I have given lots of thought to Mare and her marriage to Joe.
I was wounded as any little child would be as a result of what I experienced. As I look now through adult eyes and look past my own hurt, I think of Mare and what she felt and thought.
I wish I had been less critical and more supportive of her. Less judgmental. She didn’t talk to friends or her family about Joe’s behavior. She did not see a therapist. She didn’t take Valium.
Many people, including myself, wonder why she stayed with him. She loved him and she knew he loved her. He loved being married to her, their home, and having the family, my brothers and me. He didn’t realize nor did he care that he was putting his marriage in jeopardy.
She wanted to be with him and, especially, keep her family intact. She would not have been able to support and house herself and three children on her earnings. Joe’s job provided excellent benefits and, most importantly, future financial security through Social Security, pension, and 401(k) benefits.
Mare was keen and she knew what divorce would mean for her and her children. She didn’t like the stigma of divorce and she knew the negative financial consequences which would follow.
More important, she wanted to prevail. She wasn’t going to lose what she had to a cheap whore. She knew one day he would stop and he eventually did.
What my father thought of his behavior, I have no idea. I don’t think he was ever apologetic or remorseful. I don’t think he had a clue how hurt my mother was, nor the effect on me and my brothers.
A therapist of mine had this perspective: With my parents’ generation and their ethnicity, there were certain things married couples didn’t do sexually. It was thought coarse. Men went outside of the marriage to gets these particular sexual needs met. Whatever.
My personal perspective is that men who continually cheat as Joe did [it wasn’t a fling and it wasn’t a love affair] have a compulsion, even an addiction to a thrill or a high they get from illicit sex. Maybe they have a bad gene. Whatever.
Lesson Learned~The important thing for me is that women learn how to identify these men and stay far away from them unless they want their heart broken and their children broken.