Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are Unsuspecting Wives Senseless?

A recent Twitter comment noted that Tiger Wood's ex-wife Elin Nordegren said she didn't suspect Tiger's trangressions. "Does she have no sense?" asked the tweeter.
I recoiled.
Elin Nordegren Speaks: 'I Feel Stronger Than I Ever Have' | Elin NordegrenI'm increasingly fed up with the blithe remarks about how women who get cheated on are idiots for not somehow knowing. Behind the nastiness of the remarks, I think, also lies a bit of blame. As if part of the reason we got cheated on is because we're such dim-wit doormats.
Even Elin herself admits she felt "embarrassed" in her recent People magazine story.
I suppose I could be accused of being too sensitive. Perhaps the comments are just off-the-cuff remarks from otherwise well-meaning people.
But it's too widespread to completely ignore.
And, frankly, I think it's nonsense.
I didn't know.
I may have had niggling doubts. I may have, in hindsight, suspected more than I wanted to admit at the time. And I did discuss my concerns with my husband.
His response? Don't be silly. There's nothing going on. With her? Of course not. 
And I believed him. Because, after all, he was telling me what I wanted to hear.
Does that make me an idiot?
Some might say yes.
But not me.
I've never been a cynic. And I've never been someone who doubts. Though I put on my skeptical journalist's hat for work, I take if off in regards to my personal relationships. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Other people's husbands might cheat.
But not mine.
And not Elin's.
And not yours, too, I imagine.
So, to all those who think I somehow deserved what I got because, after all, I didn't have sense enough to figure out what was going on while my husband was, as far as I knew, working and while I was writing books, shuttling three kids to soccer, piano and friends' houses, making meals, walking dogs, caring for aging parents, volunteering at an AIDS hospice and spending time with friends...I say, well, I say they don't know me at all.
And I have sense enough to stop caring what they think of me or my situation. And compassion enough to not wish it on even people as smug as they are.


  1. First of all, thank you for writing this blog. I have (unwillingly) become a member of this club recently and reading your blog entries has been extremely helpful and comforting by helping me know that others feel the same way I do. I agree with you that others should refrain from commenting about why a cheated on spouse couldn't figure things out. But here's my question. How do you deal with the same feelings within yourself? Since I discovered my husband's affair, I've been feeling like quite a fool since, in retrosepct, of course I knew what was going on. In fact, I'd confronted him before and swallowed what I now realize were ridiculous explanations because they were what I wanted to hear! I wouldn't want anyone else to call me an idiot but I certainly feel like one!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I too find nagging thoughts of foolishness and idiocy creeping up on me. I told my therapist I felt that way and he summed it up well. "You are not foolish or dumb for having loved your husband".
    I too believed my husbands lies.
    Without evidence how exactly are you supposed to know what is going on??
    One thing that I will never ignore now is slight suspicions, gut feelings or intuition.

  4. I, too, suspected it and confronted my husband quite a few times, but he'd always have a "good explanation" and because I believed in love and marriage, I believed him as well. I am almost 2 months post D-Day and seeing a therapist. I have a long ways to go and still feeling foolish myself, but until someone has been in our shoes as they say, they don't have a clue!

  5. i was cheated on in my first serious relationship (during and post-college). i had suspicions, and had frequent fantasies about catching them in the act. i didn't share my suspicions directly, but asked, "why do you hang out with those girls? can i meet them?" (he was still in school and i had graduated and was working and living way across town.) once i asked, "have you ever cheated on me." "NO." but my suspicions were right. he'd been sleeping with a girl who didn't know about me for 3 months when i figured it out.

    fast forward 9 years. i'm married, things are not going well, i'm depressed. get help, no thanks to cold, withdrawn husband. even while better, can't shake the feeling that something is going on with his co-worker. confront him on some minor activities (texting a subordinate at work on his personal phone outside work time) and it apparently stops. again, i have elaborate fantasies about how to catch him in the act, but never act on them. FINALLY, even though things are going amazingly well with husband and have been for a few months, i hack into his computer and check his emails. i was right. he had been sleeping with the inappropriate texter. i thought i was prone to paranoia after my first experience with infidelity, so i didn't trust my instincts. if anyone ever told me they had suspicions, i would tell them to immediately confront their spouse and don't give up until it's clear that they are right or insane.

  6. Right or insane... H'mmm. I think we all know which one we are. We just need silence those voices that tell us we're the other ("don't be silly", "you're acting jealous", "don't be so insecure", blah blah blah)

  7. Right all the time. Insane, insecure, jealous or anything else along those lines are just made up and used to send you down the wrong path by the cheating partner.
    We have all been there :/
    How I wish I had always listened to my inner voice. We live and lean and I will never silence myself again- I hope.

  8. I thought for sure I knew better.
    I had been cheated on by two serial cheaters. I spent three few years deep in self books like 'Women Who Love to Much' and 'Wishcraft' and more. I was determined to do better, next time.
    I did do better.
    I chose a better liar.
    He was so good, I never suspected a thing. I saw his credit report. I met and hung out with his friends. I waited and watched and thought I was careful. When he spoke derogitorily about someone else looking at porn, or when he said how other people with open marriages must not love each other, or that having an affair meant bringing someone else into the marriage, I believed he meant it. But in reality, he feeling me out, testing my trust, while filling me with half truths and deceipt and making me think he believed in commitment and had real standards. All the while he was actually acting out his sexual addiction, on a regular basis.
    Finally, the addiction overcame all his ability to dissemble, and I got my D-Day. I was devastated, horrified, shattered. Worse of all, I HAD REALLY TRUSTED THIS MAN! How the H&$$ did I end up here, AGAIN?
    Because I really didn't know any better.
    Because all my childhood, I had been taught that feelings were not to be discussed, that what people said they meant and felt were actually lies, and that men were distant and cold and overly private. I never learned boundaries, or what boundaries were, or what safe love felt like. I had been trained to confuse a version of petrified contempt, with love.
    I do not blame myself. I was unaware, at the time. But my own conditioning did bring me here. My own past sent me straight into the arms of a man emotionally from birth, lying to protect himself from being swallowed up, obsessed with sex equating power and providing medication from his own emptiness, all long before I met him. I equated his fear, his distance, his obsession, his passive nice man shell, with a real, loving, committed partner.
    Do I blame myself? No. I remained ignorant of the continued hold of my own family of origin and where it could lead me, so, yeah, I blundered blindly into this nightmare. I am the other half of this equation. AGAIN.

  9. So many of us thought we knew better. And many of us also had been cheated on in the past. In my case, I grew up with alcoholic parents and, though I'd sought therapy as an adult, I nonetheless never quite learned to trust my own instincts over what someone was telling me. I'd been essentially trained as a child to believe what I was being told rather than what I was seeing with my own eyes. "Don't be silly," my parents would chastise, when I woke to them screaming and fighting. "We're fine," they would say. When any sane person could see they were not. But I wanted to believe so badly. And the groundwork was laid then for someone to convince me easily that everything was absolutely fine...and I stopped even noticing my own gut telling me otherwise.

  10. I have just found this post. I am experiencing this very thing now. I feel like such a fool for not knowing. Not detecting. A fool over how good he was able to lie and I did not detect. He was soooo good at it! I look at my husband now and sometimes don't recognize him. He seems like an imposter. A chameleon - that he could leave work early and go fuck his girlfriend and then come home, act as if everything were "normal" and slither into our bed, stick his dirty penis inside me! Not even thinking about the consequences of what he had just exposed me to. What selfishness! I realize it was more about how good of a liar he was than it is about me feeling like a fool.

  11. I knew something wasn't right. I asked him full-out if he was using again (he's a recovering porn addict) and he swore up and down he wasn't. I could have pushed him. I thought about saying, "I know you are lying about something. Now, you either don't want to have sex with me ever because you're using porn again, or you don't want to have sex with me ever because you don't love me anymore. Now tell me which one it is!" But I was too afraid that he was going to pick option two to force an answer out of him.

    It wasn't that I didn't know, it was that I thought *I* was the problem. I grew up as the scapegoat of my abusive family. Everything was my fault. So I took the blame in my marriage when it wasn't my fault. It's taken me many months to forgive myself for letting it go instead of forcing the truth out of him. If I had, he might never have cheated on my in real life.


    1. Gee,
      So many of us blame ourselves for not somehow stopping it. That's a HUGE burden to put on ourselves and it's one we need to let ourselves off the hook. Our life work is to be our best selves. We can't take that on for others.



Related Posts with Thumbnails