Unfaithfulness is quite a trauma for a spouse to go through. The depictions I have been exposed to are for the most part quite dramatic to the point of hilarity and/or absurdity: the clothes flying out of the window, the slap on the face, so on, so forth.
It was so different from the way those around me dealt with this trauma. One of my friends told me that you don’t just stop loving your spouse because they cheated on you, and somehow, through the haze of pain and a desire to go back to happier days, a person has to figure out how to remain as objective as possible. Separation isn’t always a solution; according to her, it was a case by case situation that could end quite differently.
I might be (and hope to remain) untrained in the topic of unfaithfulness within a romantic relationship, but I did feel that the way Kristyn Kusek Lewis dealt with it in her book Save Me was realistic in the complexity of the plot surrounding the protagonist, Daphne Mitchell. A medical doctor working her dream job, Daphne and her husband, childhood sweetheart Owen, are living in an old farmhouse they restored. Her life is and has been quite good—that is, until the day Owen tells her that he has fallen in love with someone else.
That’s when Daphne’s very difficult struggle begins. She is of course devastated by this betrayal, and asks him to leave the house to give her much needed space. But at the same time, she can’t just stop loving, and although she is furious, she can’t hate him. And when Owen’s new girlfriend is in a near fatal car accident, he called Daphne for emotional support. She has always been a kind, good girl, and her caring heart can’t bear the cruelty of not lending Owen a helping hand.
But Daphne isn’t a pushover, and she will not be taken for granted anymore. Daphne learns to balance her innate kindness, her sense of betrayal, and her love for Owen to do what she needs to move forward. This is what I liked the most about this well-written and engaging book. It is often considered as weakness for someone to be kind to their tormentors; but Daphne manages to balance out strength with kindness, taking care of Owen when he needs it while standing up for herself when he starts making unreasonable demands. There is also a tendency of painting things as black or white, but Daphne manages to keep track of the subtleties of grey that define the situation without succumbing to self-pity or to blind anger.
A study in subtlety, Save Me is a book bound to make us reconsider the way unfaithfulness is portrayed in mass media. More information about the author is available on her official website; the book can be purchased on Amazon.