It hit me today.
It hit me when I was thinking about a friend who is kind and gentle and trustworthy. And a cheater. Although I am far more hardened, less naïve and see cheating around me regularly now, this one took me by surprise. It hit me that I never thought he would cheat any more than I thought HUSBAND would cheat, and that the cheater persona, the very aura of who they present themselves to be is one of the reasons we betrayeds are exactly that: betrayed.
I have beat myself up over the last two years for not seeing. For not knowing. For being fooled by a cunning man who slept in my bed and sat at my dinner table and cried with me at the birth of our babies and worried with me about sending our kids off to college. I know that I have gone back and retraced moments in my mind that I now know were not as they appeared to see what I missed, to see how I was so oblivious to the deceit right there before my eyes.
But that’s just it.
It wasn’t right before my very eyes.
Because right from the start, from the first date to the day of discovery, there were parts of HUSBAND that I never knew. Never, ever dreamed or thought or figured. He was so very careful to keep any vestige of them from me, to cover the tracks of that part of his being over and over and over. To shake his head in dismay when the pastor spoke of men using porn. To gasp and fold his brow when we heard about one of our friends’ husbands leaving the marriage…for another woman (although to date, only one of those has resulted in a new marriage). To join me in earnest conversation of ‘how could he’ when hearing a news report of a politician engaged in a dalliance.
There is no shame for us. The shame is in these incredibly adept pretenders, posers who from beginning to end – until their gig is up – present to us, and to most of the world, an entirely different person than they are underneath. Our perception, crafted so very carefully and steadily and consistently, is what results in their ability to carry out deception. We are not flawed, we are only trusting and believing what we see and feel and hear every day.
And then we find out, and we learn that we are not only trusting and caring. We are strong, and brave, and eventually…whole. How ironic that our belief in the skewed perception of our cheating lovers is what ultimately reveals to us our inner strength. A twisted path and one we would prefer not to have taken, that cost us so much, yet leads to its own kind of beauty…our beauty…