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Author Topic: Physical -v- emotional fidelity  (Read 2718 times)
Rock chick
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« on: April 30, 2011 »

Not a usual topic for the BTZ, I give you, but I've just read 'The Summer Without Men' by Siri Hustvedt. It's a more interesting book than I thought it would be.

Mia's husband of 30 years informs her that he wants to take a 'break' from their marriage as he's having an affair with a woman 20 years her junior. This slim volume relates the impact this has on Mia, her struggle with the concept of infidelity, and her eventual psychological breakdown. For Mia, infidelity also seems to be a philosophical matter, which she is struggling to deal with alongside her feelings of utter betrayal and abandonment.

Which would be the deal-breaker for you - drunken shag or close non-physical, non-platonic emotional involvement? Accidental snog or arranging to go out on a date with someone else? Would it depend on the person, or the circumstances?

In the distant, distant past, I've been less than perfectly behaved (you're all shocked, I know  Grin) and I've also been completely betrayed, but for me, it would boil down to deceit. We can all slip up, strong drink can be taken and events can carry us away...a drunken shag might, just be forgivable, but arranging to meet them again would definitely not, in my book, mostly because it shows planning and intent.

So what say you?

 


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chelbel
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011 »

Good question Rock Chick.
 I am completely and utterly true when i'm with someone. And for me it's none of the above.

If your with me then come home for that drunken shag...
If you want to plan a date, plan it with me.

Anything else is just unacceptable. If you want to play the field get a team, not me!

I'd walk away and move onwards and upwards.

(from someone currently reading Existential works).
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scary claire
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2011 »

I'd settle for the option of either right now, feeling very single and been on the pop tonight  Wink
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Mary
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011 »

Interesting question RC!

I'm with Chel on this one.  Trust and honesty are very important to me in a relationship.

(Might explain why I am currently single!)
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Rock chick
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011 »

In an ideal world, I'd absolutely agree with you both, Chel and Mary, but Siri's book has made me think.

At the beginning of the affair, there was no physical involvement, though Mia was aware of that her husband had formed a close frendship with this woman, but she did not feel threatened by this....and accepted that in some ways, it's a tall order to expect people never to have feelings for others in a relationship. For her, the line was crossed when their relationship became physical.

It's an interesting distinction, because my immediate reaction was the opposite -  I might manage to get past a physical event, but I'd have real trouble with an emotional attachment.
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Jayne
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2011 »

Lord, where do I start? There was a time when trust and honesty were so important to me in a man, but I've been lied to, cheated on and let down so many times that when I now go into a new relationship, it's as if I expect the other half to lie, cheat and deceive me.

A couple of weeks ago, I met a handsome Italian man online and he promised me the world. Turns out he sent me photos of someone else and he was really African and after my money.

A few months ago I was seeing a lovely English man who went to Egypt for a week. He told me he was going alone, but halfway through his holiday he rang me to say that he'd really taken a Russian babe with him.

My ex husband lied when we split up and put on the divorce papers that the reason he was leaving me was because I was dating a Premiership footballer. I wish!

It's sad, but it's got to the stage where I now expect to be let down.

I've been seeing a Sicilian man for five days now and I can't fault him so far. But all the time, in my head, I'm coming up with reasons why we'll end up splitting up. I mean, God, I've even told my friends that a Sicilian man is bound to be in the Mafia...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011 by Jayne » Logged

smudge
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011 »

Cards on the table; I have in the distant past been guilty of forming friendly relations with someone I found attractive, whilst still in a quite solid relationship. I admitted to my then partner that I found other girls attractive, but had no intention of acting on any openings (no pun intended). My argument (and yes, there were a few) was that our relationship was strong enough to withstand temptation. That we had to live in reality; we would both find other people attractive and these would mainly be people we saw a lot of.
  You know the scene; you are having a tough period in the relationship, others seem less heavy, more carefree and your libido plays havoc with you.

To be tested and remain faithful meant something. To lie and say `you are the only one I have eyes for` is drivel and thus begins the LYING.

Her response was that I would eventually be tested and NOT remain faithful. She was correct. I started to lean heavier and heavier on the girl whom I had more in common with, grew to fancy rotten and eventually, criminally, asked of "If I was ever to come to the end of things with Jenny, would you ever consider....?
  The reason I liked her so was the reason why she fixed me with a look that could open an oyster at fifty paces. I had my answer. I doubt we ever spoke a dozen words again.

I broke up with Jenny that weekend. Although, shamefully, I didn`t get the chance to tell her until she found out I had been a shitbag and fired me off herself on the Monday. Even my best friend said "I hope you get the pox".

Jenny was more hurt by my emotional attraction than the fact that I had technically paraded myself around Darwen with a sign saying `GET IT HERE` all weekend.

I think the male is more wounded by pride. If his partner is seen time and time again with a man, at work, as part of social activity etc, people start talking. If he was cuckolded by a stranger on a night out in another town, I`d say he could forgive as long as no-one ever found out. Of course, ignorance is bliss. I know of a few men who have been led a dance by their wives, but as long as no-one ever says anything, their marriages survive.
 

I`d feel jealous if a man loomed large in Laura`s life.

To be honest, if I so much as go near her, Alfie growls like a dog, so that is something else to consider! He`s the alpha male in our house.

I know men who have been insanely jealous of the deep, unconditional love a mother has for a child. I know women who have all the love they need from the kids and so do not mind if their husbands are out of the way slipping it to a boiler from the pub so long as he is discreet and careful (no chance of either.)

Like anything, it depends on the individual and the circumstances. No man would ever say in advance "I`d forgive you for cheating", any woman who says that is mad, but I think a mistake is a mistake. We all make them. It`s making them twice that counts.

I am a reprehensible human being. If I told you everything you would hate me more than Hitler. I think we all have the capacity for evil thoughts and wishing death on folk (even if it`s only Thatcher or Nick Griffin), but I can say without any stab of conscience that I haven`t let myself down in thirteen years with Laura...yet. I have no intention of doing, let`s face it if I was ever going to attract a plethora of women begging me to ravish them, it would have been in the years I was slim, buff and went out!
  But these days you can form much stronger bonds without leaving the house. Those `RealLife` sims, Facebook, dating sites etc. Imagine being `cheated` on whilst you ARE DOWNSTAIRS making the bastards tea. Imagine your partner typing words to an avatar that he can`t be arsed to write on your valentine`s card.

This is a ramble, but I have reached my point. As RC said, it`s the malice aforethought. The difference between the manslaughter of a rushed shag or the murder of the plan or agenda. Time spent thinking of another`s body whilst you are in the same room or led beside one another. And the lack of guilt therein.
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Rock chick
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011 »

'Malice aforethought' is exactly right, actually, Smudge -  both words, in fact. One defines the other.

People are imperfect (and who wants a perfect partner?) and behave imperfectly, that's life, and sometimes we have have to be a bit realistic. However, saying ' we're just good friends, nothing's going to happen between us, you're the one I love' is exactly the same as saying 'he/she meant nothing to me, it was only sex, you're the one I love' if you say it in advance.

Ah, and guilt rears it's ugly head.

I have issues with guilt, having had it thrust upon me more than once -  it isn't helpful or useful and is too selfish and self-centred an emotion for me to have too much truck with. It's all about you - how YOU feel, and how you can't live with yourself, how bad you feel every time you look at me etc. etc....you confessed because you couldn't stand the guilt. Hey - you screwed up, you deal with it.

Now, genuine remorse, real regret sits much better with me, to feel genuinely sorry about what you have done and the impact it will have on other people...learning from it and putting it right.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2011 by Rock chick » Logged

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chelbel
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2011 »

It just does not sit well with me. This okay and not okay type of guilt. And I'm speaking for myself. I've seen others "work" through drunken "mistakes". However for me it all comes back to communication.
If there are reasons for infidelity then they should never have been hidden in the first place. I'm too honest, that i know but i sleep well because of it. Rather be hurt by the truth of a situation than hearing about a shag and then the real problem!!!
I know the world is not perfect but i still believe relationships should be honest and true, it's not that hard once you practice it little.
Relationships don't have to be hard work, after all most big things start small.
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Nubs
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2011 »

I too have been betrayed - my now ex-wife had several affairs which made me feel like I was the Titanic being struck by the iceberg. Although I still feel that if it were not for the decisive intervention by a woman who hyad befriended my wife, and who I shared a mutual dislike betwixt this 'bitch-from-hell' and myself to such a level that the B-F-H I believe deliberately set out to destroy my marriage out of utter malice towards me.

I have always considered myself as an old fashioned incurable romantic, and perhaps a gentleman, and hopefully those of the BTZ both male and female who have met me in person might just agree with that! Roll Eyes

Even now, twenty-four years since the divorce, I have had a brief return to the bedroom with my ex-wife back in 1989, and one singular short-term relationship with a woman 2001. As much as I would dearly love to have a full on, long-term relationship with a lovely lady, I cannot lower myself to an occasional shag/one-night-stand scenario as it doesn't gel with my conscience or my personal respect for myself or the woman I might one day become involved with! Being my mate's roadie I regularly see appealing good-looking crumpet, and I find myself wondering what it would be like to be with her, however, it would have to be in a full on hopefully long-term relationship status, not just a fling.
  I cannot bring myself to think of women in general, and especially those such as the great looking, and with fantastic personalities of the Billingham Babes, as simply bed mates so that I can get laid with or get my rocks off with!!  Shocked  I would like to find someone with whom I can connect with on an intellectual level, share interests, and enjoy spending time with in and out of the bedroom Roll Eyes

Infidelity/betrayal and going from affair to affair shows to me that a partner that treats me with such contempt by behaving in that manner has little or no respect or love for me, especially as in the case of my ex-wife, our children when they were still very young.

Chelbel - 'Relationships don;t have to be hard work, after all... most big things start small'   Have you been reading my mind... have a camera spying on me in my bedroom? Roll Eyes Grin Wink
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smudge
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2011 »

Perhaps our first 'big' breakup/relationship is almost wholly responsible for our future 'parameters'.
  As much as I admire anyone who can have a code of ethics and stick to them rigidly, I find it unworkable in reality. I can see that those who have seen their lives devastated by infidelity would find it difficult to trust again. It does however mean that they are still punished for their former partners indiscretions whilst the transgressors may whistle a happy tune and sleep easily.

A lot of my theological beliefs are based on conscience and how, in this life, one is resigned to a miserable existence if saddled with one.

I put myself in a 'real life' position today. I was in town with Alfie and my pal rang up and asked if I was in to pick up some CDs. I said I wasn't, but Laura wasn't at work until one o'clock. Why not pop round for a brew and pick them up. I rang Laura and told her this.
   I finished up earlier than expected and managed to jump on the bus. So, as I walked from the bu s stop, I tortuously thought about what I would do in the unlikely event of finding them in a compromising position (I love that quaint phrase.)
  Should I blame myself for 'arranging' the meeting? Should I feel worse because I was with one of the children whilst it was happening? Would it be less forgivable because we are a long term married couple with kids or more hurtful if we were a couple in the first flushes of romance, where you are like greased panthers on heat for each other?
  What if instead of finding them cavorting, I found that they wanted to continue this weekly Tuesday tea and tiffin without my knowledge? If they perhaps stretched it to Thursdays whilst I am tending my grandma's begonias? If the neighbours nudged each other as they pointed out him leaving five minutes before I returned?

I suppose it's just a good job he's gay really (oldest tricks in the book. Both the 'pull back and reveal' and the 'pretend not to be interested in girls)

This reignites my asking Laura whether her spending time at the gym or whatever with her lesbian friend Mandee was truly any different to me spending time in the pub with a female friend. The 'platonic' friendship is hard to qualify generally, especially when you watch When Harry Met Sally twice a year.
  It was all said in jest, with no homophobic overtones, but it certainly stimulated a debate in the pub post-Rovers.

That a platonic friendship can blossom into something more is undeniable, although not the rule. That would be a betrayal.
  For an unconsummated romance, I would feel worse now than when I was say 25. As I get older, the emotional attachment grows stronger, the attraction merely remains.
  For a one night fling, I would have walked at age 25. No discussion. I would have felt it was being rubbed in my face. Literally. I would not have confronted it. Now I dunno.  Situations differ. Kids involved etc.

Chel, if it started small and there was a infidelity in the first three months, you would call it off. That might be the 'one' and he only realised that when he let you down. Dint throw the baby
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smudge
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011 »

...don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'm not saying let yourself be a doormat, but judge everything on it's own merits. A man who confesses to a mistake early on and learns from it is not a bad man. He may well become a better man. because of it.
  There are a lot of shit men about. I can see one reflected in the TV screen now. Just never say never.
  I won't even go into the 'is it worse for a woman to be unfaithful?' debate :-)
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chelbel
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011 »

I hear you barking smudge, i was cheated on once and he was promptly ejected from my life, we had been together two years and were about to sign the deeds for our new house. Now, he did say sorry but .... I was having none of it, five women in one weekend while i was at Harrogate hardly constitutes for a mistake... What other filth would he bring into my life besides his (censored).
As for close emotional friendships, I've had one and never a kiss passed between us. He was my best friend. And we had to put our friendship aside because his girlfriend couldn't believe we were doing nothing sinister (We had been friends for 8years). She was his ONE and i respected that enough to back off. Whatever her trust issues were did not give me the right to make her more insecure.
Even my doctor tells me i'm too honest, it's who i am. White lies (like no darling those extra few pounds DO suit you) i THINK are acceptable (i'd accept it if someone told me that lie)
However when another person gives themselves to you, that's precious. And i'd like that to be respected.
We are after all, mind, Body and soul.
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smudge
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2011 »

Hey, Chel, I reiterate what I  (and Carol, more succinctly and sensibly) said about not letting it dog you about. To be honest, the guy sounds like a total shitheel and I'd love to kick him in his over-active knackers for you.

As goes the last paragraph of your post; that is symbolic of marriage or some kind of commitment. Times have changed from when marriage was the "official closure" of sowing the wild oats (my first ever ''stag night" in 1986 ended with me spraying Slalom lager from my nose and the groom to be spraying his seed on a stripper/prostitute with the full nod from his wife-to-be) to a less Neanderthal time of being faithful to one's lover, but unwritten grades of commitment not withstanding, the disparity between what both halves of the couple think is the state of affairs varies, even veers wildly.

You deserve happiness, Michelle, every one does. I hope it arrives all guns blazing.x
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Rock chick
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2011 »

Eek...that's hardly my definition of a 'mistake', Chel... ! What in the name of all that's holy possessed him? Sorry my arse....jog right on, pal.

I wonder if your sacrificing an 8 year friendship made his partner genuinely feel any more secure....it's easy to feed insecurity and hard to learn to trust, but I feel that she and your friend might have been better served in the long run by the latter.

You're clearly a saint Chel  Grin Grin Grin and deserve the very best of everything....we all know that we all have to kiss a lot of frogs and frog-esses before we're done, and I do thing age has a lot to do with it - and when we know better,we do better.

I think the majority of people are good and true, though the ones that aren't certainly seem to get around. To err is human, and to forgive divine (apart from the ex Mr Chel, obviously, and Jayne's less than gentlemanly gentleman friends). I'm aiming for divine (and possibly, Divine).

Turn your face up to the sun and shadows fall behind you.
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