The way the older Lao women view infidelity is quite different than my generation. My mom’s generation seem to view cheating as a natural part of the relationship. I do not know why this is. A conversation I had with my mom in regards to her relationship experience with my biological dad and step dad made me view infidelity in a different way. It seems that at a very early age my mom had to deal with this issue .
When my mom was eighteen, one of the colonel in Laos fell in love or maybe I should say lust with my mom. My mom at that age was considered very attractive. She said the colonel had three “wives” already, but when he saw my mom he wanted her to be the fourth wife. Since the man had influence and my mom was afraid that he really could make her his fourth wife, my mom married my biological dad at eighteen. During her brief marriage to my dad, he was not faithful. My mom’s friend would always urge her to leave him. They would always tell her, ” Naa, you are so beautiful, why are you staying with him, you are young. You can find someone else!” My mom said she kept staying because she was hoping he would change, but he never did. She said, the only fault my dad had was that he was a womanizer. He did not smoke or drink but he loved women.
My mom finally decided to end the relationship when she was pregnant with my little sister, Jiep because of what my dad did. When my mom was going into labor, whe sent my grandma to go find my dad. My grandma finally found my dad at one of his girlfriend’s house. My mom said my grandma knocked on the door and asked for my dad. My dad comes to the door ask her what she wanted. My grandma tells him that my mom was going into labor. Instead of rushing to my mom’s side, my dad gives some money to my grandma and tells her to take my mom to the hospital. My mom was devastated and there was nothing more for her to cling to. From this moment on, my mom ended the relationship. I believe she was only twenty -three and found herself alone taking care of four kids. We were a year apart.
I think my mom’s experience with my dad, shifted her paradigm about love and relationship. It harden her up. It made her loose faith. Even though she remarried, she was not quite the same. She basically married my step dad because she wanted us to have a father. He also cheats on her, but her reaction this time is different. She is angry. She tells my stepdad, the only reason why she is irate is because he is embarrassing us with his behavior. In other words, my mom is more worried about how we would feel about it. She did not want us to feel ashamed because of what my stepdad is doing. She tells my dad he brings shame to us by his behavior.
Growing up I have seen several people, men and women cheat on their spouse. Some of the wives, acted like they were not aware of their husband sleeping around. I don’t know if it’s due to self-preservation or it’s because they did not care. Those who did not acknowledge their husband’s wandering ways, seem to not want to upset their household. In other words, they would rather put up with the cheating so they can continue living their life uninterrupted. Maybe they did not want to change their lifestyle that they had gotten used to. Some probably see it as more of a hassle to end the relationship then continue on with it. It seems to me, that the preservation of the family unit is more important than anything else. If the couple cheats, they get over it. Some never acknowledge it or own up to it. They acted like nothing happened. Is this how all Lao men and women view cheating?