One of my very favorite songs is that one about liking pina coladas and getting stuck in the rain. The guy answers a personal ad because he has become “tired of his lady”.
Oh, no he di’int!
And then we find out he is answering his lady’s ad.
Er… oh, no she di’int?
I love this song because every time it gets to the end, even though I know exactly where it is going, I feel surprised. And confused. Who am I mad at here? The guy for answering the ad? Or the lady for putting an ad up? That’s great neither of you are into yoga, but I think we have a bigger problem here. YOU WERE ABOUT TO DO IT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Not cool.
I’m thinking about this because I read about a website that introduces people in committed relationships to other committed people for the purposes of an affair. I’ve been waiting patiently for an outcry from the Holy Protectors of Marriage, but they must be busy with something really important.
I’m all about freedom to do whatever you want on Hump Day. However, if you’ve promised to spend your Hump Days with one person, you really better talk to them about it when you decide you’re ready for some variety.
The fascinating thing about affairs is that it isn’t really about the affair. Infidelity is just so emotionally overwhelming. An affair blinds us to the fact that it is actually a small symptom of a very systemic problem. What’s even more interesting is that, in my opinion, most of us are very susceptible to having an affair.
Emily Brown wrote a book that breaks down the different types of affairs, and the environments that allow them to exist:
This couple is really nice. So nice that they can’t say anything disagreeable. Because what if she leaves me if I tell her her cooking stinks? Will he quit loving me if I admit that I don’t like Star Trek? All this hiding and lying creates loads of anxiety. And one of the best ways to diffuse anxiety is to create a triangle, in this case a love triangle. Hello, New Lover. Goodbye, Anxiety.
This couple fights. All. the. time. Partly because of repressed hostility towards their parents, but mostly because they are afraid of intimacy, or being vulnerable with another person. Thoughts like, “I don’t want to be too close to you. Closeness hurts. I don’t want to hurt” happen here. Having an affair is simply one more barrier to intimacy.
Yes, it’s real. Ever heard that your brain is the greatest pharmacy in the world? Every drug you could ever want exists in it. Having sex is an easy way to release those natural feel good chemicals, and for some people a wonderfully secret way to numb the pain. Because unlike alcohol or drugs, it’s a bit harder to tell when someone is “overdosing”. Just like alcohol or drugs, you become tolerant to a certain level and require more and more to get a fix. And sometimes that “fix” is in the form of some action on the side.
You’re doing everything “right”. You’re providing for the family or nurturing the kids. Whatever your role, you’re getting things done. In doing so, you’ve sacrificed some of your own needs. Instead of admitting these needs to your partner and family, you seek to have them met elsewhere. These affairs are typically very serious, and people in them struggle to give them up.
Some people can’t just say what they want, and need justification from an external source. This is the case with the exit affair. Saying they just don’t want in anymore would be infinitely healthier, but having an external excuse (i.e. an affair) makes them feel justified.
If you have half-a-brain don’t creep around on Hump Day.