“Let’s have a fair affair, je t’aime my love, oh yeah” ~ Misty Oldland
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Affair (n): an intense amorous relationship, usually of short duration
Ok, before I get going let’s make it clear that within this post I am using the word ‘affair’ to define an amorous relationship between two people when at least one of them is involved with somebody else. Yes, there are other definitions. But I’m not writing about them today.
I will also hold my hand up to not having always been whiter than white in some of my relationships. Therefore this post is not meant to be judgemental, mainly observational with a strong nudge towards thought and questioning at the end. If anyone does think I’m having a go then please leave a comment or drop me an email.
So, “a fair affair”. It’s an oxymoron. It isn’t possible to have a ‘fair’ affair. The very nature of an affair involves lying, deceit, actions that fly in the face of fairness.
Affairs did not start happening because of the internet. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, back in the Stone Age, one caveman probably snuck off from the hunt to visit someone else’s cave (possibly a euphemism). Through the ages, the importance of sexual fidelity has waxed and waned. Produce a legitimate heir, maybe a back-up one just in case then, so long as you’re discreet, off you go!
However it’s 2012. I don’t know how many of us are on the internet. Figures published today say that there are 10 million active users of Twitter in the UK, out of 140 million users worldwide (other social media sites are available) but it’s pretty clear that the escalation of the internet usage and social media have hugely increased the potential to have an illicit liaison or three.
Recently I thought two people I follow on Twitter were having an affair. One is single, the other married with children. I have subsequently found out I was wrong in part. The married one is having an affair, just not with who I thought, and is sending at times vile tweets about their domestic situation coupled with the cryptic, wistful “I wish you were here” style of tweets. Of course, it is none of my business but it makes me sad; sad they are so scathing about their partner and also sad that they are using Twitter as a means to fuel their flirtation.
I see a lot of those kind of tweets. I’m sure you do too. The half-veiled comments, the little in-jokes, the banter. Anyone who has ever worked in an office where two people are getting involved will have seen this time and time again. Now a bit of banter is fine. Healthy, probably. But there is a line. And when it slips over to emotionally engaging with a person when you are already attached I think that line is crossed. And as for the physical? However you dress it up, you are cheating on the person you profess to love. If you’re married then you’re likely cheating on the person you promised to “love, honour and obey”. That “with my body I thee worship” line? Yeah, think about it. Along with “forsaking all others”. It means no having it off with anyone else. Obviously other and alternative vows are used too but I’ve never been to any kind of marriage service that didn’t have fidelity as one of the central themes.
Now I have good cause to know affairs, emotional and physical, happen for all sorts of reasons; loneliness, emotional cruelty, neglect. Also because people are greedy, selfish, promiscuous, the list goes on. It’s another of my firmly held beliefs that ultimately they happen because people are either trying to fill a void or ignore a problem. Either way these actions hurt people. They hurt friends, they hurt family, they hurt loved ones, they hurt children. I also believe that acting in a lying and deceitful manner, especially if you think it’s justified, is incredibly damaging to the self.
I’ve linked to this before but it’s appropriate and well-written so here is a great post by @nosweetnothings. If you think you’re drifting into unsafe waters then have a read. If you think what you are doing is just a bit of fun then think how you would feel if you found your other half was engaging in such behaviour behind your back. And if you are deep into something then please have a look at your reasons. Chances are everyone in the situation deserves better.
I really am interested in your thoughts on this so please drop me a line or two in a comment box-shaped postcard. Thank you.