My mother and I had a very interesting chat over the weekend about cheating and such, and I wanted to share some of the concepts discussed.
The discussion started because on the way home from college, I bumped into this boy my friend had been seeing/hooking up with. Unbeknownst to me, he was accompanied by his girlfriend, who I did not notice until she timidly appeared at his elbow as he and I were standing and talking.
Immediately, his awkwardness made sense. He was exceedingly uncomfortable and didn’t introduce us, so I took it upon myself to say hi, whereupon I was informed that they were on their way to a cute little couples vacation. As soon as I left them, I hurriedly texted my friend to make sure she was aware of this new development.
While relating this to my mother, she asked me why I hadn’t said anything to his face, or at least to her, and that really made me think. We, as females, rarely confront cheating men in person when the time comes. Why is that?
Are we protecting ourselves from the unavoidable negative interaction which surely would succeed such an outburst?
Are we rendered silent by the clear discomfort of the cheater that the emotion permeates our own psyche and we find ourselves tongue-tied even though we personally have done no wrong?
Then of course there’s that fear that you might come off as a crazy bitch trying to break them up out of jealousy.
Or perhaps it’s the understanding that if I were that poor girl, it is doubtful that I would believe some random girl approaching me in the bus station to declare that my boyfriend was a lying asshole.
“But,” my mother interjected, “That at least plants a seed of doubt in her mind and you are giving her the opportunity to pay attention.”
I was stumped for a moment as I considered what this revelation meant for my character as a person, until I realized that my reaction to situations like this has already been subconsciously determined. Why is that? In one word: Loyalty.
What we do under these uncomfortable circumstances is based on who we owe our loyalty to, and in what capacity. My mother, the self-righteous and justice seeking woman that she is, believes that she owes equal loyalty to all females on this planet, and would have spent the next several days beating herself up over the fact that she had done nothing to protect this innocent girl from the STDs her cheating boyfriend will surely eventually pass on to her.
I, on the other hand, recognize the fact that in this situation, my loyalty was not to the girl or her boyfriend who I knew, but in fact, to my friend that had also been played. This was her encounter, despite her not being in attendance, and it was therefore not up to me to decide how to handle it. It was my job to remain neutral and pass along the information.
In my mother’s case, I explained to her that it is physically impossible for her to hold all females in equal regard when it comes to situations like this. Her loyalty lies first, and foremost, with her husband, and then with me, her daughter. Before making any decision, she must first consider the impact her actions will have on us.
As an example, if my mother revealed to one of my father’s best friends’ wives that her husband was cheating, there would most certainly be a kink in that friendship for the rest of their lives if my father’s wife was responsible for ruining his best friend’s marriage.
Yes, it would appear that he would deserve to have his marriage ruined, but it is still not my mother’s place to divulge that information without regard for my father’s feelings on the matter. If anything, she should discuss it with him before doing anything, and then come up with a solution they are both comfortable with.
In the end, here’s my advice if you ever have an inkling of a suspicion of infidelity: Dead it.