Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Will You Tell Your Wife?
I'm not even officially divorced yet, but my ex checked out of our marriage years ago so it's pretty safe to say I'm single. I don't really have the time, the money or the inclination to be going out to pursue some kind of romantic connection, and I'm enjoying my independence too much to bother with any kind of online dating sites.
I do have a few friends online. I have lots of friends who are men, and just about all of them are married. But that doesn't stop them from asking, "Can't we just meet for lunch? Come on...just as friends." And I ask, "Will you tell your wife you're meeting a friend?"
Can you guess what the answer is?
So here's my answer:
I have set a really high moral code for myself. But that's not the only reason I won't be some guy's secret lunch date. It took me a really long time to realize what a good person I am, and to reach the point in my life where I love and truly value myself, as a person. Why would I lower myself to be somebody's secret?
Even if I were to innocently have a burger with an old friend, the idea that somebody else could be hurt by such a meeting if she were to find out makes me feel awful! I know if I had a husband who was sneaking off to have lunch with an old girlfriend I would be hurt. Why would I do that to someone else? Do unto others, and all that.
There was an old, high school boyfriend who reached out to me on Facebook. He was sorry for the way he had treated me all those years ago. It was nice that he thought enough of me to let me know, after over 30 years, it wasn't me...it was him. And when he started reminiscing, and the talk became sexual, I was like, "Yeah. It was great when we were 18. But let's keep the conversation G rated." The things that happened a lifetime ago are memories. They are not memories I am comfortable discussing with someone else's husband.
I am not a nun. I enjoy sex as much as anyone might. (At least, what I remember of it...) But for me, I have to be the main focus. I will not allow myself to be second to anyone. So to all these married guys who think it's perfectly fine to have a sexual conversation or some kind of sexual relationship over the phone, or online...no. It isn't.
I understand that marriage can be different for different couples. Some partners don't have a problem with their spouse's friendships, or their online activities. Whatever works in each marriage, that's what those people should stick with. But for me, I refuse to be the reason someone else might feel pain.
I did meet an old friend for coffee, not too long ago. It was kind of like, "I'll be in your neighborhood, do you have a half hour for coffee?" I did, so I did. In a public place. But will he tell his wife? No. She wouldn't like it very much. Then I guess it was nice to have had this cup of coffee.
And the funny thing is, they are always in a miserable marriage. They haven't been happy in years. They don't even sleep in the same room. I get it. I was that wife. And it was devastating to find out I had been replaced. Even more devastating that I hand delivered my replacement. But that doesn't mean I am willing to cause that kind of pain to someone else.
It would be so easy to say, "I'm really lonely and I'd love to spend some time with you." But it would not be easy to live with knowing I was doing to someone else, the most hurtful thing that was done to me.
It would be easy to say, "You're leaving your wife to come and love me forever? Great! Let's go for it!" But it wouldn't be great. Not for that wife. And frankly, however long ago I might have known an old friend, who the hell knows if we'd actually get along? I AM pretty awesome, but I also happen to be older. I'm tired. I am consumed with taking care of my kids. I don't feel like cooking every night and sometimes, he'll wake up and not have clean socks. And then I'll be the same wife he left behind. So no...I can't save anyone from a lousy marriage. I can't promise to be what he's looking for.
The grass on the other side may seem greener. And MY grass may be fabulous. But if anyone ever has the chance to lie in my grass again, he will be so happy and so proud to have that opportunity, he will prance me around like the damned Pirate King I am, and there will never be a need for secrets. I will never be the lover no one can know about. I will never be the reason someone has to lie.
I understand that not all marriages are forever. I understand that even good people can grow apart. If that's the case in any marriage, people should do whatever it takes to walk away and be happy. Honestly. When lying and sneaking are involved, it's just ugly. It's so much more hurtful than making a clean break. Or people can, you know...try harder. Til death do we part, and shit.
Whatever makes people happy, if they can do that without hurting other people, well then they should do it. Frankly, I am much too good a person and I have too much respect for myself to be anyone's secret. I should be valued, not hidden. So even if a man just wants to be my friend, he'll need to know I'll be asking, "Will you tell your wife?"