Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stand by your man

Is anyone else curious about what motivates men in high positions with power, often wealth and certainly authority, to throw it all to the wind and take up an extramarital affair or two? I was a little disturbed yesterday to hear Elizabeth Edwards blame it on the woman. Seems to me that's a cop-out. I find the partners of men whose affairs make headlines tend to stand by their man (at least in public) in a way that sets a very poor example for other mortals and leans to the "boys will be boys, wink, wink" type of thinking that drives me bats.

Sexual fidelity (monogamy) in marriage or a committed relationship should be expected. It's not negotiable. It digs down into the most essential of elements in a relationship - trust. Break that trust and someone's world is shattered. Elizabeth Edwards spoke of "screaming, throwing up" as an immediate reaction to her husband's confession. I shared that reaction when my first husband told of his infidelity. I left the house in my nightie during a monsoon rain and drove aimlessly around the neighborhood screaming. And then my reaction was one of total disbelief, fear and rage. I have never experienced such a raw, primitive, overwhelming sense of betrayal as I did that night and I never want to experience it again. And then what did I do? I begged him to put an end to the affair, to get rid of that 'awful woman'. But as the weeks and months wore on I realized that I was incapable of forgiving him; that the trust was gone, never to be repaired and I ended up seeking a divorce.

For years it was easier for me to blame the other woman rather than look at the state of the marriage. "She", that "horrible witch", that "cow", that "bitch" - yep, all those labels - was the cause. Still have little ability to empathize with or even want to understand a woman who targets a married man and knowingly embarks on a relationship with him but as a rather caustic older woman told me when I was struggling with this situation , "honey, it takes two to tango".

It sure does take two to tango so placing blame on a scheming, manipulative woman does nothing but infer that men- "boys"- are helpless to resist these charms; almost implies that we love them just for that reason, "the poor dears". Baloney!

Personally I'm tired of the parade of high placed men rolled out to breast-beat in public , heads down, eyes lowered, bravely confronting their flaws and confessing to a moment of "weakness". Professing deep, abject sorrow to the woman they have betrayed, and she stands by her man, perhaps a little to one side, her eyes masked in pain, putting a brave face on it for the children, his career. Enough!

Interesting isn't it - you rarely read of a high-profile woman in this situation and you certainly don't see her betrayed spouse standing by her side and excusing her infidelities.

Read recently that a study showed that women look upon a man having an affair as a physical thing, not a connection of the heart - something akin to scratching an itch; whereas men see woman as only embarking on infidelity because of a deep emotional connection. Conclusion was that for men it's part of their nature to "stray", the darlings can't help it so women should be prepared to write it off as part of his being; pretty much like his need to play golf, tinker with the car and BBQ! Men on the other hand are to be excused for not being able to forgive an unfaithful partner because she is not "made' to be unfaithful and so her affair is a deliberate choice - makes you wonder who writes this stuff.
Gerry (on a high horse today!)

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1 comment:

  1. Hey, you go girl! hard hitting but true. I wonder if it is possible to 'get over' this kind of betrayal. I think you'd be always walking on eggshells.


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