June 12, 2012 § 48 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
It is easy for me to say I would never have an affair with a married man.
A completely innocent but lovely “date” with an old (married) friend set me to thinking about this. It is simple. Married men are off my radar. You make a decision: you just don’t. You don’t put out the signals. But if some opportunist bluffs ahead anyway, you say, “Thanks for the invitation for lunch/dinner/sex. I’m flattered and if things were different – ie. you didn’t have a wife! – then, maybe, yes. But you do, so thanks but no thanks.” End of.
And yet, if there is one thing I have learned from my experiences over these past few years, it is, resoundingly, that things are not black and white. I have been lucky enough to have had a fulfilling, long-term relationship (even if it did end in divorce) and to have children. I haven’t been a plankton for all that long and there remains in me somewhere, somehow, some vestige of hope (even if I can’t for the life of me think why).
But, just say I had spent decades only being done over by horrible men (I’ve had my share, but been fortunate to have had some good ones too); and just say all hope was spent and proper grinding despair had set in permanently (as opposed to the odd encounter I currently have with it); and just say a married man were out of the blue to appear full of affection, kindness and companionship, love, even… well, then, I would be lying if I said I could put my hand on my heart and swear I wouldn’t buckle. I think I wouldn’t, but who is to say my (pious? sanctimonious?) beliefs, after years and years of untold loneliness, would hold out in the face of the crumbs of something other, the promise of a scrap of intimacy, however fleeting or impermanent, and would not prove irresistible?
My hope is that temptation will never materialise and I will go the way of eventually waking up to the joys of solitude and acceptance rather than the other, less promising (and less moral) route, namely being complicit in marital mayhem. I feel sure that I would never ever do it to anyone. God forbid, it is the antithesis of my very DNA, and yet, and yet… plenty of women do – some close family and friends of mine amongst them – and I condemn their behaviour in principle – and not just in principle – but when you know and love them, you also get it (well, sometimes). Every case is different and, as I say, so often not black and white. And who am I to judge?
Still, it remains off my own agenda. Both for now, and hopefully forever amen.