When TL and I began learning how to move forward after infidelity and discovery, we did not have to reinvent the wheel. For thousands of years, and especially in the past several decades, plenty of different tribes have designed this chariot. Many said we must divorce, others said we must remain together, most were ambivalent. Some said consider sex addiction and a 12-step program. Some said look to religion. Others said try cognitive therapy. The tool shop was full, with marriage counseling, individual counseling, medication, books, retreats, behavioral therapy, and on and on. We did not need to reinvent the wheel, nor did we need to buy every chariot. Who could?
We take the most relevant and useful parts from several chariots and tool shops, and we build our own. We could not have done it without all the others who have gone before us. We hope to leave something useful for other couples, now and in the future, who are working on their own chariots.
We also recognize that our chariot is “never done.” We always look for new ways to improve it. We want to evolve.
We’ve felt disappointment at least a couple times when we thought we had found others who also wanted to evolve but instead we learned that they thought they had no need to evolve. For example, we tried conversing on Surviving Infidelity. We soon saw that the administers of the site were hostile to new ideas. When we tried to introduce new ideas or present polite dissent for the sake of exploring something, they shot us down in a very fundamentalist manner. They believed they knew everything that they needed to know about recovering from infidelity, and they believed any other approaches, old or new, were heretical.
We tried another site, IHG, that purported to be more moderate, somewhere between Surviving Infidelity’s “coddle the cheater approach and Chump Lady’s “ditch him and start fresh” approach. IHG was also a disappointment. Talking with the IHG administrators felt like we were saying the Seahawks are better than the Patriots (both American football teams) while they were saying, “No, no, baseball is foolish, stop talking about it.” They misconstrued our words and seemed to seek misunderstanding and disagreement rather than looking for common ground and ways to learn from each other. Their tone became more and more angry and condescending as the discussion continued.
There are plenty of good chariots out there. TL and I are working to build on the chariot design. We want an automobile, maybe one day even a Tesla. We want to continue to evolve. We figure we’ll more likely succeed at that quest if we can work with other people, learn from their ideas, and also sometimes improvise. If anyone riding their chariot of ire insists condescendingly that you cannot recover from infidelity unless you follow their path unquestioningly, start asking questions. Whether it’s therapy, religion, or politics, if a person’s point cannot bear some scrutiny, their point is probably pretty weak.