Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It seems everyone is admitting to infidelity these days. The onslaught of public confessions has brought my subconscious insecurities to the surface causing me recurrent nightmares. Two mornings in a row I woke my husband with a swift punch in the arm punishing him for his overnight betrayal.

I'm intelligent, I'm in touch with my feelings, I knew my dreams were not reality so I apologized, we laughed, and went on with our day.


circumstances led us to a situation with another woman. I know this woman, know she and my husband are close friends. I didn't question it...until others did.

Like poison seeping into the well through imperceptible cracks, I couldn't keep their words from entering my head. My gut and my brain went to war. My gut telling me that I know my husband and I would sense if something was different. My brain asking me, reiterating what others inferred, "How do you REALLY know? Does anyone REALLY know another person?"

The nightmares flooded back. Stories of Spitzer, Paterson, and countless others, public figures and personal acquaintances, betraying their loved ones rang in my head.

The insecurities morphed into anger. I was distant, curt. My anger made him impatient and we fed off of each other until a perfectly pleasant morning turned into a chilly and isolated afternoon. When I finally explained the root of my wrath he did not react with affirmations of love or nurturing murmurs of no need to worry. He got mad. It didn't occur to me that he would be upset at my distrust. I hadn't thought about it that way. I hadn't thought about him. At first I was defensive. Angry at me? I was angry at him. He had no right. But you know what? He did. After 15 years of infidelity-free marriage, didn't he (didn't we) deserve better from each other?

Marriage is hard. We make life-long vows to one person. We're human and vows are bound to be tested. Over the course of a marriage, both people will have opportunities to stray emotionally and physically. It takes commitment to the vows, to your spouse, and a serious consideration of the consequences, to not go outside the marriage. By protecting yourself, assuming the worst, it won't lessen the pain if your spouse is unfaithful. So why bother? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. To project the worst onto someone, always assume they are capable of bad behavior, is to eat away at the trust and the reasons for good behavior become less clear.

On the other hand, if you trust your gut, assume the other person is the person they say they are, the person you believe they are, there still is that risk of a breech, of human failing. Others may deem you a fool, you may deem you a fool, but ultimately it's not about anyone else. It's about you, your spouse and your faith in each other.


InTheFastLane said...

Trust is important, but the people who were giving you doubts deserve a little bit of the blame. Don't just blame yourself. It is hard to not occasionally have doubts, it sounds like, though, the two of you will weather the inevitable storms.

Manic Mommy said...

What a fantastic post. I agree whole heartedly and love the approach and the conclusions at which you've arrived.

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