A couple of days ago, I had lunch with a friend, and we were talking about our parents. She was telling me that her father had been married before he met her mother, and when he met her mother, he had told her mother that his previous wife was a terrible person. A few years later, her mother met this previous wife, and found out that she really was a lovely person. Having been in the same situation before, it has made me think about how easily we women believe these stories.
Apart from my own experience, I have had friends who have met men who were attached, and their reasons for seeking other dalliances have varied from “it was an arranged marriage, I never loved her,” to “she was terrible to me” to “she was a psycho” to “I was really unhappy.” In all the stories, it seemed that these men had been the victims of really bad situations. They didn’t know how they got into those situations and they needed help to get out, help, as in the other woman.
What is it about women that we just want to save this person? Thinking back to a situation where I was the other woman (of course I didn’t know this for a long while, but I still felt like an idiot), when I found out, he told me that it was all arranged. He was unhappy, but his mother had chosen this person. I am ashamed to say that my first instinct was that I wanted to help him get out of it. After thinking about it though, I changed my mind, a warning bell inside me had said, “no, if she’s supporting him now, he leaves her, comes to you and what? You’ll end up supporting him.” You just have to love those clanging bells sometimes. Also, having known him for all of two weeks, where he’d pretty much been lying to me the whole time, I really didn’t think it was worth my entire life.
Going back to my own father, his excuse was that he was unhappy in the marriage. Then after the first affair, when he came back, his excuse was that she had used black magic on him. Ten years later, when his marriage to the woman he left my mother for had broken up it was because her black magic had worn off, and she was terrible to him. The truth was that once he had no job and no money, she kicked him out and has allowed him no contact with my brothers for the last 15 years.. And to be completely and coldly direct, he had gone for a woman who knew he was married. What kind of person did he think he was marrying? In her case, she had gone for a man who had cheated on his wife. What did she expect? That he would just stop flirting with other women?
By the time you are in your late twenties, more often than not, you will have a past. There will be baggage from families, relationships, jobs, life. A relative of mine has an awful lot of baggage in the form of an ex wife, who when they met was simply very materialistic and high maintenance, but has now fallen into the category of absolutely nuts. My family, and him blame her for everything, but stepping away a bit and looking at the whole situation, I realise that he did contribute. She was in her very early twenties when they met, and although she was rather insecure, and wasn’t very smart, she was quite nice, and an amazing cook. By not smart, I mean conversations revolved around makeup, and to add to it, she made up for not being smart by being sarcastic.
The thing is, with this relative of mine, his pattern had never changed. He was the victim then, and he is still the victim now. I’m pretty sure that he tells girlfriends to be and whoever now that his ex wife was a psycho who ruined his life. The truth is he ruined his own life. If he had truly wanted to be what he wanted to be, he would have done it. As to his marriage, he knew what she was like before he married her. They had been together for nine years by then and of course the story was, “we’ve been together for nine years, bla blab la.”
There is always an excuse. The difference between a victim and a responsible adult is that the responsible adult would have gone back and tried to do something about it. We will have our excuses too. We will think, “if he really loved her he wouldn’t be with me,” or we believe him and repeat to ourselves, “she was awful, so I’m not doing anything wrong.” If you look close enough, the victim is not just the victim when it comes to relationships. This is the person who would say, “I do such and such because my family…..” or “I didn’t go to university because the government…..” It is always more than it is. It is always a pattern.
Here is the thing though, although we all have pasts, do we really want to start a relationship where the past is so close it could reach out and touch our relationship. And really, do you want to be with a person who comes to you as a victim?