Rumor has it that Sandra and Jesse may be getting back together. Okay, those of you rolling your eyes who believe that Sandra should never entertain the possibility of forgiving the louse, or heaven forbid, getting back with him, hold on for a second. If Sandra is considering it, and we don’t know that she is, I assume that she has good reason. A friend of hers is quoted as saying that Jesse is the love of Sandra’s life and that she misses their life together, including her relationship with Jesse’s kids, especially little six year old Sunny, whom she mothered for five years. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be a shame to hold onto the anger and pain that his actions caused and deny herself the life she apparently values with him?
We read that he’s taking steps to get himself straight, going to rehab, exploring his childhood abuse and the effect it’s had on him as an adult. Everyone who has been abused doesn’t act out in the way that Jesse did. There are those who suffered unspeakable horrors as children, who took responsibility, gained self-awareness and now lead happy, constructive adult lives. Perhaps this huge upheaval was Jesse’s way (sub-consciously) of bringing his childhood wounds to the surface so he could begin to heal them. When you hit bottom, destroy everything that is precious to you possibly forever, you are forced to take a deep look at yourself and where your life is headed. On one level, we might say that Jesse’s soul led him to make the very painful choices that he did because he wanted to finally deal with his inner demons. We all have them. These black, ugly monsters buried in deep, dark places inside of us. And if we don’t bring them to the surface and face them, they will continue to drive our behaviors and cause us pain. Ever wonder why you keep doing things that hurt you? Well, this is why.
How can someone like Sandra who has been so hurt, so publicly humiliated, so devastated forgive Jesse? I ask you, how can she not? When you understand what holding onto anger and bitterness does to your insides, you know that not forgiving is a horrible choice. It can make you sick, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Many think that forgiveness has to do with the other person. But that’s just not true. Forgiveness has to do with you. Not forgiving, as someone once said, is like drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die. The black rot of non-forgiveness doesn’t go away. It festers in your gut, and the longer you leave it there, the more damage it does…to you.
Here’s the great thing about forgiveness: the other person doesn’t even have to know. You may choose to tell him/her, or not. Forgiveness is inner work. It’s all about you. And it’s not easy. You don’t just say I forgive and poof! it’s done. It’s a process that takes time and energy. Knowing the consequences of not forgiving gives you the impetus to put in the time and expend the energy. Ultimately, here’s the choice: do I want to stay bitter and twisted and make myself sick? Or open my heart ever wider making more space for love? The choice seems clear.
So if Sandra does indeed take Jesse back, I assume it’s because she’s given it a lot of thought and has come to the conclusion that it’s worth the risk. Infidelity doesn’t have to be a death knell to a relationship. For thoughtful, forgiving people who are willing to use the experience to look inside and grow, it can be the very thing that moves a relationship to greater heights. I hope that’s what happens with Sandra and Jesse, if that’s what they truly want.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, to learn how my husband and I got through our crisis and made our bond stronger than ever. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, http://www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The book gives you great tips and insights on relationships, as well as how to deal with this painful circumstance.