Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Would You Do?

When I was 19 years old, nearing the end of my third year at university, my childhood sweetheart confessed that he had made someone else pregnant. He said he was sorry; the affair was a big mistake; he loved me but was unfaithful because my school was over 350km away from home and he was lonely. He asked me to forgive him and promised never to be unfaithful again.

I think the thing that scared me silly was that I believed that he loved me as he said, whatever his definition of love was. And I believed he really was sorry that he hurt me. Given a chance, we could have swept the affair under a rug ( or attributed it to youthful stupidity, as many adults in both our families were happy to.) I would have graduated and we would marry and raise children and live as many South African couples do.

But, I chose to walk away (that too was called youthful stupidity on my part), because I believed that however he felt about me, he was going to continue to discretely have affairs. And I wouldn't be able to do anything about it, because his actions were being tacitly endorsed with" men always cheat on their partners, and if you find one who takes care of you and is discrete, be grateful." I believed, and still do, that I deserved better than that kind of dubious respect.

Anyhoo, I haven't thought about this piece of my history for a very long time ( and no, I wasn't scarred much by it.:-) Then today I started doing a poll on OneLove asking "Would You Marry Your Man If You Found Out That He Made Someone Else Pregnant?" and it struck me that I've been there, made the decision and have no regrets. So I'm asking you: what would you do? Please tell me by taking the poll? Also, what would it take to convince you to forgive and try to rebuild your relationship?

Other than thinking too much about history, I'm doing great. Writing, thinking, reading, chatting to Baby about my upcoming trip to visit her during the school holidays and planning my winter garden.


po said...

It sounds to me like you made the best and strongest decision.

Shannon said...

I'm very late to this (just found your blog!) but I agree with Po. Had the same situation, and I do believe the man in question really did love me, but I also believed he would continue to have affairs, particularly if there was some "excuse"--if I was away traveling or working, if I were sick, if I were pregnant, etc.

Takes more than love, I think. And I was afraid I'd spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder and always second-guessing him when he said he was working late, at a friend's, etc--I didn't want to be the girlfriend/wife who constantly nagged or checked email and sms's, and I didn't want to live in that kind of distrust and insecurity.

Damaria Senne said...

@shannon - you're right. an afffair does cause a lot of insecurity, and the sad part that I have learnt over the years is that, sometimes the cheating partner doesn't really grasp what he/she lost with the affair. I was talking to a friend of mine, who was telling me how things are falling apart with his girlfriend. She's not as uninhibited as she used to be, measures her words and he wants the woman he fell in love back. It was only after hours of conversation that he eventually admitted that yes, he did have an affair, and he suspects that the partner knows about it but she never confronted him about it, and the affair is over now, so no worries. And yes, she should have confronted him about it, but his attitude to me was, the affair is over, so why do we still have a problem?

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