Let Go of that Cheater!
Catherine from Lower Kalskag, Alaska asks:
My husband is a cheater. He is sleeping with another women and having sex while he is at work in the summertime. I’ve caught STDs from him. We’ve been married for 20 years. He won’t talk to me or even look at me some days. We are married through the Russian Orthodox church. What can I do about it? I can’t take this anymore.
Greetings, Catherine. Your life has indeed had its share of trials and tribulations. But a life without conflict really isn’t worth much. Believe it or not, it’s far better to taste bitterness now and again than to be numbed into delusion with distraction and artifice. Your struggle falls between the traditions and established moral fiber of your inner persona and your own emotional survival. One’s sense of duty and loyalty is often tested in the crucible of self-honesty. And yet, one must decide where one’s loyalties ultimately lie. And those who expect that loyalty may very well not deserve it. There are no easy answers and though many would tell you the way is simple, it’s not. You have invested 20 long years in a marriage fixed in very traditional beliefs. For you, there is no easy solution. And it’s better that way.
Your situation will seem horrific to many, especially to the typical American mind that prefers to think of life as a fairy tale full of promises kept and happily-ever-afters where a cheater can’t exist. However, the sad fact is that what you’re experiencing isn’t at all unique. People have been cheating, keeping mistresses and enjoying extracurricular interludes from the beginning of imposed social institutions like marriage. Venereal disease is just another risk of indulgence. And though now there are precautions that can prevent them, many are not inclined to assume enough responsibility to take them. But the real problem with situations of this sort is the lack of honesty. If people would simply be realistic about marriage and honest with themselves and their partners, there could be compromises made and transparency in sexual expansion. Sexual repression leads to a lot of problems. STDs are far more common where sexual repression is the norm. In cultures and climates where promiscuity and openness are practiced and encouraged, STD rates are actually very low. Those who are repressed tend to be irresponsible and ignorant. Your husband is both these things.
There is no crime in pleasure. But when we fail to assume responsibility for the health and well-being of others and put them at risk with our dishonesty, what can be expected then of their loyalty? Though there is no easy choice, I think you already know what must be done. For your own peace of mind, consider leaving this man as soon as you are able—not because of the cheating, not even because of the disease, but because this person thought so little of you that he put your health at risk and then refused to accept responsibility and seek help with you to make it right. He has failed you not only as a husband but as a friend and that is never something to be overlooked. Seek a social worker to assist you, for the path may be difficult. But find your liberation. And if you seek another partner someday, look for honesty and trust above anything else. Be realistic about human needs and failings, but seek virtue in your potential mate as well. You will be all right. And I will be thinking about you. I’d like to encourage all my readers to think of Catherine from time to time after you read this article and then, you see, Catherine, you won’t be alone. Good luck to you.
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