With my flair for melodrama, I felt like beginning this post like Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, insofar as, when it comes to married men, I have seen the best women of my generation ‘destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked’ and roaming the streets (or their mobiles) ‘looking for an angry fix.’ Worse, a lot of them, the best, are stuck on a shelf, waiting for a commitment from a man who just won’t while denying a bunch of eligible bachelors the pleasure of their company.

I mean, we’ve all seen enough films, read enough books and heard enough anecdotes to know: this rarely works out for the other woman. And in life, it’s often best to assume you’re not the exception and then be pleasantly surprised.

But rest assured, this is no moral rant. In fact, the older I get, the more grey the whole area of infidelity becomes. On the one hand, I can see the benefits for the ‘other woman.’

  • She has total visibility on the nature of the relationship and makes no assumptions about the man in it.
  • Her assignations, which can be few and far between, are all about heat and passion and lust… and good underwear. Things don’t get old; they don’t fall into patterns.
  • She feels like she’s winning…. That is, until she feels like she’s losing.

And that’s the part I don’t like so much.

  • She imagines herself and her lover in situations that may never come to pass. Forget walking down the aisle – a city break would likely do, but logistically may never happen.
  • She spends too many weekends and holidays alone.
  • When she’s hurting about all of this, she can’t talk about it. The moral quandary of her decision reserves its discussion to a very few, and even then, she may be glossing over the finer sticky details.

But let’s go back to the start. What really bugs me is the idea of a bunch of really smart and sexy women, with something very real to contribute, getting stuck.

I know us women.

I know that too many of us in these relationships stay home in primetime, wearing our best skivvies, waiting for the buzz of that mobile.

I know that sometimes we put on the clothes and the make-up and we go out with the intention of ‘getting over him by getting under someone else.’ (Pardon the crass line, but it neatly sums up the thinking.) We drink too much, we flirt with men who are not remotely worthy of our company – we may even end up with one of them in our beds. And the whole time, we do this as though he – the true object of our affection – is somehow aware. It’s like he’s nanny-cammed our locals and sleeping quarters. It’s as if he knows. We really got him, right? While he’s at home sleeping soundly with his family, we’re swallowing toxins and bedding strangers.

Sweet revenge.

(Note here, reader, that this behaviour isn’t just reserved for married or taken men. It could be your hang-up on ‘the one who got away’ or your lust for something unrequited. Or worse, your unspoken desire for someone who doesn’t know how you feel.)

Believe me, I’m not judging. Nor should anyone who knows what it feels like to want and seek love. But you could circumvent the pain and the longing and the uncertainty by looking at fidelity in that old way: to your own self be true.

Despite my earlier reserve, you are exceptional. Create situations that allow someone to surprise you by treating you that way.


, ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: