The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.
This is the opening to Jackie Bouchard’s honest, wrenching tale, What the Dog Ate. Her tale of a husband’s infidelity and betrayal and how Maggie deals with it, hits us where we feel it most. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s heartbreakingly real.
If one of my friends were to ask, “What is your deepest, darkest, scariest fear?”, I’d have to say (excluding the safety of all family members), infidelity.
That might sound weird because I have the most wonderful marriage, but all around us are stories, movies, TV shows, songs, and friends’ stories about a straying spouse. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sordid, seemingly clueless tale is just the latest. If it can happen to Maria Shriver--beautiful, accomplished, talented Maria--couldn’t it happen to any of us? Shiver!
DH and I will be watching a show in which one spouse, typically male, wanders. He is contrite. He begs for forgiveness. He claims temporary lapse in sanity. He wants to move on and put it behind them.
I snort. “No way,” I advise the injured wife. “Don’t believe him.”
“That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it?” DH suggests cautiously. “Isn’t there ever room for forgiveness?”
Hmm. Is there? And why would he ask that question???
Yes, in theory, there can be forgiveness. I admired that Hilary Clinton chose to work on her marriage instead of tossing Bill aside (as I was inclined to proffer were she to ask me). Yet, could I be so magnanimous? Would I be a patsy setting myself up for future hurts? Could I every truly “forgive and forget”? Would I ever trust him again or would I always be looking for the next slip?
Here is an interesting take on whether women make men cheat. Check out the video at http://bit.ly/PcsAf6 Interestingly, one expert contends that untrusting women precipitate the behavior.
Here is a link to a woman’s story of how she got beyond infidelity to an even better life and learned to trust again. http://yhoo.it/Q0ExBl
And that’s what it comes down to for me--trust. Trust is the most precious part of a relationship. If trust is broken, what is left? “Love”? Right!
Love is an undefinable, maybe even just chemical, if you believe some reports. But trust is foundational. Trust allows us to be in love, one of the riskiest ventures we ever undertake.
Trust is what lets you, dog-like, expose your vulnerable underbelly. Once kicked there--by infidelity, abuse, or another trust-breaker--you are much less likely to expose the underbelly again. Something is missing from the relationship.
What about you? Could you “forgive and forget”? Would you “stand by your man”? Or would you say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice . . .?