Great tragedy, like an affair, penetrates directly to our most guarded areas, tearing away our protective ideals and comfortable apathy and leaving us vulnerable to the elements of our environment. We are left to grieve the loss of what could have been. “We could have had a marriage free of adultery”.
Many times we grieve the loss more than we actually enjoyed the way things were. “Our relationship was so-so before the affair but whose is perfect”.
We had become accustomed to the half-awake functioning of our everyday lives, lazily moving along in our marriage like a duck floating on the river. But when a crisis hits we are jolted awake from the slumber. Whether it is the discovery of an affair or the death of a loved one, when calamity occurs we are cutoff from the resources we use in our attempt to keep life the same.
Life cannot occur without change. It is inevitable. If you cling to the past and resist the evolution that time brings, this change will be accompanied by suffering One thing is for sure: you cannot go back to the way things used to be, you never can. Your relationship is now forced to evolve or perish.
Tragedy never travels alone. It brings with it change followed by the birth of a new way of being. After an affair many people wonder, “Can our marriage be saved?”.
In my office I heard people say, “Our marriage will never be the same after this affair.” To which I reply, “Yes, but you say that like it’s a bad thing.” For most couples, if they are being honest with themselves, their marriage before the divorce was not the holy grail.
Going back to the way their marriage was would mean, for many, striving for a relationship where both people were saturated with bitter apathy toward one another. They are bitter because they are hurt and apathetic because they are not going to pretend to care about someone who doesn’t care that they are hurt.
Tragedy breaks through this monotony of hurt feelings, making way for new potential to emerge.