Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Affair assumption

At my grand old age, people must assume I've had several affairs, that at some time or another I must have been carrying on behind Jenny's back. But I never have.

It's partly because I'm just not devious or cunning enough to keep an affair secret. It's partly because I never had the energy to keep two women on the go at once. And it's partly because I've never been besotted enough with another woman to want a serious fling. I'm obviously an engrained monogamist.

Well, it's difficult enough keeping one relationship going, if you're serious about making it work and giving the other person the tender loving care they expect.

How people manage to do that twice over I don't know. I suspect they don't, that one or the other partner always gets short shrift, marginalised and neglected and frustrated.

But I'm amazed how affairs can be kept secret for so long. You hear of affairs that lasted five or ten years without the husband or wife ever knowing. How can anyone really close to their partner not pick up on suspicious behaviour pretty early on?

I'm sure I couldn't have had an affair for more than a week without leaving Jenny some fatal clue - a mysterious phone message or an unfamiliar fragrance or a dubious-sounding 'engagement'. I expect my face alone would give me away, as I'm not good at hiding my emotions.

Some people actually relish the danger, the frisson of a clandestine mate their regular squeeze is unaware of. But I couldn't stand the stress and strain myself, it would destroy all the pleasure.

No, I'm as clean as a whistle in that respect. Boringly loyal and devoted and dependable. Even though I'm a hopeless rebel in so many other ways.

17 comments:

Hullaballoo said...

Great pic, as ever Nick. Although, I was wondering what j might say when she came in to find lipstick on your collar lol. Especially after all these years of being clean as a whistle.

In my view, where an affair has carried on for five or ten years, the original partner does know instincitively, but chooses on some level not to let on.

If one person is having an affair with another person, what is their partner having an affair with? work? golf? computer games? blogging?

Nick said...

Yes, lipstick would be a bit of a giveaway. And I think you're right, some people know but for some reason say nothing or pretend it's not happening. Or even indulge it as a character trait they can't change.

Wisewebwoman said...

Interesting post, Nick and I like your plays on words in the titles of your posts.
Funny, you never mentioned how you would feel if Jenny was having an affair?
And I agree, subconsciously one always knows. One might not like it but for a variety of reasons keeps one's mouth shut.
I was literally stunned when a friend of ours only found out about her husband's fifteen year affair when the picture of his son with the other woman tumbled out of his suitcase. I mean we all knew and assumed she did. But no, she really didn't. He'd always bring her these gifts from faraway places. Evidence of his devotion and fidelity.
It is ten years later and she has never recovered.
She's the exception to the rule, I guess.
BTW these word verifications are the devil to read sometimes....
XO
WWW

Manuel said...

We get them at work all the time. Normally from out of town, normally shifty looking, and normally having sex in the toilets. It's a dogs life. Having been the third wheel in an affair when I was married I can tell you it hurts so much, beyond words.

red said...

When I worked as a waitress it was like Manuel describes- you could spot the affairs a mile off. In Italy the act appears to be as rampant as the stereotype would have you believe.

Nick said...

www - if I discovered J was having an affair, I'd be totally gutted. But I'm positive she's never had one, same as me. Not knowing about a fifteen year affair is extraordinary - the sheer length of it must have greatly contributed to her pain. Sorry about the words, but as I said - bloody spam.

Manuel - yes, I guess they would be pretty easy to spot. And the number of them would confirm just how frequent it is. Very sorry to hear you were a victim.

Red - I would have guessed it's commonplace in Italy. Those sex-obsessed males - why can't they just keep it in their pants?

Conortje said...

Well Nick I wish there were more like you and Jenny out there. I reckon the partner pretty much always knows or suspects.

Nick said...

Thanks, Con. Yes, how could you not know your partner was busily engaged elsewhere? You'd have to be comatose not to realise at some point.

Liz said...

I suppose that must be hard to know that folks are assuming you've cheated. It's nice to read stories of folks who haven't gone there because there's too many stories of those who have.

DMB said...

I remember sitting in a hotel restaurant in Bangkok and watching a reunion of a man (white) and a Thai woman with a little boy who was obviously of mixed ethnicity. The man was almost embarrassingly doting to the little boy and it looked very unnatural seeing as it was pretty obvious he was practically a stranger to this child.

Meanwhile the woman glowed, her eyes so full of love.

I sat there wondering, "Am I watching a businessman reunite with his other family on the other side of the world?"

I've always been fascinated by some people's ability to lead double lives. The secrets that people can keep are astounding.

Nick said...

Hi Liz! Thanks for dropping by from California. Oh, it's strictly an assumption that people are thinking that. Maybe nobody's ever thought it, who knows? But given I can be a bit secretive, people might think, so just what's he so secretive about? And then their imagination starts firing up....

Nick said...

Hi dmb! And from Japan this time!! That's a fascinating and intriguing story. I'm guessing your supposition about the businessman and his other family is about right. Glad the woman looked happy and not tormented. As you say, the secrets people can keep are amazing. How do they manage such iron self-control?

jameil1922 said...

hurray for engrained monogamists!! can't wait to get one of those forever!!! usually both partners are getting neglected at some point and they've probably stopped being so close (if they ever were), which is how they get away with it in the first place.

Medbh said...

My friend's husband had an ongoing affair for 7 years. He met her two or three times a year at conferences and carried it on over email and phone since they lived in separate cities. My friend swears that she didn't know until the end. She checked his voicemail at work and heard the woman say she loved and missed him.
What a mess.

nick said...

Jameil - Usually both partners are being neglected? You sound as if you have a lot of first-hand knowledge! But yes, that's what I suspected - how can you truly love two people at once without being worn to a frazzle?

Medbh - So it does seem to be true that someone can be oblivious to such a longstanding relationship. The husband must have been uncannily clever at hiding the evidence - until the final voicemail blunder. Poor woman, she must have been devastated.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm the same way, rebellious in every other way but absolutely monogamous.

I've been cheated on in previous relationships and few things hurt more. How anyone could risk doing that to someone they purport to love is beyond me, so I have to assume that those who cheat do not in fact love their primary partners enough.

Nick said...

Yes, we all seem to agree on that, nobody can truly love two people at once - one or the other is going to get second place and be treated shabbily.