Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Can a cheater truly empathize?

You could be forgiven for thinking that just about any married man is it seems...ummm....less than commited to his wife. While Hollywood is notorious for its short-lived marriages, it would be nice to see evidence that there are some good guys out there.
Alas, the latest to reveal his extracurriculars is David Letterman. Apologizing to his wife on-air, he notes that she's been "terribly hurt"...not to mention, I assume, humiliated, betrayed, devastated, etc. etc.
But his primary focus – indeed the catalyst for his public admission – was because of the extortion attempt against him. And it brings to the fore an issue that most betrayed wives face: the betrayer rarely really "gets" it. Sure they know in the abstract that we've been hurt by their actions. They see the tears. They dodge our nasty remarks. The remorseful ones do their best to empathize; the cads tell themselves it's no wonder they cheated given how emotional and unstable we are. But few will ever know what it really feels like.
Which makes recovering from betrayal doubly lonely. I've often heard people experiencing cancer describe it in similar terms. Sure, we can all imagine what it might be like to be given that diagnosis. But until we've actually heard it, we'll never really know the terror, the incredulity, the evaporation of a future we thought we could count on.
For many of the Betrayed Wive's Club, we've found comfort in being with those who truly do know what it's like. Who remember cringing at thoughtless jokes about adultery. Who've walked out of movies that made them trigger about their own pain. Who've...been there.
In the next few weeks, I'll be introducing the rest of the "team". I hope, like we have, you'll find solace in our community. That you'll share your experience and trust that you won't be judged. This is a safe place to let down your guard and begin to heal. And, I promise, no-one's betrayal will become late-night TV fodder. Another wife forced to publicly wear her pain...

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