Being a single, never-married babe, I admit that there are many things about marriage that I just don’t know or understand. Like how I could have been expected to pick one guy, one, and stay with him for the rest of my life. And this one: why married women stay with their cheating husbands who, by the way, vowed not to do that.
Whenever there’s a public scandal about cheating husbands, I always wait for the news that the wife has left. Usually she doesn’t, though. Elin Nordegren-Woods and Jenny Sanford are my heroes. They packed up their sh** and got the heck out of Dodge when Tiger and Mark behaved badly. I know better than to make a declaration about what I’d do in a situation I’ve never been in but, I swear, I believe I would leave if my (non-existent) husband cheated on me more than once. Maybe even if just once.
But lots of married women don’t leave. And I don’t get it. Which brings me to today’s blog post. Recently, I briefly dated a newly-divorced guy who puzzles me. In two ways. And our conversations are what remind me of how ignorant I am about the ways of marriage. He told me two things that completely confused me:
- That he stayed married for 38 years to a woman he never loved.
- So he cheated in order to feel what he needed to feel (presumably romantic love and I don’t know what else.)
I have multi-layered befuddlement at these two statements. Why was he married to a woman he didn’t love? (They have no kids, so there goes that explanation). Why did he stay so long? Why was cheating a better option than leaving?
And this is where the conversation became even more interesting. He married a woman he didn’t love because his “parents made him.” He stayed so long because it “would be wrong to leave.” He cheated because he needed to fill in the gaps of what he wanted but wasn’t getting from his marriage…but leaving would be more wrong. This last line feels upside-down to me. I think cheating is more disrespectful and the honorable thing to do is to leave. He thinks the exact opposite.
And I wondered what his wife thought. Apparently she was more upset that he (finally) left her than she was at his cheating. There I go again being all confused.
I’m always disappointed in women who stay with cheating hubbies. Of course, it’s really none of my business…but that doesn’t stop me from having an opinion.
So I had this conversation with a few others –all married– to hear their opinions and there was no consensus about whether women, in general, should leave or stay in such situations. So then I started to wonder, what is it about the woman who tolerates cheating? What does she know that I don’t?
Just curious. Anybody want to help enlighten me?
NOTE: The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree— is available here and here, and on Amazon.
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