In an article, from Marie Claire’s September issue, An Affair to Forget:Can I forgive my husband for his infidelity?, author Catherine Barnes writes about her husband’s affair after an 18 year marriage. Barnes’ husband, Paul, decided he wanted to quit his job to work for the Foreign Service. The family was relocated to Bangkok where Paul was able to pursue his career. Before her move, Barnes read several warnings about marital affairs in Thailand. Apparently, it was common for Western men, including married ones, to be heavily pursued. The couple and their two kids had been living there for two years before Barnes discovered her husband was having an affair with a Thai woman.
Barnes said she felt ashamed she had not created a better security net for herself, “Like so many other educated women who should know better; I never kept my own bank account or ensured our investments were in both our names.”
After the affair, Barnes sought help through counseling but the incident between the Thai woman and the Western husband was such a common one in Thailand, the counselor couldn’t provide much help. In the end, Barnes chose to stay with her husband and give her marriage another shot.
I admire Barnes for writing her article. It can’t be easy to not only admit that your husband is having an affair, but also that you are willing to stay and work things out. I’m sure she’s going to receive much criticism from friends and family for making this choice. Evidently, other spouses are making this same decision–she just seems to be the only one talking about it.
I’m curious as to why Barnes felt “ashamed” for believing in her marriage enough to not have had a safety net? Perhaps, if we all had our own safety nets, no one would really allow themselves to be one hundred percent available. It kind of seems like an “I love you…but just in case…” Or, maybe it’s the opposite, that the “safety net” (though, never really guarding us from the inevitable heartache of divorce) would allow us to dive right in. After all, it’s the times when we are most prepared that we end up not needing to be.