Did anyone catch this tabloid-ish piece of dreck “How Affairs Make My Marriage Stronger” posted at CNN yesterday? (And still on their homepage as I type.)
A young woman, and mother of two, bold enough to write proudly about her affairs, but not bold enough to sign her name, writes an exposé about how fucking around improves her marriage. Strangely, she doesn’t write about the sex so much as how much she enjoys cocktail hour and wine bars with different men.
The affairs aren’t my real life. They’re fancy cocktails and tiny plates and falling asleep without the whooshing sound of a baby monitor. And they make me that much happier for the family I do have.
I always find these cheater juxtapositions so interesting. Screwing around is fun! Because… it makes me appreciate my family so much more.
WTF? They never just leave it at “screwing around is fun” — there has to be some Higher Purpose like, say, improving your marriage. Sure, it may LOOK like I’m not committed, but REALLY that’s the secret to commitment! Be LESS committed!
If you want to go the distance with this commitment thing (according to her article she has gone an entire SIX MONTHS without an affair), you have to indulge in your little selfish whims once and awhile. Then circle back to home life, until your husband and two preschoolers make you long for anonymous hook up sex… and canapés on tiny plates at swanky wine bars.
You know, I’ve always agreed with the whole-take-care-of-yourself-so-you-have-energy-for-your-family theory, but I guess I was just leaving it at pedicures and socializing with girlfriends. I failed to think outside the box to Craigslist and boffing co-workers.
A few months after our son was born, I quickly got into a relationship with a former co-worker. It wasn’t great — I really would have rather been at home with my son, and I felt I was punishing myself for my husband’s behavior during my pregnancy. I liked my co-worker, but I know I pushed us into romantic territory fast because I wanted to feel desired. My husband and I had some huge fights during that time, and we both uttered the word “divorce.” But deep down, neither of us wanted that. We love each other. We also seriously like other people.
I don’t know about you, but a few months after my son was born, I had vomit in my hair, leaky breasts, and an abdomen of silly putty. I felt about as sexy as road asphalt. But I did feel desired — by an infant, who was latched to my boob 24/7 like a barnacle. I was really, really desired — especially at those 2 a.m. feedings. The barnacle didn’t sleep through the night until 11 months.
Morals aside, how on earth do you make the time to cheat as the mother of an INFANT? I mean, I’m a pretty good multi-tasker, but on my best days with a baby I met my editorial deadlines and got in a shower too. Wine bars? Seduction? Sex? Inherent in these cheating women narratives is this vein of superiority — I’m so edgy and special, the regular drudgery of childrearing doesn’t apply to me. My body doesn’t repulse me, or other people — heck no! Men adore me! My world magically aligns to find time for exciting affairs and sexy talk with strangers.
I call bullshit. Either your husband was home doing the heavy lifting or you’ve got an enormous nanny bill or you’re a neglectful parent. Or all three. And your post-pregnancy body? You can find some man to fuck anything if it’s willing. Personally, it would creep me out to work with such a person, but apparently it doesn’t bother you.
According to her article, her husband cheats as well, but it’s not an open marriage, it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” marriage. Secrecy! It makes a marriage stronger! “Like the French.”
The poor French. French people — I’d like to apologize for the thousands of moronic Americans who do something stupid, but want to appear sophisticated and invoke your culture. “I’m not wearing a ridiculous hat sideways, it’s a BERET, it’s French!” “Did I cheat on my husband and neglect small children? I’m sure that looks bad to Puritans like you, but not to the French! The French understand me. I am just a worldly flaneur, lost in a harsh, judgmental world.”
I’m embarrassed for you, French people. I’m sure you don’t condone infidelity any more or less than any other European country, you just make better movies. Perhaps you could start a campaign and pin amoral sophistication on the Finnish or something.
Anyway, back to the story of two small children and two cheating parents — that doesn’t sound happy or invested. It sounds chaotic and uncommitted. I’m sorry cleaning up baby puke isn’t as fun as dating strangers, but it’s what grown ups do. And here’s a novel thought — when grown-up parents go out on dates — they go out with each other! Between your biweekly affairs and your husband’s, how you find time to sit down to dinner together, I have no idea.
If I were to play armchair shrink, I’d say your affairs are just the pick me dance to your husband’s affairs, but you want to spackle some kind of sexual “equality” over this shit. You’re afraid he’ll leave you (as you write), so you just try to appear every bit as uninvested as he is — and you say that works for you.
Okay, it works for you. That’s very different than saying it’s a strong, invested, “better” marriage.
Once every few weeks, there’s something magical about being out with a man who’s not my husband. Just call it the secret spark that keeps my marriage alive.
No, you devote your energies to keeping your affairs alive, not your marriage. Your marriage is one of convenience, not of intimate devotion. How do I know? Why do you need a co-worker to find you desirable after your first pregnancy? Where’s your husband? Oh, that’s right — he was fucking someone else during your pregnancy. Why isn’t he reassuring you? Why isn’t he looking at your abdomen of silly putty with the drunk goggles of love? Could it be because he has carte blanche to step out and screw women with flatter stomachs than yours? You’re of use to him. The veneer of a family life and the liberty to mess around. You’ll match his lack of investment and try and tell us it’s magical, unconventional, and “the secret spark” to a more exciting marriage.
What’s “magical” is the spackle that tries to transform sad desperation into devotion.
I’m not buying it.