Thursday, July 20, 2006

Women and Men

I'm diverting my attention today to post an observation. My best, childhood, friend (whom I'm certain will NOT read this) has been going through a tough time. We talk twice monthly and since June have spoken everyday. She caught her husband having an affair. Now before you say "there's two sides to every story", I know and I'm on her side. The other woman worked for her husband and as he says "start out as sexual innuendo", harmless enough right? Wrong, but we'll get to my point later. This lust in his heart turned into intimacy when the woman offered to give him, well you can guess, for his birthday. Well, that sure trumps my friends breaded pork chops! Now let's keep in mind, this woman WORKS for him, at any point prior to the birthday offer he could have told her "this is unacceptable behavior" and threatened to go to HR. But he didn't, he choose to take a vacation day, wake and dress as though he was going to work and drive 53 minutes (one way) for his "birthday gift". The affair continued on like this, taking the 53 minute drive, for 3 months. Waking at 6am and leaving the house to get on the road by 6:30am to arrive at her house by 7:30am. Every Saturday, to which he told his wife he was working, the ritual was the same. Out of the house by 6:30am and home by 2:45pm, a full 8 hours at "work". My friend, much to her credit, knew when the lust was in his heart a month before the intimacy started. She caught him when the woman replied to a text message he had sent her prior to retiring for the evening.

My friend is struggling. It's been 7 weeks and she says the pain has not subsided. They're working on it, and he claims the other woman meant nothing (even though he proclaimed his love for the other woman). She (my friend) loves him and wants to work on her marriage, he too says he wants to stay in the home.

Being me, I have a ton of advice. None of which I gave her, my job right now is to listen. I have voiced my displeasure with him and asked the same questions she has and received the same answers, "I don't know". We cried (he and I) and I yelled, expressing the anger I felt over the pain she's going though. He just can't tell her why he did this, why he would risk losing his home and family if she meant nothing. She asked him to get counseling, 6 weeks ago, and he hasn't. He's still lying (albeit stupid things) even though he knows she'll catch him! I just don't get it, are women and men really that different?

By all outward appearance, I would have once said, he adored her. The typical old fashioned gentleman, opening of doors and the like. He had a lot of people fooled, but not my friend. She knew the minute it started and asked him weekly if he was having an affair. When she told me of her suspicions 4 months ago I thought menopause had taken over her brain. Not "so-and-so" I told her, he loves you! "He loves you", could he love her and sneak, trick, lie to her like he did? That's the question!





11 comments:

SkyePuppy said...

Janice,

No, I really don't believe men and women are all that different when it comes to affairs. The affair involves one of each. I've known both men and even more women who stepped outside their marriages.

I think there's love--steady, comfortable love--and then there's the thrill of forbidden pleasure. For some, the thrill doesn't so much outweigh the love as it overwhelms or overshadows it. In a moment of weakness of will, the person convinces him or herself that nobody will know, and then that person's stuck in a cycle of lies and fear and regrets and a desire for the thrill to be what it was at first. And the only place where there aren't any lies is in the arms of the person they're having the affair with.

I'm not speaking from personal experience. I never had an affair. My ex-husband never did either, though I believe he would have if he had the opportunity. But I've seen enough marriages destroyed by this, and I've talked things through with some of the heartbroken wives, and I've tried to figure out that same question: How can somebody do that?

Take it with as many grains of salt as you need to. It's my best guess, after all.

I'll keep your friend in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this has come into your life as I know you do not need another burden on your shoulders.
BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTT, our friend Laurie is so cute!!

janice said...

Skye & Kevin (anonymous, yes Laurie is so cute!),
I hear the pain in her voice and see the hurt in her face, and I too am hurt. She sobs in the phone and on my shoulder and the only question she needs, wants answered is why. Why he wanted, needed and choose to leave their marriage. Respect was the foundation of their relationship, it always was. If ever there was 2 people who wouldn't do this out of respect, it was them. I, too, am at a loss. They're so "good" together, they really compliment each other, I don't want to see them part this way. However, this pain may be more than she can carry. Her faith in our Lord has carried her this far, I pray He can bring her the rest of the way.

SkyePuppy said...

Janice,

This I say from experience, from going through an unwanted divorce (he left me for the hope of having oher women). In the end, there is no "Why." There is no answer that will explain it well enough that it makes sense or she feels better. And though she will never stop wondering why he did this, that has got to stop being her focus.

Throughout my divorce process (especially when it was in the courts), I prayed Psalm 25 and 27 as though they were my own words. Ps. 27:10 (Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me) brought me a lot of comfort.

Have your friend pray the Psalms. Have her find Psalms that express her heart, if 25 & 27 don't speak for her. David poured out his pain, his rage, his sense of betrayal and so much more in the Psalms, and the Lord accepted his words. When I was afraid my own words of anger were unacceptable to the Lord, I knew I could pray David's words, and the Lord would hear me.

It's a long road, and you're doing the hard work of listening. Keep on letting her talk and cry, and don't give her the impression she's overstayed her welcome with that, or that she should get over it by now.

They say it should take a year of recovery time for every three to four years of marriage. That's not all blubbering time. That's how long until she's really adjusted to being her own person. From my own experience, that's probably about right.

One other thing, and then I'll shut up. For myself, I had to make a conscious effort not to dwell in the rage. I knew that if I did nothing, my anger would turn into bitterness, the kind you see in some women who blame their ex for all their troubles for the rest of their lives. I had one of those women in mind and determined not to become her, which I would have if I had let my anger take hold of me.

May the Lord strengthen you to help your friend. And I pray for her healing as well.

janice said...

Thanks Skye, I have my mother in mind as an example of anger and pain that turned to bitterness. Even now it consumes her and makes her very negative. When the time is right, I may point her out as a path she may not want to follow.

I also have the Bible on CD. Maybe a nice weekend project will be to copy the Psalms and send them to her with a note highlighting key verses. Thank you again for the great idea.

jihadi tracker said...

Playing off Skyes first comment:
The "love" at home,(and I'm sure he does love his wife) vs. the lust, thrill of forbidden pleasure. Which will a man choose if confronted? Does it matter how long the affair went on or will he always pick his wife?
No! If the affair lasted 6 months or more, he will keep the mistres.
Your friend caught him in the nick of time.

left winger said...

Dose your friend have children with her husband?

janice said...

Left Winger,
They have one child who is over 18. Why do you ask? Does it matter?

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone really wakes up one day and says to themselves, "I am going to have an affair today!" It starts with talk at the water cooler or a shared lunch. Or maybe it is just a friendship at work. I don't know. I will never know why people choose to stray.

Sometimes I think they choose to be caught as if to say, "You idiot! How could you not have known?!!"

James Dobson has a book called "Love Must Be Tough" (or is it tough love?). I highly recommend it for your friend as I have gone through the same thing and it helped me.

And tell your friend that forgiveness is not an option but a choice that she has to make. If someone were to shut her fingers in the car door she would forgive them, no? But she would be careful of her fingers whenever they were near!

Blessings,
John

janice said...

Thank you John, sharing your experience is a blessing to us all. I will purchase the book today.
I thank everyone for their prayers and comments.

Bakin Rapscallion said...
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