Sunday, December 1, 2013

Unfaithful

There's a show on Oprah's TV channel called "Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal".  I've watched a few episodes.  Each hour is split into two 30-minute segments, and each segment tells one couple's story of how an affair affected their relationship.  There are some moderately spicy re-enactment scenes. Most of the stories end in a reconciliation of the married couple.

The stories are surprisingly alike.  Couple falls in love.  Couple marries.  Stress is introduced into their relationship via kids/finances/health problems/fear of commitment.  One or both individuals allow themselves to respond to the flirtations of another man/woman.  The attentions of this third party makes the cheater feel temporarily fulfilled.  Things get physical.  "I knew it was wrong, but I wanted to do it anyway, so I did."  They don't expect to get caught.  But they get caught, and by the time they realize the consequences, it's too late to go back.

I have never been involved in an affair, as a cheater, or a cheatee.  (To the best of my knowledge.)  I mean, one time my high school boyfriend said he couldn't take me to a dance because he was going to a family gathering, and then I found out that he had been out with some of his guy friends and that other girls were there, so I screamed at him in public and ran into the nearest washroom sobbing my face off.  But that's about it.  Hey, we were teenagers.  It's par for the course.

I did allow another man to kiss me once, right at the very end of my first marriage.  But I didn't just "let it happen" without any forethought.  It was planned.  The plan included not going beyond kissing.

The situation was that I had been with my first husband for 12 years (married for 5), and due to a multitude of factors my self-esteem was very low.  So low, in fact, that I wasn't sure if I could even attract another mate, if I left my marriage, which I was already considering. I also wasn't sure if I would want to be involved with anyone else. I figured that with so much at stake, I needed to run an experiment.  I needed to base this life-altering decision on proper data.

I picked a guy I'd been friends with for over a year who seemed safe, i.e. if I succeeded in getting him to kiss me, he'd stop when I told him to.  And that's exactly what happened.  I proved that I was still attractive (at the ripe old age of 28), and that getting involved with other men might actually be fun.  And also I called a halt to the proceedings after a bit of kissing, because I was only willing to go that far while I still had a wedding ring on my finger.

I gave myself one week to think things over thoroughly.  Then I told my husband that I was leaving him at the first proper opportunity.

What happened to the guy I kissed?  Believe it or not, I ended up marrying him next.  Yup, it was Ken.  Apparently I just don't do casual relationships.

I still can't get my head around the thought process, or lack thereof, that leads someone to pursue a full-on affair.  I think I'm constitutionally incapable of it.  Seriously, one man in my life is quite enough.

11 comments:

Granny Annie said...

I took my marriage vows very seriously. It was difficult to understand why so many of my husband's friends continually hit on me. I rejected their advances and they were absolutely shocked that I could turn away from them. After "the divorce" I realized my spouse had been blatantly running around on me and that made it open season on me. If he was cheating, then I must have been a cheater too. Naive? You bet.

Sparkling Red said...

Granny Annie: As a child of divorced parents, I always swore that I would never break my marriage vows. It completely broke my heart to give up on my first husband, but I was literally losing my sanity in that marriage. I still hold marriage vows in the highest regard. Or any kind of vow, for that matter.

LL Cool Joe said...

I don't do casual relationships either. To be honest I'm not even tempted, not because I'm completely smitten with my partner, just because I'm not wired that way. Probably explains why I've been hitched for 27 years.

Good for you, Ken sounds like a keeper.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Not sure if I can understand a lot of things about relationships. Glad you found a happy 2nd relationship though.

Sparkling Red said...

Joey: 27 years is truly an achievement. Let's see... when I've been with Ken that long I'll be 56 years old. I'll have been legally married to him for 27 years when I'm 64! Woah.

Ron: Thanks. I've known a lot of people who get it right the second time around. It's hard to understand what you're getting yourself into until you're in the middle of it, the first time around.

Jenski said...

I likewise do not understand that mentality, and I had a roommate who was seeing someone and started sleeping with a married man. Glad you have been in that situation! And yay, Ken!

Lynn said...

You married your friend the second time - how lovely.

Sparkling Red said...

Jenski: Yeah, Ken's a keeper.

Lynn: The first time marriage ruined a friendship, the second time it cemented a friendship.

IN GENERAL: You have all been very restrained in not taking Ken to task for kissing a married woman. He was a bad boy back then, but I've set him straight. ;-)

G. B. Miller said...

I honestly don't see anything wrong in a man giving a gentle kiss to a married woman.

But, that's just me.

Jenski said...

P.S. I meant *haven't* been in that situation...

Vanessa T said...

You're a straight arrow, Spark. And while I understand the sadness that your 1st marriage didn't work out, it's a blessing that the 2nd one is. :)

This is my 2nd too, so I can relate.

It's funny, I don't think I'd have cared had my 1st cheated, but if Dane ever did, he'd be a dead man, lol. The feelings are so different, it's kind of weird.