Saturday, 11 November 2017

A bit on the side

I have mixed feelings about affairs. Are they always to be condemned, whatever the circum-stances? Or are they the result of natural human impulses, something that's understandable and excusable?

They're often described as "cheating", but is it more a matter of irresistible longings or personal fulfillment than cheating? Is it cheating to want more than you already have? Is it cheating to be drawn to someone and to act on it?

The real question of course is how the partner who is "cheated on" is likely to react if the truth comes out. They might simply turn a blind eye and let it go on - or fizzle out. Or they might be totally devastated and give their partner the boot. Or anything in between. If you start an affair knowing full well that your partner is likely to be shattered if they find out, then you're an idiot.

Neither Jenny or I have had affairs, but I was once sorely tempted. There was one woman (let's call her Yvonne) who had an absolutely electrifying effect on me. She aroused me so strongly that I seriously thought of trying to take it further. But I knew which side my bread was buttered, I knew the consequences could be catastrophic, and I had enough will-power to resist. But I'm still amazed at the quite inexplicable effect she had on me.

Mind you, if thought of the consequences hadn't stopped me, then I would have shrunk from the degree of secrecy and lying it would involve. I dislike secrecy, I prefer things to be out in the open,  and having to be scrupulously secretive for months on end would have really screwed me up. I would probably have blurted out the truth in a matter of days.

I won't be getting a reputation as a philanderer any time soon.

19 comments:

kylie said...

Betraying the trust of a partner is cheating every time but that doesn't mean that an affair is any more heinous than other forms of betrayal. What about the person who gambles the rent money and says they got mugged? or turns a persons children against them? or pretends to love all kinds of things and has no interest after they get a wedding ring on? Or can't be bothered providing for their family?

Most of us have been driven at some point to do (or not do) something which causes a major rift but sexual infidelities seem to be regarded as being in a class of their own which strikes me as unfair.

Rummuser said...

I did not have the time when Urmeela was alive, as I was either handling a demanding career or caring for her and after her death, I had become too old for the likes of women with who I would like to have affairs or any kind of relationships. Sad!

Nick said...

Kylie: That occurred to me as well. Why is an affair considered much worse than any other kind of shameful behaviour? Somehow the idea that you can't satisfy your partner sexually is seen as much more insulting than any other accusation.

Nick said...

Ramana: No philandering from you either! And I'm sure you never felt you were missing anything....

Mike Goad said...

I never have, never would and never could do anything like that. I've never had the opportunity nor have I tried to place myself in a position or situation where there would be an opportunity. I could never and would never hurt Karen with something like that. Even if she never found out, the risk would never be worth short term gratification.

Nick said...

Mike: Good for you. But opportunities must have presented themselves occasionally, like Yvonne in my post. And that's when you need plenty of will-power to do the right thing.

Bijoux said...

I can't say I have mixed feelngs, especially when the unsuspecting partner is then exposed to STD's, etc.

Wisewebwoman said...

I think I'd say far too much if I got into any kind of discussion on this but suffice to say: guilty as charged.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

Bijoux: Yes, that's an important point. There are men who don't seem to care what they might be passing on to their partners.

www: Guilty as charged? Ooh, I'd better not enquire too closely about that. Nothing that ended badly, I hope....

kylie said...

Nick, I'm not sure whether you referring to the wronged partner or the straying one but having an affair doesn't mean you can't satisfy your partner. Sexual satisfaction and compatibility is almost always a totally different topic to infidelity. people are much more complex and nuanced than that.

Nick said...

Kylie: You're right, the problem isn't necessarily a lack of sexual satisfaction. It could be all sorts of things. I was thinking of the wronged partner, but of course the straying partner could equally be at fault.

Dave Martin said...

Regardless of preconceived ideas, you never know what can happen under a specific combination of circumstances.
I won't elaborate.

Nick said...

Dave: You're being as mysterious as Wise Web Woman! I won't ask you to elaborate, but my imagination is now running riot, lol! But I agree, you never know what you might do in an unexpected situation....

tammy j said...

I read a book once on "open marriage" and I remember thinking... then why marry?
I was so in love with bob that the thought of someone else never crossed my mind. if it crossed his I never knew it. but then I think the thing that cinched it was that we were best friends... not only lovers.
you can't beat that combination.

Nick said...

Tammy: I would say the same, that Jenny and I are also best friends. However attractive another woman might be, she would never have that huge and intimate knowledge of me that Jenny has.

joared said...

I suppose it all depends on what sort of understanding with each other couples have. Trust of fidelity in our relationship to my husband and I was a basic element in maintaining our healthy almost 43 year marriage before his sudden death. We had our ups and downs but they were never complicated even further by infidelity. We had both been single enough years to have figured out what mattered to us since neither of us had been interested in marrying others earlier in our lives. We both had previously been exposed to enough of what could be considered attractive distractions to know what we didn’t want, how to discourage matters that could create problematic situations, so think we were immune to any temptation of the grass being greener fallacy.

Nick said...

Joared: You were obviously wise enough to resist temptations that would have compromised a healthy relationship. You could see the potential problems rather than the superficial attractions.

kylie said...

Nick,
Affairs might or might not be worth the losses caused through betrayal but the attraction is not always superficial. I feel that you reduce the whole idea to a very simplistic formula where affairs are superficial, short lived and meaningless where marriages are valuable, worthy long term investments but that equation is just one permutation of the endless variety in human relationships and their strengths, weaknesses and challenges.

Nick said...

Kylie: I didn't mean to suggest that affairs are always shallow while marriage is always solid and worthwhile. Of course affairs can develop into very rich relationships just as marriage can degenerate into a bitter debacle. The word "affair" unfortunately suggests something fleeting and trivial.