Dear Mrs. Crabby,
How can you tell if your spouse is cheating on you? And what should be done?
Here’s how you know: If you have been married for more than two years and you both are still breathing, and you have suspicions, then your spouse is cheating on you. But stop a minute, hon and think. Is it really cheating that’s bothering you?
Consider that our so-called enlightened society is a construct that has little or nothing to do with our actual human animal nature. Children thrive most while running outside and playing. Then they are forced to sit indoors, in one place, in dreary rooms at dreary desks most of the day. Finally after fourteen years of this, we wonder why they emerge burned out and apathetic toward life at college. Toward life in general.
The ideal of marriage is to fall blissfully in love with someone and pledge to be sexually and emotionally faithful to them until “death do us part.” That’s quite an undertaking. There are contrary schools of thought on whether or not this is even possible, in terms of sexual and emotional fidelity.
Other countries’ polite societies include expectations of mistresses and families on the side. Though there is a pecking order, usually determined by which spouse has the biggest bank account. North America and the UK have the more conservative, one to a customer, way.
This article from Encyclopedia . com says that infidelity in married couples is atypical. I want to know where they placed the cameras in everybody’s houses to gather the data to substantiate this bold statement. The very definition of infidelity, which this site says is “Infidelity is a breach of trust that signifies a lack of faithfulness to a moral obligation to one’s partner”, makes this impossible. Quite literally, masturbation is sex outside of marriage. Do married couples masturbate alone? Well, that’s technically cheating. Do married people watch pornography and experience sexual desire? That’s a technical cheat. Do either of you use binoculars to watch the neighbors mating or showering habits?
We are a species always titillated by novelty. After a couple of years of the same thing, it’s natural to our animal nature to seek out something new. I suspect this happens more often than not. But in society’s constructs this is considered “wrong.” Frankly, we might not want to change that. Because forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest.
Unfortunately in a moral ideologically rigid society, there are those who mutate these values. Some men and women feel that if they indulge themselves with family members, it’s not really cheating. There would probably be a lot less incest if married folks felt freer to find honey in other hives outside their own garden.
There are also those spouses who take the vow of “till death do us part” quite seriously. And become desperate to fulfill their obligation in this regard.
To start, here are some sure signs that your spouse has found another garden to plant –
~She comes home smelling of men’s cologne. And you don’t wear any.
~She drives you wild one night with a position you haven’t even thought of, or seen on any of your pornographic channels.
~She starts looking at you in a new and thoughtful way, as if sizing up your attributes. Then frowns and flounces off.
~The photos you are shown by the hired detective show her sucking the face off your partner or best friend. Though she insists she was giving life saving mouth to mouth.
~You catch her in the act. This is how most men catch wives cheating, because the above signs require more attention than the normal male exercises. This is not an insult, hons. Men are wondrous in that most are easily pleased by a filled tummy and sated libido. It’s women who tend to make things more complicated.
~He comes home wearing another woman’s underwear.
~There is baby puke on his jacket and your kids are in high school.
~You find receipts for jewelry, fancy soaps and lotions, plane tickets to Hawaii, and none of the gifts show up for you.
~He’s gone 80 hours a week and his paychecks show he’s working only 45.
~He starts chatting up, in a complimentary way, about someone at work who you have never met. Especially talking about how hot they are. Or how smooth their skin feels after showering even though they don’t use lotion.
~You find receipts for STD medications, and you haven’t had sex with your spouse in months….or years….or decades.
~You come across an e-mail sent by your spouse to friends saying that he and “his woman” are planning to move. And you have no plans to move.
~Your friends suddenly look at you sympathetically and say “I’m praying for your recovery” and you’re not sick.
~You find a box of extra-large trash bags and a big shovel in the hidden compartment of your trunk.
~Your internet history shows google searches for articles on how to kill your spouse and get away with it.
While these are all good signs that your honey has plans to trade you in for a different model, be extra cautious if they are the type that take promises seriously. Until keeping those vows is keeping them from their next new toy. That considerate nature you found so endearing might be a danger sign that instead of hurting your feelings, they’ll just quietly do you in to save you the grief and scratch that itch of theirs at the same time.
Now, you have to decide what to do once you confirm he is gardening a side yard of pussy-will-oh, or she is playing jack-in-the-box with a different player. It could be that it’s something else. If you have a relationship where you actually speak to each other about issues other than washing the windows, what’s for dinner, and why is there a snake in my shoe, then ask. But if he or she is indeed cheating and planning another life, chances are they’ll lie to you as well. Because a cheating spouse will try to spare your feelings at all costs. They really only cheat because they don’t want to bother you by asking if it’s OK, or having to admit they have a weak will, or asking you first before pushing you in front of the bus.
Myra, if yours is cheating, count yourself among a significant number of spouses, male and female, who are saddled with a wanderer. I believe that it is not generally human nature to stay sexually faithful to another person for more than two years. This study from Canada has some interesting findings. It cites 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women who confess to cheating while married. I would double those numbers because I know people lie on, even so-called confidential, questionnaires.
Why not discuss this very thing before you enter into a committed relationship? Think about what you might do if your spouse cheated or if you found that you wanted to stray. Negotiate the terms ahead of time. This gives your shared ship a stronger rudder, hons. And a path to follow that might just keep you out of jail for homicide.
Don’t be a statistic. Be realistic.
Above all, do not take it personally. It’s just nature taking its course to a happy ending elsewhere at all costs.
I end with Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow (an odd combo if there ever was one). You either know someone loves you or you don’t. You can stay married if you’re not sure. And you’ll probably end up very grumpy and yelling at children. I used to have fun picturing Ozzie and Harriet doing the nasty, wondering what they got up to. Fenwick still enjoys when I wear a shirt dress with a poufy skirt, pearl earrings and high heels to bed. Things like this keep us happily tethered to shared bed sheets. But that’s another advice column.