The Mate Debate: A Personal Perspective

October 30, 2009

Today’s CNN’s article Mate debate: Is monogamy realistic? presents food for thought. True, we are living longer and couples who marry young change so much over time that they can grow widely apart, making staying married very difficult. And because we may only live once, there’s the question: What’s more important –My needs or Our relationship?

Considering myself a liberal, I used to nonchalantly think affairs happen and who’s to judge? I felt this way even when my best friend learned her husband had cheated on her and she cried seemingly forever. I distinctly remember thinking “by now she really should be over it”. I tried to comfort her explaining that I knew her husband loved her, and that affairs are simply like the many mistakes we make growing up. I also remember discussing the whole thing with my then husband. He genuinely told me how badly he felt about my friend’s pain, and how he wished her husband hadn’t hurt her so badly.

My perspective soon changed radically when I learned my own husband was having an ongoing affair… that created a child… with his office manager, a woman I knew who’d been a guest in my home many times.

As the saying goes, I was one of the last to know, and when I put the pieces together and confronted my husband (expecting to learn I was simply being hysterical and fabricating the whole thing) I let out the most unhuman howl known to mankind. It was as if someone had stabbed me in the gut and was continuing to twist and twist and twist the dreadful knife.

Granted, the “love child” piece amplified my pain, however faced with my spouse’s infidelity I became furious with the way media portrays affairs. We are seduced into seeing such behavior as romantic, passionate, erotic, beautiful endeavors, sad only because of an adulterer’s pain at ending the relationship thanks to a boring “marriage that was getting in the way.”

The wedding is a fairy tale celebration, however the marriage license is a binding contract that deserves respect, if only because affairs destroy families especially when a love child enters the picture. The effect of an affair on a spouse and children is not beautiful, romantic or easy to forgive. It is a choice not a “no-fault”, sorry it didn’t workout, better luck next time kind of happening.

The reality is it causes real pain, financial devastation and it changes innocent lives forever. It definitely is not something you’d wish on your best friend or your children.

Doubt you’ll change my mind.


4 Responses to “The Mate Debate: A Personal Perspective”

  1. But, after experiencing this pain, you resisted the urge to go postal and created Brilliant Exits. You are incredible. Growing through your pain and helping others is a beautiful lesson for your children to watch!

  2. Thanks Ellen for your beautiful comment!

  3. Sherri Says:

    Sharon, thanks so much for this beautifully written, gut-wrenching account. My four children and I have been struggling with a similar betrayal and abandonment for 2 years now. This process brings out a lot of darkness and grief–but your web site sheds light and hope. Thank you so much for sharing, so openly, your story about “being there,” and giving us, through your own example, all hope for a Brilliant Exit.

  4. Sherrie, Thanks for your beautiful comment on my blog. I’m sorry you’ve been through a similar story and my heart goes out to you and your children. The only way I can make sense of what I’ve been through is to share my story to bring light and hope to others. That it has helped you means a lot to me.

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