My husband and I were out shopping one Saturday afternoon. Before long, our stomachs reminded us that it was well past lunch time. I was getting a bit worried about the delay in getting lunch as my husband is diabetic. But unfortunately, we were in an area where there were not many restaurants. The Saturday afternoon traffic was scary enough to put us off from fighting our way through it looking for the usual places we frequent. Luckily for us, we found a small board with an arrow leading into a lane near the E.V. Kalyani memorial hospital on Edward Eliot’s Road.
The restaurant was an interesting one. It was located inside a huge bungalow. There were nice wrought iron chairs arranged around a courtyard which had two beautiful trees. Surprisingly, there was no one else there but us. Probably, the location, I told my husband. But I liked the fact that it was quiet and far from the maddening crowd. My husband had a different take on the place. He told me that this looked like somewhere a married man would bring a woman he is having an affair with! I think he had a point there because the place certainly had what I would call a “hidden away” quality to it. Besides, the quality of the food was rather mediocre. Definitely a place where food is not the priority for the patrons!! But don’t get me wrong..it was not what I would call sleazy. It was very classy in its own way!
We then proceeded to discuss over lunch whether extra marital affairs were sleazy or not.
I guess the way you look at an extra marital affair depends on who you are in this triangle. If you are the wife you are devastated and yes, it is betrayal of the worst kind! But what if you are the man or the “other” woman? Is it all about a physical need that a marriage is not able to satisfy? Why would a woman go into an extra marital affair? Sometimes she is fooled into thinking that the man is single but often the woman in question is aware that he is married. So why does she do it?
I told my husband that one of the biggest “pick up “ lines that married men frequently use with another woman is “ My wife does not understand me”. I was of course annoyed when he told me that it was often the truth and not a “pickup line”. Before I could pounce on him for being a MCP he corrected himself saying that it was not specific to men. Women may also feel that their husbands do not understand them. And of course the other woman in an extra marital relationship need not always be a single person. I think it is probably one of the issues at the core of a relationship that borders on infidelity. We get married, settle down into domesticity and then start evolving into individuals who may or may not be similar to the person we got married to. We react differently to the pressure that life puts on us. Husbands might start becoming short tempered while wives might turn into nags. The goals might be shared but the desperation to reach them makes us behave in ways that would repulse the partner. In our bid to adjust to each other we sometimes sacrifice what we like very much simply because the partner does not appreciate it. It does not disappear but stays buried within us.
And then suddenly comes along a person who makes us feel different! Sometimes those buried likes surface as we find that this person likes them too. Then there is a feeling of bonding. Ofcourse, there is also a physical chemistry that goes with it because one does not end up having an affair with every person of the opposite sex that one likes or bonds with.
With married women, it is a feeling of suddenly being seen as attractive by another man. This can be very flattering and do a lot for her self esteem which often takes a downward slide in her effort to mould herself to be her husband’s wife. I remember a woman friend who once told me that she had an affair just to get her husband’s attention. “He was beginning to take me for granted and I felt I had become invisible” she told me . And strangely, when she started having an affair, she developed a certain confidence that made her very attractive which suddenly got her husband stand up and take notice! Needless to say, she got out of the relationship once her husband started paying her more attention. I suppose it could be same with a man too.
But this was one of the better stories. Most of the extra marital relationships are very painful and lonely experiences. Relationships with no future! Yes, there is the thrill of living in the moment and cherishing every minute of it but the pain and the guilt that come later is probably unbearable. They run their course and then fizzle out. There are really no happy endings there for anyone.
Someone once told me that no third party can break a relationship. We do it ourselves. Probably true..!
As we were getting ready to pay the bill, I could not resist asking the waiter if he remembered faces. Feeling rather surprised he asked me “ Yes. But why Madam?” I told him to take a good look at both of us and then giving him my card I told him “If you see this man here with anyone other than me, please give me call at this number”
“That was a nasty thing to do” said the husband laughing as we left the place!! The poor waiter stood looking as though he had just been at the receiving end of some “sting” operation conducted by two middle aged loonies!
( While on the topic of extra marital relationships , I invite you to read my story “Milestones” in my fiction blog “Kaleidoscope”. You can get the link by moving your arrow under the title "Milestones")