I was talking to my kids about the 'good people' idea the other day. Right now they are at an age where everyone is a 'good person'. As they grow up they'll need to learn how to pick friendships and relationships. They'll find that not everyone is a good person, but how will they tell? So I really tried to explain to them that you can't tell a good person by their manners, or how friendly they are, or how funny they are, or if they care charming and make you feel special to be around them. Rather as they make decisions in their life those decisions reflect their values, and over time you gain some perspective and can really get to understand what you're dealing with. Then you can make decisions about what role, if any, they should have in your life.
I wish more people measured character this way and were disciplined about what type of behavior we accepted near us. I believe it would be better for each of us individually, and it would reinstate some social pressure towards better behavior and be better for everyone as well. Instead it's "Do what works for you", and "Who are we to judge", and "yadda yadda [INSERT NEWAGE WISE SOUNDING NARRATIVE].
Personally I don't believe the 'good guy/bad guy' stuff. I tend to think more along the lines of the Christian belief: We are all flawed sinners. It is our job to do the best we can to follow a better path. This makes sense to me. I have long been put off by the attitude that all of us on these forums are good guys and all of our ex's are narcissistic adolescents. I think that narrative says more about us than them.
That's why I'm not surprised when a good person has an affair. I just shrug and realize they aren't that good of a person. Why would I be surprised? Because they were kind? Mild mannered? Charming? They loved their children? They knitted something as a gift? Look, we are all nice people, we all have those we love, we all do generous things at times. But to me the more important things are what picture comes into focus when I zoom way out and look at what principles they've used to guide their life.
Now G, this doesn't mean I think you're a bad person because of a choice you regret 20 years ago. Remember what I said about credit reports? As far as I'm concerned, you had a really bad mark on your credit report. That doesn't mean you have bad credit for life. It means you had to reestablish. And you have. You've acknowledged it was a bad choice, and have since made many positive choices in your life that have earned you credit as a higher quality of sinner than others. As for my friend, he is in a good spot in his life and is deliberately choosing to ignore society's taboo because he doesn't see the issue and he wants what he wants. Even if the affair ended I'm not sure I could be friends with him. I'd really need to see him reestablish the way you did.
Bottom line, we become like the friends we choose. I am very protective of myself in that way. The same way when I was married I wouldn't spend 1:1 time with other women, I don't want to even put myself in a spot where I'm influenced by people I don't aspire to be like. This serves a dual purpose as it also casts my vote on what type of society I want to live in. Bad choices are bad choices, but if we don't call them out and respond accordingly then we can't sit on the side lines and call them bad choices, because our actions say we're fine with it.
Me:38 XW:38 T:11 years M:8 years Kids: S14, D11, D7 BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Last edited by job; 12/15/1801:23 PM. Reason: add link to new thread
Sit quietly, the answers will reveal themselves when you least expect them to. The past is gone, the present is a gift and you need to focus on today, allow the future to reveal itself when it is ready.