I recently watched Iyanla – Fix My Secret Life as a Gay Pastor . In this 3 part series, Iyanla confronts two men who are living secret sex lives.
Watching Iyanla wrap one of the cheaters in a down comforter and rub his back while he cried was nearly too much for me. It brought back all the nights I lay completely alone in my bed, no arms or comforters wrapped loving around me, crying out to my distant God. The only prayer I could muster on those long nights was “Help me! Please help me!”
But… I stayed tuned, and I’m so glad I did. My Aha! moment came when Iyania confronted the down comforter cheater for acknowledging but not owning his infidelity and double life.
Suddenly I understood why the years following my husband’s disclosure were so utterly confusing, and I had the words to explain to my brain what my heart had known all along.
In the aftermath of discovery, I heard all the “right” acknowledgements, but somehow they rang hollow:
- I know I hurt you and I’m sorry.
- I read that you are probably suffering from a lack of self-esteem.
- I take full responsibility for what I’ve done.
- I never took off my wedding ring when I cheated.
- I’m doing so well I’m now a leader in my Sex Addict’s group.
- Look at how I’m suffering to show you I care.
- Let’s talk about all the ways you hurt me and contributed to my sex addiction.
I needed, instead, a man who was broken; not because he hurt , but because he fully comprehended the damage he did to others.
I needed him to admit that his dismal participation in our family was because of his preoccupation with himself.
I needed him to understand that the minute he first cheated, he had left the marriage and rendered me virtually blind.
I needed him thank me for raising children utterly alone, with PTSD he caused, under the most heinous of circumstances, and I needed him to tell the children as much.
I needed to hear “I love you”. Funny, but in all the empty words – and there were many – “I love you” didn’t make an appearance.
Most of all, I needed to hear “I will do whatever it takes, for the rest of my life, to make this up to you.” ……. and he needed to mean it.
Did he try to mend the marriage? I think he did, for a short time, to the best of his limited ability and counsel. I suspect his motivation had more to do with money and reputation than anything else.
Unfortunately, my heart was too shattered to trust and my head knew he would cheat again. Turns out he never really stopped. Sometimes I hate being right.