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How can I forgive my cheating wife?

Dear Dr Nekia,

My wife has admitted to me that she had an affair but says that she ended it with him to work on our marriage. I am angry with her and really just think that we should get a divorce.

When I told her, I thought that she would say something about how I should forgive her since she came clean, but she surprised me by saying that a lot of times cheating makes a marriage stronger. I know I have heard that somewhere before, but come on, how can lying, having sex with someone else, and causing pain help a marriage? Doesn't she get what she has done? She put our family, our marriage, and my health at risk and I do not think that I can look at her the same or that I even want to be with someone who would do that.

Sincerely,

Cheating Doesn't Help

Dear Cheating Doesn't Help,

You are correct. Cheating never strengthens a relationship or marriage. If you drop a plate, it breaks; if you glue it back together you will still have cracks which weaken the integrity of the plate. Those cracks represent broken trust and that plate represents relationships.

When people say that cheating strengthens a couple's relationship, what they are saying is that cheating provides opportunity for the couple to come clean and communicate the ugly truths about their relationship. Cheating often shatters a relationship and it is at rock bottom where opportunity exists to rebuild a mutually desired and solid foundation built upon honesty. In order for this to happen, the broken couple will have to be vulnerable with one another. Vulnerability naturally transforms into intimacy which will have the couple feeling closer than ever. So, going forward, the new relationship between spouses is better than their previous one that was shattered by infidelity. This by no means excuses cheating because such intimacy could be found and a solid relationship created if the couple were open and honest with one another from the very beginning. Only you can decide if you wish to stay with your wife or not. For some, infidelity is the ultimate betrayal, while for others it is just another problem to work through or a character flaw to be accepted.

Dear Dr Nekia,

My husband and I have had a pretty good marriage up until I gave birth this year. We were never ones to argue but ever since our son, we argue all the time over little things, but mainly when our baby cries.

Our son is not a fussy baby but still my husband takes cheap shots at me that makes me feel like he is trying to say that the baby cries because I am not a good mother. Another thing that bothers me is that he refers to our baby as “the baby” when he cries or we are at home, but in public you would think he is a proud father of the year how he acts and talks with everything being about his son. I am tired of him putting me down as a mother whenever the baby cries, and I am tired of arguing. I need help.

Sincerely,

New Mother, Tired Wife

Dear New Mother, Tired Wife,

Did your husband ever want children, or was he ready to be a father? It can be quite unsettling for someone to have to adjust to parenthood if they feel as though they are thrown into it.

Men have a unique relationship with their children in that they do not experience the natural physical bonding that the mother does during her pregnancy. Fathers have to work at forming a relationship with their children much like they would with anyone else. This can be difficult for women to understand as they feel that a close parent-child bond should be automatic.

I would also question your financial situation because children are not exactly inexpensive to take care of, and a man can easily become stressed with the added responsibility of making ends meet. In such a case, it really doesn't matter if the mother is working or not, fathers feel the pressure associated with financial strains and guilt with not being able to provide. It is imperative that you find out the reason for your husband's behaviour if you ever wish for it to stop and also to avoid built-up resentment in both of you. However, no matter the reason for daddy's behaviour, it is not OK for him to belittle you and display detachment from his relationship with his son when he cries or is in the privacy of your own home. Him acting as though he is father of the year in public, is a reflection of his internal guilt as he finds it necessary to overcompensate to others. He simply must appear to be super dad in an attempt to hide the truth of the difficulties that he may be having adjusting to fatherhood.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I have noticed there is an increased preference by our Bermudian men to date women who are non-Bermudian, particularly those from other islands such as Trinidad and Jamaica. Not only do I think that Bermudian women are far more attractive than Jamaicans, I also feel that the idea that these men are “cared for” better is over-exaggerated. Many women have to work two jobs to keep our finances at a level where we are able to present ourselves in an attractive manner. I think immigration policy is affecting the influx of women from these places, which is providing less opportunity for us. Why are we suddenly not good enough?

Sincerely,

Our Bermudian Men Date Foreign Women

Dear Our Bermudian Men Date Foreign Women,

What first strikes me is the idea of ownership in identity. It is normal for us to identify with others of the same sex, race, culture, religion and, in this case, country. However, with this oftentimes comes the concept of ownership, which leads us to view others within our social group as being “ours”. It is important to take notice of this because attaching ownership through identity or kinship leads to a feeling of betrayal or rejection should someone choose to seek opportunity or affection outside of the group. In this case, the population being questioned is Bermudian men. Group cohesiveness is such a strong construct that it is not unusual for members to sometimes feel confined and limited in their options. Any characteristic that is different from them then becomes attractive or alluring. Add to this the urge to escape from the frustrations that exist among group members, along with the everyday issues that the group faces as a whole, and you have a pretty good formula that serves to motivate individuals to seek refuge elsewhere. The success of any group member in finding happiness or opportunity will further strengthen that motivation as it will validate to others that stepping outside of the group is the way to go. You can apply this concept to the issue of Bermudian men seeking women of other nationalities.

In Bermuda we are limited by many things and choice of life mate is no exception. Some will prefer the comfort of seeking a woman of their same nationality because it is familiar to them, while others will seek variety. As well, Bermudian women must attempt to understand that the cultures of the women belonging to the targeted nationalities provides benefits to Bermudian men that they find difficult to find within us. Of a particular factor is the upbringing of such women, which encourages attributes of traditional femininity that is least valued here in Bermuda.

On the other hand, the physical attributes of these women, whether we think them to be inferior to our own or not, is also desired by Bermudian men. Men have been socialised to desire a particular woman of character, and physical appearance. And because Bermuda is so small, there is a tendency for men to be highly impressionable and therefore more likely to conform to a set gender ideal. In the end however, it is women, not men, who place the most importance on the physical appearance of women. Sure men are attracted and lured by physical beauty, but physical beauty is not what determines whether or not they will commit or devote their life to a woman. We cannot impose law to restrict the freedom of persons who may want to choose women who are non-Bermudian, and it does little for us to view claims being made by Bermudian men, of being better cared for by foreign women as being over-exaggerated. If we truly want to know the answer as to why we as Bermudian women are being overlooked by eligible Bermudian men, we must first begin with listening to them and accepting what is their truth and what it is that they have to say.

We must know and understand their wants, needs, and expectations as well as they must learn the very same from us. Otherwise, we are allowing our own egos and points of view to drive a wedge between us that will make it difficult for us to connect.

— Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com

Nekia Walker. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 07, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 06, 2015 at 11:52 pm)

How can I forgive my cheating wife?

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