Yesterday I mentioned mistakes and recovery. I need to recover before proceeding with original plan. Let’s look at cheating before we get to preventing it. So, we need to examine these identical terms—cheating, unfaithfulness, and infidelity—as they register with husband and wife:
- Faithfulness is the gigantic commitment and mutual expectation that operates in the marriage background as both gift and duty one to another. It generates very little marital glue, because the threat of the opposite also lurks in the background—infidelity. It’s a continual seesaw especially in wife’s mind: promise of his goodness vs. threat of his badness.
- To husband, wife’s cheating means sexual relations with another man, period. It goes so far beyond his ability to forgive and so disrupts his sense of significance and mental wellbeing that he dumps her before or after unforgivable abuse or even violence.
- To her, cheating comes in three degrees: (1) Sexual infidelity without emotional attachment to another woman is a first degree ‘burn’. (2) Emotional unfaithfulness is second degree burn, as represented by repeated sexual infidelity or emotional attachment to another female. (3) Any suggestion or danger of his abandoning her is third degree infidelity.
- The first degree she can handle, once she proves to herself that the second is absent. She can forgive, act as if she’s forgotten it, and move forward to brighten her future. (Feminism discourages this as different from how men react. So, women should act more as men do? I’m not personally endorsing either way but pointing out anti-female pressures that women face from the sisterhood.)
- The second degree is far different. Husband’s emotional attachment to another woman attacks her sense of female importance. It overpowers her self-love with self-loathing pressures of inadequacy. She can’t live with it. Note that it’s not so much him, he’s only the trigger. She can’t live with herself in his company. The frustration and humiliation usually triggers separation, so they can separate under her terms rather than his.
- The third degree ends the same way as the second for women of action: She senses the danger of his departure and beats him to it. For women less inclined to jump the gun, especially co-dependents, they await his departure with dread so great it causes indecision and often mental paralysis.
- If she gets dumped without any early warning signs, she endures the worst-case agonies of emotional unfaithfulness.
- She cheats for only one reason: Another emotional involvement, even though she may be prompted by revenge for his cheating.
- He always has an excuse for cheating. The more it reflects badly on him, the more likely he’s truly sorry (but don’t overlook possible manipulation if possible in his character).
- He’s not sensitive about emotional infidelity, and so he lacks understanding of wife’s inability to forget even if she forgives.
Unfaithfulness is a dirty game regardless of how it plays out. As with anything else, prevention helps prevent it. We return there tomorrow.