names have been omitted in this post
It had become one of his regular trips... going to Mexico for business and meeting with contacts there. The trips were typically to Mexico City and Guadalajara and had increased. I would stay behind at home in Texas with the children when he traveled... doing my usual of chauffering the children to school, scheduling play dates, running errands and maybe meeting a friend for a quick bite to eat. Nights in alone with the kids usuallly meant overseeing homework, an easy dinner of pizza and all of us crashing in our bedroom, them bringing their sleeping bags, pillows, extra blankets and a wild assortment of stuffed animals... a quick thirty minute show and soon everyone would be off to dreamland. I'd stay up and scrapbook, maybe call my mom or sister, paint my toe nails, whatever struck my fancy into the late hours when I'd have to get up and stumble into the kitchen to start my day and do it all over again.
Unbeknownst to me... he had a girlfriend on the side. Unbeknownst to me he had been involved with at least five or six other people in addition to her as well. Unbeknownst to me he had taken said girlfriend to Mexico with him to meet his company's rep down there, have dinner, shoot the bull like men do into the wee hours in the name of work... with her by his side. I'd had that man in my own home... with his wife and we'd shared dinner on our back patio sharing stories of our children overlooking the lake... we'd had a nice evening and then come to find out my husband was now taking his girlfriend to Mexico on a quasi fun working trip and introduced her to him. To say I was livid would be an understatement... to say I was out of line to be livid was even more ridiculous. But... apparently he didn't believe I had any right to be.
I should have known. I should have seen the signs. I mean, they were right there under my nose. Hindsight and all. He might as well have just told me: "Yeah, I'm screwing anything with two legs that walks by that I find attractive." But that's the thing about being married and caring for children... the days just glide right into the next and before you know it you're so caught up in the day to day miniscule details of life's daily grind you don't always look up and see the bigger picture... you're so focused on whether little Johnny has his turkey sandwich or whether little Susie has her warm jacket that whether or not your spouse is doing what they are supposed to be doing isn't always on your radar... I mean, you already have kids... you don't really think you should have to be your spouse's keeper. Throw in a case of ADHD and well... you're so (squirrel!) freaking distracted by the most random things you don't know whether you're coming or going much less if someone is cheating on you.
The worst part is when he came home from one of said trips to Mexico and said "Everybody down there has a mistress."
I remember standing in our contemporary living room with it's tall ceilings, black leather couches, pale hardwood floors and his voice echoing that statement.
"Really? So you're saying they all cheat?" I remember asking him.
He shook his head "They don't call it cheating down there. It's just understood. Every guy does it. Every guy has a mistress. You have your wife and you have your girlfriend. The wives know. They get it. It's the culture. It's just the way it is." He told me with a grin. That grin. His cocky grin.
"The wives get it..." His words made me sick to my stomach.
They get what? That in their husband's eyes they are not worth being treated with respect and fidelity? They get that their marriage vows mean nothing to their husbands? They get that they are married to slimy men? Really? They get it huh? Oh well... that's so comforting. I'm sure that keeps them warm at night knowing that every guy has a mistress. I'm sure they remind themselves of that, that they aren't alone when they lay there alone at night as he's screwing someone else.
"I think that's a really blanket statement to make..."I remarked. "ALL of them do it? I find that hard to believe." I told him. "Maybe it's just the circle of men you're mixed in." I told him with outward disgust then added "And if that's true which I don't believe... maybe I should remind you that you live in America and that's not how we do things HERE."
His words... That's like saying all black men commit crimes... that's like saying it's just the culture. That's like saying all white men commit white collar crime. That would be like me saying all Vietnamese men rape. I mean... is this for real? Is this really what I'm hearing right now? I wanted to throw up. I wanted to slap him upside the face. I wanted to tell him how disgusted I was by him. But instead I stuffed it in and sadly moved on about the details of my life... the kids... the turkey sandwich... the warm winter coat... not realizing the true huge weight to his words... that my time was coming... that that early Tuesday morning was coming... where my suspicions would finally win and I'd look at his laptop... where I'd discover her.... where I'd discover his cheating. I'd find out on a chilly October Tuesday morning... I'd call the attorney on Wednesday. I'd meet with him on Thursday. He'd be served on Friday. It was all so quick, simple and matter of fact and yet it wasn't. Getting rid of him... choosing to divorce him was easy... it was dealing with all the rest of it that was hard... all the punishment and chaos that he created in return that he happily dished out over and over again... and has been doing ever since.
The thing is... so many women and men are enduring being emotionally abused, verbally abused, physically abused and yes, even cheated on each day because they believe some variation of thinking... "That's not really abuse", "It's not that bad...", "He didn't really mean it...", "She apologized, she's just having a tough time right now...", "I can't admit she hit me because that's embarassing. I mean, I'm a guy... how does that happen?", "I think it will get better... let me just wait this out...", "I can't support myself financially and I'm too scared to take that leap...", "God hates divorce, I can't file", "I don't think I can find anyone else... I'm thirty, forty, fifty, sixty...", "I can't imagine anyone else would want me"... "Well, I really did make him mad... I mean, look at how much he does for me and I shouldn't have provoked him.".... "I haven't felt well... I've gained some weight... I don't look as great as I did post babies... maybe he did cheat because of me."
No, no, and no. He or she cannot justify his or her actions. There is no viable excuse out there for someone treating you with abuse and cheating. There is zero cause other than they are choosing to be selflish and unkind... they are choosing someone else over you and going against the vows you made as husband and wife or commitment to one another as being exclusive.
You deserve oh so much more.
Not every man has a mistress.
Not every woman is manipulative.
Some people actually cherish their spouse.
If you can't find someone who will
love you as God intended then it's always
better to stay single.
If you're being treated poorly it's time to
look in the mirror and realize you don't have
the power to make them love you.
You don't have the power to make them
change for the better.
But you do have the power to leave.
And sometimes that is exactly
what is needed.