Friday, October 19, 2007

Pumpkin Eater

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

I don't understand cheating. It seems so stupid and unnecessary. I think if someone feels they need to cheat, they shouldn't. They should either fix what they have or get out of it.

I had a client in Tucson, (we'll call him F). F's friend (we'll call him B) was calling him daily for about 2 weeks. And F would call this B a lot, too. B's wife cheated on him and eventually left him for a younger guy. B was damn near suicidal (hence all the phone calls). They had grown children who were also upset about the whole thing.

F says my "fix it or get out" theory is oversimplifying the matter. I don't see how. Once you feel you need to start looking elsewhere for the love or companionship or sex or whatever you feel you need, shouldn't you stop and take a good, long look at what you're already in??

I can't stand to hear people say, "You can't help who you fall in love with." Especially when used to justify cheating. That's such bullshit! It's a cop out of a statement anyway, but when used to justify cheating, it's twice as stupid. You absolutely can help it. If you don't flirt or go on a date or to a motel with someone, there's really no shot of falling in love with them. Is there? It's not like your car slipping on black ice and hitting a tree or like stepping in a puddle you didn't see (that's not a gross euphemism. Ew, now it is!). To cheat is a lot of damn work. All the lying and sneaking and covering one's tracks! (OK, that sounds like my yarn stash. jk) It's not something that happens by accident.

I'm not blameless. I've cheated twice in my life. Once when I was 19 and once when I was 23. Both times it was a revenge cheat (I was cheated on and then I went and purposely cheated to get back at him). Both times, after the revenge cheat, I realized how stupid it was and just dumped the guy that cheated on me. Both times, I didn't tell the guy who cheated on me that I revenge cheated.

When I was stationed in Germany, I spent most of my tour at a base where the ratio of men to women was 100:1. (Good times!) Whenever I dated a guy, I would tell him, "Look, nobody's here long enough to get serious. I'm going to be dating other people and you can, too. If you can't handle that, then we can't go out." Some could handle it, some couldn't. Either way, I was honest upfront and no one got hurt. I did get a little serious about a couple of guys in the 2 years I was over there and then I'd stop seeing other people.

My friend Elizabeth got stationed in Korea (also 100:1, they call that tour "Queen for a year"). While there, she became friends with "Stacy". Stacy was heavily involved with "Brad". Brad got sent stateside and begged Stacy to get herself stationed at the same base (Ft. Campbell). She had to do a lot of maneuvering but managed it. She also found out, about a month after he left, that she was pregnant with his child. She called him and told him and he was ecstatic and asked her to marry him. Sent her a ring and everything! Well, it was about 5 months before her tour in Korea was up. She arrived at Ft. Campbell, pregnant and excited to see her fiance. Only she couldn't find him. The unit he was with didn't exist, he wasn't returning her phone calls and he was nowhere to be found!

I was out at Ft. Campbell helping Elizabeth with her own baby when all three of us found Brad. We were at the Commissary together (that's the grocery store on post) and all of a sudden Stacy's eyes lit up. "Brad!", she shouted and ran over to him hugging and kissing him and crying and asking where the hell he'd been and generally making a very happy scene.

Until his wife and 3 kids came around the corner.

This is seriously one of the biggest WTF?? stories I've got. Why would he go to all that trouble trying to get her to be stationed with him when he had no intention of being with her?? That day at the Commissary, he tried to pretend like he didn't even know her and that she was just some crazy pregnant chick! But Elizabeth knew them both (and the whole story) and set him and his wife straight. What a mess.

Happy ending for Stacy, though. She went on to meet a man while she was still pregnant and he loved her and accepted her (and, equally important, accepted her baby). They went on to get married and had another child together, last I heard.

This rant brought to you by a dream I had this morning of Dave cheating. It was really messed up because I couldn't move out and had to live in the basement! Clearly I'm insane. sigh.

Still irritated with Dave even though it was a dream, Ruth!


Yarnhog said...

Good lord. That's quite a story.

I agree about the cheating thing. Fix it or end it. But, and this is a big but, I don't think cheating is reason to break up a family with kids still at home. I'm a lawyer and I've seen lots of divorces, and I can tell you, in the absence of abuse, divorce is never better for the kids. Kids are selfish little creatures. They are happier in a house with both parents (even if the parents aren't happy) than they are in a house with only one parent. As long as they have both parents around and both parents love the kids, kids don't much care that their parents aren't happy with each other.

It may sound unreasonable, but I absolutely believe that parents don't have the right to break up a family just because they don't love each other anymore. They are the adults, they make the choices that the kids have to live with, and they have an obligation to work out their problems in a way that keeps the family together, even if that means a business-only relationship, where one parent lives in the basement and they each lead their own separate lives. I know a lot of people disagree with me and think that people have a "right" to be happy, but once you have kids, I don't think you have the right to pursue your own happiness at the expense of theirs.

Bit of a rant, there. Sorry.

WandaWoman said...

That story is sheer craziness! I agree if you have other problems and feel like your relationship isn't working out, then it's time for you to either reassess or leave the relationship.

Me7of11 said...

"Winners NEVER cheat and cheaters NEVER win."

And as for yarnhog's comment--there is no substitute for a child being raised by a mother and father who are married and living together. The cost of divorse to society is staggering. Whether our marriage is healthy or not, we ALL pay the price for the couple next door who couldn't make it work.

knitnzu said...

That sure is a WTF story! I have woken up irritated w/ dh because of dreams... As for what Yarnhog has to say... probably she's right. Mom divorced (and rightly so, he drank and womanized) when I was a toddler. Remarried when I was a preschooler. Love my dad. Have always loved my dad. But my bro, a year younger and pretty much a baby at time of divorce, felt like he grew up without a father. Our younger (half) bro has HIS father... that kind of thing. BioFather was very infrequently and irregularly in and out of picture, always at mom's request, and I still have an image of my brother waiting and waiting and waiting. Mom says I'd be physically sick (don't remember this). So, even when the reason is good and the result is good (a good loving remarriage), there are wounds that never heal well. Oh, and as a rebellious teenager, dad admitted once he did love younger bro more than us other 2... tell me that kind of thing doesn't hurt even through teen anger and angst.

sophanne said...

The truth shall set you free. So many agreeing opinions in my head so I'll just say "yes."

uberstrickenfrau said...

wow, this is like a script from Deperate housewifes or As the world turns or some crap like that. Truth is stranger than fiction.....

Diane said...

I've always loved the "I couldn't help it" line. If you don't put yourself in the position of cheating then it doesn't happen. I had a guy flirt with me a few years ago which really flustered me. When I told him I was married he made a comment like it wasn't a problem. I said it wasn't a problem for me either and took off. Creep!

Elspeth said...

What a story! I especially think it's funny because I think "Brad" and "Stacy" are characters on "Fast Times At Ridgemont High"!