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Archive for January 12th, 2011

I heard a story the other day about a woman who recently found herself standing in a pair of my three-year-old shoes … shoes that were feeling very comfortable until the day they sliced my feet off and left me to hobble on bloody stumps.

Members of the confab gathering around … apparently a lot of us wear the same sized slippers … have asked for my thoughts. They tell me she’s around my age and had been thinking herself well-married, happy, safe only to learn that her devoted husband had shifted his devotion from her to someone else.

She was blindsided … a very nasty way to take a blow … completely unprepared for the drastic change to life, and in the man she’d considered for many years a life partner.

“Who is this guy, and what did he do with my husband?” is the question she’s asking now, and with good reason since “this guy” is nothing like that guy. Or is he? Can you really miss that much in someone you’ve been sleeping beside night after night for decades? Apparently, yes.

With interesting timing, this article came across my radar this morning. Titled “He’s the One Who Cheated and Left; So Why is He So Angry At You?”, if nothing else, it proves that those old shoes sure get around.

I couldn’t understand why my ex never expressed remorse for what he’d done to me, just regret at what our daughter suffered. He’d always been extremely concerned about me while we were married, worried about my health, mental and physical. He’d always apologized every time he blew up at me. I was stunned at his coldness. He did say to me on various occasions that he felt “guilty” but he never apologized or showed any empathy for my suffering.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know the newly-dumped woman, so am in no position to give a hug and add to the chorus now teaching her the words to “I Will Survive” and encouraging her to sing at the top of her voice.

Not that she’s there yet. It takes time to move from “alone and petrified” to “savin’ all my lovin’ for someone who’s lovin’ me” … a LOT of time.

Unfaithful husbands–even husbands who have always been loving– can be inexplicably brutal. The incongruence between you makes it all worse. He’s already found a new partner, and doesn’t feel the loss of the marriage. You, on the other hand, are shattered, terrified of the future and collapsing on friends and relatives. His happiness is the unkindest cut of all. He’s already detached from you, or is in the process of detaching, which makes him excruciatingly insensitive.

Apparently, there are reasons for the excruciating insensitivity … not that it’s any excuse for it:

“Infidelity is harder on women, who are more vulnerable to feelings while men are a law unto themselves,” explains psychoanalyst Simone Sternberg. “Men don’t allow themselves to empathize with women’s suffering. It’s too threatening. Also underneath male supposed indifference or even hostility is self-hate which they project onto the wife. They can’t afford to empathize or they’ll have to experience the full force of that emotion.”

Well, whoopiefuckingdoo …

Oops. Sorry. Okay. Not sorry … and still pissed off when I allow myself to dwell, but, hey, I’m entitled to my feelings, too. There is, after all, such a thing as consequences, as William Congreve noted way back in the 1600s:

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”

Being burned leaves scars that can itch and tug and it’s not in any furious, scorned woman’s mandate to forgive or forget, only to get on with it.

That’s about my only advice to anyone finding their feet now bound in those old shoes … get on with it. There’s nothing else you can do. Suck on the bitter pill … it won’t choke you … remember the flavor, and try to avoid the queue that forms in front of those dispensing another dose.

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