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Ruta Mave: Empowering women to reclaim their dignity

Monday 4 March 2024 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion


Ruta Mave: Empowering women to reclaim their dignity
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

Twenty years ago, Alan Rickman’s character in Love Actually bought his secretary a gold necklace, his wife Emma Thompson discovers this fact. Her emotions of grief and betrayal played out on film as she struggles to compose herself so she can pretend nothing is wrong, has reduced many a wife to tears as the stark and awful reality for women whose husband cheats. Most wives choose to stay, writes Ruta Mave.

When a mistress is younger prettier and you are pregnant, looking after a toddler, a house and working, you may not look your best. Infidelity by him because he is not getting enough of ‘that’ attention at home is a sword in the gut for every wife. His betrayal makes a wife doubt everything about herself. He broke the vows, he lied, he cheated, he took advantage of his wife’s trust, it is a selfish choice.

A wife who doesn’t know – you should feel sorry for. But if you know her and you know he is cheating on her, if you don’t tell her, then you are as bad as him. Saying nothing you are letting her look like a fool in the public eye. It is like the woman who has her dress caught up in her undergarments after leaving the toilet. No one tells her because she will get embarrassed, so they let her walk the street embarrassing herself more. Telling her quickly might save her years of agony.

Sometimes when a friend tells the wife, she won’t believe them. She refuses to believe them despite the evidence, because of the vows. She believes he won’t break them; she wants to believe in him. Love is blind.

The ultimate betrayal is not a random stranger, or prostitute when he is travelling and missing you. It is when he cheats close to home, with people you know. The work colleagues who greet you at the office, the friend who acted supportive of your marriage.

Worse is when he has no remorse or guilt in hooking up with his friend’s wife. He can sit next to the husband while texting sordid comments to the friend’s wife. Together colluding how to get the unwitting husband drunk so they can meet up while the man’s wife is away with the kids. Men are usually the cheats. If the mistress of an affair is also someone’s wife, are they a victim? In this case she is as low lying a snake as he is.

If it is ‘just sex’ is that okay? Some women would be glad to be free of his huffing and puffing but if he abuses the wife’s pride and joy; like inviting the other woman into the marriage bed, or when the wife is at a function and the two sneak off, thinking no one noticed, but someone always does. That’s arrogant abuse. What if it lasts for months? What if she gets pregnant?

What if wifey finds out then says nothing, suffers in silence. Who and what is she protecting? His reputation, her embarrassment, their standing in the community? What will the neighbours, the family, the church members think? Firstly, most of them knew before she did. They think ‘poor wifey’ but once they know she knows, they want to know what wifey will do? Will she forgive him? Will she slash his tyres and shirts and throw his stuff out on the lawn? Will she stay for the kids? Will she turn a blind eye?

If wifey confronts the husband with divorce.  He will plead for her to forgive him. It was a mistake, it meant nothing. If he threatens her saying she will lose her home and money. This might work on the mistress, but the wife has legal rights – see him in court.

Ninety per cent of cheaters never leave their wife, because it is messy, it can damage his public image, leaving a mistress is easy, she is replaceable.

Sometimes the wife tries to mend the marriage that sent him to greener pastures, but if he is not prepared to eat from his homegrown garden then what?

Wife, are you happy? Do you want to face the world and be seen with respect and dignity? Mistress, are you happy to be a dirty secret he is not proud of and wants to hide? If either of you are not happy, then don’t take it lying down – so to speak. You have the power – say NO.

You deserve respect and you will get it from everyone when you reclaim your dignity and stand up for yourself. You are not a coward and you are not a victim. You have the absolute right to demand a life free from lies, deceit and manipulation. Say #metoo.