A girlfriend of mine—let’s call her Anne—broke off the contact with a long-time close girlfriend of hers. Sometimes relationships are not meant to last a lifetime, but I was still curious as to what would prompt Anne to act in such a way.
The reason was Anne’s husband. Her husband felt very strongly that he did not want to be around his wife’s girlfriend, nor that his wife should be friends with her. His reason for putting his wife under pressure to break off the friendship was the fact that the girlfriend had an affair with a married man at the time.
Now, this is not at all about the question of whether it is right or wrong to have a relationship with someone who is married; you can answer that question for yourself. Instead, I would like to take a look at the strong reaction that this man had to the girlfriend and her life choices.
Why was the husband—let’s call him Grant—so triggered by the situation? It was almost like Grant was afraid the adultery was catching. Did he not trust his wife to make better choices than her girlfriend? Or did Grant not trust himself?
When we sit on a high moral horse and judge others harshly it usually reflects something about ourselves. His wife’s girlfriend was mirroring one of Grant’s shadow sides. Maybe he had been affected in some way by adultery when he was younger and had not let go of his past yet. The situation might have been a reminder for him to heal his own wounds. Or maybe she was mirroring that he had thought about being unfaithful himself. Or maybe she was mirroring that he had in some form been dishonest in relationships.
I don’t know what happened to the girlfriend but I am quite sure breaking off the friendship did not “make her see the error of her ways.” Judging has never helped someone who might be lost on their path to get back to making healthier choices. As her friend, his wife could have encouraged the girlfriend to believe that she deserves better than a married man. And most importantly, she could have trusted the girlfriend to eventually make the best choice and learn from the situation.
Who do you judge? Who triggers you so much that you feel like cutting all ties with them? What do they show you about your own disowned shadow parts?