Affairs of the Heart

Note: This post is rather lengthy and short on humor, but  I wanted to deal with the issue. I’ll try to be  shorter and funny next time around, I promise.

Let’s play a game: Let’s say you were faced with the choice of two equally-wonderful women to marry. They were both gorgeous, fun, and great in so many ways. You chose one, married her, and suddenly found out you might have made a mistake in the physical area simply because she’s not the lover you were envisioning (though in every other part of the relationship she’s perfect).

Let’s make this a little more difficult to work on. Now let’s suppose you find out the other girl you could have chosen was everything you’veloving-couple-in-bed-lg-new ever wanted in a lover (because of things about her “desires” she told someone else and you found out about) while you are in a less-than-stellar physical relationship.

Finally, let’s say you find yourself with the opportunity one day to actually move on the unrequited feelings you have toward this girl. What would you do? Here is your opportunity to explore what you know will be the single-greatest sexual relationship in your life with a woman you were technically supposed to be with if you’d just chosen her over the woman you did choose. Could that really be considered cheating, since she was supposed to be yours anyway?

An affair is one of those things that instantly polarizes any conversation. Some people are for them, while the rest are against. Anyone who has ever been the victim of an affair hates them and thinks everyone who gets into one is a scum-sucking dirtbag. On the other hand, people who get involved in affairs usually feel justified in doing so because their spouse did something to drive them into another’s arms.

So what’s a boy to do? Do you spend every day you see this “other woman” just dreaming about what it would be like to see her beneath you, looking into her eyes at the moment of passion’s height for both of you…or do you just forget it and resign yourself to a life of vanilla when cookies-n-cream is right there?

The scenario I described at the beginning happened to a close friend of mine. We discussed the woman he was marrying while still talking about the other girl he had in his life that wanted him equally as much. He chose, got married, and came back from his honeymoon without “that smile” I had seen on so many other men who’d just had a week of wild romping. Instead, he just had this bored look in his eyes. He told me how he’d thought it was going to be amazing “everywhere in the cabin” week, when it was just a lot of “same old same old”.

Then one yearhiking-up-skirt-lg-new later the other girl came back into his life.

Every time they met, she gave him this hug that held on so tightly he told me he felt she was holding him like a life preserver. She wore things she knew he would like. He found out about her bra size from another woman at the office who was buying her gifts for her birthday (I have no idea how that stacked up since I’m not an expert on sizes…) and couldn’t get the image out of his mind.

It kind of came to a head one night when he was making love to his wife and realized he was actually about to yell out this other woman’s name because fantasizing about being with her was the only way he could make intimacy with his wife exciting anymore. He talked to me about it, almost at the point of tears. It was crazy! He loved his wife and she was his best friend, but she wasn’t his best lover and he knew it was only a matter of time before this other woman and he were together–even if it was just for one night.

So what was there to do? Besides what would it hurt to have a little snog on the side, right?

Wrong.

If you’re going to consider an affair, then there are many things to keep in mind. My first wife cheated on me several times over before I finally told her to get out and married an infinitely better woman, so this next part will come from someone who experienced the bitter betrayal of an affair, but at the same time I’m going to try and look at it objectively from both sides.

First of all, an affair destroys all trust in your relationship…sometimes forever.

When you let someone into your bed, you are in essence giving them the most intimate part of yourself. This is something you feel should be treasured by the other person. When they have an affair, it feels like they took your gift and stomped it into the ground while laughing at you. From that point on, every phone call, email, visitor, or “late night at the office” is going to come under intense scrutiny and could result in an argument. After all, you told them you were working late before when you were actually bumping the boards, so why should they trust you now?

An affair cheapens you in the eyes of your spouse.

While a husband might proudly display pictures of his wife to friends and co-workers when she’s his and his alone, if she has an affair he no longer mentions her. Why? She’s community property. Try not to get upset at this, but the husband sees her as nothing more than a cheap whore.

Then again, the wife does the same. The husband’s “I love you” means nothing to her, since he was saying that the whole time he was leaving the house and pounding Miss What’s-Her-Name. There is nothing you can say or do that  will change that feeling. Only time can (sometimes) heal the wound.

An affair can  strengthen your marriage…but most likely it will end it.

Oh, I’ve heard the talk about how couples come back stronger than ever after an affair. I’ve seen the testimonials on TV talk shows and watch as the held each other’s hands tightly while talking about how strong their love is now. But they are the exception to the rule.

The  simple  fact is that most marriages never recover from an affair.  The vast majority of the time, they end up calling it quits  soon after. Why? Because the pain of a physical relationship hurts more than you can know.

Try this exercise and see if you still feel an affair wouldn’t be a deal-breaker: When you are making love to your spouse/significant other, there are particular moves they use that you probably love. They make certain sounds when you  hit that perfect spot with them. They sometimes whisper things to you while you are together that  is  intimate and for your ears only.  Now  imagine them doing the exact same things, whispering those sweet words, and making those same gestures to someone else. Imagine another man on top of your wife, or another woman on top of your husband as your spouse makes those same facial expressions of pure pleasure experiencing the passion.

Hurts, doesn’t it?

Still think you could just say, “Ok” and move on?

How about the next time you two make love? If you do manage to hold on through the rough patch, then the next time you decide to become intimate you’ll spend the whole time thinking, “Is this how he touched her? Was he better than me? Is she thinking about him right now?” It all becomes a deal-killer that makes it almost impossible to recover from. You have to have loads of self-confidence to make it work.

And finally…

An affair doesn’t just destroy your reputation…it destroys your spouse’s as well.

People may say, “Oh, there’s Mike. I heard he had an affair with that girl from the health club and got caught!” But they also follow up with, “Yeah, Cindy was really hurt. Guess she wasn’t good enough to keep him happy in the sack, eh?”

Folks will offer their condolences, but the whole time they’ll wonder what you did wrong. After all, a happy man doesn’t wander, right? Let’s think about  that for a second: Tiger Woods married a blond supermodel. I can’t really picture more  physical perfection than that. And yet he diddled with lots of other women. Was his wife just not that good in bed? Can’t say. Some men and women are just cheaters by nature and don’t need a reason. Still, before they were having the affair you could look at them as a couple and think he was a lucky man. Now, people wonder what their home life was like and what she did wrong.

So what’s the solution? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: don’t have an affair. If you’re at the point in your relationship where you’re seriously considering a “harmless fling” with a co-worker, either get counseling together to improve your marriage or just walk away. Even if you don’t love them now, that spouse meant something to you at one time or another. Out of respect for who they were then and what they meant to you, just walk away.

6 Responses to Affairs of the Heart

  1. hambydammit says:

    Nice post.

    Your poor friend is unfortunately not unique. A lot of men and women end up in relationships where the sexual chemistry is off. Either one partner wants sex a lot more (or less), or the sex just doesn’t “sizzle.” For as easy as it seems to just insert Tab A in Slot B and let nature take over, it’s surprising how much diversity there is in people’s sexual drives and desires.

    Romantic relationships are about sex, one way or another. If two people both have low sex drives, and only have sex once or twice a month, and are happy with that, it’s tempting to say their relationship isn’t about sex. But it is. If either of those two people got into a relationship with someone who wanted sex everyday, there would be constant tension, and neither partner would feel sexually content.

    I’ve had friends in exactly the same position as your friend — of having to choose between two women. I’ve always advised both men and women that when they have a choice, choose the romantic partner who matches you sexually and keep the other as a friend if you can. Friendships can last for decades without sex, but romantic relationships with sexual problems usually end.

    I do find it odd that your friend didn’t know ahead of time the big difference in sexual compatibility. Did he have to choose between the two women before either would have sex with him? That’s… odd. But it brings me to my next point — I’m a big believer in “dating” in the old fashioned sense. You literally try someone out before committing to them. Personally, I won’t commit to any kind of serious relationship until after we’ve had sex a few times. It’s not about sex without commitment… it’s about realizing that good sex is part of why we commit.

    Anyway… enough rambling. Very thought provoking article. Thanks.

  2. This was the best article on affairs I have ever read because you are so honest…and so right. Thank you.

  3. Sometimes it’s really that simple, isn’t it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

  4. LTP says:

    Wow. Having been the ‘cheated on’ spouse in a relationship that ended just over two years ago, you couldn’t have had a more truthfully written post, especially on the part of the reputations of both parties affected in the relationships. I know, that while not to my face, I was being judged by those external to our relationship and I was humiliated. I did have one friend who was surprised at how ‘easily’ I gave up on the relationship but she couldn’t see all the reasons you pointed out so clearly. I’m sending her the link. ;o) Thanks for the post.

  5. This was so awesome… Years after being the “cheated on” spouse I have finally accepted the fact that it had NOTHING to do with me. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong or what I could have done better. I knew it wasn’t the sex because my drive was ALWAYS stronger than his so I took it very personal. What’s funny is now, five years later, he still calls me to tell me that I’m the best woman he has ever been with and wants me back because he “realizes” that I was already everything he wanted in a wife and just couldn’t see it at the time. Too bad, so sad is basically my response. I am a child of cheating parents who spent years making each other miserable because of affairs and I could never understand for the life of me why they wouldn’t just WALK AWAY. Now I am an avid campaigner for ending a relationship before you feel like cheating because in the long run, it is never worth it.

    • thetruthfulman says:

      It takes a lot of self-confidence to turn away someone who you used to love when they call back begging for another chance. I’m glad to see that you didn’t let the incident destroy you, but obviously used it to learn from and grow from. Good work!

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