The Good and The Bad of A f f a i r s

I will post in “Love Letters” later this afternoon – I was all caught up in The Derby, the boxing match, and Cinco de Mayo last night; my apologies.

I was having an issue and  I needed to talk with someone about it, and I chose my father.  He said something that I did not agree with at the time. He said, “Are these two people married?” I replied, “No.” He said, “So what’s the problem?” I laughed. I said, “Daddy – you’re not serious, are you?” He answered, “Yes, I am.  Because if we take friendship out of this conversation, the only male-female relationship that truly matters to God is marriage, not a boyfriend-girlfriend situation.” To be honest, I thought my dad was a little crazy for saying that. I have to say that now, I actually agree with him. Emphatically. He’s right – in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, there are no obligations and certainly no guarantees; it’s two people who care about each other who also have a romantic interest in each other and hopefully underneath that, there is a friendship. But, a marriage is a covenant. So many people don’t get that and they choose to get divorced without any kind of consideration for the covenant that was made; perhaps they don’t understand that a covenant, also known as a pact, a treaty, or an agreement, is not just between them and their spouse, but God is a part of that pact. Not something to take lightly.  And, even in a marriage there are no guarantees, but, that’s why the fact that there is a covenant makes the marriage so different from a simple “relationship”, which you can walk away from at any time. I was practically a wife to my ex who I lived with for 12 years and at the end of the relationship, it was a simple walk away. I don’t say that to minimize the pain he and I felt at the end because it was very painful, and not because of any assets that needed to be divided;  I say it because if we were married, it would have been a different kind of pain because I would have been breaking a covenant that involved a third party.

So, when I talk about affairs, I am only speaking of a situation where there is a married couple and one person in that marriage is having a relationship outside of the marriage.

The reason why I’m writing this post is because an old acquaintance from a forum I used to participate in wrote to me and asked me how my relationship was going.  I laughed and wrote back, “It went!” She seemed sadder than I was about it- we were 2 out of 5 women on a forum where everyone thought we would end up with our affair partner.  My acquaintance is now married to her partner, and the other three are either married or living together.  I am the only one who isn’t still with their partner, which is one of the reasons why I haven’t been on that forum in a long time. While some of the reason is because I’m slightly embarrassed at how much I defended we were “different” (and other members agreed with me), the other reason is because it’s painful to be on there and hear about how happy the other four women are…clearly, they were right that their situation was unique, and clearly, mine was not. There were over 50 women on that forum, so our 5 “unique” affair relationships stood out.

In any event, I say all of this to say that an affair isn’t necessarily always “bad”.  I’m not glorifying it, and I’m not condoning, it, but if someone had asked me if they were a bad thing ten years ago, I would have answered with a resounding “yes.” But, now that I have been in one, it’s not so black and white anymore.  For a long time I thought I was an awful person because of what I did and that some bad karma would follow me for the rest of my life. And, that’s just not true – I am still a good person- I file my tax returns on time every year, I go to church, I give to charity – both money and my time, I go above and beyond to help family and friends, and these days, I even donate time to teach little girls how to bake, how to do embroidery, and how to compose a “real” letter. I think all of those things are “good” things. Does the fact that I care for and love someone who is married make me a “bad” person? Of course it doesn’t. It makes me human, it makes the man I was involved with human. And, we’re not going to hell because of it, either. Because fornicating is wrong, too, and God knows I’d be going straight to hell with no detours as I am high up on the fornicating pole!

I don’t believe that monogamy is natural. We are sexual beings and part of the reason we were put here is to procreate, and we’re conditioned to do things that support procreation. I do believe that monogamy is a CHOICE. It’s a choice that works for some people and for others it doesn’t work – but it’s still a choice. Some days it’s easy to stay with that choice because we know 100% that this is the person we want to be with, the person we love, the only person we are  highly attracted to that we don’t even see other men/women….much. Lol. And other days, it’s hard to stay with that choice- some days we wake up and we just don’t like the way we’re being treated so fidelity will be a challenge that day.  Some days we wake up and we think, “There’s someone better out there for me, I just know it- I FEEL it”, and that day, it will be difficult to hold on to that choice of monogamy. And if on that day, you decide to step out of your relationship and start one with someone else and the person you stepped out on is a boyfriend, yes, it’s wrong because you are doing him a disservice  – you’re also doing yourself a disservice because even though it doesn’t mean you’re “unhappy”, it does mean that there is something missing in your relationship and you need to figure out what that missing thing is and either try to get it from your partner…or not – whatever “or not” means to you-breaking up or going outside of the relationship for the missing piece. You won’t be breaking any laws or vows if you do either one of those things- at least, not in THAT scenario. If you’re married on the day you decide to step out, it’s much more complicated.  Are there children involved? Is there still love in the marriage and you’re just going through a rough patch? There’s so much more at stake in this scenario, and to be honest, this is probably going to get me a lot of hate mail, but I have a certain level of respect for someone who can balance a marriage and an affair at the same time because it is HARD work having just ONE relationship! You’ve got not just one, but two women/men you’ve got to keep happy; that can’t be easy. Well, I think for some men, it’s a heck of a lot easier because men are so much better at compartmentalizing than women are. Some affairs are good in that they actually make the married couple stronger, and some are good because they become the catalyst for the destruction of a marriage that needed to be dissolved, anyway.

And, to get back to me and my affair, MY issue was that I couldn’t compartmentalize. He was a part of my life, he wasn’t anything to keep a secret or hide; I wanted the world to know that I loved him, and that is the truth- I was PROUD of what we had; he was the one that just did it for me- he was my husband in my heart. As for the man who I had an affair with, I won’t say the affair was easy for him because I know it was difficult for him a lot of the time and I don’t think compartmentalizing for him was a walk in the park just because of the nature of the kind of man he was. And, I don’t know how he really felt but I don’t think he really loved me- maybe he did, but…I do believe that “he believed” that he did…at the time. But guess what? If he loved me, he would have been with me, plain and simple. The huge amount of effort he took to make his marriage work, he would have given me the same chances he gave his wife, he would have given our relationship the same, “let’s try again” over and over that he gave his marriage.  He didn’t. He walked. He didn’t fight for us – he didn’t say – damn, if this thing is strong enough to get in the middle of my marriage, I should, at the very least, give this relationship MY ALL. He didn’t. Are you all getting this whole covenant thing? If he and I were married, he would have thought a little harder about walking, wouldn’t he? And maybe he’ll say that because they had a few children that it was much more difficult to walk, and I’ll give him that- children MUST be considered and are a priority in ANY situation. But, I don’t think it was JUST the children.  He wanted his marriage to succeed- whether he was in love with his wife or not, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – it’s honorable. And, he was a perfectionist type of guy, so anything less than success is failure in his eyes. But he didn’t care if WE succeeded, even though *I* wanted us to succeed.  To me, we had the kind of love that I thought once we were officially together (and I was ready and prepared to wait YEARS for him if I had to!), we were going to show the world that THIS is how people love- THIS is what a relationship/marriage should be like…to me, we had the ingredients of a highly successful relationship – we had genuine friendship, we had romantic love, we were sexually compatible, and although we weren’t a 100% perfect match, what was key was that we were willing to compromise with each other and for the relationship. But in the end, I was the only one who felt that way. In his defense, maybe he couldn’t give it his all at the time, maybe he did everything he could to keep his sanity! Maybe our timing was just off; the movie “Before Sunset”  is a good example of  timing. A little off topic, but this past week I heard about 2 divorced couples who reunited! Maybe the group Shalimar was right, maybe it IS better the “second time around” (smile).

Here’s the bad part about affairs – in the end, there is a very high risk that you won’t end up with the woman/man and someone ends up getting hurt, and in my situation, someone did get hurt, and that person was me. My friend from the forum asked me, “If he ever realized how much you were hurt and wanted to try to make it up to you, is there anything he could do to make it up – you know, make up for the pain?” That was a deep question. I am over that situation, but emotional pain is not something easily erased. It’s not as simple as saying you’re sorry- some cases of “making it up” require action(s) and not words, and this is exactly what my old friend meant. I don’t have an answer for her  – I told her that I’ll have to think about that and email her in one day or so.  If I come up with an answer, I’ll let you all know, too.  And, who knows, maybe he also was hurt in the end – I hope not, I made sure to give him lots of love and an exorbitant amount of good sex whenever we could have it! Lol. If I did hurt him, he doesn’t seem to be the kind of man that you could make that up to, even if you wanted to. With that said, I will not say, “I’ll never be involved in an affair again” because I might shoot myself in the foot; after my experience, I know better to never say “never”. I won’t go out of my way to be in one, but if I DO find myself in such a situation, I WILL NOT be getting hurt because I won’t be taking him seriously, I will definitely date other men, and….you can do like Annie and “bet your bottom dollar” that Sam will be compartmentalizing like a m*tha-f*cka!

*These are all my own opinions – please take this as “The Gospel according to Sam.”



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