Dear Suzie, I felt like a fool when I found out he was married. But like an idiot, I stayed with him. Why didn’t I just walk away? I’m so confused and disgusted with myself. What do I do now?
Did you know that the fool has always played an important role in history?
In fact, in medieval times, the fool provided the entertainment, the laughs, and the jokes (at the expense of their own pride). So why did they do it? Well, there are payoffs to playing the fool. There’s the fame, the fortune, and of course, they got a lot of attention. (Personally, I think playing the fool is a heavy price to pay for attention.)
Here’s something to consider:
It’s okay to have been fooled (it happens to all of us), but what’s not okay is allowing yourself to continue to play the part of the fool.
Here’s an important question to yourself:
Why are you playing the part of the fool? Why are you continuing to be in a relationship that’s making a mockery of your pride, your values, and your self-esteem? On some level, you must be getting some kind of payoff.
I suggest you find out what it is, and eliminate it.
What if you were a friend of Cinderella’s, and she called you for advice about what to do in this situation? How would you advise her? Would you reassure her that she should continue to be patient? Would you try to convince her to keep waiting… because happily-ever-after will come… someday? How would you advise her to handle being in love with a married man? Would you try to convince her that the love she feels for him makes it “OK” for her to place her life on hold waiting for him? Probably not, right? Well, guess what? I can’t tell you that, either.
What I can tell you is this:
Since you’re loving a man who is already married, you aren’t actually in a relationship. You’re having an affair (read that again).
Key Insight: Having an affair is NOT the same as having a relationship. (It’s important for you to understand the two are not the same.)
What’s the difference between an affair and a real relationship?
The difference is the foundation on which they are built: One is built to last, while the other is built to pass. This brings to mind another fairy tale. Remember the tale of the three little pigs? One little pig built his house with straw, one built his house with sticks, and one built his with bricks. And what happened when the Big Bad Wolf came? The two little pigs who built their homes of straw and sticks discovered they couldn’t withstand pressure and adversity.
Our relationships are tested in a similar way.
Those relationships that are built with the “straw of fantasy” and the “sticks of deception” quickly fall apart under pressure. Those that are built on love, trust and honesty… survive. The house of an extramarital affair is built on the fantasies of what “could be”. They have wishes for roofs, deception for walls, and emotions as their foundation. Since all emotions wax and wane, this means all affairs are susceptible to disillusionment. This is why affairs are NOT to be confused with real relationships.
Real relationships are built with the solid bricks of honesty. It is forged in the fires of reality, and it emerges from the shared experiences of dealing with ordinary life. A real relationship isn’t perfect. It’s not always pleasant, and it may even fall short in many ways.
However, since it’s rooted in reality, it has a staying power that is hard for outsiders to comprehend.
Keep in mind…
When you step into the role of the other woman, you cross the line from the functional version of the fairy tale… to the dysfunctional version.
Here’s the good news:
If you cross the line in one direction, you can always cross back. No matter what decisions, emotions, secret longings, or romantic yearnings got you where you are, know this:
Right now, you can make a new, better decision for yourself.
You can reclaim the happy dream.
You can have the “happily-ever-after” fairy tale.
You simply have to be willing to begin again.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!