Friday, September 04, 2009

an affair to dismember

So...a friend of mine is having an affair.

And I find myself in the ridiculously awful position of supporting her -- because she's found a happiness and joyfulness and passion within her that she'd thought was long dead and gone. And wanting to strangle her with dental floss and jab her eyes out with my pina colada umbrellas.

They're just evil, blood-thirsty little things, affairs. They suck the life right out of you while making you think you've got it good. They're parasitic. Scavengers. They change who you are inside, shake your core, and feed on your principles. But, hell, how do you even begin to say that without sounding, you know, supremely righteous? Or, you know, batshit crazy?

And, don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude. I totally get, without you having to describe to me in excruciatingly painful detail, the excitement, the rush, the euphoria of taboo relationships, of forbidden fruit, of greener grass, and all that. I get the temptation. I get the flirtation. I get the to and the fro, and the heave and the ho. (Well, not so much with the ho.) But I get it. I do. I've read my fair share of hot steamy tales. I've seen all the movies. Hell, I've even lived it -- a time or two.

And you hear all the time about affairs turned longtime companions. And you hear all the time about couples who just go with the flow and learn to have open relationships and make it work. Or about couples who recover, grow stronger, and have a better relationship because of it. And I guess I can't help but wonder if it isn't just a natural part of life. If it isn't just something that we learn to accept as human beings. As flawed human beings. Maybe it really was just a midlife crisis. Maybe it really was a way to express unspeakable emotions, or voids, or sadness, or loss. Maybe it really was a form of self help. Or, yeah, maybe it was just too much wine. But it's likely Not just.

But then isn't it possible that then maybe it makes you re-evaluate what you've really got? What you're really risking? Sets you back on your path? And maybe...maybe? it serves a, dare I say, purpose?

I mean, we make choices, we make decisions, we change our mind, we have self-doubt. And then at some point we lose our way, and we stumble, and sometimes fall. (And, yes, everyone's definition of stumbling and falling is different. Just go with it, would ya?) And maybe YOU don't. Maybe YOU'RE the exception. But the rest of us might then feel stuck and trapped, and embarrassed that we allowed ourselves to get into a situation that we can't get out of, that we were wrong about, that didn't turn out like it was supposed to, and that's turned us into something society has deemed terminably bad ("once a cheater, always a cheater"). And so we go forward or do we go back? And how do we forgive ourselves...and each other? And which way makes us stronger? Which way keeps us truest to ourselves?

And that's what sucks most. Because, ultimately, you should always be true to yourself. But wasn't it doing that that got you here in the first place?

And the thing is...the thing is that this one, man, it's right up there with killing and stealing. It's one of the big ones. In stone and everything. And, you know, all of those big ones, they're about self control. So, without careening off into a religious debate, I guess I'm really wondering whether or not an affair can ever be good for your soul? Because at the end of the day, when all the parasites have gone, and my friend has rid herself of this distraction and returned to face the music of her life, I don't want her to not be able to look herself in the mirror. But, truthfully, I just don't know if I honestly believe she has the right to.


Woo222 said...

Hmmm, this is a really thought prevoking post. I guess for me, for just me, in my own little opinion that I try hard to keep to just me and not project on the world, cheating may be thrilling, may meet a need, and I'm all for being true to yourself, but for me in my life, it would so completely erode the trust of the relationship. God knows my relationship is not perfect, and I've even stayed when i should have left, probably, but I wouldn't cheat. And if Bean cheated, it would propel me out the door faster than any of our other drama would. Cheating has always come down to commitment and trust to me and I don't understand why people cheat instead of breaking up..I mean, I understand logistically, but I think it's almost selfish and the cheater almost wants the best of both worlds. Because to me, if I'm cheating then I'm not committed to my lady and what we have and our hopes and dreams enough to resist temptation. Or maybe I'm just one of those people who truly only has eyes for my love. I figure if my love can't trust me and I can't trust her, we have nothing but resentment, contempt, and pain, so why stay? Because if Bean ever cheated on me, even if we had kids, it would be better for me to leave. Because I would HATE her and it would be better for the kids to have parents living in separate houses so I could be civil to her for their sakes. I honestly don't know how civil I could be if I felt that betrayed. But like I said, that's just me.
I dunno, I think about this topic from time to time too, just because so many people I know either have cheated or are cheating and I wonder if my stance is too harsh or unfair. I guess I chalk it up to maybe some flaw in me, but if someone cheated on me, I don't think I'd be able to try to work through it, I'd never be able to forget that they cheated. I believe that on some level the relationship dies after cheating occurs, because the trust is so broken and the cheated on party is wounded. Like I said, it is just my opinion, and probably tells you more about what an asshole I am than anything else. Because my feelings are so strong about it, I try really hard to take a neutral stance with other people about it, and it might work for them, but it wouldn't work for me.

girlranting said...

I can never justify, nor forgive, an affair. I am one of the few who has ALWAYS been faithful. Have I been tempted? Yeah. Heck, more than once in some really crappy relationships. But a relationship is all about trust, and of earning and deserving and KEEPING that trust, and you can't have that once you've cheated.

So no... I'm of the "you shouldn't be allowed to look in the mirror afterwards" group.

Maybe because I've been cheated on one too many times (although ONCE is enough)