The TV really is something: Yesterday we ran a Blisstree post called My Marriage Survived a Cheating Affair and So Can Yours, and wouldn’t you know it that one of the plot lines on last night’s episode of the so-bad-it’s-almost-but-not-quite-good NBC serial drama Parenthood was about dealing with the messy fallout of infidelity in a romantic relationship. To help get you up to speed, Crosby and Jasmine have an adorable six-year-old son together whom Crosby never knew about. (It was kind of a one-night-stand thing.) But they’ve been a couple for a year or so now, and got engaged on a recent episode. Tensions and problems began to arise, as they have a tendency to do in relationships in life and art (if you can call Parenthood art; I can’t). Jasmine is being too controlling; Crosby feels like he doesn’t get to make any decisions in or about the relationship or his son’s upbringing; Jasmine re-loads the dishwasher because Crosby always does it wrong. (I agree with her; he does.) They argue. Communication breaks down, which leads to more tension and anxiety.
Cut to a family event (Crosby’s nephew’s birthday party) at which Jasmine and her son are absent, and after which Crosby sleeps with Gaby, his nephew’s personal aid/tutor. Oops.
Unlike Paul, the husband in our recent Blisstree post about cheating, Crosby comes clean to Jasmine about his one-night-stand fairly soon afterward. (A lot sooner than 10 months, anyway.) Points for that move, Crosby. But, understandably, Jasmine doesn’t take the news of the illicit sleepover so well. However, in my opinion, then she overreacts. Jasmine orders Crosby to move out of their apartment and back into his bachelor-pad houseboat (insert suspension of disbelief). She doesn’t let Crosby see his son with any regularity. And last night Jasmine said that she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to forgive Crosby for his indiscretion, and (cue music) that she needs to move on.
What? For one one-night stand that happened while they were engaged? Jasmine, honey, you need to knock back a strong shot of liquid reality. Sorry, but Crosby’s punishment here does not fit his crime.
Look, Jasmine (and yes, I know she’s a fictional TV character played by a well-paid actress, but humor me here), I’m just as much of a feminist as the next gal. And you are the only person who can determine your bottom line in terms of what works and doesn’t work for you in your relationship. AND I know your thoughts and actions are probably rooted in the need for self-preservation, which is good and normal and natural. But, while I would never advocate that anyone stay with a serial cheater if it makes them unhappy, I also don’t think that a person should necessarily throw away an entire, potentially very long-term relationship just because your partner makes one serious mistake during your engagement. Could his slip-up be a very bad sign? Of course. But, more than likely, it’s not. Sometimes a one-time indiscretion is just that.
Some people will tell you, Jasmine, that you shouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of difficult relationship problems before you’re even married. But I couldn’t disagree more. You absolutely need to deal with these kinds of difficult relationship problems before you’re married. That way, you can learn how to communicate (or not), practice your coping skills (or not), and find out if this truly is the person to whom you want to be married (or not).
Don’t take this the wrong way, Jasmine, but, in the controlling way that you do, you’re looking for the perfect relationship without hardships where no perfect relationship without hardships exists. If, in the end, you decide that leaving your “tainted” relationship is the absolute best and healthiest thing you can do for you and your son, then I fully support your decision. But first, that decision needs to be well-informed, and so do you. And the only way that can happen is if you really listen to what your partner has to say and get to the root of what made him stupidly decide to sleep with another woman while you were engaged.
I’m warning you, Jasmine: You will not be in total control of this situation. You will be vulnerable. But, eventually, you’ll regain some control within the relationship. (But not total control; total is too much.) And with that sense of control you may or may not find yourself with a fiance, and perhaps later, a husband. In the end, if you really and truly want to be in control, don’t be so short-sighted as to let a meaningless one-night-stand control your entire future with someone else.