I never cease to be amazed at how blinding affairs can be to folks’ sensibilities. Often colleagues and coworkers can see the telltale signs even as the two with their heads in the clouds feel like they are acting as covert as Russian double agents. Yet those in the midst of an affair become detached from reality and from the personal responsibility that keeps folks within certain behavioral boundaries in their day-to-day life. Secrecy and lies become the order of the day and rationalization becomes an elixir for the conscience.
But as a friend said to me decades ago, in the end it all just boils down to the same dirty laundry. Real life must enter back into the fray and domesticity has a way of leveling all fields. It is only after the affair’s embers have been extinguished that you can look back and truly appreciate the absurdity of it – the things you put at risk, the feelings of others that you so casually cast aside.
I ran across a great little piece on iVillage titled: Wish We’d Known: 20 Things No One Told Us About Having an Affair. I strongly urge everyone to read this piece (which is a convenient slide/paragraph format that will require only a few minutes of you time). You may think that it doesn’t apply to you for some reason or another, but the odds are good that at some point the information will come in handy – either for you personally, as the party on the receiving end of a cheating partner, or as the friend of someone engaging in an affair.
Those who have been on the receiving end of an affair in a relationship will tell you that it is difficult, if not impossible to recover from. Even if you can forgive the partner that cheated, the loss of trust is profound. Of course trust is much more difficult to build back up once it has been torn asunder, and hearts – the fragile things that they are – tend to need trust to be able to allow full access to them.
It would be a lovely world if folks who were in relationships that were not meeting their needs would simply end the relationships and then move on with their lives. That type of sensible behavior would save so much additional anguish. It would also be lovely if single folks refused to engage with those who are already in a committed relationship. After all, if someone is willing to cheat while in a committed relationship with you, they are likely to be able to do it to you at a later date.
Cheating, beyond the wildly sexy high of the initial affair, is a sad and awkward dance…a dance you don’t want to learn and definitely a dance you don’t want to have to watch as the one whose trust has been betrayed. Take the time to read this piece and carry the information with you through your day-to-day life. Promise yourself and your partner (current or future) that you will address problems or end a relationship if need be, but that you will not have an affair. Promise yourself that you will remember that your commitment and trust when offered to another is worth its weight in gold – just like that heart they are opening up to you.
One thousand two hundred and seventy-two of the new forty – obla di obla da