By Henrylito D. Tacio
Anaïs Nin was an author born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States, where she became an established author.
At one time, Nin shared this story: “Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!'”
The anecdote may come as funny, but that was what came to my mind while reading this story posted on one of my friend’s Facebook account:
A father put his 3-year-old daughter to bed, told her a story, and listened to her prayers which ended by saying: “God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless Grandma and goodbye Grandpa.”
The father asked, “Why did you say goodbye Grandpa?”
The little girl said, “I don’t know daddy, it just seemed like the thing to do.”
The next day grandpa died. The father thought it was a strange coincidence.
A few months later, the father put the girl to the bed and listened to her prayers which went like this: “God bless Mommy, God Bless Daddy and goodbye Grandma.” The next day the grandmother died.
The father thought, “This kid is in contact with the other side.”
Several weeks later, when the girl was going to bed, the dad heard her say: “God bless Mommy and goodbye Daddy.”
He practically went into shock. He couldn’t sleep all night and got up at the crack of dawn to go to his office. He was nervous as a cat all day, had lunch, and watched the clock. He figured if he could get by until midnight, he would be okay. He felt safe in the office, so instead of going home at the end of the day, he stayed there, drinking coffee, looking at his watch, and jumping at every sound.
Finally, midnight arrived; he breathed a sigh of relief and went home. When he got home, his wife said, “I’ve never seen you work so late, what’s the matter?”
He replied, “I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve just spent the worst day of my life.”
She told him, “You think you had a bad day? You’ll never believe what happened to our kumpare, who lived next door. This morning, he dropped dead in our front yard!”
This brings us to the subject of infidelity. “Statistically speaking, there is a 65 percent chance that the love of your life is having an affair. Be very suspicious,” wrote Scott Dikkers, author of You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of Wisdom Sure to Ruin Your Day.
When you get married, you expect your partner to love you “in health or in sickness” and “in richer or poorer” as long as both of you are still living. But there comes a time when either the husband or the wife may succumb to temptation. That’s where infidelity comes in.
Being unfaithful to the person you love is unthinkable. But it happens, and the result is always a pain. Haruki Murakami, in South of the Border, West of the Sun, tried to describe the pain through these words:
“I think you still love me, but we can’t escape the fact that I’m not enough for you. I knew this was going to happen. So I’m not blaming you for falling in love with another woman. I’m not angry, either. I should be, but I’m not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt, but I was wrong.”
In her Split: A Memoir of Divorce, Suzanne Finnamore gives us an account as to what transpired between the couple once she found out that the other was cheating on her:
“How could you do that to me?” I repeat. I don’t have to itemize. He knows what I speak of.
Eventually, N produces three answers, in this order:
1. “Because I am a complete rotter.” I silently agree, but it’s a cop-out: I have maggots, therefore I am dead.
2. “I was stressed at work and unhappy and we were always fighting…and you know I was just crazy…”
I cut him off, saying, “You don’t get to be crazy. You did exactly what you chose to do.”
Which is true, he did. It is what he has always done. He, therefore, seems slightly puzzled at the need for further diagnosis, which may explain his third response:
3. “I don’t know.”
This, I feel instinctively, is the correct answer. How can I stay angry with him for being what he is? I was, after all, his wife, and I chose him. No coincidences, that’s what (Sigmund) Freud said. None. Ever.
In the final analysis, it’s the woman — more than the man — who suffers the most when it comes to infidelity. “Virtually all women will always carry the scars and a deep sense of loss and grief from the betrayal. Whether a woman has stayed, left, or been left, it must be remembered that time is the salve on this journey towards forgiveness and healing, because it is also a process of grieving,” wrote Meryn G. Callander in After His Affair: Women Rising from the Ashes of Infidelity.