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Friday 11 July 2014

'The Humiliation Factor': Surviving An Affair, by Lisa Doust

My friend Lisa Doust is one strong woman. She is a writer and now blogger for her blog 'Gone, Daddy, Gone'. She just wrote this piece titled 'The Humiliation Factor' and it is breathtaking.

Lisa is pictured below, and describes her blog page like this:

My name is Lisa...

Affairs and divorce have had a profound impact on my life, so I have plenty to say on the subject and invite you to get involved in the conversation. Tears are guaranteed, as are my suggested playlists (every broken heart needs the support of a good soundtrack). Together I believe we can learn a thing or two about love.

Here is the blog post in full (reproduced with kind permission from Lisa):

The Humiliation Factor

The one thing you can do is to do nothing. Wait… You will find that you survive humiliation and that’s an experience of incalculable value.– T.S. Eliot

When it finally dawned on me that X and Y had been having their affair, probably for quite some time, I felt utterly humiliated. It wasn’t horrible enough that the man I loved had been lying and making future plans that didn’t include me, but the woman who had posed as his “friend” and had the audacity to come to our home and sit at our dinner table while I was pregnant was clearly laughing in my face.

I felt like THE BIGGEST IDIOT ON THE PLANET. And when I received an anonymous phone call from someone at X’s work – who, in some kind of sisterly show of solidarity, literally called to say: “Your husband is having an affair with Y” – my humiliation was complete. 

It was hard having to share the news with my family and friends, but the realisation that all of X’s colleagues seemed to know all about my (unconscious) uncoupling well in advance of me was mortifying.

It wasn’t just that I had been fully duped; it was that I had obviously failed as a wife. And the idea of being divorced and a single parent was scary.

Looking back, I think feeling like a fool was a fairly natural reaction. No-one ever wants to be the last to know their relationship has become a farce.

Fortunately for me, I could compare my own to level of humiliation to Jennifer Aniston’s (her marriage breakup happened not long before mine). On a scale of 1 to 10, she was definitely experiencing a humiliation rating of 50. In my darkest hours I would be comforted by the thought that the other woman in my life wasn’t Angelina Jolie, and that the whole entire world wasn’t weighing in on the tragic state of my marriage.

I was definitely feeling Jen’s pain but suspected she would be just fine – some handsome leading man would surely come her way, the movie offers would keep flowing in and she could always talk things through with Oprah or Ellen. And because there were no children involved, Jen didn’t have to see her Ex’s smug little Angelina-Jolie-is-in-love-with-me face in the flesh on a regular basis. 

I, on the other hand, didn’t think I’d ever be able to get off the floor for long enough to work again. I was pretty certain no dreamy guy would be wanting me and my considerable baggage. I definitely wouldn’t be left with a fabulous mansion and healthy bank account post property settlement, and I had no choice but to see X’s I-have-left-you-for-another-woman-and-am-feeling-so-loved-up-and-you-are-now-insignificant-to-me face on a daily basis. It was definitely a low point.

Thankfully I had two lovely and demanding little boys to care for, otherwise I might have just curled up in a corner and sobbed myself completely into oblivion. 

© 2014 Inertia Recordings 

Eventually – with the help of an amazing counsellor, my sweet family and exceptional friends – I realised nobody was laughing at me. My humiliation soon subsided and made way for the next stage of relationship grief. 

In the process I discovered that surviving humiliation genuinely is an experience of incalculable value – it opens your eyes, expands your ability to empathise and gives you the chance to have a good laugh at your sorry self. And the truly great thing about humiliation is that it shines a spotlight on the people who absolutely love you and really will be there for you through thick and thin.

I’m not suggesting that you seek humiliation out… If you can avoid it that's a good thing. But if it happens to come your way unexpectedly, then consider it a lesson in resilience, and know that it will pass.

This post originally appeared on Lisa's blog page here. You can also 'like' Lisa's page on Facebook here.

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