love in the afternoonMy husband often accuses me of wanting or needing to have an affair.  On one hand, I understand where he is coming from; on the other it is amazingly insulting.

I have an old, old friend who lives well over 12 hours from me. I talk to him, well, we text each other, a couple times a year usually instigated by my friend.  Most conversations revolve around the stupid and I put no great weight on them.  It is nice to get a smile or a laugh and to continue on my day.  But my friend is a male, and according to my husband enjoys flirting with me.  This could be true, I honestly have never noticed.  My friend is well aware that I am in a committed relationship and that I have two children.  In every way it is innocent; so why am I being painted with this brush?

Is it insecurity because my husband and I are going through a rough patch?  If that is the answer, I will not stop speaking (okay, texting) my friend.  That isn’t the cause of our trouble and I won’t let it be.  I will never allow another man to come into my life in any significant way as long as I am married.  I literally don’t think that I can.

Is it because my dad has never been faithful a day in his life? Am I being painted with the same brush? The truth is my father is awful when it comes to relationships.  He doesn’t believe in fidelity and if the opportunity presents itself he will sleep with any woman that can spread her legs.  Fat, thin, tall, short, plastic or real, the man will sleep with you if you give him any hint.  I don’t know exactly how he finds these women, and I don’t know exactly how he gets them into bed.  I have never asked, and will never want to know; there are just certain things you shouldn’t want to know as a child.

I doubt my father knows the meaning of the word romantic love.  I doubt my father has ever allowed himself to love a woman (there is a past here, but it isn’t my story to tell).  While he adores my sister and I, women in general are there to be appreciated, worshipped, and given his undying attention – for the brief moment they are together.  And women drink this up. So along with his good looks, his need to make women feel beautiful, means the opportunities to cheat are as common as the grass on the lawn. Women need to feel special, and yet, we literally marry and live with men who forget that sometime before the first anniversary. My father fills the void.

The frustrating thing about my husband’s accusations is that not only I have never done anything to deserve them, but it tells me that my husband once again has very little idea of who and what I am.  I respect my husband, and make sure that I am very careful about what I say to my friend, and I try to always mention that I spoke to that friend before my husband asks.  I have taken to deleting the conversations, not because they are in anyway inflammatory, but rather to prevent my husband from being hurt.  Yet, when ask, I do not hesitate to truthfully admit I spoke to my friend, but exactly what we spoke about.

I am the kind of person who goes out of her way to be kind.  Hurt and can’t speak English, don’t worry I will wait until the paramedics arrive.  Don’t understand the options your five children have in terms of free health insurance, don’t worry I will do the research for you, make sure you have the website, and then give you my office to sign up.  I am the person who makes sure that those that need help, receive help whether it is my job title or simply my need.  Helping people is a very selfish thing for me; it makes me feel good and gives me the grounds to get through all the other things in my life that is going wrong. The employees at the plant I work at have started calling my “Mom”; from the supervisors to the new guy on the floor, I am simply “mom”.

I try never to be unkind, often going to bed rather than speaking my mind.  I try to remember to go out of my way to thank those who help me; whether it is a cashier or the old man who picks up my dirty plates at my favorite restaurant.  Again, I do this for purely selfish reasons; it makes me feel better.  I am not a saint, but I am not quite on God’s black list either; I believe like most people I am somewhere in between.  And that is okay with me.

But when my husband asks me or wonders if I am or will have an affair, I swing between wondering if he thinks I am my father, and wondering why he would ever believe that I would intentionally hurt him that way.  I know what I would feel if he cheated on me, I know the devastation that would cause to my heart.  I have watched my mother go through it, the knowledge that the man she loves doesn’t really adore her as much as he promised he would. Even the fact that we may not be able to fix our problems in our marriage, my husband and I, sends me into a tailspin of awful anger and incredible hurt; until I simply want to bury myself far away and just ignore the whole thing.  The feelings the breakup of my marriage causes are so intense as to make it palpable to walk away from everything in my life, including my children, and simply disappear.  And while I would never walk away from my children, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to fight that feeling.

Being accused of something before you actually do anything is hard; even when you understand the other’s view point.  There is no solution, no win; no way to make anything better.  Instead it becomes a symptom of a larger issue that my husband stopped seeing the moment he could.

My husband will read this post and he will comment on this post.  But this post isn’t for him; it is for me and my sanity.  It is my way to put on paper that which haunts me in a way that will allow me to believe in myself.  It will remind me what I am truly made of, and who I truly am.  And it will give me the strength to continue being not what people believe, but what I actually want to be.  Because at the end of the day, it is my reflection that stares back at me.  At the end of it all, it will be my soul judged.