Maybe this is just because I don’t have a life, but I tend to get sucked into other people’s drama. I’m not talking about all the gossip that goes on at my job; I’m talking about random stupid crap that I hear on the radio or see on TV. I can’t turn it off, no matter how much I’d like to.
One of the local radio stations (https://www.facebook.com/JeffandJennShow/) ran a segment this week about a woman whose fiancé was a huge UGA fan and wanted to go to the national championship game. Trouble is, the ticket would come from his ex-girlfriend from college, who he “bonded” with over football. They’d made a “deal” that if UGA ever made it to the national championship they would go together, dating or not. She said she trusted him and wanted him to go because it would mean a lot to him, but her friends and pretty much half of the Atlanta area said hell no, no way should he be hanging out with an ex-girlfriend alone at an event where alcohol and high emotion were involved. Oh, and, she’s gorgeous and recently divorced. Red flags. I think it’s pretty crappy of him to even *consider* doing something that would give his future wife pause because her feelings should be a hell of a lot more important to him than a damned football game, but no one asked me. He went to the game and came home really late and drunk. Something must have happened because her friend came back on to say she went through his phone and doesn’t want to talk about it. Like I said, it’s crappy of him to even consider this. The whole thing screams “cheater” to me; draw your own conclusion.
One thing I don’t understand is-why does stuff like this bother me so much? I remember when I was about to get married I was extremely distressed by the idea of S cheating on me, so much that I would get freaked out every time I heard or saw anything-a magazine cover, a snippet from a TV show, *anything*-that I literally lost sleep over it. I couldn’t even hear or read about a TV show I came to really like because of one line in a radio preview-“Why did he have to sleep with the secretary? I had that woman over for brunch.” The months before my wedding were an extremely stressful time for me-I was diagnosed and had begun treatment for bipolar, I was going through a bankruptcy and coming out of the other side of a major crisis in my faith. Any *one* of those things-especially the first and third-could have caused it, but all of them together made me a type of person and have the type of thoughts I never thought I’d have and never want to have again. I’d been cheated on before.
I had no reason to think S would cheat on me but I knew that I wouldn’t be all that good at sex (being a virgin at 27) and kept hearing about how men absolutely *must* have it all the time and that it was the most important thing in the world to them that I was scared to death that I wouldn’t be “enough” for him and that he’d cheat and I’d be blamed for it. As much as he loved me, at some point I wouldn’t be pretty enough or thin enough anymore, or good enough in bed or something and he’d trade me in for a thinner, younger model like so many other men did. If I didn’t look perfect all the time, gained weight (as I did with my meds) or simply didn’t want to have sex as much as he did-as much as I had felt pressured to in other relationships-, that he’d be gone and I’d die alone. Okay, maybe that’s too much. If you think I’m exaggerating, though, walk past a rack of women’s magazines sometime. “Is He Cheating? How To Tell.” “How To Affair-Proof Your Marriage.” “Sex Tips To Keep Him Coming Back.” It was everywhere. Like most teenage girls, I’d spent hours upon hours reading this stuff. Celebrity magazines were even worse, although we could write those off as just being Hollywood. Again, everywhere. What’s worse is, it’s women who write this stuff. It’s very telling that you don’t see things like this in men’s magazines-at least not in any I’ve heard of. I think men can be horrible, but so can we.
Having been in a relationship where I did a lot of things because I felt like I had to, I was not about to sign up for that again. That’s not to say that I never wanted to do anything sexual (because sometimes I definitely did), but the fact that I said yes (or didn’t speak at all) when I wanted to say no so many times made me feel very “less-than”. The only consolation I had was that I wasn’t being pushed to have intercourse because that was clearly set aside for marriage-in other words, I had a “reprieve”, a limit I could set for what was done in the relationship. If I were married, I wouldn’t have that anymore. Just to clarify, I was every bit as excited as any guy to have sex. I had this side to myself (in thought) that I was really anxious to let flow. I imagined we’d be making love all night like I’d done before but, instead of stopping, we’d be able to go all the way. I just knew that I would not always be pretty or sexy, that I’d gain weight and might not want to do anything as a result. Or, I wouldn’t be what *he* wanted and he’d trade me in for a newer model. Again, I had no reason to think this. Then again, the other cheated-on women probably didn’t think their man would either. And yet, he did. I’ve always had an all-or-nothing way of seeing things so even if something (like marital infidelity) wasn’t as widespread as it seemed, it was huge to me. My mind tends to make things out to be worse than they are. The fact that I’m a huge talk-show fan doesn’t help. My husband is nothing like these men, so I don’t know why I care.
You’d think that being in conservative evangelical circles with a high view of “family values” would help. Nope. In fact, you could say that made it worse. See, a huge deal was made out of submission-the verses most commonly used refer to mutual submission-basically, putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. Maybe it was because the husband’s role wasn’t as relevant to us as women, but the admonitions to submit seemed pretty one-sided. If our primary purpose/role in marriage was to please our husband (which was what I heard, but I could be wrong), then it makes sense to think that meeting our husband’s sexual needs was part of it. Sure, it would be wrong of the man to cheat or leave, but it would still come back to me not taking care of him. Sex wasn’t the only thing, obviously, but it was something I wasn’t familiar with. I could work on everything else. Getting out of those circles was a big help, even if I was imagining things. None of this came to pass, thank God.
It says a lot about him that he’d even think of this, but it occurred to me that they had planned to cheat, or at least put themselves in a position to. It just upsets me to think about stuff like that…like, why do men cheat like that, why are they so selfish that they’d put their desires (as he clearly did) before the people they claim to love? And why do women do this to other women? I couldn’t work things out with a man who cheated because he’s clearly chosen what’s important to him-and it’s not me. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. I might be able to work things out but it would take a lot of time, work and prayer to get things back to where I could trust him again. Luckily I have a husband who would never do this. I had no reason to fear, and yet I did. I don’t understand it. Sometimes I love men and hate them at the same time. And there’s really no reason to.
I guess one place I’m going with this is that I’m glad I’m married to a good man and won’t have to worry about this, but it’s sad how many women do. That, and I need to get out more.
I just feel like there’s a lot of pressure put on girls and women to look and act a certain way that really needs to go. We might put some of it on ourselves, which is why we need to bring each other up than tear each other down. We need to put the people we love ahead of other things and consider how our actions and words affect them. If this guy had put his lady’s feelings before the game and said “no” once he saw how it affected her, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s none of my business and I have no reason to judge, but things like this trigger me and I don’t know why. Maybe because of my past, but sometimes I can’t let things go. I hate my mind sometimes.
This woman’s friend said they were going to work it out. Like I said, I couldn’t do it. Not right away, anyway. I have friends (male *and* female) who’ve been in this situation, and I tip my hat to all of them. They are better than me. I wish them luck.