I am in the middle of an interesting experience that has taken me a bit by surprise. Let me tell you how I got here and where I am.
Last Friday, I published a post (I Am Not Your Wife) that brought some interesting responses. Most came through email from readers or online chat with friends. Marcus left a comment to that post that read:
Lots to think about here Kat, great advice, and I'm not sure if you meant it this way , but another way to look at this, is this is how a man could treat his wife, and if he did, maybe she'd act more like the woman you wanted to have the affair with, either way, great advice.
That got me thinking about how I've written about how women can work to prevent their husbands from having affairs (10 Tips for Wives to Keep Your Husband from Cheating), but Marcus is right. If men would treat their wives the way they would treat their mistress, things would definitely be different at home. And just how can a husband really prevent his wife from cheating?
I was percolating on that idea when I read a blog that I have been following for a while now - Married Man Sex Life, authored by Athol Kay. Married Man Sex Life is not an infidelity blog; in fact, it is a blog written for men to help them find happiness and fulfillment with their wives and to help them prevent their wives from cheating. Athol shares some excellent advice and I respect his perspective very much. And yes, I have learned some things that have been helpful with my own marriage.
Then I read this post - Girls Night Out (Final GNO Post for the Moment at Least). I encourage you to read it yourself, but the premise is that Girls Nights Out are cheating traps for women. We are surrounded by alcohol and divorced friends and, as a result, are more likely to cheat. I had a few things to say while I was reading that post, but I let them go because I assumed that my perspective would not be welcome. I was correct, by the way, but keep reading for more on that....
I resisted the temptation to comment, that is, until I read comments like this:
It seems to me the biggest concern is preventing access to divorced friends. As long as the divorcees are in the minority, divorce is less likely. When you have a strong group of divorce culture women palling around, there's a far increased likelihood of them convincing their friends to consider behavior dangerous to marriage.(By Ceer)
But the social engineering that for the last century has percolated throughout ALL western countries leaves females with all the Jokers and men with none.
You have to find a saint and have the luck of her friends be saints too, to not be in constant danger of a ruined life through divorce. (By Hans)
The author of the post (not Athol) wrote:
...NO woman who claims to be in a relationship or married is to ever........and I mean EVER be trusted without her man for "grrrrrrls night out" (By Anonymous...of course)
Okay, I had to make a comment. I commented in a positive and polite tone, but what came back at me was a bit shocking. The venom and anger coming from some of those folks was very revealing.
One man even wrote:
Different folks have different numbered lists of rules to follow in the relationship arena, but really really high on any decent list is "don't take relationship advice from women."
Seriously, don't. Ever. Whether you are a man or a woman. Most women simply don't understand themselves or their motivations well enough to have any real insight into why they feel the way they do (the Hamster). It's a cosmic irony that the old joke about men not understanding women is actually the opposite. Men understand women just fine (though modern indoctrination tries like mad to confuse us). It's women who don't understand themselves.
Which is why nothing they say about their motivations can be trusted. (By Jack Amok)
Wow. As I continued to pursue the conversation, I was told that I was not credible at all because I didn't have a happy family (how could they possibly know that?), because I am not pro-marriage (not at all true), and because I am a cheater (this is, of course, accurate). I thought I might be able to share insight on why women cheat (and no, it's not about alcohol, GNO or divorced friends, or a whole bunch of other reasons that get thrown around on that blog) and maybe even how we do it, and that this information might be useful to others.
As a woman who actually does care very much about her marriage, I thought I'd join a conversation with other folks who also want strong marriages. What I learned is that I'm not welcome there. I learned that because I've cheated, there is nothing I know about keeping a marriage together than has any value to them (in spite of being married for over 20 years with no end in sight). Someone also actually said that I was not credible at all because by marriage was not appealing to him. Seriously? This came from someone who knows nothing about my marriage, except that I have been unfaithful.
As I sat with my thoughts and feelings about the experience, it became clear to me that it's really about tolerance and learning from each other. Why is it that we have become so intolerant of people who have a different perspective and point of view? Why is it that we immediately assume that we have nothing to learn from someone because they have done something (and continue to so something) that we disapprove of? When did it become okay to be rude to others because we disagree?
I am absolutely no threat to any of the folks following that blog, but it sure felt like they were attacking.
I was not planning to "play the Christian card," but I am aware that many of those folks are people of faith, as am I. What happened to "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7)"? What's with the self-righteousness and intolerance?
I wasn't asking for understanding, and I wasn't asking for approval or sympathy, just a little respect that is due anyone who comes to a conversation respectfully and politely.
You don't have to agree with me, but that kind of intolerance and poor treatment of others is just wrong. Apparently, there are people in this world who think that is perfectly ok, as long as they are not a cheater. I think there are moral issues with both.
I am very pleased to say that none of our Prowling with Kat readers have demonstrated that kind of intolerance or rudeness in their comments. Yeah, we are not perfect. We may be cheaters, but we seem to know how to behave in a public forum. Thank you, Prowlers!
All of this started with Marcus' comment about how men could treat their wives like the mi stress they want and, perhaps, avoid infidelity. I still have some thoughts on that to share....another day.