It’s complicated: The Good Wives Club

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GAYATRI REDDY BHATIA
Published Sep 11, 2016, 12:59 am IST
Updated Sep 11, 2016, 7:29 am IST
Husbands of scandal have had very forgiving wives. But why the loyalty?
Keith Vaz with wife Maria Fernandez Vaz
 Keith Vaz with wife Maria Fernandez Vaz

Keith Vaz, the ‘longest-serving British Asian MP’ ever, had his career vapourised last week when the country’s shock-and-awe tabloids ran front pages detailing his tryst with male prostitutes. That was the end of the line for Vaz — a 29-year-old career, blown out of the water. Last we heard, the police in London were “considering claims” that Vaz violated law. That could mean jail.

But even as the entire village knocks on Vaz’s doors, there is one hand that has stayed up in an extraordinary show of support and that belongs to Maria Fernandez Vaz — Keith’s wife of 23 years and the mother of the couple’s two children. There have been scandals in the past (Mr Vaz is famously known as Vaz-eline because of his uncanny ability to slip out of situations) but the wife has been rock solid in her support. Just like a thousand others.

 

Back home, AAP’s now-former minister Sandeep Kumar suffered an embarrassing exit when a compact disc, filled with certain photos and clips, was sent to his boss who then broomed him into the bin. He remains defiant, there has been an arrest over charges of rape but Kumar’s wife Rita still keeps faith in her man. What’s with these women? Why, despite being faced with abject humiliation, do they still side with the ones who hurt them the most?

Reasons can be many. To begin with, in what can be described as strictly pragmatic, why leave one of life’s comfort zones for someone else’s mistake? It’s easy for neighbours to call doormat but hey, the neighbours don’t live your life. They don’t have to make the decisions concerning the kids, the children, the economics. Many decide to just ride the whole thing out. Which is why we’re suddenly reminded of Hillary Clinton. Her husband — then the world’s most powerful man — was brought down by an intern. The entire world giggled and mocked but Mrs Clinton chose to stay on the ship. Yes, what hell she may have given Bill within the private confines of their home remains anybody’s guess but she didn’t abdicate her familial position. And now she’s vying for the very office she nearly lost her marriage to.

 

The Clintons relied on the fact that public memory is indeed short — which is proven political strategy. Besides, and this is true in her case, if a man can be selfish in his decisions why can’t a woman put herself first? In such situations, remember this one survival lesson: nobody really has the time for you, you are the one being shamed, you the are the one losing a hard-earned way of life and only you can help yourself, recover.

Countless star wives have turned a blind eye simply because they needed the husbands for purely practical reasons. And at the end of the day, when a cheating spouse has caused you absolute hurt, it could also be the best time to decide on a future you want, for yourself.

 

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