Having an affair as a spiritual practice
I'm paraphrasing but that's the rationale he gave for his unfaithfulness.
He said he could feel me "outgrowing" him so this was his way of 'catching up'.
It's a long story, and one that I won't get bogged down in the details of here; but as the one who experienced the immediate rush of adrenaline and cortisol when the world as I knew it changed forever, I held my space (and my cool) with the biggest hole where my heart was and the pit of my stomach gone into the abyss.
I will share a little of how I experienced my "dark night of the soul". I moved immediately with our two young children into a friend's self contained shed, and I attempted to keep things as calm and happy as possible. I felt so vulnerable - free falling with no idea when the crash would stop. I'm an 'internaliser' - I'm not one to shout and yell. My body responded to these events in a basic physiological way - no appetite, and when I did eat I felt nauseated. Weight just fell off me. I couldn't sleep so I felt dazed all the time. It seemed so surreal, like I would wake up eventually from this dream state. I eventually cried, sobbed, once the numbness lifted a bit. We lived on my credit card as his mates told him I would rip him off and withdraw all the money, so he changed all the pin numbers so I couldn't access any of our accounts.
This was one of my biggest learnings - the way our life was so tied up together that I didn't have my own financial independence, and it meant I felt limited in my choices...
There was of course a period of experiencing all of those basic human feelings which seemed out of my control when we have a deeper knowing that things are the way they are for a higher reason... and I reflected on how as a member of this relationship, I had to take some responsibility for its shortcomings... to the extent that he looked elsewhere.
So, the personal work continued. I grew so much from this experience. And I continue to today.
Even though we have since closed the book on our relationship, the gift of two amazing beings whom I am blessed with as my children are prize enough to justify this union was orchestrated for this life journey.
So what were my growing edges you ask? So, so many!
- I learnt that I was strong enough and worthy enough to ask for what I wanted - and expect it. I had a shift in mindset that "I may want him but I don't need him" which was very empowering. This is very much a childhood conditioning which I'm still exploring.
- Actions demonstrate understanding and intention. While holding the space, awaiting the evolution of this union, the gentle suggestions, role-modeling, discussions and allowing, sometimes just isn't enough when the other person chooses not to look and see, and step up.
- That financial security is not a good enough reason to stay in an unfulfilling marriage. In fact - I felt if I stayed, I was going to experience significant health challenges for not following my inner guidance.
- That my life could continue on an unconscious choice level, where it was all planned out regardless of my soul's true wishes... or I could step out, demonstrate to my children that a relationship needs to be a partnership - not one sacrificing who she is by denying her emotions, but also that we don't have to sacrifice our own dreams. I could be a conscious creator of the second half of my life with infinite possibilities (after there was a mind-shift from the overwhelming fear-based thought of unknown direction which thankfully was processed through).
There continues to be healing, and as this happens, the road does feel bumpy at times.
But as I don't want to learn these lessons again, I will learn it now in the deepest way possible. I'm allowing time and rediscovering (perhaps even discovering for the first time) who I truly am.
And what he said turned out to be somewhat true - it was a very significant spiritual practice... FOR ME.