Have you had an affair recently? Before you act all astonished that I had the audacity to ask and before you launch into a long-winded self-righteous response filled with offence and exasperation, let us be sure you understand me clearly.
I think from my initial question you are of the opinion that I am suggesting you have had an affair. You know, cheated. Well as a matter of fact, I am. (Yes, I said it). What I want to know is if you have done it (again) recently, within the last year. Still can’t believe I asked? I still can’t believe you think you are innocent. Because believe or not, you have had an affair. At some point. Disagree? Let’s call a truce. Perhaps if we better understand each other, we can mutually agree, I am right.
In order to establish that you have had an affair at some point, we will first need to determine what an affair is. How silly, since we all know what an affair is already. Do we?
In layman’s terms an affair is cheating, two-timing, being unfaithful, having a fling, a little hanky-panky on the side, messing about, or (my personal favourite) ‘ringing a horn in someone’. But in more definitive terms, having an affair is having an amorous or intimate relationship with someone other than the person you are (already) in a committed relationship with. So, if you are having an intimate need fulfilled by someone other than the person you are with, you are cheating. With me so far? Because the meat of the matter here is that you don’t need to be having sex to be having an affair. (Aha!) And that right there is how you just got caught.
We all want different things out of relationships, but some of the basic things we are all looking for, are more or less the same. This must be true or otherwise we would all still be single. So let us cover some of the basic necessities. And while we are at it, let us look where your relationship’s needs are being met. And at who is really meeting them.
Like Super-glue (or a Paris Hilton Weave) – Bonding / Time
First things first, in order to be in a relationship we are going to need to relate to each other. That means we are going to have to get to know each other and then we have got to bond. We will talk and spend quality time, and chat about and do just about anything and everything together. In the early stages of relationships this is easy. It is when you have been together for awhile you have to work at this. Date night helps. And don’t forget to do the little things like leave ‘I love you’ messages in your partner’s hand bag or briefcase. Above all, keep talking to each other.
But with all the ways we stay socially connected, Facebook, chat-rooms, Facetime (and so on), if we are not careful we can easily spend more time talking to other people than we spend talking to our spouse. Worse still, you can easily build relationships with special ‘friends’ who share a common interest. And before you know it, you have got another relationship blossoming in the left wing.
If you take a moment and think of who you chatted with most in the last 30 minutes, (smile) and if that person you just thought about, (who made you smile), is not your partner, you have started cheating. You have started the basic cultivation of a relationship with someone else. Sure, that relationship may stay right where it is, in the ‘safe friendship’ zone, but if you continue to nurture it with time and build bonds, it can take a very different direction.
Feel Good Factor – Emotional
Your relationship should fulfil you emotionally. The person you are with should be the person who effortlessly and always makes you feel good, feel good about all kinds of things and mostly, about yourself. He or she should be your bowl of favourite ice-cream on a hot day and when you are with them, it should seem as if suddenly (even if briefly), all is right with the world.
When you have a bad day are you still turning to your significant other for comfort? If instead you are logging on and laughing up with someone else, you are probably not on the right track. That emotional fulfilment is coming from elsewhere and ‘elsewhere’ may not be where you want to be.
Who’s Your Daddy? – Nurturing / Protection
Remember the night you came home from work and vented to your spouse about that so-and-so no-good dimwit you work with, who did such-and-such and really ticked you off? And your loving protective partner’s reply was ‘that fool did what?’. And then without them needing to say another word you instantly felt better. Remember? That was because you knew that person had your back. We need that. We need to know the person we’re sharing our lives with, will be in our corner and that they will be supportive, encouraging and sometimes appropriately inappropriate on our behalf.
This is one trait that is best revealed with time. As the relationship progresses you’ll know how protected and secure you feel with this person from their repeat performances.
If your go-to person has shifted, you have already invested time and emotion on the outside. You should understand by now that you have got a nice little affair going, but if you are looking to keep the relationship you are in from being on the out, this is a good place to stop and just cancel your subscription.
There Is Only One Usain Bolt – Priority Status
Your partner should be your number one person, the priority in your life that demands and receives the majority of all your best. Your investments are banked here, with this person. They come first, all the time, every race. They receive the most of your time, affection, love, protection, support, care, all of it.
And when I say all, I mean it in a sensible way. Who wants all of your day time but none of your night? It must be balanced, although we do recognize it has to be fair to all involved. Here by all, I only mean two of you.
If your partner receives most of your time and most of your support but the least of your flirtations, you still fail. Grade F. So if you think that just because you and your ‘friend’ are not rolling around in the proverbial haystack (yet), it means exchanging those hot and spicy texts is not a problem, think again. You’re just one step away from making your affair a legitimate reason for a class-action suit. And if Tiger Woods can’t win, neither can you. You catch my drift.
The Barry White CD – Sexual
Let’s be frank, your partner has to fulfil you sexually. You can decide how much you need in that area to make it work for you. But if it isn’t working on some level, fix it. Fast. Because if you don’t, you have opened the door wide for your new ‘friend’ to become your new improved ‘friend’ with benefits.
After the first sexual interaction with the other person, (the other person being the one you are not in a relationship with), you know without a doubt you are having an affair. Usually this key point is where most people recognize they have gone astray.
The sexual affair is commonly considered ‘the affair’ and they are some who will challenge that everything before sex, is just foreplay. We will get back to those critics in a minute.
As we have all come to learn from the whole Bill and Monica saga, (Clinton still rocks), loose definitions of sex will come back to haunt you. So to clarify when I refer to having a sexual affair, I’m including all the fun and even somewhat sketchy types of sex. Oral sex, penetration, phone sex, text sex, chat sex, if one (or both) of you climaxes from it, in my book sex occurred. Clear?
And for those of you who think that as long as sex is absent, you have not done anything wrong, I say only this. If that were true, the global divorce rate would be a whole lot lower. Instead, divorce is suspiciously high. Because it seems that even in the absence of sex, your sordid emails, texts, messages, photos and whatever else was uncovered, still hurt. It seems your partner can still end up broken-hearted, when they did not actually catch you in the act.
“He wasn’t yours to get hurt by. He was someone else’s and you knew that, so why are you offended? What right do you have to be hurt when you were a part of the deception (lying by omission)?” ― Donna Lynn Hope
Think of if this way. If the roles were reversed and the person being cheated on was you, at what point would you no longer be comfortable? Would it matter less that your parter is involved with someone else if no sex occurred? Or would somewhere inside tingle a little, would a little sleep be lost, would a meal or two be missed, from the first too-long phone call in the middle of the night? In other words, when it’s happening to you, when exactly to you define the start of the affair?
So did you have an affair recently? Ok, I concede, there’s a chance you haven’t. But I’m pretty sure that now we have talked about it, you have had one at some point. It’s okay though, keep your affairs to yourself. You don’t have to tell me. After all, I’m sure not telling you.