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Blind Faith: When Affair Partners Marry

It's those hopeful, determined souls who knowingly build a house upon a rotted, unstable foundation who are the brave ones, isn't it?
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One of my kids and I were discussing religion. I was a soft Methodist growing up, and became a semi-soft Lutheran via marriage. What? You've never compared religion to cheese? I'm a Havarti, as opposed to an aged Parmesan. And now I'm hungry. As I was saying: the kids and I stopped attending the church we'd belonged to for well over a decade when they decided to be less than accommodating to folks of the gay ilk. We are an open-minded family, thus our exodus. So we haven't been to church in a long while but I do still believe in God and Heaven and all that jazz. I try to live my life in a good way, not so much out of fear of going to Hell but more so out of fear of encountering pissed off relatives when I do cross over.

The kid and I were talking about church and religion and some of the ceremonies they'd gone through. Communion and confirmation, to be precise. The kid mentioned how they liked being part of that group, how it felt special to be included in these milestones with their peers.

I asked the kid if they missed being part of a church family. The kid said "Nah. I think you hammered it in for a good amount of time." (proud Mom moment there)

Then the kid said, "You know, Dad told me he doesn't believe in God."

I didn't say much. Just an eyebrow raised ever-so-slightly and the response, "Really?" He'd been a very active participant in our early church-going days. Ushered, tithing, the whole nine yards. But as our marriage limped to its demise, so did his interest in the things we did as a family. Church included. I should add, non-believing/atheism isn't a bad thing in my opinion. "Some of my best friends are atheists" I say that in a jokey way but it's entirely true. A person's worth and likability, to me, has nothing to do with what or who they do or don't worship and everything to do with what kind of person they are. #truth

The kid mused on a bit more: "He says it's because XXX (former affair partner, now dad's current spouse) doesn't believe in God. He says he decided she was right."

Oh dear sweet Jesus. You should see the bite-marks on my tongue, folks. I said nothing to the kid. But in my head I was thinking:

"She may not believe in God but damn straight she's got a whole lotta faith. She's made babies with a man who walked away from his wife and four kids. Girl believes in something!"

And isn't that the truth? Aren't these people, the ones who put on their hardhats and get down to the dirty business of helping dismantle marriages, aren't they the most faithful among us? They truly believe in a higher power. They believe that they are immune to the plague which took down the relationship before them. Whether it's because they have a mink-lined vagina or dick for days, whether it's because they're younger or smarter or richer or just plain -er in every way...they believe they are exempt. They believe it's not going to happen to them. They believe in it, with such a fervent heat, that they start brand new, shiny lives with the ones who so casually disregarded their previous ones.

People talk about those of us left behind as being brave. Of being strong. Of having an almost preternatural mettle.

But really...it's those hopeful, determined souls who knowingly build a house upon a rotted, unstable foundation who are the brave ones, isn't it? Oh, the trust they have in their partners-in-crime. It would be admirable if they weren't such unscrupulous people. If they weren't the harbingers of so much breakage and ruin and mess.

I've done some shitty things in my life but I never cheated on my spouse. While dating post-divorce, I have been involved with a man or two who did, though. On one hand, yay for honesty! Let's lay all of our dirty cards out on the table early on, I say. I'd rather they find out about the skeletons in my closet- about my dysfunctional family, about the bankruptcy and foreclosure I endured after the divorce and about the blog I have where I discuss the damage adultery does to a family- at the beginning and from me, rather than later on and from an internet search.

On the other hand, yikes. Yes, I want to know if they cheated on their wives. Although it's not a 100% guaranteed deal breaker, it does set off oh so many alarms. Getting married again isn't high on my to-do list but if it does happen, it's very doubtful it would be with someone who'd done to a spouse what was done to me. There would be a trust deficit. I know people change, I know there are as many sides to every story as there are freaking dried out pine needles on my living room floor right now but still...

to put that kind of faith in someone with an adulterous track record? I don't know if I have it in me.

Blind faith? No. I don't think I do. But good on you, if you do.

Good on you, and good luck.

This piece originally appeared on Jennifer's blog, The Happy Hausfrau. Connect with her on Facebook!

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