Once in a blue moon, me and my friends get to talking about random things and this time, it was about whether or not we would fall into a boring marriage.
We had a discussion in the office recently about philandering, and being that we were all women, of course men were on the receiving end of anything negative.
But stumbling upon this Dear Amy article had me thinking, how do we react to situations wherein women are the ones who do the philandering and the abandoning?
The letter reads:
Dear Amy: I am a 41-year-old woman who has been married to my high school sweetheart for 20 years. We have three beautiful children, ages 18, 16 and 12.
I love my family, but tend to get bored with my husband.
As far as I know, he has been faithful to our marriage, but I, on the other hand, have not been faithful.
I don’t know whether to stay in the marriage or get a divorce, so that I may find a real soulmate.
I love him as a friend, but at the same time I would like to get away from him. Should I sacrifice my marriage for a chance to be truly happy with someone else? Although, I do know there is no such thing as a “happily-ever-after” relationship, I wonder if I should try to find it.
– Unwillingly Happy
Amy Dickinson, an advice columnist from the Detroit Free Press answered in her column Dear Amy that first of all, both men and women should dispense with the notion of a ‘soulmate.’
“This is an invention designed to sell books that dangle the promise of a sort of relationship perfection that simply doesn’t exist for most (if not all) people,” she wrote.
While the letter sender is female, it’s important to note though that the situation could apply to anybody.
Amy observes that even with the way the letter sender signed her letter, ‘Unwillingly Happy,’ it signals that either the sender wasn’t willing to be happy at all, or that her “subconscious signed your letter and that you are happy against your will.”
“Happy ever after starts with you,” Amy advises.
“You married young, and you are now headed into the great gaping maw of midlife. You have not stayed faithful to your husband (and your children). Cheating means that you are engaged in secret-keeping, and this further distances you from your family, interfering with intimacy.”
It’s a great reality check, no?
The situation becomes wholly different if abuse is a factor: if that was the case, pack your bags and get gone from that situation.
But when it’s just you blaming your insecurities on your partner or not identifying what’s eating at you and then placing that frustration on your partner, then you still have a lot to work on.
“Marriage or divorce is a binary choice, but life doesn’t really work that way. You leaving the marriage would have ripples of consequences across many lives, not just your own. There are many ways to try to salvage and reinvigorate a static marriage, and boost and stimulate a static life. Cheating is not a healthy choice,” Amy writes.
Marriage is a tough road to navigate for sure, but if you let selfishness, ego, infidelity, and a host of other factors get in the way of ‘til death do you part, then what was it all for in the first place?