Friday, March 21, 2014

The Future and Cheating

I was reading through a few different blogs that I've been following this morning and a particular post caught my eye.  It was an advice post on the conversation between spouses when one get's caught cheating.  On one hand, I've been through a few of those (on both sides, I should note) and I can appreciate the importance of that discussion to the future of the relationship.  On the other hand... well, that made me think a bit.

I understand cheating, both sides of that particular coin.  Been there, done that, managed to avoid any STDs.  Cat started cheating within the first two years of marriage, I cheated back.  Then we'd work it out and move forward.  Then something else happened, she'd cheat or I'd cheat, and we'd work it out and move forward.  Eventually, rather than fighting the situation we went into an "open" relationship.  Then, after a year or so of that we separated...  Then divorce and she got remarried.

I'd always said I wouldn't put up with anyone cheating on me.  Period.  Not even once.  But the situation with Cat was complicated because I was in the military at the time, I was gone for long periods, and next thing we knew we had a kid.  We tried to work everything out for our daughter, so I ended up sucking up a lot of frustration and anger, putting it away in some dark place to try and forget about it.  Even when I realized that it wasn't my "fault", I still couldn't help but wish it had never happened.

For me, I will totally trust someone until they give me a reason not to.  Once they give me a reason, it's very difficult to get that trust back.  So, the cheating was less of a problem for me than the lying and going behind my back.  Once that trust was lost, it was like living with a stranger.  It drove me nuts because then she would say she was going to the gym... was she really going to the gym?  A guy from work would give her a ride home... was he really a just a friend?  How do you live with someone you don't trust?

If Cat had told me "Hey, I want to have sex with other dudes", that would have been kind of awkward but it would have bothered me a lot less to have an open, honest conversation about it.  Instead, it was half-truths, rumors among my friends, time unaccounted for, phone calls unanswered, nights out at "friends" houses.  Yeah, cheating might have dinged my self-esteem, but having constant doubts about my spouse drove me crazy.

So, after all of that I'm single again.  And I've firmly reinstated my "no cheating" rule, not because my manhood can't stand it but because I deserve to be with someone I can trust implicitly.  If I'm in a relationship long enough and we decide to do the "open" thing (which I'm not totally against, though it seems to add a lot of complications to an otherwise content situation), that would be one thing, but absolutely no cheating.  I deserve better than that.  I think most of us do.

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