I got cut out of a friend's life recently, because I did what I usually never do- after she indulged in a bitching session about her husband with me, I actually asked her if she trusted him. Here's the thing with a female friend in a relationship- she can say all that she wants to about her partner. All you must do is nod sympathetically. At the most, you can make a few noncommittal sounds. Just don't use words.
Women seem to prefer delusion when it comes to their partners. The bubble must never be breathed upon. Because the shitty stuff will never happen to them. Their husbands, though somewhat flawed, are still beyond reproach, especially when it comes to fidelity.
As a single woman in her 30's, I've personally come across a lot of married men who cheat or who want to cheat. Just download a tinder app on your phone and you'll see for yourself. They have every excuse under the sun. I always imagine the poor, hapless wife at home, sitting there believing her husband is the kind of guy who'd never do that to her. In the case of the friend I mentioned, I'm pretty sure he's playing the field.
It's not just cheating. Most of the woman I know are with men who don't deserve them. Men who are emotionally unavailable, whose egos overshadow their personalities, whose stealth at cheating on their partners is quite remarkable, who are downright immature and selfish, who believe they're entitled to a wife-slave, and who are outright misogynists. And for all this they are each rewarded with a woman's compassion, companionship, selfless care, delicious meals, a warm body, admiration, friendship and fidelity.
Apart from the obvious question, 'why do women settle for so little?' this issue begs for the answer to the far more pressing question- 'What's wrong with men?'
There's a gender based empathy test called the Lemonade test and the results are quite amusing.
Just to clarify, I speak also from experience, not just observation. For a former 'friend' I was with, there were innumerable safety catches in his mental relationship agreement. (FYI, these usually kick in after the honeymoon period of a relationship is over.) Sure, you can set up a hot water bath for me to ease my pain, but just because you're doing it for me, it doesn't mean I ever will or that I ever have to do so for you. After all, I never asked you to. If you expect it, it means that that's why you're doing it, so that you'll get it back, ergo you're not being selfless at all.' At the end of all that would be the ever present pride at the 'logic' of it all. I know why I was silent (why bother?), but what I wonder is- why did it take so long to get out?
I think that with women, it's not easy to give up on a relationship. That's why the actual break up so often turns messy. And that's why we stay in it for so long, when the rational parts of our minds are frantically screaming for relief. It takes courage to stand still and try harder and then it takes courage to face the truth and walk away. That's assuming one has the initial courage to look at the relationship and see what's wrong. Many prefer to keep their eyes shut tightly, like the friend who cut me out.
Beneath it all is the conviction that it just shouldn't be that hard. Which brings us back to 'What's wrong with men?' Is it the emotionally stunted childhood (boy's don't cry), coddling (my son won't do chores), entitled upbringing (boys will be boys), media brainwashing (men take, women give), stereotypical gender roles (I wear the pants here), primitive dominance (I'm a man),.... in fact, very little is right. This is why female empowerment is so important.
When a woman takes a submissive role in a marriage, she's demonstrating to her son what his future marriage can be like- basically, what he can get away with. When she raises him without teaching him personal responsibility and self-sufficiency, she's setting up a woman somewhere for a really disappointing relationship. When she lets slide even one opportunity to point out a common, yet misogynistic thought, belief or action, whatever the source, she's letting herself down and saying to him, yet again, women will take crap and it's okay.
Why is a gender neutral society so long in the making? Since Adam and Eve, (figuratively speaking) we've been here a long time. But I guess most of that time's been spent mucking it all up, and the cleaning up part is relatively recent. Change is slow. Be it colonial rule, racism or male dominance, history tells us that oppressors apparently enjoy it too much to let it go, even when it's so blatantly, painfully wrong. Sometimes, it seems like that rib of Adam's was the best part of him.
Disclaimer: When I say 'men' in this write-up, I refer to 90% of the Indian men that I have come across or heard of. It does not mean men in general/all men, Indian or otherwise. And by 'women', I mean my female friends, acquaintances and women they know. And yes, women cheat, have their own flaws etc. Just not the women I know and have written about here- they're bloody amazing.