Dump the SOB! He betrayed you. He publicly humiliated you. You need to get out! Case closed. That’s the usual reaction when some lug runs around on his wife, especially more than once, as in Jesse James and Sandra Bullock. Jesse has been outed and is doing the usual celebrity thing…rehab. Seems he wants Sandra…bad. But is rehab enough to convince her to give it another shot? From what I read today, the answer is “no.” She’s going for the divorce.
Is it true? I couldn’t tell you. But what I can tell you is this: divorce would only be a first step for her. It’s not like she can just dump him and move on to someone better. It doesn’t work that way. To avoid a different face, different place, but the same ole guy showing up, there’s a lot of introspection, soul-searching, exploration for her to do. Every relationship is a dance with both people whirling around the dance floor together. In other words, both Sandra and James co-created their relationship; therefore, both of them are responsible for what happened. Oh come on. Put away the tar and feathers. I’m not saying that Sandra is responsible for his choosing to sashay out with however many tattooed, um, ladies he made it with. Of course she isn’t. But she is responsible for her half of the relationship dance. The dance that created the conditions that allowed this to happen.
I’m not privy to the intimacies of their relationship, so I haven’t a clue as to what those conditions were. I don’t know the depth of the love they shared. I don’t know what their relationship agreement was (we assume monogamy, but do we really know?). I don’t know the quality of the life that they built together.
I do know that she chose him…and that she has to take responsibility for her choice. Did she ignore red flags waving in her face before she got married? Did she see things, feel things during their marriage that were amiss and choose to gloss over them? And had those things been brought out into the open and talked about, could this have been prevented? Did she think she could fix him; save him from himself? We all know that Jesse betrayed Sandra. But did Sandra betray herself as well?
So if I were sitting with Sandra over a cup of tea or better still a beer at Shultz’s in Austin, here’s what I would say…”First of all, please resist the temptation of a knee-jerk response made from your current place of shock, humiliation, anger, fear, and whatever else you are feeling. This is a time for reflection…a time for patience, a time to evaluate your relationship and your life, perhaps a time to re-invent yourself. There’s no right or wrong answer. Your best and highest good will come from searching your heart and soul.
“For all the angst that this is causing, it is also an opportunity. Right now it certainly doesn’t feel like an opportunity. It feels like crap, but there are gifts to be had here; gifts that are hiding beneath the rubble. Your dark night of the soul can lead to a better, more satisfying life—whether you end up with Jesse or not. You can learn from this; you can grow from this. And that is precisely the reason why all of it is happening.
“You are not a victim“ as so many people think you are. ‘Poor Sandra…look what that louse did to her.’ I don’t believe that, and if you believe it and stand on your self-righteous soap box railing about how you were done to you will not use this great opportunity to move forward.
“I believe that your soul played a part in arranging this. Oh, not the gory details. You certainly didn’t want Jesse to get naked with other women and you aren’t responsible for his doing so. But on some level, you needed the upheaval. You needed to shake things up so that ultimately you could find a higher spiritual and emotional level of living. You are at the pinnacle of your career, but a career can only bring you so much. That statue is beautiful, but hard and cold. It can’t warm you at night. It can’t love you like you deserve to be loved. You wanted more, and you knew there was more for you to have—new heights for you to reach on a personal level. You wanted to go deeper into your soul.
“So dear Sandra, it’s spring time, a time of renewal, and I urge you to go within, to have patience with yourself, so that you, like the flowers of spring, can blossom and your higher wisdom can emerge. I urge you to sort through the rubble and find the gifts. By forgiving, having understanding, not judging, accepting responsibility for your part in the drama, you will gain the insights and wisdom that you need to live a richer, more deeply satisfying life, with or without Jesse. Whichever way it goes, trust that if you do your work, you are going to be better.”
And that’s what I would say to Sandra.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for great tips and insights about relationships, infidelity and more. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, http://www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it on Amazon in print or ebook, or Barnes & Noble.