This is not a course of action I will recommend, and it’s definitely not one I have followed. I did however get bloody irritated by this topic over the weekend. There was, in The Times, an entire two page spread with some woman bleating on about how devastated she was when she found her husband had been playing away from home.
This hair-shirted confessional was precipitated by a television programme of which I was unaware, Doctor Foster, in which the eponymous main character has been playing doctors and nurses with someone other than his wife. She confronts him. Shock horror! He denies it!
Enter Melissa Walker, the whingeing columnist. She gives it the whole ‘I gave him the best years of my life, look at my stretchmarks!’ thing. It was so self pitying it was cloying to the point of nausea.
Several things spring to mind. The first is that it’s not only men who stray. Women do too. Otherwise men wouldn’t be able to, in general. Think about the logistics here. It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? That means a lot of errant women, or a select few who are having one hell of a time of things. A woman betrayed Ms Walker too. She seems to have missed that.
I can also tell you from bitter experience that the sense of betrayal and disappointment, the bewilderment, the pain, is just as real for a man as it is for a woman. In fact a tame psych makes the point that men find it harder to cope with than do women when partners plough another figurative furrow.
This leads me neatly to my next point. Once I’d stopped falling over in shock, I asked myself a question. ‘OK, so she shagged someone else. What was I not giving her she had to look elsewhere?’ This critical enquiry seems to have escaped Ms Walker. No, it’s all her husband’s fault, the bastard.
Now I have no idea at all of the Walkers’ domestic setup, but I’d bet a few bob that the husband felt a strong sense of neglect. I’m not defending his actions, not at all. But to blame him and him alone is wrong.
Many moons ago, it was widely known I was cheating on my partner. Everybody knew it, including my partner, everyone knew who I was shagging, everything was common knowledge. The only problem was that I wasn’t. I had a fair few offers, and I can’t say I wasn’t sorely tempted, but I toed the line. Unlike my partner. I knew she was putting herself about a bit, but I kept bloody quiet about it. I didn’t go crying to a national newspaper.