For all intents and purposes, my last relationship was perfect—aside from my beau’s extracurricular activities.
Is that delusional? I can already see readers shaking their heads in disapproval.
Sure, there were flaws to the relationship like any other. There were days that I wanted to strangle him; moments when the words that came out of his mouth were so incredibly banal that I would cringe. Yet, these were flaws I was willing to stand because we never went to bed angry, and he’d sit down on wet park benches so I could perch on his lap, lest I get wet too.
If I had not found out about the cheating, I probably would’ve married him.
I saw no problem living the rest of my life day in and day out with him. Looking back—I still think that is the case. It was only until I unearthed the truth that I felt as if he had betrayed me. As if he didn’t stay up nights to hear my tearful pillow confessions, rub my back when it was that time of the month, call my sister when I needed her most, or make me dinner every single night of the week without so much as being asked.
I would have never found out either had I not searched. That’s another red flag, isn’t it? If one goes looking for a problem, then there probably is one. Or is there a problem within that person if they distrust the one they love most? The chicken or the egg? Another head shake.
Last year, I read an autobiography on Deborah Mitford, later the 10th Duchess of Devonshire. I suspected something was amiss in the account of her life, so I searched her husband’s name with the word “affair” following. Of course, my suspicions had been correct, and hundreds of articles came up straight away—one of which was of particular interest to me.
A journalist explicitly asked why the Duchess did not include her husband’s infidelity in her autobiography. She responded, “It’s not something I would dream of writing about because it seems to happen to everybody, so what of it?” A very English sentiment, but I can’t help but to agree. Perhaps the Duchess had made peace with her life. She had born three healthy children, became a great lady to her country, and she was married for 63 years.
Is a little infidelity the price to pay for this? Should she have traded such an incredible life for mere pride? Although it’s not pride in which people demand faithfulness—it is a purity of heart, a hope for the better, and a respect for themselves that cannot be so small-mindedly labeled as pride.
As hard as I try to rationalize it, I know that one who cheats is not for me. I could never accept someone who did not value me enough to keep it in their pants. Have I redeemed myself? Most likely not, because who could suggest that extramarital affairs are anything but appalling?
I can certainly think of a few things that by my standards would be far less tolerable: lack of support, celibacy, anger, or guilt-tripping. These things I simply could not stand for, but infidelity? Who knows, perhaps one day I will enter into a marriage wherein a leniency is established.
There’s a thought. A cynical one, but it’s a thought. In a world where cheating is so common a practice, and with a species whose innate nature is polygamy—is it so wrong to wonder whether or not infidelity should not be tolerated?
Just a thought.
Author: Brittany Ann Bandemer
Volunteer Editor: Keeley Milne / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Harsh Agrawal/Flickr