I’ve been debating with myself over whether or not to write this post for a while, because it’s bound to cause a debate or two and I’m not the debating type. In the end, however, I decided to go ahead and do it because my hope is that I’ll shine a light of realization on someone’s head and set them on a better path. So here we go.
A while back, when my blog was still new and I had just started my current job, I wrote a post called A Day at Kearl Lake. To this day my blog gets plenty of hits from people Googling information on the Kearl Lake oil sands project, and occasionally I’ll get a comment or a personal message from someone asking questions about the site, the camp, or what-have-you. I happily oblige to answer these questions because I’m just that nice a person. *cue winning smile*
Of all these people who have contacted me as a result of this particular post, there have been three separate women who have contacted me with questions about the Wapasu Creek Lodge work camp. All three of these conversations went something like this:
Them: “Do men and women stay in the same camp?”
Them: “Can men and women get into each others’ rooms?”
Me: “Uh, well it’s not really allowed, but theoretically, yes…”
Them: “See, because my boyfriend/husband works out there now and he’s staying at that camp and I don’t really trust him not to cheat on me.”
The first time I had this conversation it was fairly interesting. The second time it was surprising. The third time I immediately thought of the idea for this post. The fact that three separate women called on me with this same problem amazes me to no end.
First, I want to share what I’ve told these women, in case anyone else out there is wondering. Wapasu Lodge is a co-ed camp. There are two specific wings that are for women only, but as there are more women at Kearl Lake than can fit in those two wings, there are lots of women in the other wings. These women are always put in pairs because at Wapasu you share a bathroom with your neighbor and it’s against the rules for a man and a woman to share a bathroom. Mistakes are occasionally made when someone has a unisex name (I myself have had this happen several times), but the staff always fixes it immediately as long as it is brought to their attention.
No, men can not get into the women’s wing (it is strictly prohibited). Yes, theoretically, a woman in a co-ed wing could let a man into her room or vice versa. No, this is not allowed (room sharing is against the rules), and could result in expulsion from the camp, which usually also results in the loss of your job since you have to be able to stay on camp to work there. Additionally, the walls in Wapasu are thin at best, meaning that if you’re having sex in there chances are that everyone on your floor knows about it. So yes, it is possible for your significant other to cheat on you while staying at Wapasu. It’s not going to be easy, and it could plausibly lose you your job, but it is possible.
Now that we’ve got that bit out of the way, let’s get to the real point of this post.
(Everything that is about to be said can obviously also apply to men who fear their woman will cheat, but to avoid a bunch of him/her/he/she nonsense, we’ll just focus on women concerned about their men.)
When I was contacted by the first woman I tried my best to reassure her while still telling her the truth about the situation at Wapasu. When the second and third women contacted me I tried to extend the same courtesy, but personally I was getting concerned, and this is why… If you “don’t trust” your significant other to not cheat on you, it’s going to be because of one of three reasons:
1. You know him to be a cheater because he’s cheated on you before.
2. You’re scared he might be a cheater because you were cheated on before by another man and as a result you find it hard to trust another.
3. You’ve never been cheated on before by this man or any other, but you assume that a man given free range of women while miles away from you for weeks at a time will inevitably cheat.
I’ve thought about it long and hard, and these are the only three explainations I can come up with, so now that we’ve established those, let’s discuss them as kindly and rationally as possible.
If you fall into category 2, bless your heart, I’m sure you’re going through a lot. I’ve never personally experienced being cheated on, but I’m sure it must be beyond awful. I couldn’t fathom the pain something like that would cause – especially if you’d been together a long time and/or if kids are involved – and I imagine it’s a very difficult thing to get over. You don’t want to open yourself up to get that hurt again, and I absolutely get that. But I also know that you have to make an effort to move on. You can’t judge one man by the actions of another, and you can’t establish a new, healthy relationship in that manner. If you need help to learn how to trust again, please seek it out, because a relationship means nothing without trust and if your man is perfectly innocent he deserves to have your trust as much as you deserve to feel it.
If you fall into category 3, I feel very, very sorry for you because that is no way to live. You have serious trust issues, and no base to support them with. Yes, there are cheaters out there, but every man is not automatically guilty just because he happens to have a certain set of chromosomes. As with category 2, trust is everything in a relationship. If you can’t trust a man simply because he is a man, or because you happen to know that cheaters exist in this world, you need to work out some things on your own before attempting a serious, manogamous relationship. Again, if you need help working things out, please seek it. This is extremely important. You will never be happy if you are constantly worried about being cheated on, and you’ll never have a healthy relationship if you can’t learn how to trust others.
For all those who fall into category 1, I have a serious question: why are you still with him? I’m not judging, I’m just asking. If the reason that you don’t trust him not to cheat on you is that he’s done it before, why are you still with him? Is it for the children? Terrible reason; studies show that living with two parents who harbour animosity toward each other is worse for kids than dealing with their parents being separated. Is it because you still love him? Well sure, love is hard to just get over, and it’s rough, but having feelings for someone is no reason to let them get away with anything they want at your expense. Is it because you’re scared that if you leave him you’ll never find anyone else? Worst reason of all…we are all capable fo finding new love and being happy, and you should never sell yourself short like that.
Look, I’m not telling all women who were cheated on that they absolutely have to dump their man’s ass right this moment. I’m definitely not saying that guys who cheat don’t deserve a second chance because sometimes they actually do. Sometimes mistakes are made and the guy feels horrible and spends the rest of his life trying to make up for his wrong. All I’m saying is that if this is the situation you’ve found yourself in, you should take a good, long, hard look at exactly why you’ve chose to stay with the man who cheated on you. Take a hard look and establish whether your reasons are actually good, genuinely rational reasons…or if they’re excuses. Because here’s the thing…if you feel the need to contact a complete stranger to help you confirm or deny your suspicions, there’s obviously something wrong, and I seriously cannot express this enough: you need to be able to trust your significant other in order to have a happy, healthy relationship.
For the record, ladies (and gents), I am always happy to lend an ear when one is needed, even to complete strangers. I’m just that kind of person, and it makes me feel good if I can help someone out. That’s the real reason I wrote this post: because I really hope it helps someone. And if that someone, or some other someone, wants to contact me to talk about a bad situation, that’s just fine. I just hope that what I’ve written here today impacts someone because with the amount of traffic that finds its way to A Day on Kearl Lake on a regular basis, I expect these sorts of issues to keep cropping up.