( in·teg·ri·ty /inˈteɡrədē )
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
“he is known to be a man of integrity”
Similar: honesty, uprightness, probity, rectitude, honour, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals
This article I write more for myself as a therapeutic moment than anything else. I choose to write it in public because I think others can benefit from my experience and thoughts. But please keep in mind that I am only a person with hands-on-experience to my own believes and there are always 2 sides to every story.
I dated a man with a huge lack of integrity if he had any, to begin with
Ever since the first time I met him I ignored red flags, wearing rose colored glasses and having a heart that wants always to see the best in every person are the only two excuses I have to offer for ignoring my gut feeling.
Well, and the circumstances, being in lockdown due to COVID in Mexico I was in a new country, pandemic, I lost my freedom, I was locked in a tiny apartment and I felt trapped. I was vulnerable and needed a distraction. Yet, I fell in love, that was real.
And also, the man I dated was not evil. Actually, when I googled his behavior he did everything by the book according to the relationship websites. He was loving, he showed he loved me, he was attentive and he cared. Yet I learned a person does not have to be 100% evil to lack integrity. When you start a new relationship while you are still in an old one and you pursue both, and you kind of hide that, and are defensive about it based on your moral values that it is okay to do so, you lack integrity.
My ex-partner’s defense was that this is the way he is.
They will always make you believe that the bad thing they did wasn’t so bad
Although my now ex told me he never wanted to hurt me, he did intentionally and willingly hurt me. By working his way into my heart and keeping a secret life on the side, he knew he was going to crush my heart, for he knew how hard I had fallen for him. and he knew my moral standards conflicted with his.
All his promises, all he told me from day one was a lie. And he knew that I was just a believer. I trusted. And he knew that too.
When my red flags were becoming too clear to ignore, and I had given him multiple opportunities to come clean by asking questions and addressing my worries. But he chose to keep lying straight to my face. And there is no excuse for that. When I finally found out by the mercy of Facebook what he really was up to, it felt like he himself swang the sledgehammer to smash my heart and my trust.
At first, he seemed remorseful, but in the end, he never really apologized or did anything to regain my trust. Again a lot of empty promises came my way and he made me feel guilty for the fact I shouted at him, called him a liar and packed his things, and handed them to him on the doorstep of MY apartment which he saw as his home. And a week after the break-up or so, that seems to be the remaining sin: Me hurting him. He totally forgot about the fact that he inflicted my behavior upon himself, and ignored that I acted from a place of extreme pain over his infidelity.
He tries to blame me to calm his own conscious
By constantly reminding me of the fact that he was “kicked out of the house” which was never really his house, to begin with, and blaming me for my behavior and calling him a liar, he ignored my pain and showed even less integrity according to my book. For me, he should be remorseful, trying his utmost best to win back my trust after we agreed on trying to fix it.
He never actually told me he ended his previous relationship. When I directly asked he said he was no longer with her, but he never told me he broke up, with her living on the other side of the country and him being all clever with words, he told me he was no longer with her. Technically that is correct but did he break up as he insinuated? I needed confirmation of the break-up, but he never gave me that.
He totally ignored the pain and confusion that he inflicted.
We think of people as good or evil, the villain and the saint, black and white
Maybe if we were not so much about labeling the opposites we can find some grey areas, but what does living in the grey, in between good and evil does with our own integrity? Do we add too much water to our wine before we drink it? Will our wine still taste like wine? Or are we slowly turning into that one person that made our love die by a thousand cuts, a thousand lies?
Does the fact that he kept telling me lies, until the very end of the relationship and the fact that he only looks out for himself and does not seem to care at all that his lies hurt me over and over again, make him a bad person?
My ex keeps telling me he truly loved me, he did not lie about his feelings for me, and overall (apart from the deceit) he treated me well. He tells me he is not a bad person. Does doing all I described before make him an evil person?
The struggle with your reality starts when reality hits you in the face
I was living in a reality that felt real to me, then by some universal intervention that reality changed into a nightmare, and all of a sudden, I realized I had been living in a fantasy, a lie.
I try to make sense of finding my own reality within all this and I battle with my ability to trust a person’s worth. He tells me he wants to change, that he will try to better his life.
But all I hear are words within a frame of deceit and infidelity. So how can I trust him? And my common sense and a few friends tell me to run as far from him as I can get. But my feelings are still there, if they weren’t I would not hurt this deep. So this is not so simple, it is not black and white.
The only clarity there is that he had or has no integrity at all and that his moral standards are so different from mine that we have a huge conflict.
The only question to ask is: can I live with that?
With my own integrity in mind, that I always try to treat another person the way I want to be treated, and how my actions can influence another person’s feelings, I already whole-heartedly apologized to him for the way I handed him his bags at the doorstep of my house.
He claims that hurt his feelings, I think it hurt him some way, but not in a way I understand. I think what he tells me is that he was shocked he did not get it his way, but when, as a grown man your answer to the woman you crushed is: I know I hurt you but you have hurt me also……..
That is the moment my mind stops thinking for that remark is beyond my comprehension.
When a person that loves you so deeply and has trusted you enough to hand you their heart in the hope you will cherish it stand broken and vulnerable before you, how come you feel justified to hurt that person to the bone, overlook the pain you caused and focus on your own pain instead by blaming the other person.
In order to be able to forgive him do I have to judge him first, does he have to shift in my mind from that loving good person I thought he was to the evil side that hurt me so much?
Who am I to judge him?
There are two sides to this story as I wrote in my opening paragraph. So there is some blame in my share in this as well. I partially inflicted this pain upon myself by ignoring red flags. I will not apologize to him for that, neither did I apologize for the basis of my anger and the part of my survival brain that made me pack his things and not let him back into my life again. I did not apologize for that. For those feelings are justified.
I looked at myself as a whole person before I apologized for THE WAY I did it. I never apologized for the act itself and I told him that.
When I look at myself as a whole person to create my new reality and find my learning curve, I also have to look at him as a whole person when I judge him.
For I will judge him, I have decisions to make about the future, for the greatest part of continuing this relationship or what’s left of it, is on me. I am the one to grant him another chance, not vice versa. (although he makes it seem it is more him granting me).
A man can be a good person, but not dating material for me. A man can be morally lazy or integrity conflicted, in that case, he is not my man.
I told him once I like a strong man, I do not mean a man that can lift his own car, but a man that can lift his own burden. He can admit he did something wrong, that can show remorse and be patient for his partner to heal from the cuts he inflicted in her heart by breaking her trust.
In a black and white world, my problem is easy, but it is not easily solved
My “problem” is that I value honesty, that I tell the truth even if it is a harsh truth and it will hurt. Better the harsh truth than a sweet lie. My “problem” is that he does not tell the truth. I want a relationship based on respect and equality and transparency.
He wants a relationship based on what gets him happiness the quickest and the easiest way possible.
He seeks gratification, a boost for his self-esteem, a quick fix to a feeling of emptiness.
I seek a relationship that is a safe place with a partner that can fill his own needs, with an emotionally mature person. With a partner that does not need one foot out of the door to feel complete.
I seek a relationship with a person that always tells the truth even when I am not around, that carries my heart with care as a reminder he found a person that values him and loves him deeply so that he does not feel the need to give in to the temptation to stray and tell more, new lies.
Or, at a more realistic level: I seek a relationship with a partner that feels safe enough with me to tell me that he feels tempted but did not give in because I am his woman.
My problem is: do I believe he can be that person? Do I trust him enough to believe his promises made after I broke up with him? Do I want to take on the uncertain future with him when he shows no remorse, no empathy for what I feel, and only throws his hurt in my face while stating he does not blame me for anything? Knowing that he does blame me for kicking him out of my house. And that he will probably hold that over my head for a long time, due to his lack of integrity?