It’s almost Valentine’s Day again, when lovers everywhere will celebrate their torrid passions for one another with gifts, flowers, and secretive rendezvous across town where unsuspecting spouses would never think to look. But what if you’re one of those spouses? If you’re one of the lucky few who can afford an electronic house-arrest ankle bracelet to save your marriage from worry, you need never lose sleep wondering where your husband spent those minutes between that last phone call from work and that first fumble with the keys outside. But if you’re like the rest of us, you may have to do it the old fashioned way: look for clues.
How do you know if your man is having an affair?
Insists on doing his own laundry
Becomes concerned about personal appearance
Asks you to respect his “privacy”
Stays up late using computer or reading
Raises new topics in conversation
Shows newfound interest in museums, films, outdoors
Starts giving you gifts, lingerie, candy, flowers
Writes you affectionate notes
Takes regular showers
Takes a vacation from work to “spend more time with loved ones”
Considers switching jobs to “do the thing he loves”
Sings, hums, taps foot
Helps kids with homework
Mows the lawn
Accuses you of having an affair whenever next-door neighbor Chad emerges from bathtub
If your husband is having an affair, it’s not the end of the world; perhaps your marriage can be saved. You’ve got to ask yourself: am I better off without him? Who will clean the rain gutters if I insist that he leaves? Does Chad own a ladder?
Remember, it’s important for you to live your own life and maintain your own self-esteem; don’t let his extramarital escapades drag you down to his level! What’s important is that you maintain a sense of personal dignity and strength as you struggle with the complicated emotions of divorce and vengeful premeditation.
Step 1: Find a comfortable, supportive environment
All this means is that you should like being where you are. Keep the house tidy through your marital shakeup. This can be emotionally risky; don’t do it alone.
Step 2: Take care of yourself
If nobody else will take care of you, who’s going to do it? You, that’s who! Remember to exercise. Perhaps a neighbor or friend will want to support you in your workout regimen. Look for someone who seems fit, healthy, and experienced. It won’t help anybody if your workout buddy has a cardiac during your 2-mile run-walk, will it? Insist on a complete physical examination. Perform it yourself if necessary.
Step 3: You can do it!
Who are we kidding? You don’t need that guy to know you’re sexy and vibrant. Any man would be lucky to have you! Dress appropriately and hit that pavement!
Finally, remember that Valentine’s day is a perfect opportunity to begin to rebuild. Don’t wait! Write yourself affirming notes; enjoy a soothing candlelit bath. Reach out to friends, new and old, for support in your time of need. Have a happy Valentine's Day! Many newspapers have extensive resources for this type of support. If all else fails, try the Internet.
Copyright 2003 Betsy Shebang
Columns by Betsy Shebang