Some men cheat.

12 Aug
Brief Encounter (1945) - the ultimate 'affair' film?

Brief Encounter (1945) – the ultimate ‘affair’ film?

There must be something in the water just now. Multiple stories of cheating partners have made their way to my attention via friends just recently. Sorry to say most of the perpetrators have been men, which means comments about the unreliability of my fellow males aren’t lurking too far away.

I’m not going to apologise for their behaviour – but I feel obligated to state the obvious – not every man is the same. Its also probably worth saying that women are frequently far from innocent in these things, sometimes knowing or suspecting their man is a cheat before they get involved, or indeed cheating themselves.

At least two female friends have had stories in the last month about married guys making advances while attempting to conceal their (recently) married status. One is inclined to think that if you’re already sniffing around within mere months of marrying then they’re probably destined to continue their serpentine ways.

But of course, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. I’m making the assumption that the wives are innocently at home ignorant of their husbands’ habits. I’m assuming that they aren’t in a perfectly functional open relationship. I’m assuming their aren’t mitigating circumstances.

Entering into relationships before the end of previous ones seems destined for disaster – the ghosts of the past are seldom far from the surface and will haunt the sacred space of the new relationship. An unclean break raises the possibility that business remains unfinished. An overlap permits the possibility that if they enter a relationship as a cheat, then eventually they will move on the same way.

Is it an insecurity? I suspect most of us struggle with the end of relationships, the trauma of the tension created by telling someone you no longer give a toss about them, the thought that once this partnership is ended the prospect of further encounters with others is scant.

I’ve had unclean breaks and reaped the rewards – and they weren’t pleasant. One really needs head space to process the failed relationship, the problems with both partner and oneself, and to work out what worked and what one wants.

If I had walked out on my marriage because of someone else I’m sure I would have spent the rest of my life asking questions about my motivations and whether or not I had emotions still caught up that needed dealt with. But I left without the involvement of anyone else, nobody was making a move on me, I wasn’t making a move on anyone else. Its wonderfully satisfying knowing that your motivations were unclouded.

But where does one draw the line with regards cheating and moving on?

If you’re unmarried it seems pretty simple. “It’s over”. And move on. The next day. The next hour. It doesn’t matter, a line has been drawn. When married it seems a little more complicated. Technically, even if separated, any sexual congress with anyone other than your partner before the divorce is signed off is adultery. That’s a prospect that will put off many partners. But should you have to wait until your divorce before you do? Its perfectly plausible in Northern Ireland to wait at least two years before a divorce can be sorted. One friend of mine in the Irish Republic had to wait years for their divorce to work its way through the motions. And of course, the longer one is away the more likely it is that one might meet a significant other – not to mention anything casual.

How long do you wait then? Until the divorce? The day after you say its over? Three weeks after the last time you and the spouse sleep together (ex-sex is hardly restricted to married couples – its a possibility, but doesn’t mean that you’re still invovled)? And while adultery is safely covered under law, would it be cheating to act on anything else – a kiss? An embrace? Sharing a bed?

I’ve said it before – my own status at the moment is unlikely to put me in a position of amorous action with a woman any time soon. But if I did, even though I’ve been separated for a long time now, would that make me a cheat? I think it depends on who you talk to, and what form they’re in. There are those who will already be convinced that I was up to something during my marriage, regardless of the lack of proof. It certainly would have been easy to say that I was available long before I was, and to concoct a story in order to further my chances, but what’s the point (beyond the obvious?). Surely you get caught out eventually, and something has to give – most likely any chance of either relationship having a future.

I also have a (modestly) public profile. I very much doubt that if I was messing around it would have stayed under wraps for long. I don’t understand how others with slightly more prominent public profiles think they can get away with it. Eventually you’ll get caught out, and no matter how hard you try and cover your tracks you’ll be discovered – and you’ll slip up and fuck with someone who lets your wife know exactly what you’ve been up to. And if you’re really unlucky, that drama will get played out on social networks for posterity, your friends, employers and enemies alike.




3 Responses to “Some men cheat.”

  1. tenderlytina August 13, 2014 at 12:48 am #

    Some mean cheat, some women cheat. Sometimes I can understand why, most times I’m clueless. So many questions need answering before a clear judgement can be made. Answers have the potential for changing my opinion, depending on who and when and why. In general the “if they’ll do it with you they’ll do it to you” rule applies but as you said there are extenuating circumstances. I think adults have to sort these things out for themselves.

    • avalard August 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      There’s a psychological and moral minefield which I haven’t really got into here. Am also intrigued by those who are happy to conduct affairs with those who they know are cheating. It just seems to be inevitable that there will be fallout. I don’t think I’d want the drama, so even if I did find myself in that sort of situation (for whatever reason), damn sure it wouldn’t be for long.

      • tenderlytina August 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

        Yes, there is a lot going on in the head of those who cheat and those who participate in affairs. For some reason I often end up being someone that people tell their deepest darkest to and I’ve heard it all when it comes to cheating.

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