Nov 062008

Well, unfortunately I heard another story today.  Dammit, guys.  We’ve been through this before.

You promised.  At one point in your life, you thought it was a keen idea to stand up and promise yourself to this person, in front of God and everybody.  (And believe it or not, “I promised I wouldn’t” is sufficient reason not to cheat on her.)

Sure there are good reasons to get divorced.  She runs around on you, or she’s got a secret drug habit, or she’s a Mafia princess, then well, you guys have got something to talk about, and you may ultimately be right to end the marriage.

But if she’s fundamentally the same person you married, then don’t give me any shit about she doesn’t understand me anymore, and I’ve met this other person who I think is my (gag) soulmate, and blah blah blah.  Get your ass in there and talk to your wife, and if you’re just “bored” or whatever, then you buck up, you selfish son-of-a-bitch.  Real men take an active interest in saving their marriages.

Oh, and a word about your children?  If your marriage ends, they’ll never be the same.  And I don’t mean they’ll go through a rough patch and you better get them some therapy; I mean they’ll never fucking be the same. All of that good stuff they have going on right now—you know, those great grades, that bounce, that giggly giddiness?  Turn it off like a light switch, because they’ll crash when you rip their world apart.

And I’m not suggesting that you’re automatically sentencing them to an emotionally stunted adulthood, but I am asserting that they’ll carry scar tissue from it.  We all accumulate such, but would you like their first significant dose of it to be because you wouldn’t keep your pants on?  And at 10 years old?  8?  6?  4?

Make sure you think about that when you’re K-Ying your little trollop up, okay there, sport?

Is it worth it?

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 Posted by at 7:10 pm

  13 Responses to “Straying husbands again”

  1. No surprise; here is something upon which you and I iron-clad, 100% agree. Regardless of where or in front of whom such promises are made; if they’re made AT ALL, they deserve to be honored and nurtured.

    I am NOT anti-divorce; I know plenty of people who made ill-considered choices in their youth and had to make course corrections, and I don’t judge a single one of them. However, infidelity is NEVER acceptable, EVER, regardless of HOW crappy or loveless you have allowed your marriage to become.

    A dear friend of mine cheated on her husband, then proceeded to tell me about it. They ended up divorcing, and our friendship went straight into the crapper because I would not cut her slack for not being up-front with her husband when she started having feelings for someone else. It would be the hardest conversation we’d ever have, but I would tell Mr. Chili if ANY guy ever started looking like a better deal. I’ve built a life around him – and he around me – and I cannot violate the trust that that building required.

    So here I am, standing next to you and saying “yes.” Real men – and real women – don’t cheat. Ever.

  2. Mrs. Chili: Exactly. Divorce needs to be a reality from time to time. No argument.

    But a 40-year-old who’s babbling about “discovering himself” and soulmates and shit? Fuck you, buddy. Go home and be a grown-up.

    So, um…what are you doing later? LOL

  3. I have some thoughts about this. I was the “victim” of marital infidelity, long story, not worth relating here. We divorced; we had no kids.

    Here’s my initial thought (which I’ve doubtless expressed in the past): love is a decision (oh, yeah, supposedly it’s like a choir of angels). Commitment is yet another decision. Anybody can revisit any decision any time they want to. What people don’t seem to do is acknowledge to themselves they are engaging in a decision-making (or reviewing) process. It ain’t “romantic” I guess (although what could be more romantic than consciously choosing to care about someone, and commit to them, is beyond me). So, “discovering oneself” in an extra-marital sexual relationship? What a load of crap.

    I wonder how many people have ever finished their decision review and said, in a straightforward manner, “I don’t want to be in a committed love relationship with you anymore.” Not many, I’ll warrant.

    Now, as to children. Here’s my view: absent something really horrible, no adult human should change their prior decision about love and commitment to their partner. That’s it. Sure, the secretary in my office with big tits is tempting, but since I am not going to revisit my commitment decision, I’ll just admire those jugs and accept such a sight as a pleasant part of my day at the salt mine.

    What is being an adult? Well, realizing what you are doing, and being responsible about it.

    I agree kids will never be the same after their parents break up.

    I’m rambling. What I’m saying is that if their are children, and your partner isn’t making the relationship impossible via certain misdeeds (and getting older, fatter, or grayer in the head doesn’t count), review all the decisions you want, but do the right thing. You know, you might find that if you do that, you’ll decide you are in love with your partner all over again (and logically, you should).

  4. Let’s also remember the consequences of such decisions are not just whether or not the marriage will survive or die. One of my best friends’ had a husband cheat on her (while she was pregnant no less). That marriage did not survive. But, even worse, now she is left with an STD she has to live with forever.

  5. The best argument for privatizing marriage is the mess the “family” courts have made.

  6. There are instances, though, where divorce really IS in the best interests of the children. We can’t lay a blanket claim over this issue; it’s gotta be taken on a case-by-case basis.

  7. Too often, people make the decision to marry because they have the sun in their eyes and their heads in their pants and I have seen couples divorce just months after the wedding because all they wanted was the party and not the commitment is supposedly celebrated.
    I have no tolerance for infidelity and condemn it every time. I am with Chili on the stance that divorce IS the best course in some cases, but agree that it ALWAYS fucks up kids. We’re friends with a father daughter pair who went through among the most rancorous splits I’ve heard about (in reality, not in movies) – when we met the kid, she was frightened, wary of EVERYONE and on a downward spiral. We showed her unconditional love and although she kept telling me she wished I were her mother (her mother is – and I have had to deal with her so I know – one of those C words I use very rarely. She had cheated on our friend and does nothing that is not designed to lash out.
    Marriage is for grown ups and although people do change, there is NO excuse for cheating.

  8. Gerry: I have nothing to add. Just wanted to say that I loved what you said.

    Greg: You and I have, over lunch, discussed the uphill climb a good man faces against a bad woman in divorce court regarding their children, and I presume that’s at least some part of what you’re getting at with your comment. That’s a hornets’ nest, no doubt.

    I don’t know whether I’m getting a skewed anecdotal view or not–how can I tell?–but my longstanding belief that on balance, men are usually more on the hook for infidelity than women has never been stronger.

    (Pay attention, kids: the preceding is one of the only beliefs I hold that could reasonably be described as sexist.)

    Mrs. Chili: You’re right, divorce is indicated and is in the best interest of children in a number of circumstances. It just depresses the hell out of me how often divorce is the end result of a man who simply must sink it into what’s-her-name at the office, or the mall, or whatever. Good God, man. Go home and jerk off.

    O’Mama: The youth angle is important, and I haven’t emphasized it enough. I was 26 when Lea and I married, and I’d put that at the low end of acceptability. (She was 30, a homeowner, and a little more comfortably in the “mature enough” range than was I.) We’re blessed in that it worked out so splendidly, though we damned near killed each other the first six months we were married. (This had more to do with the fact that neither of us had ever had a roommate of any kind after moving out of our parents’ houses. Also, she’s stubborn.)

    (OK, I’m stubborn too.)

    Still, you’re all over it. I see/hear of people in their very early 20s–or even their late teens–getting engaged, and I just want to run up to them and say “what the hell are you doing?”

  9. Oh, but that flush of crazy love – and the not having to ask Mom and Dad’s permission to use the car to go out on dates! Yes! Let’s get MARRIED!!

    It’s hard to fault folks who do that – how can they know any better when they really don’t KNOW any better? – but it can be profoundly sad. Very few people are able to divorce gracefully (though I know a few who have). There’s a certain maturity in knowing that you’ve made a terrible mistake, and in being grown-up enough to handle it in a calm and generous way.

  10. My husband was 24 when we married and I was 27, but he was the oldest 24 year old I had ever encountered and although we also damn near killed each other in the early days (coming on 15 years, now)m our marriage and family is our priority. I completely agree about those too young, with NO life experience, heads full of tv and movies and a romanticized view of happily ever after should sometimes be restrained from marriage – stats will show that that age group has a high percentage of marriage failure – and just live together and see how it goes. Just thinking about getting married when I was 18 and had no fucking clue who I was makes me cringe!
    That said, cheaters are still scum sucking pigdogs.

  11. LOL! I had NOOOOOO desire to get married. Then I up and met my husband – we married at 25, had both grown accustomed to no roommates. Then we intentionally delayed trying for kids until we were 28 or so (Which backfired sort of because then I had infertility issues and didn’t actually have my first until I was just almost 32.)

    Cheaters suck though. Especially the ones who think they can have both worlds.

  12. How do I say this? What about, um, “emotional” cheating? A couple of years ago I grew EXTREMELY fond of a woman I was working with. Physically? Yes. Sexually? Yes. But it was more than that, and that made me feel even worse. Nothing ever happened. I was married at the time, she was married at the time, and, quite frankly, even if we had both been single, I don’t think I was her type. Combine all those factors, and I never tried to say or do anything. I still felt terrible, though.

    Does that make me a bad husband?

  13. anon: I do confine my merciless railing to the fucking, ’cause that’s unambiguous. (And please, no one argue that with me. In terms of the relative health of your respective marriages, there are no meaningful subtleties to “your penis inside her vagina.” Thank you.)

    Though “emotional” cheating may seem trickier, it really isn’t so much so, in my view. Committing to someone forever doesn’t turn off your biology, and it’s not like you stop meeting stimulating people. Even if you are happy in your marriage, it remains relatively easy to identify women in which you’d be interested–and in some cases extremely interested–were you single.

    The tipping point is in what you do with it. If you identify it and (ahem) “use” it to (ahem) “relieve tension” during (ahem) “quiet time,” and that’s as far as it goes, then it’s difficult for me to see how you’re doing anything wrong. (And if you are, then I’ll see you in hell, because I’ve been quite damned for more than two decades.)

    Generally I’d say if you’re telling the woman anything you wouldn’t want your wife to overhear, then it’s time for a checkup from the neck up.

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