This week, I learnt that a friend had honey trapped her husband due to her suspicions of her husband's online activities with other ladies. For those of you that don't know, honey trapping has nothing to do with bee keeping whatsoever, instead it is the term used to describe the private investigation into the fidelity of a partner. Often this is done with some immaculate looking person sidling up to your partner in one of their usual haunts and enticing them in to a false trap of promises, to see if they bite the bait. My friend's honey trap was a somewhat more basic model, she got her auntie to send a Facebook message to her husband, to see if he would strike up a conversation and possible a relationship.
My friend's husband, having already been unfaithful to her twice before (in an online and text messaging sense of the word), bit the bait and slowly started to declare love for the honey trapper a.k.a undercover auntie, and was even planning on leaving his wife. Fast forward a few weeks, and late one Monday night, there is a tearful friend upon my doorstep announcing the husband had been told to leave the marital home. About bloody time too, if you ask me, having had non-sexual philandering for the third time in their six years of marriage. A couple of days after the tearful doorstop announcement, I subtly text my friend to ask if her husband had been back to collect his things, to which she responded "no, I need to talk to you about that" so Shelley Subtle Knight said the sooner he did, the better so she could start creating a beautiful new life for her and the girls. Brace yourself, she only text to say "He's back."
Due to the wonder of being mother to four children and in the midst of six weeks of summer holidays, about an hour past and my mobile then had numerous messages from my honey trapping friend asking if I was mad at her, just then, there was a knock at the door and there stood my recently reunited friend. Unlike my mother, I am not a qualified counsellor with years of experience, so I greeted my friend with the only supportive and accepting words I could spiritually muster in the moment "Hello, you numpty"!
And so followed a conversation about how the husband had had two online affairs before, as well as this recent addition, how he had previously promised to never speak with the previous encounters again but actually he had been rather actively communicating with at least one of them, not forgetting how my friend had given him another chance after his first dabble, and had told how a second encounter would be a final chance. However, here they are arguing over third affair, so on to yet another chance. And why? "Because I love him."
Pardon?! You are putting up with all his online cheating and rants about how you are handy as you are like a nanny to his children, because despite the fact he has put intentions and declarations of his love to others, you love him? What about loving yourself? What about when in years to come, one of your children comes running to you in tears as someone has cheated on them? Do you say it is okay just give them another three chances? Do you say that is how some relationships are but as long as you love them that is okay? I seriously hope not.
Love makes the world go around, or so it is said, and whilst everyone will hold a different definition or understanding of what love is, love should not be habit, fear, abused, or without trust. Love should be a beautiful addition to life itself, love should be what fills your thoughts, heart, life and the universe too.
Yes, I am a smug, happily married wife of one, but I am most worthy, as our relationship is one of trust, respect, growth, love, friendship, passion, humour, morals, and I guess, a few ground rules too. The ground rules are key points such as being honest about your feelings, not being threatening or intimidating to each other, to support each other in our choices and differences, to always make time for each other no matter how hard life gets, and other respectful guidelines.
Now, before you all start ranting and belittling me about how life is not as Disney as my story suggests; you do not fully know me, you know my name but not my story. But to share a few chapters of my life with you, in the past I have been at the hands of domestic violence, I have been cheated on physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. So when I get angered about people settling for first, second and third chances in a relationship, I am not ranting from a naive point of view. The morning I was fortunate enough to wake up from a severe case of domestic violence (as oppose to not waking up as it was that bad), yes, I still loved the controlling, low self-esteemed bastard, no, you cannot switch a button that turns all of your happy memories and positive emotions off, but yes you can move on. Alone. Just because I had been with the guy for many years, bought a home, wore a ring and more trophy like reasons for staying, my life is my life, which would obviously be significantly harder to live if I was dead.
Then there is the cheating partner, who, credit where credit is due, was absolutely brilliant at logistics managing to lead almost a double life. High Five you. In the face. With a chair. I am joking. I do not condone the damage of inanimate objects, especially on human beings (please see above paragraph for my reasoning). I will be honest, I don't know how long it would have taken him to decide between me and her, but I believe it is a beautiful gift to help others, so with my bruised heart still full of love for the handsome bastard, I packed his bags for him, whilst using his particular favourite shirt as an oversized handkerchief. When someone makes you feel like an option in life, simplify things, and remove yourself from the equation. You do not have to be second best, or second choice, you are good enough as you are.
Yes, love is such a strong force; a force which often continues despite death, abuse, or betrayal, so whilst we are subjected to others choices and wrongdoings, we still love them. The difference from forgiving and forgetting rather than moving on alone, is also love: self love. The love we have for ourselves can often pale into insignificance when compared to the volume of love we willingly pour onto others. With my friend's cheating husband, she could say enough is enough, I have given you a chance (or three) to prove yourself so I am off now, mission failed, game over, bye bye, et cetera. But she doesn't.
When we do not love ourselves, we seem more accepting of any gesture of love that comes our way, just for those feel good moments or an easier and habitual path. The substitute love for some people may come in the form of a part-time lover, cake, being with friends, or working a ridiculous amount of hours for a few words of praise. All of these things may be wonderful, but I am a great believer that you need to learn to love yourself before you can have a thriving relationship with another Homo sapiens, love yourself first and foremost, and if you don't, start taking steps to do so today. Date yourself, be kind to yourself, get to know yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and most of all, love yourself.