“… But I Still Loved You”

21 Jun

Today I came across the most wonderfully well-written post from a wayward about what love is – and isn’t.  He addressed a line that I heard from my husband after his acting out and affair.  It’s the infamous “… but I still loved you.”  You can put anything you want in front of that “but” like: “I did the wrong thing,” “I screwed up,” “I know that I betrayed you, ” or even “I never thought about how this could hurt you.”  It’s something that I could never understand then – how can love go hand in hand with lies and broken trust?

The short answer is that it doesn’t!  Love is selfless.  It is giving.  It is putting another person before yourself.  That’s not what an affair is.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  Even though sex addiction played a part with my husband’s behavior, it doesn’t take away the selfishness of what he did.  It doesn’t take away the fact that he wasn’t considering my feelings or the ramifications that his actions would have on me.  That is why it is hard to reconcile the idea of him still “loving” me in the midst of his hurtful acts.  While I know that his addiction wasn’t about me, wasn’t aimed at me, and most of the time no thought of me entered his mind – I can’t help but think that if he really loved me during that time he would have considered me!

That’s why today when I read floridaredman’s post on Surviving Infidelity something just clicked.   I got his permission to post his comments here on my blog, so here is what he had to say:

How many of us WS’s have said this. “Even though I had the affair I still loved you, even in the midst of it”

To a BS they are wondering how could this be possible.  How could you say you loved me and still betray me?

The answer is the WS’s misconception of what love truly means.  Love does not seek to be selfish… on the contrary… it is quite selfless.  Loving who you are and being content with being you is a key factor to loving someone else.
If you do not love who you are and have no respect for yourself… then how can you truly give love to someone else?

An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse…” I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met” How do you think your spouse would respond?

A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.  They would most likely believe that if you loved them you would have been more forceful in proving your point.

To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone.
Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.

It is a proverbial slap in the face to a BS for a WS to say, “But ..I still loved/love you”

The response could be…”Where was that love when you met your AP?” “Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  “Where was that love when you were being intimate with them and giving me the cold shoulder?”

Even if you say… “I never wanted to leave you.” This becomes a selfish statement because what you are really saying is… I wanted to have both.
I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.

Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time. Love can hurt. Love can hurt when you want your spouse to be one way and they are not. However the true love for them will help you overlook those faults while still communicating about them. Love does not give up, but it is willing to give in to a certain degree. I say to a certain degree because if you truly love who you are… you will know when to throw in the towel if the love you are giving is not respected.

If I took a gun and said… “I don’t want to hurt you.” Yet I unloaded the clip on you after I said it… the outcome shows my full intention.

Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.

I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?

I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness. Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.
I didn’t truly love myself. I really had no confidence in me. I really was insecure about me. So how could I give love that I didn’t have for myself to give?

When I found out my “why’s” and when I began doing the work… I found reasons to love myself.  In loving myself… I was able to truly love my wife.  Before I do anything to hurt her… I check myself because I don’t want to put her through any kind of pain intentionally.

I know a lot of people may not agree to this, but it was this type of thinking that led to my own self-awareness.

The thought came when I asked myself…

If you love someone… how can you give yourself to another? It is not to say that the love cannot be there somewhere… just needs to be resurrected and matured.

It is one of the reasons I came up with when your BS looks at you with unbelief when you say

“But…I still loved you”

When I read that I felt validated.  My husband has acknowledged some of those things before.  He has said that he was being completely selfish.  He has said that he sees now he should have reached out for help with his sex addiction.  He just never said it quite like that.

Some of that is so powerful to me that I just have to post it again.

“An affair is a totally selfish act.  It’s Based on getting needs met that you feel your partner cannot or you will not let them meet.”  Again, this was incredibly true for us.  He would not let me meet his needs.  He wouldn’t even express them to me.  How can I give him something he refused to let me even know about?  I guess I never could have – since I’m a real woman who actually cared about him, not some flat picture or video on a screen or a random, nothing whore in a chat room.

True love for your partner will let you communicate this, EFFECTIVELY.  If you were to say to your spouse… ‘I feel my needs are not being met and I am on the cusp of having an affair to get them met’ How do you think your spouse would respond?  A BS will look at all the avenues you could have taken before having an affair.”  Exactly!  True love involves being vulnerable and open, expressing yourself, and sharing with your partner.  It doesn’t involve hiding your feelings and going outside of your relationship for self-gratification.

“To go out and have an affair is no proof of any kind of love toward anyone. Not even yourself.  It is a great show of disrespect toward everyone involved, including the AP.”  Disrespect.  That is a great word.  That’s exactly what it was.  It certainly wasn’t love.  In our case my husband even openly admits that he had no respect for the OW in the least.

“Where was that love when you texted them all day and would only text me sporadically?”  Ouch!  That hit close to home!  That is almost exactly what was happening.  He would text the OW 60+ times a day and barely have 2 minutes to chat with me or send me a text during the day.  Sure sounds like love, right?

“I wanted to have both.  I wanted to have my AP for my fantasy and you for my domestic support.”  Very true…  He wanted to have his fantasy world and his real life girlfriend/wife to comfort him, support him, and take care of him.  Lucky me! 

“Misconception comes in when you think love is only suppose to make you feel good all the time.”  I want to comment on two things here.  First, this is a really deep concept that is hard for many to comprehend.  Secondly, to those who blame the BS for your affair because they weren’t doing everything possible to meet all of your needs, refer back to this statement.  Love isn’t about making you feel good all of the time.  It’s not even possible because real, true love entails real, messy emotions.  You have to love yourself.  You have to meet some of your own needs.  And if you need your spouse to do more, you should refer to the statement a few lines above because love entailing honest communication of those needs.  Remember, this is from the mouth of another WS – these are not my words even though I completely agree with them.

“Yes I said love can hurt, but not an intentional hurt. Having an an affair is not a mistake. It is a choice. A series of them. When you choose to have one… you are not choosing to love them… you are choosing to intentionally hurt them.” Amen.

“I thought about this for myself.  Did I love my wife when I chose to stray?  I can say that I had feelings for her, but the true love I should have had was overtaken by my own selfishness.  Had I truly loved her at that time… I would have never ventured out.  I would have fought to communicate better.”  This is something that my husband has realized in the last few months.  It’s one of the most profound thing in this entire post.  Read it a few more times.

I think the end part about having to truly love yourself before you can love someone else is borderline life-changing.  It is something that I need to work on as well.  I like myself.  I even like myself a whole lot most of the time.  Some days I love who I am.  I love how I feel.  There are days when I am harder on myself than I would be on anyone else that I love, though.  On those days it is hard to accept my husband’s love and love him fully in return.  On those days I am holding myself back.

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19 Responses to ““… But I Still Loved You””

  1. John September 29, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    My wife has told me that she loves her affair partner more than she loves me… in fact she didn’t love me as much as she should have when we got married… this is despite evidence to the contrary.

    From what I’ve read the ‘drug effect’ of the affair makes people be able to believe a lot of things that are not true.

    There is nobody on this planet that I would wish this pain upon. I don’t hate anyone that much.

  2. Anna September 16, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for this post! All of this is so true. My husband said the same to me about how he loved me while he was fully involved. Really? Unfortunately my husband is not willing to really look at himself to come to that conclusion. Thank you!

    • beautifulmess7 September 16, 2014 at 6:35 am #

      Then it sounds like he’s probably still not being honest.

  3. Scabs November 12, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    exactly.

  4. lolalately July 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    The “love yourself” beach photo has been my cell phone home screen for awhile now. It’s
    something I’ve needed reminding of, especially
    as I was questioning my being lovable in the face of betrayal by my husband. Maybe he’s the one who needs that reminder.

  5. letterstotheotherwoman June 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I loved this post because it’s one my WH and I have gone round and round about. I shared it with him, and he replied, ” I can say with absolute certainty that I love you. I can also say with absolute certainty that I still loved you while I was having the affair. What I was not doing was loving you fully and honestly, nor was I loving you in the manner you wanted or needed. I now understand that I was not loving you in the manner I wanted to, either.” This helped me accept his point of view a little better. To Wendy, this is one of the hardest things I’ve struggled with throughout recovery. I’m glad you found it early.

    • beautifulmess7 June 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks for your insight. Even after writing this I still don’t really know what “the answer” is. I shared this with my husband as well, and he said that he can understand this perspective. I think he thought he loves me. Maybe he even did. I just don’t know how to quantify that love. He certainly didn’t love me the way I deserved. He also didn’t love me to the best of his ability or capability. I do think it comes back to him not really loving himself.

  6. Wendy June 26, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    This post is wonderful. It is also hard to swallow since I am still in the early stages of recovering.

    It always makes me so sick and confused when I ask how he could have done that if he loved me.

    • beautifulmess7 June 27, 2012 at 10:05 am #

      I’m glad that you got something out of this. It is difficult to understand.

  7. Ariella June 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I think this post is so true in so many ways. I will never forget John looking at me a few years ago and said baby, I’m not even sure I even know what love is. I believe that you must love yourself before you can fully give your heart to someone else. I also believe there are different types of love. Like I always say in my posts, I know John loves me in the only way he is capable of. He needs to learn to love John before he can ever truly give me true love. He told me a few weeks ago that I have taught him what love is simply by loving him. . .

  8. recover1day June 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Great Post! So much truth. Thanks for sharing it. Thanks for the validation. I can’t fathom how many times I have asked myself how could that be? How many times I asked my partner HOW could you love me and do this all at once, repeatedly? And he couldn’t answer. Said he couldn’t understand it himself. It is powerful to hear it from a WS who has figured it out!!!! We’re not crazy and not unreasonable or unforgiving when we can’t logically process those words, but…I still loved you. I always loved you.

    There is a reason we can’t process it and it’s because it’s not true. Cared for us yes, needed us yes, wanted us yes, but as this very enlightened WS has pointed out, true love was buried under selfishness and disfunction! And the greatest truth of all, they have to learn to love themselves to know how to love us. Otherwise, the selfishness, the neediness, they remain and they pull us apart. But even that’s not enough, there is more to accept……love ourselves. We can’t forgive or grow or let ourselves hand over our hearts again, until we do. That’s one hell of a lot of difficult work, learning to love ourselves in order to truly love another. I still believe it’s worth it! And thank you for your comment on my STRANGENESS post! I will reply to those comments soon when I have more time. Just let me say, your timing was perfect and I felt what you said. Thanks!

    • beautifulmess7 June 22, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Everything you just said is exactly what I was trying to say. I feel like I floundered around a little with this post because there are parts of it that I know I haven’t mastered yet. The loving myself part especially. I always give others more of the benefit of the doubt and more understanding than I give myself. I’m gonna read that last paragraph you wrote again and again until I have really taken it in. I think it’s the crux of all the other work we are doing.

  9. Not Over It June 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Hi Beautifulmess – What an incredible post! It was just what I needed to hear today to help me with my thoughts today. I’m going to share it if you don’t mind.

    Thank you!
    DJ

  10. beautifulmess7 June 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    After some thought I would like to add that I think my husband had feelings for me during the time he was acting out. I just don’t think those feelings can be described as genuine love because of the level of selfishness and disregard for me he was showing. I think he offered me as much feeling as he knew how to. I also think those feelings might have felt like “love” to him, although I’m not sure he was capable of true love at that point.

    I also wanted to add the caveat that I know love can’t be perfect. I don’t expect for him to never hurt me again because I know that isn’t possible. I do expect honesty, communication, consideration and respect. Those are things you offer the person you love. I believe 100% that my husband is more than willing and able to do that now. I know that he loves me with his whole heart. And I know that he understands that his actions affect me. He gets what love is now.

    For another person’s thoughts on this, check out http://www.marriagesherpa.com/blog/marriage/saving_a_marriage/.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Excuses to Stay Debunked | Being a Beautiful Mess - August 15, 2013

    […]  “But he/she loves me.”  That is not love.  See this post for an elaboration on this point.  It was written by a wayward spouse, with my commentary added, […]

  2. “I never meant to hurt you” « Being a Beautiful Mess - August 2, 2012

    […] “… But I Still Loved You” (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com) Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterPrintStumbleUponPinterestLinkedInTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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