday was interesting and a bit unusual, it seemed to me, in this erratic state of grieving. My toddler went off to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days and I headed off to the movie theatre. It was something I never get to do anymore and it felt right. In the spirit of freedom and self-care, I was feeling a bit celebratory. Whether I like it or not, this is a new era for me, life as I knew it is over. So I bought cake (just a single slice, which also felt good). The only thing that betrayed me was the nauseous stomach of a betrayed wife. It’s too bad, the cake looked divine.

Back at home, I was again left to the dangerous space of heartbreak and I imagined a scenario that seemed to give me some insight into what I was feeling. Here’s the scenario:

My husband and I are sitting on the couch, hand-in-hand, watching a movie. I am feeling comfortable, warm and safe. Then a robber breaks in with a knife, tells us not to move or he is going to stab us. My husband stands up, I think he’s ready to fight the robber, but instead he takes the knife and says, ‘Don’t worry, I will stab her myself.’

It is all very sick and twisted, but seemed to encapsulate the very essence of this moment in time. Which is, the one you think is going to protect you and keep you safe, becomes the perpetrator.

I decided to watch some therapy videos on infidelity. This is what I learned from them:

  1. If you decide to stay in your marriage, you do not return to the old relationship, it becomes new.
  2. If you are willing to move forward with the new relationship instead of trying to return to the past, your relationship will become better, even exciting.
  3. It becomes exciting because you now see each other at arm’s length instead of up close. You no longer take for granted that your spouse is in the relationship for the long haul and so now you see them as a lover who might leave at any time and this brings mystery and passion into the relationship.

My conclusion to it all, is that the major difference between the old and new relationship is that your protector has left the building. That warm place of comfort and safety really don’t exist anymore. He will take the knife and stab you. He has taken the knife and stabbed you.

So, what is better? Treating each other like lovers really do if you can get your brain to reprogram or trying to hold on to that peace of mind that only lives in the safety of sitting under a blanket and holding hands on the couch? If you are going to have a new lover, should it be with someone who is new? Someone that hasn’t stabbed you?


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