Like Lucy from Peanuts, every week we here at Ask Dad erect our little lemonade-style stand, hang up a sign, and dole out advice to all you sad Charlie Browns out there. Only instead of it running 5 cents, it's free, and you don't have to deal with Lucy's self-centered bitchiness. So shoot, Chuck.
Are there some things men just won't forgive a woman for in a relationship? Is cheating one of them or can men overlook that?
Ah, the age-old question of the unpardonable sin. The gospels tell us it's blaspheming the Holy Ghost. The closest equivalent I can think of in a relationship is talking bad about your man's mama (more on that later). But most men, as I probably don't need to tell you ladies, are not very Christlike. So there are a whole lot more than one.
First and foremost, as you suggested, is cheating. Women are way more likely to forgive it than men (unless it's woman-on-woman cheating, then men are more merciful).
There's just something primal that it brings out in men that they struggle to contain even if they try. It also churns up some of the sicker parts of our society -- that certain kinds of sex can be wrong and sinful for both genders, but it leaves a permanent taint on women. (Maybe I should have said "stain" instead of "taint" in this context. No, wait, "taint" is perfect.) Men are just always going to be picturing that other penis and you together, laughing, going for walks on the beach, riding on a Ferris wheel, just you and another guy's member.
But the gender divide may be changing. If celebrities are any indication (and aren't they an indication of just about everything in America?), the sexes are getting more alike. No, men aren't getting more forgiving, but women are signaling they'll take it less. Think of Elin Woods, Sandra Bullock, and Elizabeth Edwards (rest in peace). Sometimes instead of the tender arms of forgiveness, your husband should be greeted with his 9-iron.
I do know at least two men in long-term relationships who forgave serious, naked-and-nasty cheating ladies, and the parings were the better for it after. If you've got a man like this, he's an egoless saint and you need to hang on to him tightly and never let him go.
If you want forgiveness for messing around, no number of Hail Marys or Our Fathers will do it. You need to tell him, repeatedly and loudly, how much better, bigger, hotter, and slicker he is in bed than that other man. Don't talk about how much sweeter he is, or how much of a better father he is, or how much more decent he is, that'll all just make him feel like the soft, safe cuckold you had to cheat on. Focus only on the sex part. Oh, and give him a bunch of actual sex too, and throw in a few fake O's if they're not coming naturally.
Here are a few other indiscretions that might get you in permanent trouble:
Tiny penis talk: If he hears you say he's got a small population in Crotchtown, that his cobra is a gummy worm, that he's hung like an elevator button, he's going to hold that deep in his heart forever. Even if you're joking. No, especially if you're joking, because that's mockery, the worst male fear of all. But you might be safe from divorce on this one, since he'd have to tell the reason to his lawyer, and a judge, and it would forever be in the public record.
Trash talk about his mom: Your man may rant for an hour about what a wretched, nagging, life-ruining ho-bag his mother is. You should listen, and offer what sympathy you can, but whatever you do, DO NOT AGREE WITH HIM. Or even nod and say uh-huh. Nothing makes a man more defensive than talk of his mama, even if she's a crackhead who left him at a fire station when he was a baby. You may find yourself permanently among the unforgiven.
And that about does it. OK, I suppose if you killed all the children, that might be a deal-breaker. But men are quirky. They'd probably be more upset at the d**k jokes.
Image via Flickr/PaulinaSergeeva