Adultery Is Fun--For About 10 Minutes
Thinking About It?
I thought I was an awful person when at age 24 and married for two years I got a crush on a co-worker. But thinking about having an affair became reasoning about it, and I reasoned that I should hang out with this co-worker a little too long in the lunchroom, catch his eye when I could, and obsess about him. Go out with the crowd on Fridays and pay attention to him, turn on the charm. Let him know I was exciting and daring and at home I was bored.
Before I knew it I was involved with a guy nowhere as near as good and handsome as my husband, and cringe to think about it now. He was an "It's Pat" type and we were actually mistaken for a pair of lesbians. After about a month of "working late" at his crummy apartment and then me walking in the cold three miles home, reality set in. I was already bored with the sex -- he had a problem, maybe because I was some other guy's wife -- and bored with the lying and secrecy that had seemed so fun to get away with. Then I broke it off and vowed to myself not to do it again.
Hormones Plus Immaturity
Today I excuse myself by saying that I was young and had hormones (which I think played a big part) and poor judgement, and that is true, but I cheated on my husband maybe five more times and always felt justified. My husband didn't pay attention to me as he once did. We both had soul-wrecking minimum-wage jobs. A blown tire could set us back for weeks. There was no money for nice outings or the "dates" that are supposed to keep a marriage healthy. If we went out, it was to get intoxicated in our friends' crummy apartments. We lived in a basement and his parents visited every Sunday morning before church, ruining our prime sex time, and of course I couldn't object to his parents. And I found out I hated being married because I felt as if my life was over and I had been sentenced for life to pick up after some guy and do his laundry, at the ripe old age of 24.
My husband was also immature. I complained to a friend, "I didn't marry a man. I married a boy. I'm not his wife; I'm his mother." And everyday nothings became horror shows. He wouldn't -- we couldn't -- pay his parking tickets (it was a tough town to park in), and as they piled up, cops showed up at the door with warrants. He also had a huge (and boring) extended family. I wrote and sent all our Christmas cards, maybe 70 in all. Then one year I tired of this two-day job and said, "I'll send cards to my side of the family; you send cards to yours." Well, his side of the family got no cards--I wasn't experienced enough to know that men don't send cards, especially 50 at a time. And who did his relatives whisper about and cut their eyes at? Me. I didn't sign on for this crap. I resented it.
But It Was Fun, Right?
The other guys used me. I didn't intend to "use" them -- I liked them and wished they would like me romantically -- but I learned a cheater is powerless and has no defenders. Why not use somebody who's already a liar and cheat? Why respect the feelings, or fulfill the hopes, of a liar and cheat? They might not have been thinking about me at all. But if they did they probably thought I was just like a prostitute except free. They felt entitled to any sex they could get and nobody would think less of them. But they knew I had no standards, and they'd never respect a woman like that.
Life got worse and worse, poorer and druggier. I'm not religious, but I can sense when I'm really doing wrong because then my whole life turns to crap. Of course that marriage ended in divorce. He remarried. I remained single for 17 years with plenty of time to think:
- Cheating can be casual, but adultery is never casual.
- You are never in the right when you commit adultery.
- Adultery makes your life worse, not better.
- If the marriage is boring, painful, or bad, like a toothache, it needs treatment. Either fix it, get help to fix it, or break it off; don't let it slowly rot, because a troubled marriage is the most painful thing in the world to live with, and you will do stupid things to try to forget about the pain.
- You might think you are getting revenge by committing adultery, but there is no satisfaction in it.
- When it comes down to the wire, nobody will defend or protect an adulterer; he or she has given up all chances at sympathy or credibility.
- In adultery, your lover has a severe psychological problem, and so do you.
- Adultery is fun for 12 minutes. After that it's just trouble.
When I remarried I did not cheat. I did not even ogle any passing male eye candy. I wasn't interested. I'd learned my lesson the hard way and matured and truly changed.