Monday 19 January 2015

The Other Woman

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I recently found out that the parents of some of the girls I went to school with and had known since preschool age had separated due to the husband's continued infidelity. According to my mother, the husband had been seeing another woman which his wife either knew or at least suspected and eventually kicked him out because of it and was refusing to let their kids see him.

I was shocked. I knew the couple fairly well as I'd known their family. I found it hard to believe that their dad was the sort of person who would do that. I thought it was a bit harsh that his wife had denied their children contact with their father because of it. I could that she was in pain, but still believe that they have just as much right to see him as they do her. Yes he did the wrong thing, but they shouldn't be punished for it.

It also made something else abundantly clear to me, religion isn't the be all and end all.

Whenever mum talked about marriage, namely hers and dads, she'd always used their common religious beliefs as the basis of their marriage and told me time and time again because of religion their marriage lasted.

Funnily enough, almost every time I visit my parents, mum tells me of another couples separation within the church which proves her wrong yet again.

To some people religion means a lot, but to others it becomes a tiresome hindrance to being a human. I was always taught to find someone at church, settle down with them and only have sex after we were married. It made sense when I was younger, but as I grew up and realized the world isn't that black and white, the notion of settling down became less and less appealing.

Like so many other girls, I grew up dreaming of the perfect wedding day. The dress, the flowers, where I'd have it, who would be my bridesmaids, what they'd wear, the music and the happily ever after.

It wasn't until I hit my 20's, moved out of home and learnt more about the inner workings of marriage from my dad as well as others who'd been married before that the wedding is one thing, but the actual marriage is a whole different ball game. It takes a lot of commitment, dedication, time, effort and energy to make it work, and that's just on a good day! Sure I'd still love to get married one day, but I'm happy to wait a few more years until I'm sure that it's the right thing for me to do rather than just something that society tells me I should do because I'm of the appropriate age.

One thing that I've learnt through the years is that nothing and no one can break a strong couple apart. If both people want to be together, they won't let anything get in the way. Conversely, if there's a problem for one or both of the parties and they don't want to address it, it's probably doomed to fail.

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When I told mum this she interpreted it as me defending the husband's side when he was in the wrong. I told her we didn't know anything about the full situation aside from what we'd been told and since I'd been bullied by the couple's kids, I wasn't terribly inclined to take their side in the matter.

I've never been in a relationship or been cheated on so I can't fully comprehend how much hurt and pain is involved in it. I openly claim ignorance in that.

From my perspective though I can kind of see why he would leave, as bad as that sounds. I can also see why so many other couples in religious environments end in most cases that I've heard, because of infidelity. You make a commitment to one person for the rest of your life, that's a really long time. Most people are virgins when they get married so they only ever know what it's like to be with the same person, and sure if you're madly in love with them, that's the most appealing aspect of it. But things change over time, your wants and needs differ from what they were when you first got married. If the other person can't provide them or isn't willing to make the effort to even try and you get sick of going without, then it makes sense for you to start looking elsewhere for whatever it is you're looking for.

Yes you made a vow for better or worse, til death do you part, etc. It's great if you can stick to that until you die, but I also know the bible is incredibly outdated and doesn't take into consideration the human form or it's needs.

Everyone has different views on marriage and these are subject to change with time and life experience.

I'm not condoning cheating on your spouse or destroying a happy family even if that's what it sounds like. I'm merely saying if I were in a position where I wasn't happy, I would seriously think about what I want in life and whether my current situation can give that to me. If not, I would make steps to change it and if that means leaving the one I'm with, then so be it.

I know a few people who have done exactly that and said it was the best decision they'd ever made, more so because they felt it was the only decision they could make.

If you find yourself settled down with a bunch of kids and just not happy with life, what kind of happiness can you give to your family? Chances are you'll end up resenting them because you feel obligated to stay with them and deny yourself whatever it is that makes you happy. I know it sounds selfish, but sometimes you need to be. They may not understand and end up hating you for whatever measures you take to improve your life, which is why you need to seriously consider what it is you want before doing anything. Talk to your spouse, enter marriage counselling, and if after that you decide it's still not what you want, the next call is up to you. Life is too short to be unhappy, resentful or bitter.

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A close friend of mine is a die-hard Angelina Jolie fan and we were recently discussing her appearance at the Critic's Choice Awards and I mentioned how she waited until Jennifer Aniston left the red carpet and photographers before stepping out, as many news outlets reported.
This got us to talking about the breakup of Brad and Jennifer and how Angelina has been branded the Harlot that broke up their marriage.

I think if Hollywood were high school, Jennifer would be the popular cheerleader type that everyone loves and supports, Angelina would be the badass that everyone secretly admires but loves to hate because of how she reportedly wronged Jennifer.

As mentioned above, if there are problems in a relationship and neither party is willing to work on them, the relationship is doomed to fail. From the various reports I read, I got the impression that Brad was ready for fatherhood and Jennifer was flying high with her career and not ready for motherhood just yet. Insert Angelina with adopted son Maddox and Brad had himself a ready made family.

I'm pretty sure Brad had enough wits about him that he wouldn't have made the decision to end his marriage and shack up with Angelina lightly.

As my friend was saying, the reported rift between Angelina and Jennifer most likely stems from Jennifer not wanting to take responsibility for her part in the marriage breakdown, as is usually the case with exes. People want someone to blame instead of themselves so they pin it on the other woman and the adulterer.

Granted, like the movie 'The Other Woman', the guy could just be a complete jerk who thinks he can get away with it if he's clever and many people seem to automatically label the other person as such in order to deal with their own feelings, or maybe they really are a jerk or jerkette.

It's a tricky subject to navigate, whether safely or otherwise. I think the best way to sum it up is by what one of my uni lecturers said in a personal anecdote, "If you're parents are happier being with other people than they are with each other, then it's better for everyone". So long as children know that they are loved unconditionally and it's not about them, I don't think there's any reason why it can't truly be the best solution for everyone.

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