So now that we are talking, it has bothered me that you are criticizing these celebrities. i don't know their stories. But, if I'm to believe that you can reform and be a good marriage partner, why shouldn't I give them the benefit of the doubt and also believe that about them?
In order to answer that question, I would ask you what they've done to deserve the benefit of the doubt, from you or anyone else? In my mind, it is much the same question that should be asked of any WS. How have you changed? What have you done to become a safer person and partner? What is different about you now, as opposed to when you last cheated, that should warrant a re-evaluation of who you are and what you are capable of?
The answer to those questions lies in how we conduct our lives. We are what we do, not what we say, or think, or feel. It is our actions that define us. To that end, the reason Blake is not getting "the benefit of a doubt" from me, is because his actions are showing me exactly who he is, and who he is, is a wayward, a serial cheater. To be clear, he had an affair with Gwen, this is old news and they don't deny it. Then he left his wife and married his OW (Gwen). And this is not the first time he's done this, this is his pattern. That is why he gets no "pass" from me. He hasn't done anything to warrant one.
Of course people can reform and be a good marriage partners. But that doesn't happen without tons of work, sacrifice, change, brutal honesty and humility, determination and consistency, and even then, not everyone will make it. Similar to how most people can go on a diet, but few people lose the weight and keep it off.
What upsets me about this is that Blake DOES seem to get a pass in the court of public interest. He's hot and talented and rich, she's even hotter and more talented, and rich, and so no one says, "Wow, that dude can't keep it in his pants", instead they dress them both up as having a fairytale wedding. I doubt most BS's here would describe their ex-cheating-spouse marrying their AP in the same way.
I just don't know how to feel about this. I'm sorry to say I don't know if I feel comfortable with some of you giving advice.
No offense was taken. There is no reason that you should be comfortable with WS's giving marital advice. We've already displayed that our judgment isn't the best.
That being said however, I view it differently. I remember early on, I was discussing some topic about other waywards with my wife, when she asked me why I thought I had the right to criticize other WS's when I had done the exact thing(s) that they were guilty of? To me, the perfect person to help guide another is a person who suffers from the same condition. For example, it makes sense for an alcoholic to go to AA and help other addicts, even though they have the same affliction. Ex-smokers are one of the few that can relate to active smokers and to tell them just how dangerous it is, and relate the struggles of both quitting, and not quitting, to others. Sex addicts, drug addicts, gamblers... the most successful support systems created are often based on relatability, in order to foster reliability. You get the idea.
The idea is simple. We spread the word that cheating is bad, that it hurts people way more than TV lets on, and that if you are tempted to cheat... don't. While most WS's have incredibly poor boundaries and weak personal accountability, those are typically self-esteem issues. In other words, their weakness (in my opinion) is personal. Many of them are still quite capable of distinguishing right from wrong in their daily lives and especially in the lives of others. I haven't spoken to a single WS yet who thinks cheating is a great way to live and would recommend it to others over fidelity. In my mind, the bigger problem is one of NOT speaking up, NOT sharing, and allowing an affair to bud, or to continue, rather than risk our reputations by speaking up. To me, that's still wayward thinking, still trying to protect ourselves over doing the right thing. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that I knew someone having an affair and that I had said and done nothing.
My WH has said he talked about marriage, building resentment, self-victimization, and other parts of his experience. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with this. Who is he to be a leader?
Who would he be if he said nothing? Did nothing? How would you feel if he simply allowed someone else to get hurt, and not have even said something or tried to stop it? What would that say about him? Wouldn't that indicate to you that he cared more about himself than someone else? Wasn't that what allowed the affair to happen in the first place? The mere fact that he is talking about who he really is, what he regrets, and how he has changed, is just (again, in my personal opinion) the healthiest approach he could take. He is not denying what he did, nor is he sugar coating it, or making excuses for what he did. He is owning his truth, and the most redeeming thing he can do for himself is to be a better person, be someone that he can respect, and do things that he is proud of and that allows him to feel good about who he is NOW, today, at this moment. Infidelity will always be part of his life story and he has to own that and live with it. But the goal is not to live in shame and guilt and with our heads hidden in the sand. The goal is to be a better person, and an agent for change.