This has absolutely nothing to do with breast cancer and all about morals and timing, being married and cheating. This is my way of venting the frustration in my brain over a woman being clueless to the reality of why she had an affair.
I spoke with a female friend who recently told a group of us that 10 years ago, she “fell” into an affair. How the hell do you fall into an affair? All of us were taken by surprise that she believed she was a victim of circumstance. She took responsibility for cheating on her husband, but she saw the affair as something that just happened to her (not as something she made happen). Did I mention her husband had been recovering from a heart attack at the time of her affair?
Ok… so, I’m gonna jump on my soapbox for a moment.
Let me start by say right out of the gate:
Affairs ARE NOT passive events that just happen to you. The only victims of affairs are the jilted partners who were cheated on. And thought she was out with friends doing charity work.
When affairs start, it’s because you are what people would call, “affair-ready.”
What does “affair-ready” mean? Well, it means you are past the pre-contemplation (no intention of changing their behavior for the foreseeable future. They are not thinking about changing their behavior, and may not see the behavior as a problem when asked.) stage of marital discontent. You have started seeing the solution to the problems in your relationship as lying outside of your marital bed. You have an eye out for a better situation (or a situation different and excitingly new) and you spend more time and energy wanting to get out than wanting to stay in. It’s a “grass-looks-greener” mindset.
Affairs ARE planned, even if you’re not conscious you have been planning it. As with most compulsive acts, affairs are not set up in that split second you and your lover’s eyes meet and you’re consumed with sexual desire; the affair is set up months and sometimes years before.
This friend found an old high school boyfriend on Facebook. They started messaging each other. Then they started calling on another. At an alumni reunion, they hooked up and started their year long affair behind their spouses backs. They actually had sex in a bathroom while their spouses were in the reunion talking with others while waiting on them.
It often begins with a relationship impasse (dashed expectations, festering resentments or one horrible misunderstanding) and lack of tools to deal with the problem head-on. That’s where the seeds of fantasy are laid. If the problems causing the rift in your marriage don’t get worked out, the affair-seeds begin to take grow and take root until pretty soon, you’ll develop a full-grown justification for straying. Of course, you may have the tools to resolve differences, but not the desire. In either case, the avoidance of the marital issue is what starts to deteriorate your union. As hard as it can be to tell the person you married that you no longer want to be in the marriage, it is the more adult thing to do, and it is far less hurtful than guilty of betrayal.
Affairs ARE NOT just about sex, although sex clearly plays a huge part in the allure of new relationships. Feeling attractive and or sexy to someone is exhilarating. Seducing someone can be empowering. And, along with being a tension reliever, sex can give you a sense of well-being.
Affairs ARE devastating to the one who was betrayed. Being cheated on or left for another is one of the most painful experiences any adult will experience and it can take years to recover. I know several people who never get over the pain of the loss, the sense of betrayal and the sadness of losing the person they loved dearly. I am also one of those who was devastated by a cheating spouse, which in turn with his other abuse led to our divorce. Despite working hard to recover, I never got on the other side of the pain.
Affairs ARE NOT the easy way out of a marriage. When your ex is hurt and devastated, it will make any divorce far more complicated, far more emotional and it will take far longer to recover from than it would have if you had come to the decision from a more mutual place.
Affairs ARE avoidable. If you are unhappy in your marriage, do something about it. Seek out counseling (even if it’s to help you split apart), talk to your spouse, get help. Waiting until you are sure — or until the time is right–will do little more than make help time pass and bring you to the boiling point of not being able to “take it” (got me t-shirt with this, but I wasn’t the cheater) another second.
Here’s something radical to consider: Monogamy is a choice, yet in our culture it is assumed. Talk to your spouse openly about whether monogamy suits you both. You might just be surprised by what comes of the conversation.
Deal with your feelings rather than waiting for “something” to happen. That something is almost always a crisis.
Are You “Affair-Ready?”
If you’re not sure whether you’re “affair-ready,” check out these 10 signs.
If you have one to four, you should seriously consider telling your spouse now that you are not happy in the marriage; if you have five to seven signs, you are at high risk of straying; and, if you have eight or more of these signs, you are unquestionably an affair waiting to happen:
1. You often think that you “love but you’re not ‘in love'” with your spouse.
2. You’ve been unhappy with your spouse and/or the relationship for quite a while (more than one year).
3. You’re bored.
4. You want out, but you don’t want to hurt your spouse.
5. You don’t have the guts to ask for a divorce.
6. You’ve tried (or think you’ve tried) to tell your spouse that you’re unhappy, but these complaints fall on deaf ears or are met with verbal or physical harassment.
7. You begin to spend more time with other people doing extra-curricular activities (perhaps you golf every weekend now, or you take up a new pastime such as biking, photography or the school auction).
8. You don’t feel appreciation, respect or admiration by or for your spouse.
9. Lack of sexual satisfaction in your primary relationship.
10. Your wanting to seek revenge. In a relationship that is already suffering, the desire to hurt a partner who is (or is perceived as) cheating seems to raise the stakes significantly from mere lack of intimacy.
11. Other people you know have had, or are having, affairs.
12. You’re curious and want new experiences. People who cited this reason felt that they wanted something new, this motivation went beyond curiosity and into some type of contest to measure their sexual prowess.