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Fidelity & The Faithful


 

We are all asked to be faithful in our marriages when we stand there at the alter and pledge our fidelity to our spouse with promises to honour them.  Last time I checked, sleeping with someone else behind their backs and lying to them wasn’t part of the definition of ‘honouring your spouse’.  That aside however, I wanted to post about fidelity and the choice to be faithful.

I use the word “Choice” when talking about being faithful because it is a choice.  Those who have strayed, did so because they chose to put their needs above the love and respect they have/had for their spouse.  The hear-and-now got in the way of the now-and-forever, and they made a choice to cheat.  People make choices NOT to cheat every day.  They choose to honour their marriages, their spouses, and to be faithful to that one person for life – because that is the promise that they made.

What makes you faithful?  What makes anyone faithful?

Are you faithful because the church or temple commands it of you?  Are you faithful because society would perceive you as lesser-than if you didn’t conform to its views on marriage and fidelity?  Are you faithful because your parents divorced and you don’t want to end up a statistic?  Are you faithful because you feel badly hurting the one you have pledged to protect and comfort?

Are any of those reasons good enough reasons to remain faithful to someone?

I pose the question because recently my widowed father became involved with another woman.  My mother has been deceased now for 9 months.  My father is already taking vacations with, and spending the night with this ‘new woman’.  While I won’t get into how hurt I feel that he has moved on so quickly, and that I feel for my mother, to whom he was unfaithful a handful of times during their 45 year marriage, I will say that it feels as though my father has cheated on my mother – again.  My father was caught cheating back in the 90’s, and my mother told me about it.  She had my father take me out to lunch and confess his wrongdoings.  I am sure it was her way of paying back to him some of the humiliation she felt.  To know that my father had cheated on my mother this ‘first’ time ( I say first, because it was the first one that *I* was aware of, but later learned that there were earlier incidents that I had been too young to become privy to), made me think that my father’s fidelity towards my mother was obviously shaky.  To later learn that not only had he cheated on her this one time, he had also had an online affair, and possibly a physical affair before I was even born.  This last one was shared with me after her death through family she apparently confided in.

With so many slip-ups in fidelity, to learn that my father has moved on so quickly after my mother’s death makes me feel like he is cheating on her again…except this time, he is allowed.  It’s almost as if he has a hall pass now, with his wife dead and out of the way, as if he’s been biding his time, being ‘faithful’ because he HAD TO, not because he wanted to….which brings me to the reason for my post.

I started thinking about my own fidelity, especially in the wake of the discovery of my husband’s affair.  Why am I faithful?  Don’t I deserve to have a new person to sleep with, a new person to explore, a sizzling on-the-side rendez-vous ?  Someone to make me fee young, sexy, vibrant?  Someone to give me a “holiday from my life?” (As my husband called it)  It would only be fair, right?  Don’t think that thought hasn’t crossed my mind hundreds of times, but in the end, I asked myself why I remain faithful, especially to a man who has shown me that our marital vows can be waived if needed, and the answer is that I am faithful for me.

I am not faithful because I took vows that tell me that I should be, or because I am contractually obligated to.   I am not faithful in order to conform to society’s ideals of marriage and relationships.  I am faithful because I want to look in the mirror and see someone that I want to see reflected back.  I want to be someone reliable.  I want to be someone dependable.  I want to be someone who honours their word, and whose actions you can count on.  I don’t want to be a second-rate version of the person and partner that I aspire to be.

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Comments

  1. Really good thoughts! Really good post.

    Unfortunately…I think I have a really bad answer…!! I think I was faithful because it was convenient. However, I was not strong enough inside (not sure why?) to maintain this despite outside influences. I had an emotional affair. “Outside influences” overpowered me despite my (very) strong moral code because it became less convenient to be faithful, and I had no inner strength left to maintain my position or reasoning. Was it temporary insanity? When you are on the brink of an affair, the way it makes you feel is like you are on an incredible high. It’s not easy to get over. I think that sometimes we don’t THINK about the “why” behind our choices. We see them more as obligations instead of inspirations. And that makes it easy to rationalize away.

    On a side note, it is very understandable that you would feel this way about your father dating someone new because of the way he has hurt you in the past. But what happened in his past is in his past. He deserves to be happy now no matter how he treated your mother in the past. I hope you will be able to forgive him and be happy for him.

  2. I love your reason for being faithful. It makes you a very beautiful person.

  3. lamehousewife says:

    This was made me cry. I think it is absolutely beautiful…I am sorry your dad did that to you and your mom. Adultery hurts everyone deeply, so I can understand why you feel that way. I feel the same way about fidelity as you do because I also don’t EVER want someone to hurt as much as my unfaithful one hurt me. It’s just not nice. It strikes at the core.
    God bless…

  4. lamehousewife says:

    I meant “This one made me cry.” 🙂

  5. Very well said. The level of selfishness that it took to create the mess my marriage has become just blows my mind.

  6. Why am I faithful…. Because I am loyal, honest and true to my words. I have the courage it takes to live out my convictions. I am at peace with myself. I let my conscience be my guide , tuning in to those inner intuitions that say what is the right thing to do. I live by The golden rule. Do unto others and they would do unto you. So if the skank wants to go to war…. She may rue the day she made me her enemy. And God Bless her little black heart!

  7. exercisegrace says:

    Why am I faithful? Because I have committed to be so. That would be the short answer. Part of it is my religious beliefs, I stood up in a church twenty five years ago and spoke vows before God, friends and family. I meant every. single. one. of. them. In sickness and health, for better or worse I promised to honor this man and…wait for it….keep myself only unto Him. And over the twenty five years together, we have seen it all. Serious illness, financial problems, working and going to school at the same time, moving countless times, the birth of our first two children and the arduous process to adopt our youngest two. We have buried two of our parents. I could go on. Did temptation come? Of course. Fantasy is always easier than reality. there is always someone out there willing to take advantage with a kindly placed word or gesture. But the big deal is how you respond to the invitation. What is that great quote? “Character is who you are when no one is looking.” If we are honest, we ALL have or have had vulnerable times in our lives, when temptation loomed large. Other times, we laughed and shrugged it off. The point is, it is a CHOICE. In the middle of my husband’s affair (which I suspected, but believed the lies) I had the opportunity to cheat. I didn’t walk away from that situation, I RAN. I knew I was at the lowest point of my life, and it would have been so easy to justify this “friendship” (kids on the same sports team). Even exact a little payback. See how the husband felt about me having a male “friend” to hang out with. But I knew instinctively that I am not that person. I want to be true to myself, my husband, my marriage, my family, my children, my friends, and my God. This has been the most awful time of my life, but I am walking this road with integrity.

  8. Serenity says:

    I’m glad I found your blog… I was googling and searching articles for surviving infidelity/ an affair. My situation is similar, I only found out 2 months ago that my husband is seeing someone else. She had coerced him into telling me because she was pregnant. Unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage then (when I was told of the affair) but she didn’t know about it until a few days later. They’re still seeing each other. Your description of the other woman sounds so familiar I can’t help wonder if they come in the same mould. Right now, my husband is still too blind to see her for who she really is.

    I’m trying my best to stay keep my sanity and stay strong while I sort out my feelings and decide what I really want. This article is so close to my heart because it is what I feel as well – staying true to myself. I have a choice and I made the choice to continue to be faithful despite his infidelity. I make the choice to not seek revenge, to not attempt to do the same to hurt him the way he has done to me. This is my marriage. If I should decide to leave at the end of the day, it will be because of a decision I make, not a result of their actions, not because she begged me for my husband. I keep reminding myself everyday that I shouldn’t suffer or feel guilty over the mistakes made by others. It is incredibly difficult to stay strong but I’m glad you have been dealing with it rather well, from the looks of this blog.

    Your blog makes me tear, makes me smile (yes!) and I look forward to more stuff you have to share.

    • I am really glad that you found the blog as well. I am really sorry that this has happened in your life. My heart pains for you, and I am all too familiar with those feelings. I just wish I could take it away for you.

      Has your husband decided what he wants? He told you he is seeing someone, but hasn’t decided to commit to either one of you? What was the point in telling you then? He can’t have his cake and eat it too. It puts you in the unfortunate position of waiting for HIM to decide if you are WORTH staying with. That is something that only YOU have the power to grant, whether YOU will honour yourself and force him to see your value. If he doesn’t, then spare yourself more humiliation, and walk away with your head held high. If he wants to work on the rel’p, then the other woman has to go. I am just afraid that she will try and get pregnant again, and then she will own part of your husband’s income, stealing it from YOUR family for the next couple of decades. Show him this blog, share with him the psycho nutso stories, and share with him my husband’s $4k per month commitment that came from his selfishness. In fact, I can put the two men in touch, and he can straighten him out 😉

      • Serenity says:

        He had to tell me because she was threatening to turn up at my home, work place and make things ugly for me. At that point in time, he had decided to end the relationship because she was making threats and things were turning ugly. We all met up to trash things out, she was plain nasty, doing the kiss and tell and started to insult and humiliate me in every way possible. At the end of it all, she apologised for hurting me. (Which made me cry… I was so stoic the whole time before) And she text me much later that she was going for an abortion. She found out later the baby had already died and scheduled to have a D&C done.

        A few days after the D&C, she wormed her way back in. They started to talk (they work together although in different offices), and think about how things changed between the both of them and they decided they still had feelings for each other. Unfortunately, I only found out 2 weeks later that things are not over between the both of them. He was guilty, they were both upset at losing the baby and she was trying to get over the loss of her baby. I found out because he was not back from dinner with his colleagues and he confessed she was going crazy and he was trying to pacify her. I went to meet the both of them and she did it all over again… Went on about how they love each other so much, how he doesn’t love me anymore, how they cannot stop thinking about each other and so on. He was incensed and mad but she was ranting on and on. A while later she changed her tune and decided she loved him so much she was going to share him with me. She initially begged me to leave him, then begged me now to accept her, to share him with her. Her declaration of love and the fact she was begging suddenly became music to his ears. She started to poison him and say that I don’t love him enough to want him to be happy.

        So they have decided. He said he will never leave me (his wife) and that he loves me and will love me forever. However, he cannot bring himself to leave her at this point in time. She has decided she doesn’t need to be the only woman in his life, she can share him with his wife. She loves him that much, she said. Me? I said I wouldn’t share but I can’t stop him from seeing her. I’m also paying for the house we live in. I’m not moving out because she’s going to want to move in. And he’s not moving out right now. In fact, she was mad when she found out I didn’t move out. She kept insisting for him to send me to my parents’ place.

        I cannot believe that a woman like that exists, someone who had apologised for causing hurt and then turning around and decide that she HAS to have your husband. At all costs. She said even if he left her, she will pester him FOREVER. Him? The other woman has hurt your wife so much, while she stayed calm and kept her dignity. He has forgotten how ugly and how nasty she was to me. He is blind to everything that she does – all because she uses the excuse that she loves him too much and she’s still trying to get over the loss of their baby.

        It’s only been 2 months. I’m lost, don’t have a clue what to do (my head knows but my heart is still trying to come to terms with it), trying to be strong, stay focused at work and trying to sort my life out. We don’t have any kids, though we were trying for kids before this. She’s been sweet (esp. when she knows we’re arguing with each other), nasty, violent to him… poisoning him everyday that ‘best friends do hurt each other’ and of course, ‘if you love her, let her go’. It’s not a bed of roses for them, they argue every other day. For me, I’m trying to stop. Stop crying (keeping it to a bare minimum. It’s hard. ), stop asking questions, stop picking fights. I tell myself to be strong, I pray everyday for strength and discernment. Discernment to do the right thing.

  9. StrugglingDaily says:

    I am still making my way through your blog and have considered this question since my d-day as well. I agree with your sentiments and those of other commenters but would like to add a thought. I have read several comments throughout the history of this blog and even thought myself (before it happened to me) that if a spouse cheated it was because something was missing in the marraige. I even thought this was true about my marraige when I first found out. However, I have realized that can’t be all. I was also a part of this unhappy, ‘roommate’ relationship, but guess what…I resigned myself to the fact that this was the man I married and the life I would lead to keep my family together. I DIDN’T CHEAT!!! And I was completely miserable and unappreciated. I wasn’t complimenting enough?!? Well, I wasn’t getting compliments either. We didn’t have much in common or had grown apart?!? Well that means I also was missing some things that would have been nice…I made a choice too. It was not me, it was HIM. He chose to cheat, and now I have to pick up the pieces…

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