Forgiveness & Heroes

20 Jan

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr Day.  As a community organizer its always been a special day to me.  MLK, Jr  a hero to people of color and to those of us who work in the area social justice and progressive politics.

martin-luther-king-jr-leader-we-must-develop-and-maintain-theBut MLK, Jr. was also allegedly an unfaithful husband.*  A flawed man who cheated on his wife.  Reports exist that Dr. King was tempted and like many before and after him gave in to the sin of lust no matter how hurtful that selfish act was to his wife, Coretta.  With my own experience with marital infidelity I think I have gained some insight and empathy to identify with how Mrs. King stoically endured it.  I, too, can look past the actions of my cheating spouse and see the whole person – and yes, still love the man who cheated on me.  Infidelity is a horrible act. Infidelity is selfish and cruel.  But forgiveness, with a repentant spouse/partner, is possible.

That is what I have tried to do with Green – I saw him in pain (I was in pain too but he was weak and I was not) and since I could almost make sense of his terrible actions empathy for him was always with me. Honestly, giving Green the space to be forgiven has in my opinion made him a better man.  He has no excuse to be a terrible person anymore – he’s been given the gift to do better.  And he’s a better father now – much more patient and he’s a better spouse – less vain and more supportive of ME.  It’s not an ideal marriage, of course, but we are surviving and continue to do.

In researching this post I came about this writing,

First and foremost, the idea that King’s memory as a great American patriot is tarnished by his infidelity is both illogical and problematic. A great man is not defined by his weaknesses, but by his strengths. Regardless of what Dr. King may have done during the course of his marriage, those actions are almost completely disconnected from the manner through which he inspired billions with his courage and led people of color to the life we share today. It is our fault, not his, that Dr. King has been placed on a pedestal so high that we’ve forgotten that he was human.

My husband, Green, is certainly no community hero. He’s not a leader like Doctor King.  We are not on the steps of history like the King family.  But I do recognize that Green is just a man.  He is weak and he is open to temptation. Green is vain and he is selfish.  He was self destructive and he can be very cruel.  All of things are the part of being human.  And in my capacity to love him through his self destruction and the way his infidelity was a true assault upon me and my family I am still capable of forgiveness.  I can see the man who was hurting (and tempering that pain with lust and bad decisions) and who in my opinion needed my help.

martin-luther-king-jr-coretta-scott-kissDoes that make me a hero? I don’t presume to think so… I think it too is my humanity. In my capacity to forgive I seek to reconnect and find the love that brought us together again.   Am I fully there yet? No. But I try everyday and everyday it gets easier… the willingness to try, to overcome and to love is very HUMAN. And if we, the betrayed, can try then that does make us very close to being a hero like MLK, Jr.

This holiday is for all those who are hurt, oppressed and who chose to overcome.  Its a day to celebrate today for you, too my betrayed friends, that we can overcome all adversity as long as you remain try to yourself and live in the loving spirit that we demonstrate to our unfaithful (and perhaps undeserving) spouse/partner.  And if  cheating the partner is unrepentant or the relationship not salvageable… then even more do I encourage you to forgive and move on.  I would say the best way to get revenge is to live well, to release the the pain inflicted upon you by others and try not to let it  keep you from having other healthy and loving relationships.   For me while it’s not easy it’s a worthy challenge, and one that is a healthy AND selfish choice for me to make, because as Dr. King said,

 “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

*Note: I corrected the post to refer to Dr. King’s infidelity as alleged – there is no proof, as of yet, that indicates that he nor his wife ever publicly confirmed it.

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25 Responses to “Forgiveness & Heroes”

  1. Michelle January 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    I had no idea MLK was an unfaithful husband. I love the theme of this blog that no one is perfect and forgiveness should be the main goal.

    • Flaca January 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Thanks! I agree & also think it’s a reminder that no one is perfect. Best wishes to you.

  2. Tiffany January 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Wow, amazing post. I didn’t even know this about MLK! None of us are perfect, and for me to feel self-righteous just because I didn’t cheat and my husband did is completely flawed. This was a really great reminder. May I reblog it on my blog?
    http://www.asupergluedheart.com

    • Flaca January 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      Thanks! Of course you may share it. It makes me happy to know there a folks who understand. Best wishes to you.

  3. bamboozled1 January 20, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    did we catch the same bug? i just wrote a bit about sin and being human myself lol.

    i have similar thoughts about bruce lee… who died in his mistresses home! and i found it puzzling, shortly after reading m scott pecks books, to learn that he also had affairs… on one hand, these men left the world with something, something important, and perhaps we want to be a bit more forgiving for that reason (and because it wasnt done to us)… but why should we not do that for all of us? were all fallible creatures… and were all, i believe capable of forgiveness as well. it just takes some of us longer than others :)

    very nice post ma!

  4. horsesrcumin January 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    And THAT is precisely the reason I am so damn mad at myself. Mine is repentant, “better” and I thought I understood what it was to be human, to err, to trip up sometimes, I thought I was forgiving, didn’t believe mistakes should be punished for eternity. But I am not moving on so well. Who am I? I’m not any more or less “deserving” of special treatment. Infidelity has touched so many of our friends and acquaintances, why NOT me? I guess I “felt” special, FEKT I worked harder, loved more fiercely. No. I am just another human being who had a set of circumstances occur in a time that allowed him to be vulnerable and make selfish and hurtful choices. Just wish I could find the off switch so I could stop seeing them together in my mind. Thanks Flaca. Great post x

    • Flaca January 20, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      I agree sometimes those mind movies are the hardest part of moving on. I am working on techniques given to me by my therapist to overcome them. In the end its the practice of choosing to be stronger than those mental assaults that’s been helpful to me. That and the friendship and kind of words of those, betrayed, who understand.

      • horsesrcumin January 21, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

        Thanks Flaca, I have also been given plenty of techniques to use, but I just can’t seem to make them stick long term, I can sometimes banish them temporarily, with GREAT effort, but eventually, when I am tired, and less mindful, they return, and I have been working this deal for almost five bloody years now! I would love full forgiveness – for me – but also because I had one pretty damn good guy, who fell from his little pedestal, but who chose to change, and yet, somehow I haven’t reached the place I worked to reach – not that it is a destination, rather a journey, but I got sick of the ride never having a lot of enjoyable parts, of me having to expand, tease out the smallest thing in my mind to try to feel something positive. I hate that my prior mostly positive outlook has suffered the most during this trip, work in progress, and all. I would love to be able to also offer him full forgiveness, and I know that it is more important for ME, but I would love to be able to give that gift, also. I forgive what he did because I know the reasons he did it, how sick he felt at that time, but I know it is not FULL forgiveness, somehow I can’t, or won’t(?) do that.

        I absolutely love the comments on this post – just so real, so honest. Your reply to Jules, brilliant! And Jules, I can see your questioning. I must admit, I wouldn’t even be trying if my CS decided after an affair, after all the work put in to stay together, that it is okay to be dismissive or overly critical of you and your children. He needs to grow up, it sounds like he didn’t learn a lot. I know mine knew pretty quickly what he had to lose, and he decided just as quickly that he didn’t want to lose it, so had to treat me with great respect and love for me to even consider staying with him. Yes, love and trust are COMPLETELY different things.You can love without trust, but it is not a healthy way to love, or live.

        The “night time soap opera,” is great, my question, the one I have asked for nearly five years now is WTF? How come people don’t read the script? How come when I was tempted nineteen years ago, I read it, and rejected it – saw the damage THAT choice would do TO ME, let alone my little girl (at the time) and him. I was really aware that even if never caught, etc, that I would be damaged by my choice. Hey, I had that presence of mind after a fair bit of booze at the wedding of some friends, at just 27. Fast forward another fifteen or so years, and two more kids, and he couldn’t be arsed reading his? Is this another example of men (sorry, I know women cheat, too) not reading the instruction manual? Too lazy? Hmmmm, that is something I will always ponder, I guess, why some people can’t extrapolate into the future….. Hell, we are all tempted to make bad choices at times, but to KEEP making them, that is what beggars belief! “Whoops, I ‘accidentally’ fucked your friend…….(like they fell and his ‘accidentally’ stiffened dick accidentally fell in her……) THEN, I decided to keep fucking, sucking and pleasuring her in all kinds of manners, her in our houses, inviting her to spend prolonged holidays with us, and to our parties, etc, including a lot of time that you didn’t know about, even though she and us lived three hours apart, while you were at work, for another fifteen months…….sorry ’bout that.” That seems to be the unforgivable part to me, the sticking point, the WAY the affair was conducted, and I don’t know completely why – why is it any worse, or better than any other affair? And there is no answer.

  5. jules kiwita January 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    do you think green would give you the same treatment for a second chance if YOU would have been the cheater———–would he have given you a second chance and recognized you are human and humans make mistakes,,,,,,,,,,forgiveness is for the ones that have been hurt,,,,,,,,,,, it means giving up the hope that what happened in the past could have been different————-it is very difficult to do this for the process is within you——it is not meant to say I forgive you——forgiveness is for you and you alone——-you need to forgive yourself for HOLDING ON TO THE PAST,,,, THE PAST THAT GAVE YOU LEMONS INSTEAD OF FLOWERS —–for the way it was and the way you wanted it to be——forgiving has nothing to do with you forgiving his betrayal ,that can never be erased,it happened,he betrayed you ,you will never forget that——-but you can forgive yourself for hoping you would have had a FAIRY TALE MARRIAGE—–A SUPER MAN FOR A HUSBAND—-THE PERFECT COUPLE——let it go ——he did what he did,he stopped loving you and fell in love with someone else———your decision to take him back and overlook this is your choice just as it was his choice to fall in love with maria——and that is what you have to forgive yourself for——wishing that it never happened

    • Flaca January 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Oh Jules…

      Let me be clear. I think you read too much into what I have not written.

      Do I think Green would forgive me? Probably not but maybe so. If by demonstrating forgiveness to him… and if I ever need it. Or our daughters need it and he can give it? Then that’s ok. I choose to forgive because I can & I want to. So you think because there are bad people in the world, to your point, like Maria and Green, I should be just as bad and continue the cycle of inhumanity? You say I should not forgive them because Green would not forgive me? That’s a pretty dismal way of looking at things. I choose not be that person.

      -I never said Green and I had a fairy tale marriage. Honestly if you knew me, you wold know that I don’t believe in ‘fairy tale marriages.’

      -In fact I don’t believe in ‘true love’ and I don’t believe in ‘soul mates.’

      -I never said Green was SuperMan and I never said we were the perfect couple.

      I did say Green was human.
      I have said that one time I felt sorry for Maria.
      I have said I was wrong to act out in violence & anger.

      Let me guess. You got dumped and now you want everyone to feel how bitter you feel? Are you the other woman & who got used & abused and it just kills you to know that 1) the wife isn’t a shrew, 2) that you were just a mistake, and 3) you and your ‘love’ aren’t special. That you like many ‘other wo/men’ are just very very common. Because affairs are not special – they are COMMON. But you are hurt because you fell for it, that rubbish about ‘true love’ and ‘star crossed fairy tales’ romances. Hah, I hope you didn’t – you like to sound like you are smarter than that – because as I have heard from other mistresses, those lines of ‘true love’ from your SuperMan was just a line.

      Green and Maria were in love? I really doubt it. That’s too good & normal for them. It was more narcissistic and predatory than that. They fell in LOVE with the power of the game they were playing – using each other to boost their sad self esteem and hurting me gave them a bit of pyscho power. Sound familiar to you?

      That’s why when I threw him out and it was exposed their sad little game was just another cliched affair. How common. The flame burned out… sex is all that kept them together… and like I said, yawn, how very very common. They turned on each other like cornered animals.

      What’s not common? Me. I’m fucking awesome.

      • Michelle January 20, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

        Well said Flaca!

      • jules kiwita January 21, 2014 at 12:11 am #

        im sorry if you misread my meaning —–I was merely setting up a scenario of what would happen——-I was not taking it to where you are in real life—–I read the blogs and I do know how awesome we are as females—–but always wander if men would be as awesome towards us if we were in the same situation—–we are a group of females using this particular e-mail and name due to the fact that some of us are still going to court——-but we do have one thing in common,we have all been betrayed—–I made the comment to you and yes my husband cheated ,we stayed and worked on the marriage ,still are together but I find he is so critical now when he was not before———I accepted his cheating, since that is what forgiveness means to me ,took him back, never criticized him or abused him emotionally——–and I find he finds it so easy to criticize me and the kids——-and I wonder what he would have done if I had been the one to cheat———-wonder if he would have had the same love for me———-I did let go of the illusion of fairy tales,super-man and happily ever after——–faced reality and dealt with it—–and im not sorry but yes I do miss being able to trust this man ——these days I am questioning BEING IN LOVE VERSUS TRUST—-he knows there is a difference in me,one he said was not there before the affair———claims I am not in love with him as before—–wtf??they are sooooooo dense ……………….it can never be the same again,YOU ARE LUCKY IM STILL HERE BY YOUR SIDE——-

      • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        i am sorry too if read it wrong. i do think you have posted before & those comments were quite negative and hurtful so i wanted to be clear about my boundaries. if i was wrong, then I apologize.

        that being said. no one deserves to be cheated on. cheaters have no right to expect us not to change.

        infidelity will change anyone who has been betrayed.

        i think, and believe, the only thing i can control is HOW I react to it.

        i reacted at one time with so much RAGE and once, violence. i will never let that happen again.
        i also had let my heart get hardened. and HIS AFFAIR changed me to be bitter. i will not let that happen either.

        i am a good person who was betrayed. not because i was a fool. but because i loved him & trusted him. i refuse to let that be changed in me.
        my husband and his whore, maria are the fools.

        i wish you peace. your husband is lucky that you stay with him. of course your love changed. but you can try to love again, it might even be stronger? do it for you though. do it because it gives you peace. my best wishes to you.

      • clevergirl75 January 21, 2014 at 8:23 am #

        That was the most awesome FUCKING reply ever!!!! I’m so glad to read that you’re doing well. I stopped blogging completely but I still stop by to read, I had to reply to this. Great post and great reply to the alleged OW’s crazy comment.

      • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 9:01 am #

        Thanks sweetie for visit and for your support! I hope you’re doing well.

      • shawnthewife January 21, 2014 at 9:01 am #

        You and I have much in common, but I could learn much from your open heart.
        You showed great restraint and patience in your reply above to Jules.
        Trolls suck. Reasoning with them is becoming a HUGE struggle for me on my blog. I’ve come close to closing up shop.
        You also have found forgiveness in your heart for Green. That dog don’t hunt over here. My FWH knows I won’t (not can’t) forgive him. I can still love him and accept he is a good man that turned to shit for a short while, but forgiveness….just not in my wheel house.
        So many different Roads to Happy after infidelity. Very glad you found yours.
        Hope & Hugs

      • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

        Hey Shawn,

        Honestly I block a lot of trolls. I don’t feel like I should entertain mean and negative people. (Hell I’ve had my share – I was married to one and attacked by the whore, Maria, he cheated on me with.) But I wanted to address Jules because she’s posted before and I don’t want my readers to think all my comments are puppies and rainbows of support. But I won’t tolerate bullies. They have a one comment rule after that I’m done.

        Yeah, forgiveness, I can’t say I am always there but I want to get there.. For me though this has been so damn exhausting that its the only way I think I will be free of it. Most days I’m with you, “I can still love him and accept he is a good man that turned to shit for a short while…” and that’s good enough for me.

      • Kate M. January 21, 2014 at 9:15 am #

        Oh,my god. This is the best response I have ever seen to anything posted anywhere by someone like Jules. And so much of what you said here is exactly what I have said and felt and read over and again. It is not “special.” It was not special. It is so fucking pathetically common and the fact that people who are involved in an affair always seem to believe in the uniqueness and specialness of their bullshit connection is so laughable to me now. I am almost embarrassed for them.

      • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 9:27 am #

        Right?!

        These people in affairs aren’t Romeo and Juliet! An affair is not some star crossed fairy tale. It’s dirty, sad and frankly pretty lame. Cheaters should be embarrassed. I know my husband is.

      • Michelle January 21, 2014 at 11:29 am #

        Amen to that Flaca! There is nothing romantic about affairs!

      • Kate M. January 21, 2014 at 11:26 am #

        Yep, my husband is embarrassed too. Sometimes I think he feels more humiliated by his asinine behavior and choices than I do. Once they come out of the Fog and realize how ridiculous the whole thing was (I mean, this stuff is so predictable and common that there might as well be a script they all use) then they just want it to all go away… I’m sure it’s no fun at all to deal with years of fallout and damage for a temporary experience that wasn’t even an authentic relationship, just a nighttime soap opera fantasy with bad actors.
        Like Shawn, forgiveness isn’t something that’s on the table as a possibility around here, though I think forgiveness means different things to different people sometimes. I don’t punish… actually, I try to be as kind as possible to him now and come from a genuine place when doing so. Meaning I don’t do it to kiss his ass so that he won’t leave me or cheat again. I’m kind because it feels better to live life that way. I’m still working on full acceptance. Barely a year in, it’s still a struggle for me some days just to accept the reality of what occurred. Sometimes I can see the possibility of forgiveness, as most people define it, way down the road somewhere. I don’t know if it will ever happen and I don’t strive for it. The future is a mystery in so many ways.

        And Shawn… I hope you don’t feel the need to close up shop, but will understand and respect your decision regardless. Finding your blog… well it feels like it saved me somehow. And you led me here to Flaca, and others who have been so amazing and helpful. I’ve thought about starting one myself… I can see a pattern, of betrayed spouses blogging for a while… healing themselves and helping others by giving them a safe place where they’re understood and supported, but then reaching a point where it’s time to move on. It’s beautiful really, the way the torch of healing from betrayal is sometimes passed through all the different hands and hearts. Maybe someday I’ll step into the line and try to do some good with all of this as well.

      • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

        affairs are a “nighttime soap opera fantasy with bad actors…”

        well said. if only the actors would get the script beforehand… i think many wouldn’t take the stage in exchange for the pain their selfish behavoir heaps upon the betrayed, their families and friends.

        thanks for your comments! shawn inspired me to write! her words are a hell of a torch! ;)

      • A Good Wife January 25, 2014 at 11:53 am #

        Ditto Michelle. Well said Flaca! I think you are effing awesome too. BTW, I knew this allegation about MLK Jr. I’ve know for a while but this was the first year I did internet research to learn more. Thanks for writing this post the way you did. It provides just the perspective I needed.

  6. Elle January 21, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Great post. Thank-you for that. I love where you note that “giving Green the space to be forgiven has…made him a better man.” I think that would hold true for all of us. When someone opens the door for us to be better, those of us who walk through that door will grow.

    • Flaca January 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      thanks Elle!

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