When Marriage Fails Us … by Nancy Brophy
Is there a woman among us who has not been affected by a man who’s violated our trust? As romance writers we tend not to write about the ugly side of love. If a man is unfaithful in one of our stories, it is a man our heroine leaves only to be rewarded by finding true love with someone who does everything better than the cheating scum bucket – including sexual performance.
Real life is not always so clear. Do you stay or do you go? How much do you weigh the time invested and the children born? Does forgiveness say more about you than the relationship or the man? Is the lesson taught, the lesson learned?
There are some who believe a cheater will always cheat. So when you forgive him you have convinced him there are no consequences to his actions. The opportunity to forgive will be presented again and again. Another school of thought believes everybody makes mistakes and should be allowed a second or third chance.
Every relationship is different and all are fluid. Power shifts back and forth between the players. Regardless of your status – single, dating, living together or married – each avenue houses both the good and the bad in equal measures. Some days are good, and we like our lives, and other days we want anything but what we’ve chosen.
When George Harrison’s second wife, Olivia was asked how she made the marriage work for over twenty years, she responded, “We didn’t get a divorce.”
I once had a friend who maintained you should never commit to a man with whom you have not have a terrible fight. Because you have to know even in anger that he holds your relationship and you sacred. Today we have more opportunity to marry for love than we’ve ever had in the past. Yet, many of us cling to the fairy tales of our youth. A man (even without a white horse) will save us from ourselves. When that turns out not to be true, we feel cheated.
Someone coined the adage, women give sex to get love, men give love to get sex, and in the 60’s we learned free love was never free. There was always a cost to be paid, mostly on the wear and tear of your soul. Intimacy is supposed to create a safe haven where every one can drop their guard if only for a brief period of time. It is why a man can tell a prostitute the secrets he could never say at home and why a woman is annoyed (or worse) if the man immediately drops into a dead sleep.
The best relationships share several common traits. You must know and like yourself. Another person will not complete you, nor be the wind beneath your wings. At least not every day. Understand what you want. If you’re telling him what you think he wants to hear, your relationship hinges on lies.
Have you chosen a partner based on his resume rather than the man himself? While sex might be a microcosm of the relationship, it is not the barometer. A great physical encounter does not determine the success of the relationship. (Please don’t bring up the times I’ve said it does in books)
Love is tough. Riding off into the sunset may blind you temporarily, but sooner or later your sight returns. Everyone’s story includes pain and underneath it all, we share the same story. If I’ve learned one thing about life and love, it is that time is the sponge that soaks up the hurt. Before you hire a divorce attorney, give the relationship time to cool down. I read somewhere that after being divorced for a couple of years, most people believe they could have made it work, if only they’d tried harder.
Historically women stayed in relationships because they had no choice. Today we have a choice, which makes our decisions more complex. We rarely see all of the ramifications that occur when someone throws a stone into the water.
I write romance because I believe in true love and happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t also written a blog about how to murder your husband, which is why I’ve never included a scene in which the hero and heroine ride off into the sunset.