I've had this post rolling around in my head for the past few days because I'm scared to actually write it. Not because I'm scared of you guys (who could be scared of you? look how cute you are), but because I fear that my husband will not be pleased with me bringing up this subject.
The problem is, it brings itself up.
It is in the back of my mind almost every day. So, I have no choice but to write about it. As Liz said - which I love so much because it is so simple and powerful - "you have to speak your truth". There it is.
I am talking about cheating. And what constitutes cheating.
Right at the outset, I need to say that I know two things for sure: 1) Chris worships the shaky ground I walk upon and 2) he would never knowingly hurt me.
However, he is a man. And, no offense to you men, but you're kind of dumb sometimes. I think most of you end up cheating without even knowing how it started.
My first real serious relationship was with a man named Matt.
Matt had a friend. This friend was tall and blond and married and flirtatious. Matt's friendship with her pre-dated me and when he and I started dating, she and I became friendly. She and her husband even threw Matt and I a party. I was never threatened by her because frankly, I'm more attractive. But, my intuition said that she was not a good influence on my boyfriend and I admit I was more than a little relieved when we moved 500 miles away from her.
But, they continued to email each other.
Years went by and I mostly forgot about her. Except when I would catch an email or two from her to my boyfriend. While mostly benign, the "cutesy" overtone never settled well with me. But, I trusted my boyfriend and was sick about confronting it, so I ignored it. (I know, right. ..The hell?)
Soon, I found out why that was a mistake.
Without getting too graphic, I'll tell you this: Their emails were heavy flirtation couched in harmless conversation. Use your imagination.
Upon discovering these emails, I was devastated. Devastated that this woman would so flagrantly flirt with my boyfriend ...for YEARS. Devastated that my boyfriend had convinced himself they were just friends.
Devastated that I let this email friendship continue for so long. Because in my heart I knew and I didn't do anything about it.
After much discussion, I do believe with all my heart that to Matt these email exchanges were just harmless fun. Unfortunately, that does not undo the damage to my heart or my pride. I see the rationalization that she lived on the other side of the state and the compliments and flirtatious banter were a nice stroke to the ego. I see the false security provided by the fact that their friendship never expanded beyond email.
I also see now that he was addicted to the attention.
Ever since this experience I have been hyper-sensitive to the idea of Chris having a personal relationship with a female. When we met, he had many women friends and while I tried to not be that girlfriend, eventually I was. He doesn't speak to any of them anymore.
I want to trust him, but I just can't.
I asked this question in the Sorority forum a few weeks ago to get a feel for the general consensus on the subject and I received so many emails and comments from women with completely opposing views.
And, I was shocked!
Some women, apparently, have no problem with their boyfriend or husband having a friendship with a woman in real life. (Like a real woman! With boobs and hair!). Others don't mind as long as the friendship stays confined to the computer. And still others said if he so much as breathes on another woman they'll take the pruning shears to his middle third.
So, I wonder what our reactions say about us? How much of our reaction is about how secure we are with ourselves as women?
What do you think? Is flirtatious email cheating?
Is it too much to ask that our husbands forsake friendships with the opposite sex?