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Mar 24

Can a marriage survive an affair?

I feel bad for poor Sandra Bullock.

It’s bad enough that hubby Jesse James was busy engaging in extracurricular activities with Michelle “Bombshell” McGee while she was off filming her Oscar-winning performance in “The Blind Side” — and isn’t that a rather prescient title, given what’s happened? — but now everyone’s weighing in on whether Bullock should dump
him or try and patch up the marriage.  

Sound familiar? Just ask Elin, Elizabeth, Nilda, Hilary, Uma, Halle, Robin … (and, yeah, probably a lot of men, too — like, Guy).

Every woman in an adulterous high-profile marriage or relationship has been held up as a model of what to do or not for the rest of us. But, since we don’t live celebrity lifestyles, it’s silly to pay attention to what they do or not when their man is busted.

It comes down to what each of us would do.

Is infidelity reason enough to break up
a marriage? Can a marriage survive an affair — or affairs, like in the case of Tiger Woods?

That’s a question I had to ask myself.

Honestly, in the beginning, right after I absorbed the devastation, the anger, humiliation and fear, I said — yes. I decided I was going to do everything I could to save my marriage and my family. The Kid was young, and I was still convinced I was in love with Rob. I read Peggy Vaughan, I read “Divorce Busting,” I went to couples’ therapy, and I followed a workbook of exercises that were supposed to lead me toward forgiveness.

But as we got deeper into therapy and I listened to what he was saying and how I was really feeling, I realized that no matter what I thought and wanted and no matter how hard I was willing to work, Rob was who he was, and on a fundamental level, there was something in him that was always going to have a hard time with honesty.

Did I want to live with that?

Would I be able to trust that?

And then I had to admit to myself, no, I didn’t and I couldn’t.

A lot of marriages break up after an affair, but not all of them. Some couples are able, like a phoenix, to rise up out of the flames and transform into something stronger and better.

It’s easy to make a blanket statement — If he ever cheated on me, I’d kick his sorry ass out” — but we never really know what we’re going to do until we’re in the moment. Sometimes, what we thought would destroy us makes us a better person and a better partner. Sometimes, we find a compassion and forgiveness we didn’t know we had. And other times, our liberal, loving and accepting ways are put to the test (and we have to accept, yeah, I’m not quite as liberal, loving and accepting as I thought I was!)

Could I stay with someone who abused me? Absolutely not! Could I stay with an alcoholic? If he got sober and stayed sober. Could I stay with someone who cheated on me? Maybe, depending …

I couldn’t with Rob, but maybe I could with someone else. But, crap — I sure hope I never have to decide.

  • Where do you draw the line in a relationship?
  • Have you ever drawn a line and crossed it anyway?
  • And, have you ever regretted dumping someone who messed up but was fundamentally a “good” guy or gal?

Photo by Warner Bros.

Mar 22

Shoes? Yeah, there’s a fetish for that

Posted on Monday, March 22, 2010 in dating, Happiness, Honesty, love, Relationships, Sex/sexuality

“So, does Sean have any fetishes?” Sara asked me as we sat in her hot tub the other night.

“That’s kind of random, but yeah. He’s a lot like John Cusack in ‘High Fidelity’: things are very orderly, organized by dates and colors and sizes.”

“That’s not really a fetish. I mean, is he weird in any way?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that, girlfriend: I think it’s pretty weird when you consider my organizational ‘system’ is to cram everything into my closet and then shut the door as quickly as I can so nothing falls out.”

“What if wanted to wear what’s in your closet?”

“Never’ll happen: he’d have a heart attack just trying to look in there.”

She sighed. “But, what if he did?

“You mean, what if he was a cross-dresser or something?”

“Exactly. Or he wanted to wear your shoes or sniff them. Or maybe he likes to wear men’s pantyhose. Would that be a deal-breaker?”

“I don’t know, beside the fact that  I’d worry he’d get a run in my L’eggs.   A certain amount of kinky is OK, but it has to be the right kind of kinky, you know? He wants to sniff my armpit? I’m down with that, because I’d love to sniff his right back. Love those pheromones! But I certainly wouldn’t want to be showing up at a party with him in a flowery sundress and some sexy little Jimmy Choo stilettos. Even if he shared them.”

“What if it was in private, though?”

That’s different — maybe. Sure, only he and I would know (plus all his former lovers, I suppose). But you’d still have to be OK with it on a fundamental level. And I’m not so sure I am.

I absolutely am into fantasies, and believe I am open-minded and nonjudgmental. To each his own,
right? You want to bring out the whips and chains, nipple clips and latex? Go right ahead. I’m sure there are many upsides to dating cross-dressers and shoe-sniffers, too (and footwear is the No. 1 fetish object in the world; others include hearing aids, frogs and glue. Hmm …). But I might not want to live with it.

Because you have to accept who a person is, warts and all, even if you don’t entirely embrace all his obsessions and peccadillos. If something is just too weird to be around — frogs? hearing aids? glue? — well, I just don’t know how to get past that.

Do you?

Photo © Glue Stock –

Mar 19

Help! I saw my dad’s girlfriend naked!

Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 in dating, Parenting, Relationships, Self image, Singles

I was in the middle of my morning routine — shower, makeup, blow-dry hair, prance around to whatever’s on my iTunes while getting dressed, coffee — when The Kid unexpectedly popped his head into my door.

“Could you please lower that? It’s horrible!”

It was Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” It was far from horrible. But as I started to hit the volume button on my laptop, something horrible happened.

I flashed a boob at my kid. Accidentally, of course. The towel slipped, and …

“Uh …” we said simultaneously, equally

He left the room immediately, but I’m pretty sure he spent the rest of day thinking exactly what I was thinking: “Ew!”

I called Sara as soon as I got to work.

“I had the worst morning ever.”

“Did your espresso machine break again?”

“No, this was waaay worse.”

“Are you going to tell me, or turn this into some David Lean multihour epic?”

“I flashed a boob at Trent.”


“By accident. I had a, uh, wardrobe malfunction.”

“So what? He’s breast-fed, for goodness sake. Been there, done that.”

“Yes, but not for like 16 years!”

“There’s nothing wrong with a woman’s nude
body. It’s beautiful. He’ll live.”

I have no doubt he’ll live. And Sara’s right — a woman’s body is beautiful. Well, some are, just
like some men’s bodies are.

But your mother’s body? No one wants to see that nude.

Unless, of course, you’re still young enough to be bathing with her.

So, what about your parent’s love interest? Not too long ago there was a blogosphere ruckus over Hilary Swank’s confession that she’s been au naturel in front of her boyfriend’s 6-year-old son. (Britney Spears did that, too, but they were her own kids, and let’s not forget Tori Spelling has naked pictures of herself in her kids’ bathroom; actually, let’s forget that) Swank’s not a nudist, but she sleeps naked (as do I), and so she’s been in the buff when he’s popped into his dad’s bedroom in the morning.

“He doesn’t look twice. He doesn’t think about it yet,” she said.

Maybe, maybe not. I distinctly remember that was just around the age Trent got really interested in playing doctor …

But switch the sex around — if Swank’s kids (if she has any) saw her boyfriend naked, big deal or not? I think the ruckus would be even bigger. Poor guys; they’re always a fine line away from being pervs.

Honestly, I’m not sure it’s OK to have a girlfriend or boyfriend sleep over when there are young kids around. And maybe it’s fine to be naked in front of your own kids — up to a certain age and depending on gender. A lot of how kids feel about their body comes from how their parents feel about their own, although I don’t think seeing your parents nude will scar you for life. But to be nude in front of a boyfriend’s kids?

Although, really, I think The Kid would be quite happy to see Hilary Swank nude.

Nudity in front of kids, yours or your boy/girlfriend’s — OK or not?

Photo © morgan capasso –