I know this subject has come up before, but I feel like I need to "write this off my chest."
Everywhere I go lately, I hear story after story of affairs. Maybe it's because I'm now (gulp) in my forties, but I haven't ever encountered the sheer numbers of unfaithful individuals I seem to now. It would be easy to dismiss it as an Orange County phenomenon but I don't think that's the case. Yes, there are an abundance of people in the OC with no morals or values, but I don't think it's much different than many other metropolitan areas.
What never ceases to amaze me is how people rationalize their infidelity. They, or their partner, are "having marital problems" so the rules don't apply? I know a long term marriage is not easy and has its ups and downs. I know all marriages don't, and shouldn't, last.
I've been married a very long time.
I know there are times when it's not easy.
In fact, I know there are times when it's just damn hard.
But really? Who ever said when the going gets tough, it's time to start screwing around? If the marriage is over, why not end it before getting involved with someone else? I'm not a prude, I understand temptation and lust. I'm not the morality police …. I'm just an observer.
I've found myself surrounded by two situations recently and they both hurt my heart. I'm only going to write about one today. The two situations are really fairly similar anyway. They have varying details, but they have a lot in common.
A female long-term friend of mine has had a flirtatious "friendship" for years with a man who is not her husband. Over the last year, as her marriage has become stressful, she has turned to this male friend more and more. Their relationship crossed the line from an emotional affair to a physical one. Very recently she has left her husband and immersed herself in the new relationship.
She is emotional and raw from her marital turmoil, but thinks throwing herself immediately into another relationship will be the cure. I'm sure it's a boost to her self esteem to feel wanted … but does she really feel her rebound relationship is the answer to her life? To me, it seems clear she is just seeking security because she's afraid of being alone.
I don't want to go into the details, but for many reasons this is (in my very humble opinion) the last thing she needs right now.
What about her new "boyfriend?" Doesn't he see red flags all over the place? Doesn't he see that his presence is more about assuaging her emotions than it is about him? Or does he rationalize all this information away? Are men just happy if they're getting sex?
That was a ridiculous question, wasn't it?
This situation is hurting my heart. It's painful to watch. It's painful to hear her talk about it. It's hard to keep my mouth shut when I want to cry out, "Stop! You're making a terrible choice and it will cause you a lot of pain down the road."
It's to the point where I can't be around my friend right now. She hasn't asked for, and doesn't want, my advice. She can't see anything but her own emotional need to run from one man to another. My heart hurts because I'm watching a train wreck in the making. It's become easier to walk away than watch.
When it's over … and I know it will be eventually, I'll be there for my friend if she needs me. Right now, I can't be. It's too painful. I feel like I'm mourning our friendship because I've had to walk away from it.
Have you ever stood by and watched a friend make terrible choices? What did you do? Did your friendship survive?