Last night started out sort of tragic, because we have five gazillion television channels and there were THREE different episodes of CSI on, and we had seen all three of them. That put a crimp in our plans for an evening of Terrible Television, but THANKFULLY we had a recorded episode of Ice Road Truckers. Phew!
Later, a CSI: Miami we hadn’t seen came up, and we were in the middle of watching that when, somehow, during a commercial break we found ourselves in the middle of a long discussion about infidelity.
(Should the surprising part be that I don’t find this weird or unusual at all? We have all of our best discussions while people try to sell us life insurance and “performance enhancing” pills in the background. Doesn’t everyone?)
Anyway, Otto and I are perfectly in tune on this issue, thank goodness. What we ended up wondering was how people justify their actions, as you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s cheated who think it’s OKAY, though there are plenty of people who cheat and somehow justify it, all the same.
[I am not, by the way, talking about people who are polyamorous or otherwise in open relationships. It’s not cheating if it’s okay with everyone, obviously. I’m talking about couples who’ve made a commitment to each other to be faithful and then aren’t.]
Otto waxed prolific on how people—men in particular—are very good at compartmentalizing their feelings. He pointed out that he does it all the time; it’s how he was able to continue the race he was running last week even after receiving word that his mom was in transplant surgery. He kind of puts information in a box and files it, and it’s much less likely to interfere with his thoughts/feelings/actions that way. Me, my “compartmentalization” system (such as it is) is a lot more like my desk—piles of things that are constantly crashing into one another. I would not be able to separate my relationship from my husband from the rest of my life enough to find myself in a situation that might threaten that relationship. My brain just doesn’t work that way.
We talked at great length, Otto explaining and reiterating about the whole compartmentalization thing, and how he thinks that allows people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do, and I nodded, lost in thought, and Otto suddenly followed up with a passionate declaration that he would never, ever cheat on me for any reason. I suppose he felt like his UNDERSTANDING of how it happens needed to be clarified as not being something HE HIMSELF was capable of.
I laughed. “I know, honey,” I said, shaking my head at him, because it’s not something he needed to say.
There was a pause.
“This is where YOU say, ‘And I would never cheat on you, either,'” he prompted, poking me.
I was almost offended. “Of COURSE I would never cheat on you! Didn’t I just get done explaining how I could never cheat on ANYONE? Sheesh.” He chuckled, and because I never know when to shut up, I added, “Besides, you would never cheat on me because you’re too morally upright, and I would never cheat on you because I’m too socially phobic to even be in a situation to do so. So.”
There was another pause, and then Otto threw his hands into the air.
“OH THANK GOODNESS!” he exclaimed. “Here I thought maybe it was our LOVE and TRUST and FAITH in one another that was going to keep us together, but actually it turns out that it’s your general dislike of people and my need to follow the rules. OKAY THEN!”
We laughed until I could barely breathe, and then we watched the rest of CSI. Because that’s how serious topics of soulmate matters are dealt with ’round here.