"There’s A Possibility She May Already May Know"
Your circle of friends has been buzzing about the latest scandal involving a friend’s high-profile husband. His philandering is now of public record and none of you can imagine what she must be going through. She’s a highly successful woman in her own right, with a seemingly impeccable image that has taken years to cultivate. Up until the scandal breaks, everything about her life and marriage seemed perfect. The expectation of her next public appearance is that she will be a mess. All of her friends are in a tizzy about what to say, how to comfort, or support her. The expressions of sympathy are as much of the buzz as is the gossip. Trying to offer sympathy in situations such as this can make the support system feel as bad as the culprit because those who want to support feel like everything that’s said and done with good intentions only makes things worse, adding insult to injury.
With so many sources of informational outlets from which everything that happens in the universe is put out there for public consumption, no one should be surprised when the support for the man caught up in the scandal comes from the least expected source, but somehow we always are. Some of us are left gasping for breath with disbelief when the woman who has been cheated on shows up at a news conference, stands next to him looking poised, and proceeds to take the microphone with words of love, support, and loyalty that make us cringe. We listen as she eloquently defends him, and ends her official statement basically telling the world to back off because she knows and loves her husband. You then reach the conclusion that she must be in shock, medicated, or just lying to save face. Why would she stand by him when he’s committed the unthinkable?Where’s her pride? She’s successful and doesn’t need him. Maybe she’s really insecure and can’t live without him. When all plausible explanation fails, some people will ultimately conclude that she’s just crazy.
Believe it or not; accept it or not; agree with it or not, some women know exactly with whom they’re dealing. When they say they know their husbands, that statement isn’t always a denial of the circumstances. In some instances, the lady knows about his philandering ways. Rightfully or wrongfully so, she accepts them, and it’s not always because she’s a helpless victim. So unless you know all of the details (not the innuendos, speculation, and grapevine chatter) you may want to hold on to your sympathy.
There is a false notion that women are generally dumb or clueless when it comes to these matters. Yes, there are some women who are totally in the dark about their husbands’ double lives. It is a reality that some have lived such sheltered lives they either don’t know or can’t interpret the signs of trouble brewing. There are sadder cases wherein they have no idea or deny they’re in the fire storm. But there is also a group of very smart, savvy, and highly ambitious women who know what their mates are up to. Make no mistake. They’re human and suffer the same pain that naïve women suffer, but they’re wired differently, and that’s exactly what some people can’t understand. As hard as it is to fathom, the truth is, everybody’s not in it for love.
For this type of woman, when scandal erupts in her life, it is probably the publicity that hurts more than knowledge of the affair(s).It is her pride that suffers because the public now knows that she has tolerated or accepted something everyone believed was beneath her. But at some point while she’s processing the hurt and humiliation, she reaches the conclusion that her dreams, ambitions, and agenda are much bigger than the mess that has been created. To deal with the disappointment and betrayal, she channels her hurt into position, power, and wealth.Like it or not, there are instances where the finances are such that this type of woman is not going to allow an indiscretion adversely affect everything she feels she has worked for and deserves to keep intact.
All of us have our respective laundry lists of what constitutes right and wrong in relationships. But trust me – there are far more gray areas than there are areas of black and white.Most of what happens to us falls within these gray areas. That’s why scandal is so complicated; why it’s hard to immediately come to a decision as to whether it should be dealt with from the heart or the head; whether or not the damaged relationship is worth fighting for; how to handle the public humiliation; and what impact does the scandal have on the relationship going forward.
With good intentions and in our efforts to get the perceived victim to see that an unforgiveable sin has been committed against her, we may plead with her to open her eyes; to see what’s really going on. The damage we know that an extra-marital affair causes us to plead with her in an attempt to convince her to leave the relationship. Some friends may want to “scare her straight” by keeping it real. But the down and dirty can add to the emotional distress or collapse. It can be quite frustrating when she doesn’t make a move or moves in an unexpected direction, but here’s something to consider.The fact that she’s not responding as expected could mean she’s a few steps ahead of her sympathizers.
In many cases women may not have the details, but they usually know when something is amiss. No matter how subtle the changes are in their mates, the changes do not go unnoticed. Women generally don’t like a mess, so they find numerous ways to keep the peace; minimize the damage; or clean up the mess as much as possible. So by the time his indiscretions become public knowledge, she’s already aware of something and has become accustomed to dealing with it in her own way. What’s new to her is the public’s reactions and opinions, and we know the Court of Public Opinion’s powerful impact.
There are some women who deal with the pain by channeling their energy in other directions. This is easier for the woman who has a lot of things going on in her life independent of her husband. The highly ambitious type, materialistic maven, or one who is guilty of the same type of offense committed by her mate, may be willing to overlook his indiscretions. This does not mean she isn’t injured by her mate’s behavior. It means that she responds differently than the woman whose demonstration of pain is more familiar to us. While she may not want or need our sympathy, there are other things she needs or will need.
Don’t judge her because of her perceived indifference or lack of emotion. We all have different needs, and just because hers don’t include sympathy doesn’t mean she isn’t in need of anything or anybody. Listen closely and determine how best you can support her. Believe me, if she wants more than finance, social status, or power, she will reach the conclusion, in her own time, that sacrificing a peace of mind, the beauty of an authentic heart connection, the demand to be treated with love and respect in every aspect of the relationship isn’t worth it.Until then, respond to the needs specific to the type of woman she is.
If she needs someone to show up at an event where she’s speaking, then do that. The familiar face in the crowd does wonders. If some quiet time over lunch provides a simple “get-away”, take her to lunch. If she needs small talk, give it to her. Do not mention the scandal unless she initiates the conversation and wants to talk about. If she wants to start a new project to take her mind off of her hurt, ask how you can help. In other words, do something that does not add insult to injury. Do something that lifts her up. Don’t bring the buzz (gossip) to her thinking you’re bringing her something you feel she doesn’t know, but you’ve decided she needs to know. There’s a possibility she already knows. Respect that and focus on your loving relationship with her – not the one that hurts her. She will thank you for your keen insight.