Probably one of the most common problems in the columns is infidelity….the cheaters, the cheatees, the “other” men and women, the hurt children…..they all write in and their issues are legion: emotional affairs, physical affairs, online affairs, one-time-slip-ups, serial cheaters…..people seem to be endlessly creative in their efforts to “get some on the side.” But why?
Obviously they’re not getting what they want at home….though whether what they want is reasonable, possible, or right is a whole different issue…
Often there’s a backstory of a happy marriage gone south….somewhere along the way something went off the rails, and now the people involved aren’t sure if they can get things back on track…or even want to. But then there are some and you have to wonder…you didn’t bring this on yourself? Just a little? For example:
Dear Amy: I am a successful businessman who has been married to a beautiful, smart, kind woman for six years.
[here we go. as carolyn pointed out in a chat last week, when someone describes their person with these words, it’s usually because they THINK they should love them…but clearly don’t know or appreciate the person at any level of detail]
We are in our mid-30s with no kids. We make great companions. However, despite her beauty, I’ve never been all that physically drawn to her.
[Whaaaat? Why? Why did you marry a person to whom you had no physical attraction? Clearly no one was pregnant, or in a rush to start a family. What was he thinking?]
About two years ago, we befriended “Teri,” a woman from church whose husband left her. She was despondent, so my wife suggested we offer her our friendship.
Teri came over for dinner several times, and she and I have become close friends. She is intriguing and sensual, while my wife is not. [oh, lovely] We text and e-mail each other at least once a day and chat on the phone several times a week.
I have a feeling my wife isn’t really intimidated by Teri because, frankly, she’s not a woman most men would look twice at. She’s kind of “crunchy,” wears little or no makeup, is slightly overweight and has two young children. [1) Nevertheless, your wife is probably not oblivious to the fact that you’re drawn to her intriguing sensuality and 2) “crunchy”?????]
I’ve fallen in love with her. [Well, we all saw that coming, although I appreciate the surprise reveal in a new paragraph]
Nothing sexual has happened between us, nor will it while I am married because we are both strongly opposed to adultery. [Just give it a few weeks]
Teri says that if I can’t get over her, she’ll have no choice but to break off the friendship. I can’t bear the idea of this, so I promised her I’d do as she requested. [If it were that easy….]
I still love my wife and don’t want to hurt her, but I feel like this is the kind of love that inspires poets.
I’m terrified that if I leave my wife, Teri will decide she can’t be with me and I will end up alone.
Amy, I’m young, I want to experience the type of love I have with Teri, either with her or with someone else. What should I do? [Gaaaag! He gave up his right to say “I’m young and deserve to romp the world and experience this kind of love (with anyone, don’t really care who)” the day he got married. Generally by definition, that’s when you’d stop seeking out all the kinds of love you haven’t experienced and try to cultivate the one you just legally bound yourself to.]
— Going Crazy in Virginia
Marrying someone you’re crazy about won’t guarantee that your life will be easy, or that your relationship won’t change in ways you didn’t expect, or that you’ll never be tempted by someone sensual, intriguing, and crunchy. But it probably doesn’t hurt.