So my friend and I were waiting for the “strawberry moon” to rise on Summer Solstice night, drinking wine and discussing cheaters.
“How come we never tell women when we know they’re being cheated on?” I asked her, having been in and on the fringe of infidelity more times than I care to count.
“Because women don’t believe you when you tell them they’re being cheated on,” my friend answered.
She’s 100% percent right. I’ve been cheated on twice – once after 20 years of marriage, and again after dating someone long distance for 18 months. I say it now like a got a papercut, but both times were exceedingly painful, for different reasons. Right away, after finding out both times, I wanted to know why people didn’t tell me! Why didn’t anyone tell me? Why did people who allegedly care about me let me carry on in my marriage – golfing, dating and vacationing with my ex – as if everything was fine? Didn’t anyone feel bad for me? Didn’t anyone want to spare me the shame and humiliation of thinking I was in a good marriage when I was being cheated on? No.
What about the second time? I adored the guy I was seeing – enough to travel across the state countless times to see him. I treated his kids like they were my own. We had long talks, over the phone, til all hours of the night. I even told the guy, “I’ve been cheated on, it almost destroyed me. I know long distance isn’t for everyone. If ever this isn’t working for you, and you need to date close to home, please just tell me.” When I found out he’d be buttering both sides of his bread, I asked mutual friends, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
My “strawberry moon” friend is right. In either situation, I probably wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me I was being cheated on. In the second scenario, my sister did see the guy I was dating with someone and she told me. I called him out on it and he denied it up one side and down the other, making me feel like an idiot for even suggesting it.
I asked my ex when he was acting squirrely toward the end of the marriage if he had a girlfriend. He said, “No.” I didn’t want to believe that he could cheat on me. We renewed our vows at 20 years, while he had a girlfriend. We went to marriage counseling, while he had a girlfriend.
The main reason we don’t tell women they’re being cheated on, even when we’ve been cheated on ourselves is that – more often times than not – they won’t believe it. And if they are suspicious, and call the guy out, he’ll deny the sh*t out of it, because in both my personal instances, the guy wanted his cake and he wanted to eat it too. Once the guy denies it, where does that leave the friend who clued the woman in? Is she now a liar? Is she not to be trusted? The woman has to decide whether she trusts the friend who told her she was being cheated on, or the guy who claims he’s not cheating. In both cases, I believed men who told me they weren’t cheating, when in fact, they were.
Right about now, you may be wondering why I don’t tell women anyway, with my history of the devastation brought on by cheating.
Image via Flickr
The devastation is part of the reason. I don’t want to be the one to rip people’s lives, families and homes apart. What if the couple can work it out? What if the woman never finds out and it’s a huge mistake, and the guy spends the rest of his life making it up to her? I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy, and that’s part of the reason I keep my mouth shut. If a couple can work it out and salvage their marriage and their family, they should.
The other part of the equation is that women always know. We ALWAYS know. Guys think they’re so clever – that they’re getting away with something. Nope. We know. We know by your mannerisms, we know by the shift in your attitude and behavior toward us, we absolutely know when we’re being cheated on. We don’t always want to admit it deep down. We pray we’re wrong. But we know the truth. It may take us a while to figure it out, and it may take us even longer to call men out on it, if we ever do (because we’re afraid of the answer). But women always know.
So what do you think? Would you tell a friend they’re being cheated on if you knew for sure? Should we tell? Should we let people figure it out for themselves? Have you been in this situation, and if so, what did you do? And what about any guys reading this…would you tell a buddy he was being cheated on if you knew?
Feature image via Flickr
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