It’s the oldest cliché known to man—and probably the first. It’s also the cliché that’s truer to life than most of us wives care to think about. We’ve all seen the Lifetime movie of the week, and we’ve all read this storyline like a bazillion-times in books and seen it on the big screen: That tired, old, beaten to death, sad-sad tale of the hubby cheating on the wifey with the younger co-worker.
Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.
I’m not yawning so much at it in principle. Hey, it happens. There are husbands out there with the shallowest of egos and feel that the only way to keep the said ego erect—oops, I mean in check—is to have it literally stroked by someone younger than the woman he actually stood before some all powerful entity and swore an oath to honor until death did they part. Some guys forget that there is such a thing as ’til divorce do us part. That little one-eyed ego never thinks about those pesky details, does he?
(And by the way, I’m not speaking from experience. I told the hubby that there is only one D in our future and it’s NOT Divorce. And how he chooses to leave this Earth is entirely up to him, be it of natural causes, or, um, well, you get the point).
But I am sick and tired of reading about sappy ass women who stay with these chumps. You know the stories. The one where the woman finds herself faced with a divorce or a cheating spouse and goes off on some adventure to find herself…to find the woman he once loved and would never think of betraying. This said trip always includes an older, wiser friend with lose morals and a trail of ex-husbands, copious amounts of cocktails, and inner dialogue that makes me want to reach into the pages and slap the ever living crap out of her.
(Spoiler Alert here) I’ve read a few Luanne Rice novels and I’ve really enjoyed them. All but one—Secrets of Paris. This tale left me with the sudden urge to kick-box. I seemed to be more hurt by the husband’s infidelity than the heroine was.
Lydie’s father committed murder-suicide. He killed himself and his lover, leaving her mother brokenhearted and mortified. It leaves Lydie broken, period. So much so Michael, her devoted hubby, is feeling like a red-headed step child in their marriage. So Michael thinks a year in Paris is a great idea to reignite the spark.
Number one here, Mike—you big douche-nozzle—your wife is grieving. It’s not all about you and your little bruised ego not getting enough attention.
Poor Lydie is still distraught in not-so-gay-Paree. And Mikey’s one-eyed buddy can no longer stand the silent treatment. So he falls for a little French trollop with a severe mental disorder. She’s a wee bit crazy. She thinks she’s the historical women she researches.
Michael starts to fantasize about being with this woman. Okay, daydreaming is one thing. But when Michael pounces on the chance to make his fantasy become reality, I thought about calling a fictional hit-man to whack the guy.
First of all, this guy is completely heartless. He actually makes statements like how stiff making love to his wife had been over the past year. How she crawls into herself and not him.
What made the story worse for me is that after Lydie learns of the affair, she kicks him out and hangs out with an older couple while searching for why Michael strayed in the first place. Alone, she finds the woman he once loved and forgives him. Gag me with a divorce decree already!
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s the inner-city chick that’s had to fight for everything in her life. Maybe it’s me seeing people I love forever scarred by infidelity. Maybe it’s that my momma didn’t raise a doormat. Maybe I’m just wired differently—I’m not the turn the other cheek type of gal, but I’d never throw the first punch.
My man cheats. It’s done. Over.
If for some crazy reason I was still so in love with the guy that I thought I could work it out, no way I’m showing up to the reconciliation party without my own tales of debauchery to speak of. We’d have to level the playing field. Which means if he played the field, then I need to as well.
For me, betrayal is the hardest to ever get over and you never really, truly, get over it. If I’m going to be miserable for the rest of my marriage thinking from time to time about the time my man dropped his dipstick into someone else’s fun-dip, you better believe I want him thinking the same thing. Even-Steven in my book.
Why do the hubbies get to have all the fun?
Well, I have read some novels where the wifey gets hers and it made me wanna fist tap the author for having the cajones to write such a tale. Kristin Hannah’s On Mystic Lake started out with a sappy ass heroine getting dumped for a newer model but she goes out and finds love. I’ll take that. Sarah Jio’s Violets of March also has the same cliché starter, but she too goes out to find what’s missing from her life and even finds some old family drama and secrets along the way. Dori Ostermiller’s Outside the Ordinary World takes place in the years between 1978 and 2008. It’s about a woman contemplating an affair while recalling the one her mother had and how it destroyed their family. Gut-wrenching and poignant through and through. Sarah Pekkanen’s Skipping A Beat is a unique plot and a super jaw-dropping twist on the trope of hubby schtoopin’ the assistant: A woman believes her husband cheated and probably still is cheating but never confronted him. She had her own affair and never told a soul. As she is ready to file for divorce, hubby has a near-death experience and wakes up to be the best man on the entire planet, thus making her fall in love with him again. And the truth about their affairs may not exactly set them free.
All the above reads take the tried-and-true cheating trope and turn them upside down. I didn’t feel the need to cyber slap anyone. And that’s a good thing, since I have one helluva pimp hand.