Why. Didn’t. I. Know.

The question tortures betrayeds. We feel so stupid. We adopt guilt on many levels from many aspects of being cheated on, and one of them is that we are just stupid, right? Because obviously a woman in an intimate relationship, day-to-day, with a man pledged to her with his undying love that was not really living his undying love to her would be obvious. She would know it if he was panting madly after another woman…whether it was one-night-stands found in massage parlors or brothels or images portrayed on the screen and delivered to his phone or real-live-flesh in his arms that was joined with a fantasy relationship of constant messaging and plans for a future.

She would know, right? We would know, right?

I saw those teasers for outrageous tell-all shows through the years, or headlines on tabloids at the grocery store that screamed He Lived A Double Life And She Didn’t Know and my passing thought as I put the food on the belt was Well She Must Be An Idiot If She Didn’t Know.

Because I would know, right?

But I didn’t know, and when I found out I felt S. T. U. P. I. D. I still have to deal with that cropping up from time to time when everything crashes in and I find myself walking into a meeting and the tidal wave of HOLY SHIT I AM A BETRAYED WIFE washes over me…the immediate next thought is…and I am so stupid.

Oh

But I am not. I am not stupid, and neither are the multiple other betrayed women that I have come to know intimately over the last two years. I look around at my group and they are beautiful. Seriously, they are beautiful. They are smart and own businesses and run non-profits and juggle family and work and myriad responsibilities and they are beautiful. No…these women are anything, anything but stupid. To a one.

So how did we get duped? How, collectively, are cheaters able to delve into their destructive behaviors and we don’t know?

I can only speak from my experience, yet think some of it may resonate with other betrayeds. I was always taught about privacy…and privacy meant things like knocking on the bathroom door when it was closed, not listening in on a call someone was on or opening their drawers and looking in them. I was taught it was rude to ask about money or why someone lowered their voice to talk to someone else in person or on the phone. I was taught that men hate nagging women and asking questions = nagging and that men aren’t as emotional as women and don’t like to share their feelings like women and that men can’t stand drama and feelings = drama. I was taught that any semblance of jealousy could lead your man right into cheating, and I was literally told by HUSBAND’s grandmother that if you don’t give HUSBAND freedom to (hunt/fish/play with his friends) he would end up with a blonde on his arm. (I was highly offended, scoffed at such a notion, but it was there now, in my soul, and helped shaped my responses whether I could see it or not).

DontTouchPHONE

I was taught it was showed no trust to follow up about something slightly sketchy and for God’s sake, I would never have dreamed of looking on HUSBAND’s phone or asking one of his friends to verify his actions or really dig in to find out why there was a gap in time or money or people or place, because I didn’t want to meddle, or look like I didn’t trust him. I didn’t want to be that kind of woman – that kind of wife – the kind all the jokes are about and men hate and women roll their eyes about.

I watched sitcoms that made fun of insecure women and read articles about annoying habits men hate (google it).

TakeADeepBreath

Those were all thoughts and ideas and attitudes deeply ingrained in me, socialized in my womanhood and wifehood by family and friends and culture and media.

But mostly, I never ever even considered that the man I found, loved, gave all of me to would consider cheating. So all the rules made sense.

It wasn’t stupidity, not at all. It was faith and trust. Wrongly placed, but that is what it was.

faithhopebelievetrustlove

I’ve stayed with HUSBAND, who by all counts has continued to show me now for nearly two years that he is a new man. His continued willingness to provide any information, answer any question past or present has not wavered since he finally bared his soul and all its warts and lies and filth. He is different in every sense of himself, and we are different together with this stark honesty constantly the stalwart between us.

But now? I do ask. I do verify. And I don’t buy the cultural encouragement to utter personal freedom, no questions asked, within a committed relationship. I went down that road for 27 years, but took a sharp turn after DDay, and will never head that way again. That…that would be…stupid?

KnowBetterDoBetter

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21 thoughts on “Why. Didn’t. I. Know.

  1. Yes yes to all of this. I wanted to be the good wife, give him freedom, I regret not telling him to come home all those times that he called and said he was too tired to drive and would be back in the morning, I regret believing his half truths and stories that didn’t really make sense but I didn’t want to keep going on and on and nagging. I trusted him more than I even trusted myself because men are the head of the household. Not anymore. And I cannot stay with my husband because he still believes he should have his privacy and treats me like I am nagging when I verify his location, stories etc. He feels entitled to my trust – the trust he broke into a million pieces. He is still the same but I have changed. I love the Maya Angelou quote, I know better so I’m doing better (most days anyway lol) xxxxx Thank you for always writing such insightful words xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Our trust…given with no strings…and then destroyed. And he thinks it should be restored easily? No…I could not bear that either. And we do know better now. I’m glad you are doing better most days…and then even more most days…HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Amazing how wonderful everything looks through rose colored glasses………Amazing how much more real things look after you stomp those rose colored glasses with your sassy ass stilettos.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hind sight is 20/20. All the red flags were there (earrings that didn’t belong to me in his car) but the combination of my complete trust in what I thought was an honorable man and his bullying tactics, left me deaf, dumb and blind….and yes….feeling S T U P I D!
    Turns out….WE weren’t stupid….THEY were.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SS, this is so very perfectly written. It could have come directly out of my own broken heart, my own shattered soul – if I could write as eloquently as you do. If I could see and verbalise my feelings as clearly as you can. I want to stand on the rooftops and yell this out loudly, from the top of my lungs! “It wasn’t stupidity, not at all. It was faith and trust. Wrongly placed, but that is what it was”!!!

    I missed you very much over this past week and a half. I’m so sorry you’ve been having tough times, but those tough times laboured an other stunning post that will resonate with so many. I know this is no consolation, but maybe makes it a hint more bearable? I wish I could do something. You are a beacon to me, and I believe to many other broken souls out here in Shittyland. For that I am forever grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Years ago I read a book about how to handle betrayal. Not just sexual but childhood neglect/abuse. The answer is maddening but true. They got away with it. That is a brutal realization. You have to absorb that deeply in your heart before you can truly move on. They did not get arrested, or shunned, or strung up. They got away with it.
    Also, there are some psychiatrists and others who believe the adolescent male mind is so susceptible to suggestion that viewing porn begins a lifelong addiction. I think all men have viewed it at one time or another but those that were already primed by their youth are then fixated on it. I have no idea if this holds up to testing but there are blogs by men and wives who say porn was there at the beginning.

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  6. …mostly, I never ever even considered that the man I found, loved, gave all of me to would consider cheating. So all the rules made sense.

    It wasn’t stupidity, not at all. It was faith and trust. Wrongly placed, but that is what it was.<<<<<<<<<<<< THIS! So much this!

    No one is wrong for trusting his or her spouse. It's what you are supposed to do and most of us take it on faith that the one we loved and pledged to spend our lives with wouldn't ever hurt us and cheat on us.

    As you know mine funneled approximately $2000 to his mistress, claiming he was sending money to his mom to help her out. Bought the mistress and her daughter new phones and paid the cell phone bills and claimed they were for his mom and stepdad. I believed him, not because I was stupid but because this wasn't out of character for us as a couple. I didn't expect him to lie. Now of course I wouldn't believe him if he told me my head was on fire. But back then, he was my husband. I wasn't stupid. I loved him; I trusted him. I did what any loving wife would do.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You’re absolutely right. We feel such shame and stupidity over their act! Ridiculous!

    You couldn’t have put it any better: “It wasn’t stupidity, not at all. It was faith and trust. Wrongly placed, but that is what it was.”
    Yes! Yes, that’s EXACTLY what it was. Which is why we feel so disappointed and duped. We doubted ourselves to have hope and trust in their word and commitment. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Faith and trust…yes I agree. It tells me about you and all the others who did not mistrust their partners, it means that they themselves are trustworthy, therefore it does not cross their mind to check-up on bank statements and phone records.
    When women are judging others about not knowing, they are often miscommunicating and talking about different things.
    E.g. a husband who has been faithful for 20+ years “falls in love” with someone at work (emotionally etc) and chooses to pursue it, would change and these changes would be observable to family members. This is a different scenario. That these wives know that something is going on makes sense. They still (due to trust) might not know that it is an affair (“because he would never do that”). They do get it i-n hindsight at D-day and after -as they know when the dynamics changed and the husband turned off emotionally and became indifferent. They will put two and two together.
    The above story is very different from women who find out that their husband has been unfaithful for years and years and that these flings were in general sexual only and short-term. In particular when these men had opportunity due to their work schedules (travel, money, status). These women would not see a change as it was their husband’s default phase for many years. And of course, they were trusting and loyal and hard working wives….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What is so difficult is that the very things so hard for many of us to give wholeheartedly; trust, love, faith, love…the things we hold most dear and protect so fiercely; those…THOSE are the things that crushed when we are betrayed. These are the things that mean so much to us and so little to them. Because we have given them our treasures, we wrongly assume they will take great care with them. Then…they don’t. And we get broken. We have NO reason to not believe they will honor us and our feelings…they promised they would. The problem is that their addiction is more important than promises, treasures, feelings or us. It does NOT make us stupid…it makes them weak. They, like us, are now learning to become strong. They are learning to find the courage that we have always had. Thanks to you Susan, and others here, I have found the strength and courage I did not know I had…enough to share with Will until he can find his own. Love to you my friend! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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