Saturday morning my three men were cuddled in my bed (as they are every single morning of our lives), and I came downstairs quickly to make myself a cup of coffee. I opened our front door in my cozy bathrobe and slippers and brought in the newspaper (as I do every morning), and took a quick glance to see if anything looked interesting. I then came across a headline that caught my attention. It was an article from The London Daily Telegraph.
It read: Sad state of affairs? Best to turn the other cheek. An extramarital relationship can end in divorce, but forgiving may be less painful. Women's radar tells them when their partner is having an affair, but "there's this unspoken agreement" not to find out, French psychologist Maryse Vaillant says.
The article went on as such,
"French psychologist Maryse Vaillant insists cheating on your spouse can sometimes be for the best, so long as the security of the family unit is not endangered.
"A lot of men respect, love and admire their wife and she is indispensable, but they feel the need for little flings to fulfill their life as a man," she says.
"They don't much bother with feelings in affairs; they keep them for their wives. For a lot of men, it is easy to make this separation."
Vaillant believes women's radar tells them when their partner is having an affair, but says "there's this unspoken agreement: The husband does everything to respect his wife and make sure she doesn't find out, and she does everything she cannot to know anything." -Allison Pearson
I then took to Facebook and Twitter to get your thoughts on this. Some of you even weighed in via email.
One email in particular:
Hi Erica, I've been following you for a while. I enjoy your postings. This newspaper article about affairs has compelled me to write to you. My husband (high school sweetheart) had an affair for four years. I found out about it right when it was ending. It practically killed me. No one can understand the pain of it (it's excruciating) until you've been through it. I know because I was one who "thought" I understood. I walked with my sister and my best friend through THEIR husbands' infidelities. I empathized as best I could and truly thought I understood. No way. When this sucker punch of infidelity hit me, it was beyond devastating. Here I am, almost 2 years out from discovery day... and I am moving forward, but I have a deep pain in my heart and am forever changed. Articles like this one play down the collateral damage. They further abuse the abused. Poor guy can't control himself, women should understand. This is garbage. I tried to reconcile (my husband now wants me and our family back -3 kids). I cannot reconcile with someone who could abuse me like this. An affair is abuse. I hope you will look into this before writing on the subject. I stumbled upon a blog about 8 mos ago and she seems to be the only one who has hit the nail on the head about cheating. Chumplady.com saved my life and I have since passed it on to others dealing with the aftermath. There is no excuse for infidelity."
I first want to thank Mrs. X for writing such a profound letter.
I will only leave you with a few thoughts on this topic and then will turn the mic over to you.
It Rolls Off The Tongue
Wear and tear takes its toll on a marriage. I get this. Believe me, I do. I've been with my husband since I'm 19 years old. But we say, "Joe Schmo is cheating on his wife," like we say, "Jane Doe is an alcoholic." We say these things, like they are no big deal. They roll off the tongue, like it's a common, no biggie kinda thing. Like "Honey, I'm just going to 7-Eleven to get milk." And while cheating on your partner and alcoholism may be very prevalent, it is one of the worst acts of betrayal, in my opinion. Cheating is dirty, deceptive and it would absolutely slay me. My mother, a women's therapist for over 30 years, maintains couples CAN survive infidelity, but both parties have to be committed to working. I know how common it is, I see it all over my community, and I understand how it can happen, but I can't accept that it's not the dirtiest, most disgusting thing one can do to their partner.
China Vs. The Secret
Let me clarify my header. I do believe I would have two different reactions, actually no, not reactions, but ACTIONS depending on the affair my husband would have. I am speaking my truth today, so please no attacking. If my husband went to China on a business trip, and in a rare weak moment, had a drink at the bar, slipped up, had a one night stand, and came home and told me about it, I would be more inclined to forgive, seek therapy and try and move past it. And I'm not saying I would even be able to move past it, but stay with me here. If, on the other hand, I found out he was having an ongoing affair, lying to me about his whereabouts night after night, for lengthy periods of time, I couldn't do it. I really don't think I could. For me, China Vs. The Secret would be different. Both betrayals, and while I do believe my reactions would be the same, my actions might be different. Again, I can only speculate.
That Said, I Would Probably Stay To Work It Out
I have so much invested in our marriage and children, I've gotta say, I would probably stay and try to work it out regardless of how it happened. I would be lovesick without my husband, and would fight like hell to keep our family together. But man, I would remain forever haunted (and nauseous) by the thought of my husband in bed with another woman. I would.
I don't know.... All I DO know, is, it's a BIG DEAL. And it bothers me when people make it a small deal. When people make it like it's no big deal.
It's why I thank my mother and father for raising me with good self esteem and it's why we should raise our daughters with good self esteem. So she can stand on her own two feet without a man-- if ever need-be. So if ever she finds herself in a marriage where her hubby is parking his penis in another woman's garage, she has options.
Options are always a good thing, I think. Don't you?
Today, the 'on the fence' question: Would you stay with a cheating spouse? Would you throw the towel in on your marriage if your husband had an affair and asked for forgiveness? Do you think the type of betrayal makes a difference? Do you think marriage can survive infidelity?
(And I would like to stress, you can replace man with woman, and woman with man throughout this article. I'm very aware of reverse situations).