“When your spouse strays, what pain does it bring?”
In what I’d have to call an ‘ad’ for his book (which I haven’t read yet), Travellinginternationally asks this question and if you’ve ever had this happen to you, you also know just how horribly painful it can be. The fact that your spouse/partner/whatever has strayed is a big enough kick in very sensitive places… but what’s even worse is taking the path toward finding out why it happened – think of a minefield… and the mines are all nuclear devices… and they’re hypersensitive.
It’s pretty bad to have the thought in your head that your partner’s being fucked by someone else (or they’re doing the fucking – work with me here on the gender stuff); that alone dredges up things that can make your worst nightmares look tame; it’s like getting hit in the liver and if you’ve ever experienced this, you know how much it hurts, a pain so sharp and deep that you just wanna curl up into a ball and suck your thumb. The pain is even worse if you know your partner is extremely talented in bed and now, someone else has found out just how good they are.
And then, at some point, you find out why they did what they did, which is usually the finger-pointing segment of this horror show; you need to know why and until you do find out, that pain I mentioned in the last paragraph is going to repeat itself… and it only gets worse… until you hear the answers to the biggest question you’ll ever ask them: “Why?”
One of the rules I like to follow is, “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to hear the answers to” but, when it comes to this, you don’t want to ask… but you have to; you don’t want to know… but you have to. You don’t want to hear any of it… but you have to. The thing about this part is that, usually, when a partner strays, it’s because someone screwed the pooch somewhere in the relationship and, what’s even worse about that, they may not have been aware of the fact that they fucked up. That or you learn something about your partner – the one who strayed – that you didn’t know before; it’s funny that when this is the case, you almost immediately see all of the signs that they were going to do this… but you didn’t see them before they went off the reservation. Funny in the ironic sense because when your partner strays, it is never a laughing matter – unless, of course, you didn’t give a fuck about them in the first place.
There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the soul-crushing agony that’s felt when the answer to the why question appear; it’s that time in your life (or theirs) when logic, common sense, and raw emotion initiate a war that is brutal and there’s no such animal as taking prisoners. You try to make sense of what you’re hearing but the emotional pain is just too bad; it’s like having the mother of all bombs dropped on you at the beginning and now you’re being carpet-bombed like there’s no tomorrow as the argument – can’t really call this a conversation – starts to reveal all the holes and flaws in each person and how they affected the relationship and to the point where someone had to go somewhere else to get that which they needed.
Some folks like to believe that shit just can’t happen in this situation and I can understand why they would think like that because, in theory, one has to make a conscious decision to go ahead and do something that, by rule and/or mutual agreement, isn’t ever supposed to happen. They discount the fine art of seduction, though, and not only will shit happen when it’s not expected, by the time the realization hits them that, oh, shit, I shouldn’t be doing this, it’s usually too late to prevent it or, as some folks discover, that warning hits them well after the fact – and now they know they have a problem – and even bigger problem – because if/when the question of why comes up, there’s just no way to explain it… and all that’s gonna do is make the strayer look even worse.
You know how people love to say that no one is perfect? Well, when it comes to this, you’re gonna find out just how imperfect both people really are and it’s once again ironically funny because if we are, in fact, aware of the fact that no one is perfect, why do we expect our partner to exude perfection in everything and at all times? People make mistakes and, yeah, they can do something deliberately – and based on whatever logic pushed them in that direction – and they know it’s going to be a mistake and no matter how their straying adventure turned out; that’s because they know that at some point, they’re going to be made to answer for what they did to their partner.
Yeah, it’s kinda crazy, ain’t it, knowing that doing something like this is going to make some very bad shit happen at some point… and you go ahead and do it anyway. We like to think that the decision to stray is a logical one, based on a lot of perceived facts and stuff like that… but it’s really an emotion-driven decision because logic and common sense may suggest that straying is the thing to do… but it will also tell you why you shouldn’t do it – and it’ll make a pretty good case against jumping off this particular cliff but that rarely changes the fact that the straying takes place – your heart doesn’t care much about what’s logical or what makes sense, hence the saying, “The heart wants what it wants…”
So you somehow manage to survive the five big questions: What, where, when, how, and why… but there’s another set of these prime questions awaiting the couple, beginning with what, if anything, is going to be done about this. A lot of us are aware of what usually happens and that can be just as painful as the act that got all of this shit started in the first place.
It is interesting to note that a lot of people in a relationship adopt the “honesty is the best policy” mantra and always insisting on the truth and honesty in all things. They say that truth will set you free… and it usually does in this case but not before you get to experience a great line from a good movie: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
And, no, most people can’t. It may occur to them somewhere down the road that learning the truth was, in fact, important – at least you know how things went wrong, right? However, along the road of truth, you learned some pretty shitty things about each other, things that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You’ll carry this truth with you into the next relationship you have – you know that your current relationship will, most likely, be dead and buried – and it’s hard to move forward after having all of your flaws exposed and I do mean all of them and particularly those you never really paid much attention to or ones you’ve always felt were of no issue or consequence. Which is understandable because there are a lot of things about an individual that hang out right at the edge of our awareness and, thus, we don’t really pay much attention to them… until your partner drags them out in the open as part of their explanation of why they strayed.
Knowing that this particular door truly swings both ways doesn’t make one feel any better… although it can be a bit of a moral victory to be able to throw their own flaws into their face like a Mike Tyson right hook – so everyone winds up getting hurt badly when it’s time for truth and honesty to take the stand.
I think we try to be proactive in our relationships, to do – or not to do – the things that will cause someone to stray but, in the end, we really find ourselves in a reactive mode because, going forward, our next attempts at being proactive are really based on our reaction to an event that proved, all after the fact and shit, it couldn’t be prevented… and one that can never be changed. Going forward, it makes us defensive, shifts us into a protective mode that will, at some point, become a hinderance in our lives; we will, in some form or another, make the next person that comes along pay for the crimes of the last person, not because the new person is a bad or cruel individual but simply because the last person hurt us and cause us – or we caused ourselves – so much pain and anguish.
We will be less likely to give ourselves to someone else totally, completely, and unconditionally; while we believe, in our heart of hearts, that we’re only protecting ourselves we will eventually find out that all we’re really doing is providing that hurtful situation a nice place to move into and grow and, oh, fuck, make the last situation repeat itself.
Whenever the topic of cheating comes up in the many blogs here on WordPress, the one main question asked is why people cheat when, apparently, there’s supposedly no reason for anyone to do this, let alone want to do this. I say that it’s not that people cheat on each other – it’s all in why they do it and then how that situation is handled.