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Mar 2

Your cheating heart

Posted on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 in Affairs/infidelity, Honesty, Relationships, Sex/sexuality

We were long overdue for a gals’ night, so we gathered last week and found ourselves lined up at the bar at the Buckeye.

“Don’t look now, but isn’t that Scott?” Mia asked, jerking her head rhythmically  to the right.

“It sure is,” Sara said, her head whipping around to see the action in the booth behind us. “But that sure isn’t Liz.”

Liz being Scott’s wife.

“And, so?” I asked. “For all you girls know, it could be a business meeting, or his niece or a
friend who needs advice. Stop being so
suspicious!”  

They looked at me like I was one of those psycho women all exes seem to become to guys when they’re describing us to their
new love.

I know what it might look like, but looks can be deceiving. There were more than a few times when I was having dinner or cocktails with a male friend and some busybody walked by and assumed we were dating just because I’m a single woman with a guy.

But maybe Scott was cheating. Or maybe he was having dinner with a female co-worker and didn’t tell his wife about it; would that be cheating, too?

Cheating isn’t so black and white anymore.
It used to be if that you weren’t actually cheating unless there were body fluids and cigarettes in a cheap motel.

Now? Well, if you don’t have a dozen
mistresses coming out of the woodwork talking to the media, like Tiger, it’s a little fuzzier.

  • Some women think a guy’s intense interest in porn is cheating.
  • Some women think if their squeeze
    is always checking out other women, he’s cheating.
  • Some women think if he’s sharing TMI (mostly about them) to another woman, he’s cheating.
  • Some women think if he’s a flirt he’s cheating.
  • Some women think sending dirty text messages is cheating.
  • Some women think it’s cheating if their guy friends an ex on Facebook.

So, what is cheating?

I used to think it was fairly simple — a guy’s cheating if he’s shagging someone (and in all fairness, it could as just as easily be if she’s shagging someone; don’t mean to lay all the guilt on you guys. I know women are just as guilty as men).  But the Internet, IM, texting and Facebook have changed everything.

And, I’ve changed, too. My thoughts, that is.

I think someone’s cheating if whatever he’s doing is compromising the relationship because he’s not being honest about it. If a guy can’t tell his partner about something he’s doing and who he’s doing it with (an maybe in the case of watching porn, how often he’s doing it), then something’s wrong.

That doesn’t mean that we have to tell our partners everything; Lord knows her daily minutiae is boring enough without having to take on his, too. And it doesn’t mean he’s afraid to tell her because she’s going to get all bitchy about him having female friends or looking at an attractive woman walking by (or acknowledging that). That’s an insecure woman, which is a much bigger problem (and, ironically, one that may lead to a man cheating).

But if she starts asking you about your day or someone (nicely, of course), and you feel like you can’t quite tell her the truth or start getting defensive, I’d say there might be a wee bit of a problem.

When I discovered Rob’s affair, it wasn’t so much that he was screwing someone as the lies — whenever he looked me in the face, he wasn’t telling me the truth (although, I didn’t know that at that particular moment). That’s just not how people who say they love you treat you. That was hard to grasp.

So, what’s cheating to you?

Photo © Inger Anne Hulbækdal – Fotolia.com

Sep 20

When marriage meets Alzheimer’s

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 in Aging, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Marriage, Relationships

So last week, I was feeling kind of cynical about marriage, well, at least Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’. OK, maybe marriage in general. But, maybe we’re going about marriage all wrong; maybe we can tweak marriage so that we’re happier in them so there won’t be as much divorce. Seems easy enough.

Like a lot of people, I was floored when uber-Christian Pat Robertson (he of the Christian Broadcasting network) announced that it’s OK to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer’s because the disease is “a kind of death.”

Robertson advised a man whose wife has Alzheimer’s:

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”

Really? Well so much for agreeing to stay together “for better or worse.” “in sickness and in health” and “till death do us part.” Why even vow to do that if we can ignore it when it’s convenient? But, of course, we do ignore our vows in ways just as surprising as what Robertson is proposing:

We cheat because our spouse has a life-threatening illness and we can’t deal.

We cheat because we’re in a sexless marriage.

We cheat because we can.

And, we cheat because we don’t even agree on what cheating is!

But, maybe we’re not allowing for what Robertson addresses; when the marital rules are changed by forces beyond what we can control. Yes, the “for better or worse” part; better or worse for whom? And does that have to be cheating?

Remember a few years ago when retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced that her now-deceased husband, John, who was living with Alzheimer’s, had found a new love at the nursing home where he lived? She was happy about it because he was happy; the essence of a good marriage. As we baby boomers age, a lot more of us will be facing something like that.

She was accepting of her husband’s choice — he had Alzeimer’s and therefore “didn’t know better,” and  many thought how sweet and kind that was of her. So, should we be so hard on someone who does “know better” even if his partner doesn’t know?

Isn’t loving someone “for better or worse” supporting each other’s happiness? What if your spouse didn’t have the mental capacity to decide what was “for better or worse”?

We promise to care for each other “for better or worse” and “in sickness and in health” and “till death do us part,” but not many of us mean it. That doesn’t mean the vows are flawed — we are.

Maybe we need to change those vows to something that we’ll actually follow — that we’ll love and care for each other as long our partner is an equal participant in the marriage.

Does having a spouse with Alzheimer’s or dementia — versus something like cancer or multiple sclerosis any other illness in which the mind is still willing but the body is not — change the marital vows?

  • Is Robertson wrong or right?
  • What about O’Connor?
Apr 25

Should you read someone’s email or texts?

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 in dating, Honesty, Kat, Relationships, Self image

A cute 30ish couple in the early stages of romance were sitting next to Sean and me at the sushi bar last weekend. As their appetizer plates were being cleared away, the guy excused himself to go to the bathroom.

And then his cell phone — in the pocket of his jacket — started ringing. I could see the woman tense up, and I knew exactly what was going through her mind — who the heck’s calling him at 8:30 on a Saturday night?

She didn’t say anything to him when he came back, but she didn’t have to; the voicemail beeps were enough to alert for him that someone had called. He took the phone out of his pocket, glanced at the missed call number, and placed it back in his pocket without missing a beat. She smiled, a tense smile, the whole time.

It  took less than a few minutes, but I could tell it planted the seed of something that will last a lot longer — relationship insecurity. Haven’t we all been there? Our sweetie gets a call or a text at an unusual hour and our mind starts wandering.

Or perhaps we do more than wander; we look.

Is it ever OK to look at your partner’s cellphone texts or computer emails? Is it ever OK to listen to your partner’s voicemails?

Without permission, of course.

People do it all the time — that’s how Elin caught Tiger and it’s how thousands of other couples did, too. And, that’s how I caught a former boyfriend,  and it’s not something I’m particularly proud of.

What makes someone look at or listen to someone else’s private stuff? Curiosity, no doubt, which, according to the old saying “killed the cat.” Yeah, well, looking didn’t kill me, but it did kill the relationship. He didn’t dump me for looking — although that probably was in his right. In any event, he wasn’t too happy about it. But, by looking I suddenly knew too much, although, hey, it was certainly stuff I needed to know — he was cheating on me!

So I dumped him.

Do the ends justify the means?

Didn’t I become just as deceitful as he was by poking around where I had no right to poke?

Why did I look? Probably because I already knew on a subconscious level that something was wrong between us, as most of us do who look or listen. If you look, something — like trust — is missing or something — like insecurities — is present in your relationship. Maybe both.

I swore I’d never do that again because it revealed an ugly side of me that I just didn’t like. I didn’t want to be that person. And, I have kept my word to myself. But that doesn’t mean that my heart hasn’t skipped a beat  when Sean’s phone rings at a weird time. Although I’d feel totally OK asking, “who’s that?” But I often don’t. Because I trust. And if somehow, some way I shouldn’t trust anymore, I feel pretty confident it will eventually be revealed without me having to go looking for it.

  • Is it ever OK to look at someone else’s text messages or emails, or listen to someone else’s voicemails?
  • Have you done it? Has someone done it to you?

Photo © Nevena Kozekova – Fotolia.com