Men have an affair to stay in a relationship, whilst women have an affair to leave a relationship; this is one idea that I’ve been pondering in recent months. I’m not sure if it’s entirely true, but there is some truth to it.
I don’t usually like to talk about affairs. It gives energy to something detestable, but the fact is infidelity happens. Having felt the sting of being cheated on many years ago, I know how much the trauma becomes part of your story. I sincerely hope I never ever fall into marital infidelity or feel its sting on the receiving side ever again. Of course, like anything, there is more wisdom in never discounting the possibility versus saying it will never happen to me.
One of the terms I loved in AA was the acronym Y.E.T., meaning ‘You’re Eligible Too!’ In other words, it can happen to me and you.
It is wise to never discount that we could become addicted to something (if we’ve never been addicted before), we’ll never face depression (if we’ve never had depression before), we’ll never face divorce (if we’ve never been divorced), or we’ll never be affected by marital infidelity (if neither we nor our partner has had an affair before). These ‘Y.E.T.s’ have all happened to me, though at some time or other I never thought they would. They can happen to anyone. It is best to arrange our wisdom in such a way as to be alert, to ward against all possibilities of evil happening. Anything can happen.
When I think about the flow of romance within a relationship, time and again I’ve seen the folly in a relationship predicated on physical attractiveness. People seem happy to jump into bed with one another, never considering the baggage that they each carry; like, who are they actually yoking themselves with?
The ‘who’ is almost certainly someone you have no idea about…
… even if you think you know them, you probably don’t.
You truly have little idea who you are dealing with for at least six months, and up to two years. A lot of relational commitment can be pledged in such a short period of time. Isn’t it madness that we make such commitments to people we really don’t know yet? And still, we all tend to do it. Shudder to think how many children are involved in partnerships brokered on shaky ground.
But it isn’t just the ‘who’ that is of major consequence. Have an affair and you hurt your partner irrevocably? Sure, they may forgive you, but it damages the fabric of the relationship for years, and in some cases for a lifetime. It’s also not just the betrayal of our partner. Where there are kids involved, each of the children are betrayed, also, and they are set a lamentable example. And then there’s the parents, and other family, some of whom are at times involved – either by implication or by their angry denunciation that sends families into relational freefall.
Relationships founded on hot affection are not grounded on the rock-solid fundamentals that secure the relationship on the firm footings of sustainability. At least when we court well, (and I’m not talking affairs here), resisting all urges to sleep with one other, there is the opportunity to talk about and work on trust and respect, love and hope, and what our individual and collective dreams and desires are, to see if we are truly matched. Only in the fullness of time, and we’re talking preferably a year or more, are we truly positioned to decide with any godly wisdom.