The radio show I listen to nearly every morning at work does this bit called “War of the Roses.”
A listener calls the show if they suspect their spouse is cheating and the DJs pretend to be a floral shop, call the allegedly cheating spouse and attempt to get them to confess to cheating. The routine is pretty funny, but I always find myself wondering what happens afterwards. Once the initial shock and anger wear off, you’re still left with the hurt, anger and betrayal.
After a particularly nasty War of the Roses one day, I stumbled across an article on Huffington Post about adultery. The author questioned society’s views on cheating and brought up some really interesting points – like the fact that hundreds of years ago, life expectancy was shorter, and marriages typically only lasted 15 or 20 years. Today, you could find yourself with your spouse for 50 plus years. She wondered if it’s realistic to expect to be with one person for so long, when people are constantly evolving and changing.
I’m one of those people who is almost always shocked when I hear about cheaters. I know I shouldn’t be – I mean, hello, you hear about it all the time – but it’s just something that I never thought of ever doing. One of Awesome’s friends was dumped by his girlfriend and in the past two weeks found out she had been cheating on him. I was shocked by that one even though I had never met the girl. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else, I just can’t imagine doing that to someone.
While the author of the article was in no way condoning adultery, she was making some points as to why we should view cheating in a different light, mainly that we shouldn’t be that surprised when it happens. I can easily say that I do not agree with this. Why are we moving towards accepting adultery? Why can’t people communicate their unhappiness to their spouse instead of going out and sneaking around?
If people are willing to put so much effort into cheating on their spouse – lying about where they are going or where they have been, using cash instead of credit to buy gifts or rent hotel rooms, sneaking off to different parts of town to avoid seeing anyone they know, etc. – why aren’t they willing to put that much effort into trying to save the marriage? Or, if they aren’t interested in saving the marriage, getting a divorce?
Some people say things like, “We are just staying married for the kids.” Not only does this still not make cheating OK, this is also the absolute worst thing you could do to your children. Most of the time, I don’t like to make declarative statements like that but I happen to know what I’m talking about on this one.
My parents divorced when I was 15, and if they hadn’t gotten divorced I would have ended up hating both of them and most likely myself. The divorce wasn’t easy to get through, but it was a hell of a lot better than staying in that house where it was painfully obvious that my parents couldn’t stand each other. Please, if you are having problems and trudging through it “for the kids” just stop right now. Either head to a counselor’s office or a lawyer’s office. You aren’t doing your kids any favors.
The end of the article was more uplifting than the beginning. The author talked a lot about communication and how you and your spouse can decide how you want to define your marriage/relationship. These days, nothing is really taboo. If you want to have an open marriage and sleep with other people, I’m down with it. Just make sure you discuss it with your spouse first. And if you aren’t going to take your marriage seriously, just say no!
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.