I hate to hear about people being mistreated by someone they care about. It is a very devastating sort of situation that really can tear at someone’s mental stability. As a general rule I try to avoid women who have extreme trust issues. Not really something that I want to spend the rest of my life dealing with. But people who have these issues as a result of being mistreated or betrayed I have a great deal of sympathy for. Everyone is not just equipped to get over things. Some of us are blessed with this sort of, pick yourself up and dust yourself off, type of personality. And getting over things is different for different people. In the real world, in real relationships, sometimes things happen. Cheating happens. Mistrust can happen. Disappointment happens. And getting over it for me might be working through it while getting over it for someone else might be just simply rolling out. But from a friend, all I should ever really hear is support, encouragement with some sprinkles of reality flakes just to keep me sane. But I should never hear someone trying to shame me into doing what they think is right.
I know ladies think that they have the market cornered on being the victims of philandering partners. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Guys get cheated on all the time. But in general I think we just process things differently. Now I am not going to get into a debate about which gender cheats more but I will say that the only disparity that exists between genders when it comes to cheating is those who talk about it….. and those who shamefully keep quiet about it. (I will let you assert which gender you think those characteristics apply to.) So when I got a call from a friend about finding out that his wife had been sleeping with a close family friend, I was disappointed but not shocked beyond belief. Partly because I just believe that people are people. Some make good decisions and some make poor decisions. But what was so appalling about this scenario is that this woman made some very dismissive decisions. Dismissive of consequences and repurcussions. Dismissive of how sleeping with a guy who was her husbands co-worker would be shameful to her husband and to her children. Not to mention that one of the children is not his. This is devastating stuff. And people are dealing with it on many different levels. Through counseling. Prayer. Silence or even violence. We turn on Jerry Springer and the show is filled with degenerate men who abuse some woman and sleep with her sister and make passes at all her friends. Just really hurtful stuff! But the difference between my life and Jerry Springer is, I do not expect my friends to act like the studio audience and jeer or cheer depending on what I decide to do about it.
If I decide to stay with a woman who has slept with one of her old boyfriends, that is a decision that I am well equipped to make. A decision that I want a friends counsel about, but not necessarily his direction. Bottomline is that I hate when people try to shame someone into leaving. I see this so much with some people, that I pity what sort of scenario usually plays out in the aftermath. For me I have an inner circle of friends. And I have an even tighter circle of people who I would discuss my ladies infidelity with if I felt so inclined. And I have chosen these people for a couple fo really important reasons. First off because I can trust that they will keep this to themselves. Confiding in someone who won’t get on the phone and tell someone else as soon as you finish spilling your guts is key. Secondly because I know that they will bring up important things to think about but they will ultimately support whatever decision I make. And that is it in a nutshell. The worst mistake that people make is that when they are hurt they immediately run out and tell all their friends that they caught their girlfriend/boyfriend fooling around with So and So! Wrong move….. You don’t even know how you want to handle the whole situation and now you have involved a bunch of people who are going to not only formulate and opinion on what should be done but they are going to loudly voice it to you. So while you are commiserating with enraged friends and wallowing in the pity of the moment, people are already filling your head with what you ought to do. How to get them back. How to bust them or confront them. And of course the consistent refrain of. “Well I know you are not going to get back with him/her, RIGHT?!” And in that moment, that is how you feel. Naturally. But after your temper and pain and rage cool…… And all sorts of thoughts start to go through your mind. Thoughts of things that you have done. Thoughts of whether or not this behavior was malice or mistake. Thoughts of loneliness and time invested. All of the things that balance out a perspective come to mind. And you start to truly feel like you want to work things out…. but you can’t. At least not in the way that you should. Not of your own personal feelings and direction. Without the involvement of outside influences. Because at this point you have all of your friends involved who have talked ill of your partner and will undoubtedly talk ill of you if you return to them. They get invested on a level that has them making judgements on your partner and on you. Judgements that will linger should you decide to try to make things work. Try to forgive her for a mistake. These friends try to Shame you into walking away.
Now I am not advocating that people stay with cheaters or that you should never listen to a good friends advice. But I am saying that allowing people to make decisions for you through shame or peer pressure is going to bite you in the ass because you are the one who ultimately has to live with that decision. And when you involve friends in dialogue of such importance make sure that they can be that level-headed rock that you need while you are an emotional scatter brain. Someone who will not judge, condemn or broadcast whatever is going on in your life. Someone who is just going to help you hash through the pros and cons without making the decision for you. We all need people to keep it real with us and tell us things as they are, but we can accept that important support and take it as counsel. And not walk away feeling like the only option that we have is to ex-communicate from the person who has hurt us or face the shameful wrath of someone who claims to be a friend.