When I was younger I couldn’t fathom how someone could possibly cheat on their spouse. I held no sympathy and no forgiveness for such an act. Now that I’m married myself however, I can see how such a transgression can come about in more of a slippery slope fashion and less from cut and dry purposefulness. Admittedly it’s been difficult for me to shake the feeling of singleness so far, and this bothers me.
It’s easy enough to see why this is; not only have we been married for only eight months, but he has been deployed for four of those months. By the time he returns, we will have spent the majority of our marriage, literally half a world away. Prior to our wedding we weren’t even living on the same coast. Hell, we weren’t really even in a relationship. He and I dated seriously for two years, then broke up and spent the following two years in touch, but going our separate ways. After a few life changing events, we decided to skip the whole “let’s try being in a relationship again” stage and take the plunge. Basically, we went from broken up to engaged.
Do I regret this? Absolutely not. However, by the time we were engaged we were past the initial stages of infatuation that most couples haven’t quite left when the question is usually popped. We had all of that the first time around, but we were older and wiser when we decided to make our commitment and give it a second try. For me this was almost necessary because I could truly evaluate him as a person without getting caught up in the feelings of lust and infatuation one typically associates with love (new love in particular). I felt secure knowing that when the infatuation fades (and it will), I would likely not see him in a dramatically altered way.
When we had the chance to live together before his deployment, I felt married. My days revolved around him and we did things together. But then he left, and I felt a bit like when you date or you’re talking to a guy for four months and things just fall apart for whatever reason, and you carry on with your life. I guess too, being single was just part of my identity. I mean, I had practically perfected the art. I’m the chick who hosted annual “Cupid Castration” parties on Valentine’s Day and couldn’t get a prom date to save her life in high school. Even eventually moving to such a large place like NYC didn’t put finding new interested parties in my favor.
And with feeling somewhat like yet another potential relationship has dissolved, I find myself falling back into old single patterns of thought. Scoping out guys, feeling a pang of possibility when that guy I thought I had chemistry with ages ago sends me a casual message and–HOLY SHIT I’M MARRIED! RED LIGHT!
It’s like crazyville in my head. Maybe it’s because I clearly haven’t gotten laid in four months. Or maybe I’m just noticing all this because I’m ovulating. But I’m starting to realize just how much modern dating culture has infiltrated my brain and how difficult it is for me to deprogram. You always hear those horror stories about wives who cheat when their husbands are deployed, which somehow seems doubly wrong than regular cheating. It’s no wonder I’ve spent most of the deployment holed up in my house; I’m terrified of putting a foot out the door where there is easy access to a cornucopia of hot, single Marines!
And this is the stupidest part of it; where would all of that lead me anyway even assuming I was single? Nowhere, exactly as it has in the past. I would just end up repeating the cycle of briefly interesting someone for a month or less and having it fizzle away. This is why I got married in the first place; I finally had a really stand-up guy who I am attracted to decide that I was pretty much the best, and I would never have to endure that casual dating merry-go-round ever again.
Let me be clear, there is not anyone with whom I am “starting anything” or thinking about specifically or any of that. It’s just the awareness I’ve gained about “feeling single” and that I’m kind of scared about what that could entail followed to its logical conclusion. Your whole life you’re kind of conditioned to constantly be on the lookout for “that person”. But now I have to un-learn behavior patterns that have become automatic, because I found him and we made a commitment. Now what? How do I move forward in our relationship when he isn’t here for me to move forward with? I haven’t heard any of the other wives bring this up so maybe I’m the only one–but I can’t be, right?