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Sliced Heart/Seared Hand by Julie Seyler

BY JULIE SEYLER

Cheaters and creeps are never out of vogue.  Whether we look at history, art, literature, theater, or current events, infidelity is always a hot topic and au courant.  In the past 20 years we’ve been treated to Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, that Congressman/governor from South Carolina and the latest – David Petraeus. The discourse and debates are endless and familiar.  But when it strikes someone you know personally, it hits you in a whole different way. I have a friend, who over the past several years has had to come to terms with this issue and that is her journey.  All I can do is be there for her, and knowing her, I know she will heal and have love in her life again.

But what intrigues me is, why does it always seem easier for the cheater to lie and obfuscate than to simply state that, “This isn’t working for me.”  If the excuse is, “I didn’t want to break up the family,” or, “I didn’t want to hurt you,” that’s a total joke! Whether it is an affair or a series of one-night flirtations, the family is broken up, and the hurt ricochets over and over. When that betrayal is discovered, be it during or after the extracurricular fling, the psyche is seared.  It is as if someone took a dagger and sliced up your heart into 2000 pieces and then, as if that wasn’t enough, they decided to stomp on your mashed-up heart with a heavy black boot. 

And that scarring pain goes on for days and months.  I know, because once upon a time someone lost their passion for me. Instead of just manning-up and saying, “I’m done,” he iced me out and left me to find out, through “friends,” that he was now dancing about with “Susan.”

I got over it, and I was lucky because I was young, unmarried and he actually apologized to me years later.  But every time I hear about the husband that stepped out on his 20-plus-year marriage for the more enticing woman who really “gets” him, I want to puke.  And believe me, I also understand how it can happen to anyone at any time.  I am not immune – attraction is powerful and desire is seductive.  We all want it. I guess what I would hope for is that I would have the minimal wisdom to recognize something is off in my relationship and the minimal decency to tell my spouse, lover, partner, before I started sticking my tongue down another’s guy’s mouth.

No doubt men and women will always cheat, and books, paintings, movies and editorials will pour forth on the subject. It’s sexy and leads to lots of analysis and opinions.  My question is, can we ever get to the point where we fess-up before the damage is done?