“The chains of marriage are so heavy that it often takes two people to carry them, and sometimes three.”
While this article has an intriguing title that is actually somewhat misleading (she devotes little if any time to the reasons for her wanting to cheat), it is, nevertheless, confirmation to me that being the object of desire is powerful, compelling and irresistible–in the gaze. She rounds out the article to craft the main idea as an honesty is the best policy moral of the story, but the writer appears to be trying to convince herself more than her audience that honesty will save the day–and her marriage–in the end. She devotes exactly one or two sentences at most to that notion, but the majority of the 35 micro paragraphs are relished details of the one who made her feel desired.
And why repeat so many times how she was not attracted to this man who she risked her marriage for just to see in the park or coming out of his place? The thrill she squeezed from this clandestine relationship was first, that it was clandestine, and second, that it was about wanting to be wanted. She said as much. The draw of those two potent potions is why the writer wants to cheat on her “soul mate.”
Source: Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Research Date: 1.1.2014
Marriage Infidelity Statistics Data
Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional 41 %
Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 57 %
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 54 %
Percent of married men who have strayed at least once during their married lives 22 %
Percent of married women who have strayed at least once during their married lives 14 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker 36 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips 35%
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law 17 %
Average length of an affair 2 years
Percentage of marriages that last after an affair has been admitted to or discovered 31 %
Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 74 %
Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 68 %
Percent of children who are the product of infidelity 3 %
what percent of married couples cheat on each other ? statistics on cheating marriage infidelity ? how many men cheat ? what percentage of women have affairs ? what percent of husbands cheat on their wifes wives men women spouses cheating infidelity reasons demographics ?
I know there is someone else. Well, I don’t know, but I sense something has changed. I am his wife. I should know.
There is someone else. I feel guilty and afraid, but I cannot seem to end it. She gives me what my wife stopped giving me a long time ago, respect, tenderness and yes, sex. She makes me feel alive. Unlike my wife, who should be doing that for me. But she hates me. Hates sex. She doesn’t understand my needs.
And I wonder how he, who needed sex from me every day in the early days and later upon demand and pleading and arguing, gets his needs fulfilled since I first said no. I denied him more and more frequently as time went on. I don’t know why or how it got to be so hard to want to. It just felt like more effort than it was worth. And I was always so tired. So much changed when we had kids. I was so tired and all he seemed interested in was getting his rocks off, even though I was so tired and worn out from feeding them, cleaning them, making sure they were safe every minute of the day and even when we slept, he did anyhow, and then woke up, he off to work and me to start the whole cycle again, feeding, cleaning, watching…
I work every day with people I don’t respect, who don’t respect me, and don’t care about whether the company survives or not. It’s my job to make sure that the company makes money and the people under me hate me for it and the people above me don’t appreciate what I do for their company. She has no idea what I have to deal with between employees, managers, vendors, consultants, shareholders, Presidents, and the public, all wanting something from me I cannot give, money and time. It’s a constant war. I feel like I get my ass kicked every day from those who resent me, and then I come home to more resentment. Where do I get my comfort and support if not from my family, my wife? She should be my rest, my place of refuge and my biggest cheerleader. Doesn’t she realize that I don’t want to be working a thousand hours a week and that I would rather be spending more time with my kids?
I do my job. She decided her job was the kids, even though she has a degree in environmental engineering. But she seems so resentful, accusing me of not caring enough about the kids and her, not spending enough time, not helping enough. I’m doing all I can.
The time when Joey was so sick, puking all day and sobbing all night for two days. And he came home from work late, but I got up from my sleep to talk to him. When else could I? I knew not to call him at work, not since a long time. Too busy, an interruption of his tons of work and people to direct and money to watch over. So I told him all about Joey as his eyes glazed over and his eyes drooped. But he stayed awake, fighting sleep to listen. And I cried and he cried, we were so worried about him. He was our first, and we could not imagine anything happening to him, anything making him hurt we loved him so much.
Don’t get me wrong, though. She’s a good mom, takes care of the kids really well. But she doesn’t seem happy doing it. I told her she should get a job outside the home if she wanted to, but she said she didn’t want to. She does a good job with them; they’re great kids.
And we had that moment, and then he caressed my hair and my face tenderly. But then his hands moved to my breasts, and that look in his eyes took over, the one that turns from tired to interested, the glaze turning into glare and gaze. I couldn’t believe it! I just told him how I had been up for two days and was wrecked and worried and beside myself in fear, and that made him hungry? It felt so greedy. I couldn’t get over it. Is he just always looking to get himself satisfied, clueless to how I might feel? He has no idea how that feels, how I feel.
But when it comes to me, she doesn’t seem to have the time or the motivation for me. She doesn’t want to go out and do things together like we used to like go to movies, dinner, basketball games…It’s like I Iost my best friend. It’s like I have no life.
Ever since then, and so many times afterward, I was reminded of how everything turns into sex with him, how thoughtless and selfish he is. How am I supposed to feel about him? And then there is the sex itself. It just doesn’t do it for me any more. It’s the same old thing and not as exciting as it used to be when we could not keep our hands off of each other, when we would just spontaneously rip our clothes off and fuck on the table, or leave a party after giving each other that leering look. And he was wild and I was always wet for him, just his kiss, his hunger for me.
When we talk about the kids is when we have a real connection. She tells me about what Joey said or Nita did, the teachers, their friends…she knows everything and she fills me in so I can be more a part of their lives; working twelve hour days every day as I do, I miss a lot.
And her eyes are lit up and she is full of pride or hurt or anger, and that’s when I feel close to her. I want to touch her and ease her burden, her pain. Show her love and give her some release. But she doesn’t want me to make her feel loved. She doesn’t want me to touch her, like I’m some kind of horny leper. It makes me so goddamned frustrated and angry.
But now it just seems like we’re both so tired, put no effort into it. He used to at least try to find my spot and a challenge to give me an orgasm. He doesn’t try and I don’t want him to. He has accused me of not liking sex, of being a prude, and closed up about sex. He has basically accused me of being a derelict wife. And to talk about it, that just makes it worse. What could I tell him? I don’t even know what I think, what I need. I just know it feels like he just wants to use my worn out body to deposit sperm into.
I don’t know how to please her. I let her take care of her job, don’t interfere, empower her, but then she accuses me of not caring about what goes on in the house I live in. I don’t want to have to come home after spending my day making a hundred decisions all which affect the future of the company, our livelihood that she certainly enjoys, the one that pays for Joey’s football, Nita’s dance lessons, her hair color, both their colleges and our retirement, and then have to decide which fucking plumber to use for the broken toilet in the kids’ bathroom.
So when I decided I wasn’t going to go through the motions just to please him any more, lose any more sleep so that my day is worse for the extra half hour I lose letting him have his jollies, he stormed, he argued with me, he threatened to leave me, but I knew he wouldn’t. He would never leave his kids and disappoint his parents, look bad in front of his friends and colleagues. It would tarnish his sterling silver reputation. So he came to me then in a standoff, given up, til today. He doesn’t even ask any more. We are roommates.
I’m convinced she just doesn’t like sex any more. Maybe she never did. Her parents were pretty fucked up toward each other. I don’t know. She’s a crazed bitch sometimes. I’m tired too, but that doesn’t stop my need to be close to her, for sex. She’s my wife. I think she just hates me. She won’t talk about it. And I don’t know where to begin if she were to open up.
All I know is I can’t keep jacking off the rest of my life to ease the tension of endless days, and I don’t want to fight any more. I just want to keep it peaceful for the kids, just have some peace and not argue.
He is still kind and gives the obligatory affectionate display of married people, a kiss on the lips hello, a pat on the ass, though without the leer. He has always said it is important that the kids see affection between their parents. Maybe that is why he does it. But I know the cold disaffection that lies deep in his pupils, in the lack of even the slightest glint in his eyes when he looks at me, even as the corners of his mouth are upturned. I feel him gone dark.
But when I’m with her, whether in her car or in our hotel room, I find my place of peace. She can’t keep her hands off me and has this total focus and excitement in her eyes all for me. And after we rock it hard and lie in bed, she listens to me bitch about work, laughs at my jokes, bad as they are, and holds me, caressing the hair on my chest. She wraps her arms around my neck so tight when I cum and makes me feel young, like I could go for round two and three in one session. I haven’t felt that with my wife in years, maybe ever. I feel young. She makes me feel alive, like rising from the dead after being buried for so long.
So how does he get by? I know he gets himself off. I have heard him in the bathroom and walked in on him in the shower once or twice, even as he disengaged quickly and covered up the act with an innocent turning into the raining water to hide the evidence. But I know. It’s been months, maybe years. How does he work his twelve hours a day and come home to tightlipped tenderness and feigned affection? Where does he release? He doesn’t seem crippled by the loss of our sex life. There must be someone else. How could there not be?
But I can’t help it. When I’m with her, I am afraid and feel guilty about my wife. How hurt she would be if she knew, if she found out. I don’t want to hurt her. She is the mother of my children and someone I basically grew up with. We have so much history, so much we built together like our good times, our house and our savings and our retirement money. She would go crazy and divorce me, probably. Bad mouth me to everyone, especially my parents. Yeah, she would make my life a living hell. She’s got a mean streak and is a fighter. It wouldn’t look good at work, maybe jeopardize my job. And what would it do to the kids? What would be left for them? I don’t want to fuck up my kids with a divorce. They’re really amazing kids, headed in the right direction, and a divorce would certainly derail them. And when would I see my kids? I want to see my kids every day. I can’t lose them.
But I will never ask, never accuse. I have no proof. I don’t think he would, after all. I don’t even think about it. I have to drive the kids to football and soccer and the dance, then the orthodontist and then make dinner. I don’t think about it, him, unless it is to feed him or ask if I should pay to get the toilet fixed or wait til he can do it, to which he usually replies, “Make an executive decision.” Except when I do, he asks me why I would spend a hundred fifty dollars on something that costs fifteen to fix. There is no winning, and he makes me feel stupid. It’s no wonder I don’t feel up to it, feel like fucking him. Let someone else.
And when I’m home and my wife’s bitching at me for every little thing I haven’t done or have done, just some days, or wake up in the middle of the night reaching for her warm, smooth skin just to be close to mine, I think about her arms, her touch, her scent and how I just want to close my eyes and fall into her in some dark hotel room. It’s like I can’t relax in either world. I can’t fully enjoy either.
But if I ever found out, I would divorce him and make him pay through the nose. I would make sure he never saw his kids again because they would know what a shit he is. I would be so hurt, so betrayed, so devastated. After 23 years, all we have been through. It would crush me to the floor. I wouldn’t know what to do, how to live. He would have to pay me to stay home with his kids, pay me for the rest of his life, pay a fortune. Then maybe he would regret having hurt me and his family so heartlessly, so selfishly. Fucker, he wouldn’t dare! I’d cut his balls off and serve them to him in his dinner, in his favorite dinner, steak and fries, the thin kind not the curly or the crinkled or the home fry cut, the bistro style thin kind that is easier to cook to a crunch. Fuck him and his fucking fries!! Oh please, God, don’t let him be cheating on me.
Every time I think it’s going to be the last, that I should stop before I get caught. But I can’t stop. Not yet.
Esther Perel, rooting out the cause of sexual boredom in marrieds in her essay entitled “Mating in Captivity”(http://www.powells.com/essays/perel.html) directs married couples to rebel, to actively challenge fear in order to balance desire against love and thus recharge their sex lives. She challenges each to see the “other” in their partners.
She begins her article defining the problem, “the dilemmas of desire”, long term married couples experience, when passion, and thus sex, is murdered by the inherent contradictory needs and conceptions of love versus desire. She says, “couples around the world are chasing the desire dragon” trying to keep desire alive, which takes reconciling the need for security and familiarity with the need for newness and separateness. She affirms, “To sustain desire toward the other, there must be an element of separateness,” a creation of space that requires each of the couple to let go of, or at least suspend, fear. It takes foregoing the security of familiarity and sameness and the conception of love as sweetness and intimacy, and allowing the “mystery” in the other to flourish by seeing his or her otherness. The recognition and appreciation of otherness incites eroticism. That takes distance–scary.
Most people’s conceptions about love are based on “reciprocity” while desire is more “selfish”, and passion, in long term marriage, is traded for security, leading to boredom, both of which–passion and security–Perel says, are illusions. Of course, she advocates in the end devoted time for sex, even planned, and invites fantasy and rebellion as a mindset for charging up the mental loins. She ends with a cleverly conceived concluding conception: “Like the child who jumps off a mother’s comfortable lap, running off to discover and explore, before returning to the safety of home base, we adults continuously seek to balance our contradictory needs for connection and freedom, comfort and fear, the grown-up version of hide and seek.”
The draw of this essay is not so much the novelty of the information or advocacy to give up the illusion of the oneness of couples and to be brave enough to realize that we are all essentially, in the words of Brian Doyle in “Joyas Voladares”, “alone in the house of the heart”, but in the writing of the essay. She has an ease in her prose that comforts the reader, creating lovely imagistic analogies to convey the essence of her message, one like her last simile of the child running from the mother’s lap. She uses discreet bits of well-turned phrases to illuminate the more poignant points. I especially enjoyed this passage:
These elements we seek, the ones that combined, light the flame of eroticism, exist and thrive in a space I think of as otherness. The best intimacy is the one that respects this otherness. Individuality and difference are accentuated, and you actually see the other person as a separate being. As expressed by the great narrator, Proust, ‘The true voyage of discovery is not about discovering new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.’ In those moments we stand on opposite ends of this space we see each other with new eyes. Our separateness is what allows for risk, vulnerability, and erotic charge of the unknown.
Standing on opposite ends of a space and “the erotic charge of the unknown” are two notions and phrasing that made me sigh in contentment upon concluding this piece. She takes what could be cliche’d psychological dicta–give each other space–and infuses a phenomenological dimension to the psychological.
The general patterns of behavior are underscored in this essay–we tend to meld into and conflate our spouses with ourselves–but individual perception is put in relief, something I call the gaze, in a more general and not historical-theoretical context.
Walking through daily life, people depend upon their anonymity and interior-absorbed space. They walk through streets in the anonymity of a crowd, invisible, thinking of where they have to go and what they have to do. It is only when someone recognizes the walker/thinker and calls her name or looks in her eyes with an i-know-you look that the comfort of the invisible world of thought and “self” is shattered. The reverie is interrupted and the self is pulled from her space into the world of another, into the community.
We forget about this general condition and comfort of lone self when we dive into marriage or any relationship to escape what some mistake for loneliness, most probably due to the fear of that conception–loneliness–or an angst about one’s own self worth. Am I doomed to be trapped in my mind, with my thoughts? Me? To zoom in, when the lover is in the gaze of her other, this separateness is capitalized. It is a nanosecond recognition that she is an object–of desire–a body, a repository of fantasy and fluid, a separateness, as Perel serenely states. She is seen. Maybe not as she “truly” is but as a strangeness that comes from not being a part of the self, like seeing one’s hand floating in space, disconnected from its arm. That space allows for possibility–what can I do to or with this other?–because this other is not me, doesn’t think like me, or fear like me. What does she want/like? The gaze turns the trite plea for space, I just need some space, to the reality: we are each alone in this world, and that is fucking hot!
You are wronged.
You ache so hard your tissue, your blood and beat,
folds in on itself and webs sound,
is the harrowing howl of hammered heart,
the sonorous bass that crashes rhythmic pump,
disrupting the steady, even equanimity,
even dull ticking of your world–
your imagined world–yours and his. Momentarily.
But the rest is long drift, the ebb and flow of hurt and healing.
Some wounds stay raw and open: the scars of lacerated trust,
open and gushing the glutinous lava,
melted rock of your mountain marriage,
the very fount of your avowed–out loud–couplehood.
And the plane of aftermath is sterile, once again stable.
You limp long on broken legged love, on parenthood and promise,
collapsing back into the other when gravity and hormone shifts
make peace appear right in resignation and ennervation.
For you fear no one will hear your last breath.
The hum of the daily feels like presence,
but the cataracts of dream, of your curt kindness,
are but steadying, the leveling of love,
after the fall and the gratitude for life
unending of upheaving insecurity unlived.
Below is the link to an interesting twist on the cheated wife’s revenge when a clever and insightful wife befriends her husband’s mistress and saves her marriage.
This is a really intriguing read, a good definitional literary and historical piece about the role and essence of the mistress by the author of The Mistress.