Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Last But Not Least ...Cheating

Last, but not least of the three most popular vices...cheating.
Taxes, tests, partners...just some of the things we cheat on.

Different reasons, different goals & different outcomes if you get busted.

Bypassing discussions of the IRS, I did try to cheat on exam in high school. I labored over my cheat sheet... the size, the contents, where it would be kept. So much info on such a small slip of paper. By the time 5th period rolled around & it was time for the test, I found myself not in need of my cheat sheet. I may not have made an A, but I passed & luckily didn't get busted with my incriminating evidence.

I have never cheated on my partner, nor any fellow before him. I did, once, break up with a boyfriend because I was allowing myself to become seduced by another. I felt terribly guilty through the break up, but quickly got over it when I found out he had been sleeping with another girl for 3 mos.

In college, I found myself amazed & sickened at the number of married men that came on to me. I met them at school, at work, at friends, out & about. Some I knew briefly, some I had known for years. At first, I thought it was just a side effect of being a SLB, then I began to take it very personal. I didn't dress like a sex kitten, didn't act like I was loose, didn't flirt...umm, even with the guys I did like...so, wtf?

So, I opened dialogue with those in pursuit of an affair.
'Interesting, are you saying you'd like to be with me?' (you or perhaps anyone else willing)
'What motivates you, here?' (my ego, self-esteem, power & sex)
'Why me?' (I'll never know if I don't try)
What I found was that the answers were as varied as each man.

One guy, a co-worker, told me it was a numbers game...that if I rejected him, it's cool, some other girl wouldn't...that he'd always cheated on his wife & always would. She'd caught him a couple times & he'd ease back but she'd never leave him.
Some tried to convince me that it was me. That I was so open & honest & easy to talk to... that they didn't feel like they could communicate that way with their spouses. Huh. If it is 80 degrees outside & you get a cold chill, you feel cold, it doesn't mean that it IS cold...it just means you feel cold....maybe your getting sick, perhaps you should talk to your wife.
One told me that he was feeling insecure in himself... that he'd felt like he'd gained weight & lost his 'touch.' He wanted to make sure he still had it.
Another told me that it started when women began to come on to him, for the first time in his life. Yep, he grew up, got married & started a family before any woman ever came on to him. He couldn't turn her down & then the whole thing turned into an on-going ego-feeding ritual... always having to replace one mistress with another.
I got to hear it all...about how one fellow felt incompetent because his wife seemed to painlessly juggle so much more than he in life, about how another thought he wife had cheated on him when they dating, about how one felt the kids got all of the attention & he was left to take the trash out & mow the yard, about how there was the work crew & they all did it, about how another never meant to, how he was drunk and how another said it just happened.

All of them admitted to having had previous affairs & all acknowledged that they would probably continue to...I guess I'm not so special as to just make all these men whacked insanely in lust or love with me to make them want to do such things so far removed from their typical character. (duh!)
All of them professed love for their partner.

I beleive they all loved their spouses...it's just my definition, and probably their spouses, of how one exemplifies love differed.
Somewhere in my studies on the topic, I came across a statistic that I have always clung to. Although stats are always skewed, this one was that an estimated 80% of all marriages that do not result in divorce encounter infidelity at one point or another.

Interesting & Beleivable....at least, in my little world.

My parents, whom I love very much & who love each other undoubtedly, have been married over 50 years. When they were younger, my Mother had to deal with my fathers' infidelities a couple few times. It seems that when times were good, he cheated. When they were bad, he drank. It took him 20 years or so to outgrow this & I know that he's grateful that my mother never left him. When I was a young girl, my mom & I would talk about it (I'd beg her to leave him) She'd say his life wasn't so easy either & that she had bigger problems to worry about. As an adult, she tells me how she had to talk to him about his commitments & his family, his children, his choices & about how she did leave 2x before I was born, going to her parents. Her parents lectured her on commitment & sent her back home to work things out. Times have changed, but both my parents are grateful to still have one another.
I was engaged once in my twenties for a very brief spell. I was young & dumb & thought my life was out of a story book. He was young & dumb & thought his life was right out of the soap opera's... cheating on me with 5 or 6 different women. Needless to say, I dumped him & he persued me for another year but I could never go there again. The betrayal shatterd my storybook life & I vowed to never live with my head in the clouds again.
I thought I would never get married.
Serial Monogomy...an American reality.
Just before I turned 36, I suddenly found myself getting married. Six months into my marriage, my DH was having affairs. Knee-jerk reaction? Get a Divorce Quick! Anquished over reaction? Get him to acknowledge it, discuss the motivation, the goals, the reasons, the reasons behind the reasons...see if we can work it out, see to it that if we can't that we can both walk away more enlightened & better prepared to have a more healthy relationship next time around. Step one, the hardest step...getting him to admit it, took a year. We've been married 3+ years now.
Had I not had my story book dreams squashed when I was younger, had I not been hit on by so many married men, had I not had a mother, an aunt, a sister, a friend (or few), co-workers & such who'd gone through it themselves, both men & women, handling it their way...I wouldn't have found the way I wanted to handle it.

Cheating...it happens.(It's hard)
If one cheats the IRS, they fine you, penalize you & sometimes prosecute you.
If one cheats on an exam, the teacher may fail you & maybe have you suspended or in detention
But if one cheats on their spouse, the reactions are as varied as the reasons.

People leave, they divorce, they sue each other, they argue & become abusive, they become jealous & obsessed, they become insecure & introverted, they lash out with an affair of their own, they brush it under the rug, they even murder... they destroy each other financially, emotionally and/or physically and some of us ...
accept that it has happened, try to understand the hows & whys, work towards not letting it happen again and vow that should it re-occur that somehow both parties will exit the realtionship wiser, stronger & better for it.


Anonymous said...

Well SLB, I hope things work out for you. It took me 7 years to get around to divorcing my ex because I just couldn't forget (among other things) but that was the number 1 reason. Kinda hard when 7 yrs later I could remember her name and what she looked like, but he couldn't. i would have to say infidelity is THE hardest thing someone has to deal with when they are in a relationship, it scares the hell out of me that it might happen in my own (second) marriage, and I have no idea how I'll handle that if it happens.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Oh, Kitten, I am so sorry for your heartache & know it well. It is very hard...for both parties. I never focused on the other women, as I took no vows with them. Although my life experiences prepared me for infidelity and I can find forgiveness, I will never forget. Things are never the same again, although not necessarily better or worse... they're just not the same. I've had to work hard & have to call on his assistance to not harbor resentment. There are no guarantees in life & love ... we must weigh out our opportunity costs (what we are willing to give up to gain what we want)
I hope & pray that you never have to feel that pain again.

Anonymous said...

Makes one think... Life is ahrd, and it is full of ups and owns, that's for sure. To my knowledge I've never been cheated on, and I've never cheated either. But then I've only been in one quite long relationship, 6 years. We were together 24 hours a day, almost, so neither of us would have the opportunity to do anything. I was never tempted either...

Wow. You were able to work through it? That's good, I hope...! But then we are humans. We are weak, we lust, we want what we can't have, but we can also forgive and move on.

Monsoon :-)

Mel said...

When principled living was an alien concept I could justify what has since become 'the unjustifiable'.
I don't get to do that, today.

Forgiveness is a powerfully loving thing when it's driven by love.
I hope for peace to find you in the decisions you've had to make.

I--cheat at cribbage ALL THE TIME. Don't leave the room, and keep an eye on my pegs cuz I don't count so well.
And sometimes, 8 and 6 DOES equal 'fifteen for two'! ;-)

Orhan Kahn said...

Lies, cheating and stealing. The story of my life and as you've so kindly illustrated the life of many, many others.

I still lie whenever I deem it will help, usually at work. As for cheating and stealing, thankfully they're well behind me.

Whats the point of cheating if what you're cheating for isn't worth anything? Monopoly taught me this. I mean, what was the point if your victory was hollow?

Personally I think stealing goes hand in hand with cheating and even lieing. And I honestly can't recall the last thing I stoled, unless you count the toliet paper I occasionally 'borrow' from my housemate.

More to the point, if my girlfriend were to cheat on me I'd probably blame myself for the most of, feel a little heart broken and move on. Some people could forgive, others would kill.

Wacky little world we've got here.

Pixie said...

I am glad you worked through it SLB.You are a better woman than I.
That is my worst fear, I think I would probably blame myself- for not being good enough for not offering the right things.

I know I should not, there is oddles of information out there that men have to "have a bit of strange" now and again yet still love their wives and don't want to leave them. I see this but I still can't get my head around it.
Maybe because I am a woman and we are more "emotional" or so it's said.

In my head and I have voiced this out loud to him Cheat and it's over. But I hope to God I never have to find out if I am strong enough to carry it out.
I would probably turn into the obbsessive, insecure person who stays but can never forget. It would eat away at me inside.

vicci said...

Paiger....Read the whale story on my blog...you will love it!

justrun said...

I think there is danger in this belief (not critiquing your writing or your opinion) because yes, there are cheaters but no, it doesn't happen to everyone.

I have two good friends who both say that convincing their wives to marry them is their proudest accomplishment in life. They will never cheat, they won't even come close.

Again, I know this isn't what you were saying and I know you must know people like this but still, I think it's worth being noted.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Monsfolly~ Yes, life can be hard & I am so glad that you have never experienced cheating. It's apparently a pretty common problem & although it can temporarily blind one...life certainly has harder knocks to throw our way.
Orhan~ Yes! I agree the 3 often times go together. It is a whacky world & these things can give us strength & a sense of humor or they can make us whacked too.
Pixie~We never really know how we will handle it until we cross that bridge. I never thought I would get married, much less be encountering infidelity so soon into the marriage & finally, I NEVER thought I would have the strength, desire or ability to even try to work things out. i will never forget.

Thanks everyone. When I initially began this blog...it was to write about these 3 things...its just taken me this long to do so.

Anonymous said...

I had a boyfriend who cheated on me and I swiftly ended it before it could cause anymore pain because he didn't even have the courage to admit it.Since then thankfully I have not had to undergo that again with anyone.But I had a close friend who had to deal with cheating by her spouse.I guess when its in a marriage its all the more harder.She was devastated and inspite of everything she tried very hard to put it behind and work it out but she couldn't.Maybe because she never got herself to forgive him for what he did.I guess it does take a lot of strength and forgiveness and understanding to weather it and work it out.And as you say you can forgive but should never forget.Because old unlearnt lessons can be more devastating when they return which they do at odd times.

Baron Ectar said...

What a honest post.

I will not bore you with details. I am a new to this whole divorce game.

I will say that I am glad that my ex and I can get past the angry of the many things that we know caused the end of our marr.

At least we are now developing a friendship - through forgiveness.

captain corky said...

I admire your strength and courage for working things out with him. I think most people in your situation wouldn't think twice before kicking their significant other to the curb, and most people would think that since you stayed with him your just a weak person, but after reading your post that doesn't seem to be the case here.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Fuzzy~The admission,I think is often the hardest thing to make happen & I know it must happen to move on
Baron~Forgiveness goes such a long way & I am so glad that you have it in your heart. I beleive these lessons will make all of your relationships stronger in the future.
Captain Corky~ TYVM. The grand kick-out was my initial knee-jerk reaction. It probably would have been much easier. There is no doubt that some folks have thought that it means I am weak... far from it... I just didn't enter into marriage with my head in the clouds. Its a reality, it happens & I am just grateful that I didn't allow resentment to consume me, thus destroying any chance we may have for working things out.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Thank you for your comment. I'll still be around. I just need a break from my blog right now. But I will pop up to say hi and let you know when I'm back.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Oodles & doodles, a feast of peace & love being sent your way Enemy. Come & go as you see fit...I trust your drive & instinct.

Doug said...

So many things to say. You've touched on three posts I plan on doing myself. I'm glad to hear that you never did that to anybody. The part on you leaving someone for another isn't very loving but I think you regret it and you're not afraid to acknowledge what you did, which goes a long way. Maybe deep down you knew what he was always doing, or maybe just a little karma or maybe God leading you away. After it happens to you and the story book dreams end you are changed for life unfortunately. I'm sorry to hear that it happened to another and I'm glad you two have worked things out. Hopefully mine will be as entertaining as yours.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late picking up on this post, but it certainly was good, complex and heartfelt.

As you probably know, I am in favor of cheating spouses as it is good for my business.

The 80% figure is probably correct.

As one of my more articulate clients once said: The trouble with life is that you only get one. The trouble with women is that there are so many."

Anonymous said...

Why am I sooooooooo jealous of all of you SLB's?