For some time, I have had a feeling and a hope that this column might
also serve as a healing forum through my responses to readers’ email
received an email from a divorced woman in her 50’s who finds herself in
a dilemma with an old school friend who had contacted her some time
back. What began simply-enough through emails and phone calls led to
more involvement after he told her that he was also a lonely divorcee.
From the beginning, he had told her he wanted them to begin with a clean
slate – no secrets, no lies and no holding back on their feelings. They
became very involved, with both declaring their love for each other.
Recently, she was shocked to discover he is still married. The
revelation came when his wife found a gift she had given him and
responded by calling and blasting her. Now, her newfound trust is
crushed. He called her with his wife present and “ended” it; yet he
continues to call her and see her behind his wife’s back, affirming his
inspiration that they are meant to be together.
feels very much in love; feels conflicted about her desire to be with
him and her awareness that continued relationship is not possible. She
doesn’t know what to do to stop her pain.
dilemma is not uncommon, after emailing her answer privately, I
paraphrased her letter and now offer the response in my column.
In Response to Your Question
talking about a guy who originally came on strong about the importance
of honesty and openness, while actively deceiving you about his
relationship with his current spouse. Now, he continues to deceive his
wife because he “loves you so much.”
his track record of deception, have you wondered about this man’s
character and integrity?
character limits our capacity to love, because character is based on our
ability to experience and express empathy - to “feel with” another human
being. The capacity to “feel with” is what develops compassion.
Compassion is not only the nectar that constitutes the essence of true
love. In mature love, compassion holds sexual desire in check, so that
we do not let the behavior driven by our sexual passions override our
compassionate awareness of others’ needs. The ability to “feel with”
another human being allows us to experience their essence – to taste the
sacredness of the sweet spirit that gives a person life while embracing
that person, without judgment, in the depth of his or her conflicts and
struggles to understand that life.
achieving love at this level is our greatest challenge in life, and also
our greatest potential accomplishment. Yet, to seek anything less is to
invite suffering and limitation into our lives. One way of inviting
suffering into our lives is to blind ourselves to compassionate feeling
for one in an existing commitment while becoming involved in another
relationship. The lack of willingness to “feel with” the pain of the
jilted spouse is exactly what defines the limitations of capability to
truly love the new lover. The lover jilted and the lover enticed are
simply standing on opposite sides of the same character roadblock to
authentic love. We all know what happens to roadblocks. When one project
is finished, the roadblock is eventually moved to the next project.
without hearing his side, it is impossible to appreciate any dynamics of
pain and alienation that may exist in his current marriage – or whether
he has sought help to heal the relationship. One thing’s for sure. While
he’s staying with her, he continues to entice you – which keeps two
women in continuing pain while it serves his purposes. Do you wonder how
he feels about that? And, since he was deceptive with you from the
beginning, you may be aware of what you called “trust issues” coming up
in you regarding whether you can believe what he is saying now. It may
be that you are trying to ignore your own intuition. Intuition is the
channel for that still small voice of inner spiritual guidance. We often
dismiss intuition as imagination because we don’t want to hear it. What
is it saying?
You seem to
have empathy for the man’s wife and her pain in this. You also explained
that he said, “If we seek the Lord’s guidance we will be together soon.”
How might her pain reconcile with this guidance? Such guidance does not
come through the egoic mind that deceives and seeks fulfillment now in
what is exciting and what feels good. Does he expect to find it through
scriptures? Prayer and meditation? In what scriptures might he expect to
find guidance that would encourage perpetuation of such pain? (In spite
of the scriptural interpretations you may hear in some religious
circles, the “thou shalt nots” are lovingly meant to guide us away from
acts that induce suffering and cripple our growth, not to put us in fear
of evoking God’s eternal wrath). If he opens himself in prayer
(genuinely asking) and meditation (genuinely listening), will he find
answers that fit with his preconceived notions? Will your answers be the
same, and whose answers will you trust?
disclosures indicate you were deceived into an intimate relationship, so
you cannot be responsible for that deception. Now, where does your
responsibility begin? You found something you believe is beautiful, but
is it, and is it yours? Or should you return it? Would the one you love
put you in such pain, or is that love an illusion contrived to serve
baser goals? You said you didn’t know what to do to stop this pain.
Could ending the pain begin with coming to know that the one you love in
your heart may not be the same one out there in the real world who feeds
you the morsels that perpetuate your suffering?
“awful nervous feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach when you hear
his voice is the still small voice of your conscience? I have complete
faith in your ability to answer these questions in a way that will
resolve your suffering and provide valuable lessons for creating the
solid foundation for a truly loving future relationship. Thank you for
having the courage to seek the truth, for every spark of human wisdom
contributes to the light.
readers to submit questions for the column to my website, where I can
consider them in a more confidential environment. In your email, please
indicate whether I can include all or part the letter in the column, or
whether you want it paraphrased as in today’s column. Your
confidentiality will be protected at my end, but remember that email may
not be completely secure as it crosses the ‘Net.
Granville Angell (Copyright
Granville Angell, EdS, LPC, NCC, is a licensed professional counselor
with 30 years experience. He may be reached at his private practice,
TRANSITIONS Personal & Family Counseling Services
(www.transitions-counseling.com) by emailing
angell(at)transitions-counseling.com or calling 704-735-1554 or
TRANSITIONS/SoulMentors: (704) 276-1164
out about my book!