By Kenneth Justice
“That’s the woman you’re sleeping with???” I asked
~ A coffee house acquaintance of mine is having an affair with a married woman. Initially he didn’t tell me that the woman was married, “Kenneth, I met this incredibly awesome woman and the chemistry between the two of us is electric!” he told me a long time ago. But whenever I’d ask for more details about this ‘incredibly awesome’ woman he would grow silent and give me vague answers.
It wasn’t until he was sitting with me one morning and an older woman sat down with us…..a much older woman. My acquaintance is a bit older than me (he’s in his early forties) and the woman who sat down with us was pushing 70.
“Kenneth I’d like you to meet L——” my acquaintance said, “she plays the violin in the symphony orchestra and we’ve known each other for years, we actually met here at this coffee shop” he said
For the next twenty minutes or so we chatted about things I’ve long since forgotten but it was at the fifteen minute mark when out of the corner of my eye I noticed the two of them were holding hands under the table….and then I felt a tad bit more uncomfortable when they began playing footsie with each other. Of course, when I eyed the fat diamond prominently displayed on her ring finger I didn’t need to be Detective Columbo to realize that this was the woman my acquaintance had been telling me about and she was a married woman.
I haven’t seen the two of these not-so-discreet lovers in a while but I was reminded of that experience sitting with the two of them this past week as I’ve recently become addicted to watching the television show Mad Men. Everyone in the drama Mad Men is having an affair….everyone. At times I feel like this show is nothing more than your typical over-the-top exaggerated television fare; but perhaps there is more truth to the sexual escapades of Don Draper and January Jones; after all, most research studies find that 1 in 5 married people end up having an affair at some point in their relationship.
And it’s not that I’m writing this to throw stones at my coffee acquaintance or anyone else who is in the midst of a nefarious cloak-and-dagger relationship. After all, some of the great people in the history of the world have been guilty of marital infidelity, and oddly enough they often cheat with women that are far less attractive than their wives,
—) Multi-millionaire golfer Tiger Woods cheated on his model wife with waitresses from the Waffle House
—) Mickey Rooney cheated on beautiful bombshell beauty wife Ava Gardner
—) Actor Brad Pitt cheated on his wife, the gorgeous star of the TV show Friends, Jennifer Aniston
That’s a mere sampling of beautiful married women who were cheated on by their husbands, and what always strikes me as odd about this topic is that for all the energy that men and the media place on women looking a certain way; when men cheat its rarely because they are hooking up with a hotter woman.
It’s not that the older woman whom my acquaintance was having an affair with was ugly; but she was nearly 30 years his senior and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why he was sleeping with a married woman old enough to be his mother.
But everyone is unique I guess and I’m far from having figured out the psychology of humanity and what it is exactly that motivates our behavior. Perhaps having an affair is about more than looks; maybe it has something to do with the connection two strangers make, or maybe it has something to do with the connection that is disappearing between a husband and wife.
“She’s not going to leave her husband” my acquaintance told me. “Truth be told, I’m actually the one who introduced them to each other and I regret having done it. She said she would leave him if wanted her to but I want to honor their marriage and not try and break it up” he said
Of course, everything in me wanted to target in on the word “honor” he used. After all, how the hell is he honoring their marriage if he’s sleeping with the dude’s wife? But it was getting late, my espresso cup was empty and I really needed a break from the coffee house action for the day; I can only handle so much sex & coffee talk at a time.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,
I will be in Pittsburgh this SATURDAY!! I’d love for you to join me for coffee. Check out my homepage for dates and locations.
Marriage isn’t for everyone. I say if you are going to vow to another. Do so with no reservations. The energy spent on honest communication with your spouse is the sexiest thing going. These people are liars.
So well said!! Couldn’t agree more!
No one wins with infidelity. My husband had an affair. He’s now living “happily” with her. But he isn’t happy. He’ll never be truly happy. I’m scarred from it. The kids are just trying to deal with it all. So, I’ll repeat. NO ONE wins with infidelity.
Well said Maria, I always feel bad for the children (and the spouse that was cheated on of course) in these situations…..
Culture Monk- Really? If Spouse cheats on me for a hotter woman I can understand. But because I`ve become stale and boring- that hurts.
I agree; obviously I would NEVER condone marital infidelity…. its just odd to me that so many men cheat on women far less attractive then their wives. I don’t get it at all
Someone once told me that when a man cheats in his woman with someone who is far less attractive it is because he feels inadequate and insecure. Great post!
I wish more people understood the richness that waits for them in a deeply committed long-term marriage. For me, no other man exists as a man except for Papabear. It’s the same for him. He is beautiful, so women sometimes flirt with him even as he ages. But he doesn’t see it. I know not everyone would enjoy the kind of relationship we have, but there are probably a hundred ways to find this depth of joy. What a pity not to look for it in the most likely place to find it!
“what a pity not to look for it in the most likely place to find it”
While I fully believe you can’t get everything you need from one person, I also believe that when it comes to intimacy you should be looking to your spouse for satisfaction. If you can’t connect on an intimate level with the person you married, perhaps you shouldn’t be married to them. Urges come and go, connections with other people come and go, they are symtoms of dissatisfaction. People who are honest with themselves and with their partner do not cheat. It is in keeping secrets that the seeds of dishonesty can grow and temptations overtake practicality.
“urges come and go”
So true; I suspect if all of us were more aware of that truth then it would prevent us from making bad decisions
Attractive… beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in this day of internet relationships, you don’t even have to see the other person to fall in love.
IMO, infidelity is wrong. Period. But I am a little annoyed at your take on the older woman. Would you be so disgusted if a 45 year-old woman were having an affair with a 70 year-old man? Do you believe older people are still sexual? I’ll let you in on a secret: they are.
Okay, one more comment, because this is troublesome, too: plenty of “attractive” people are quite horrible at heart. You may think Jennifer Aniston is gorgeous — yes she is. And she comes across as sweet and funny. Maybe she is. But maybe she is a bitch. You don’t know, and I don’t know, and we don’t know what kind of relationship they had. And of course it could be Pitt just couldn’t keep it in his pants, and it has nothing to do with her at all. But attractive isn’t just in how someone looks. You are a deep enough thinker, I’d expect you to know that.
Melanie, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to imply that I was disgusted by the woman being older; It was more surprise on my part that an older married woman would be involved in an affair because perhaps I’m idealistic, but I guess I figured once we get older we’d get beyond things like having affairs
People of all ages can be foolish when it comes to love and lust. A shame, but true.
Affairs are selfish and made of selfish people. I wrote a post about Mad Men myself, how another show is ruined for me because of “in your face” affairs story lines.
Thanks for this post!
It’s annoying cuz I so LOVE the show!
Reblogged this on tempted by the fruit of another and commented:
Coffee Clutch and Affair — Interesting observation.
Reblogged this on Busy Mom Chronicles.
the lover fills a need that’s missing in the marriage relationship. They sometimes aren’t even attracted to each other at first, but the connection (like you hypothesized) is what brings this weird fantasy like attraction that’s almost like an addiction in it’s strength. Very hard to compete with or break off because of how the affair is mostly built around fantasy. They only see each other’s good fantasy side, and an affair is built for that. 😦
“is what brings this weird fantasy attraction that’s almost like an addiction in its strength”
Wow, very true; it can be very similar to ‘addiction’ like tendencies
I think you’re spot on. I recall having a conversation with an online friend and she explained to me what the appeal was in having an affair with a married man. (She was not from the US, by the way, if that makes any difference.) I can’t remember what exact words she used, but it was something like the lack of committment, “strings attached”, or something to that effect. So going from what you’ve said– the emphasis on fantasy is a deliberate ignorance of the day-to-day details and “warts”, or personal shortcomings, if you will. It’s like imitating early dating, but never getting to the “settling down” part.
Incidentally, I think this is why some therapists suggest that established couples practice this idea of fantasy– amongst themselves.
How uncomfortable that table must have been with them playing footsie, etc. I would venture to say that the source of infidelity has nothing to do with age or appearance but with a deeper problem of profound unhappiness on the part of the unfaithful. The source of that unhappiness is the key – the rest of the details are just distractions.
Lol it WAS uncomfortable……even worse was another time when the two of them sat at my table again…..AND then her husband came in! But that’s another story for another time 😉
The reality of men cheating is well documented. Men have to have sex and that is a given scientifically. If a man is not getting sex he literally thinks his woman has fallen out of love with him, and that may not be the case at all. Woman are geared in such a way that they can deal without sex much better than men. In my experiences with friends, I notice that men usually cheat when the sexual pantry is dry and the nagging about every little thing is a flood. The men start feeling unloved and horny due to a build up of testosterone. All it takes at that point, is one woman who can charm him, make him feel loved again, and bam he is with that woman who is uglier than his wife. Woman cheat because they are emotionally starved. In fact, I am not so sure if woman cheat for the sex, or just give the sex so in return they have someone who listens. One thing is for certain, if a woman is sexual, and keeps her man drained of semen, he is not going to cheat. It is impossible! That is why my pastor’s son Ed Young, Jr. issued the seven day sex challenge to his congregation in Dallas. Google it. There is plenty of information on it. One final note, a woman who loves her man sexually will have his ears all day long and he will bend over backwards for her.
Wow, you seem to know everything! Maybe when you’re a bit older, some of that “knowledge” about all men and all women will be replaced with a deeper view of people and how they vary. Maybe not.
I understand how they vary Ms. Slocum. I am stating research. I understand people quite well. What we all need is to be a little bit more open and understanding to causes rather than blanket statements such as,”Wow, you seem to know everything!” I would not know what I know without conversing with others and having a deeper view.
I actually disagree with you. Regardless of this “documentation that men NEED sex” my husband was in a relationship with someone for 4 years and only had sex with her 3 times. He did not cheat on her, though he thought about it (and I don’t blame him) but he never ACTED ON IT. I think it is rather disturbing that “research” can justify this bad behavior because it is just as easy for woman to cheat. You think WOMEN don’t need sex?? That is bogus. I have TOTALLY fantasized about cheating JUST for sex, though I would never follow through because I love my husband far too much and I respect our marriage and myself far too much. I do however agree with you about listening to his wants and needs and trying to fulfill them (though it goes both ways).
When we all realize that sex is necessary for most relationships, then infidelity will decrease. People need to release their hang ups and be more open about it. That includes people in the Church. In a committed relationship, men and woman are to enjoy each other on all levels including sexually. That is obviously not happening enough in today’s society whether it is because of work, poor diet, hang ups, or whatever. The research is not being used to justify bad behavior. It is used to help us open our eyes to what is actually happening around us.
I do agree with that 🙂
I think this older woman is “awesome” to your acquaintance because she requires nothing from him apart from sex. Also with the huge age difference, I suspect that he is a gerontophile (Google it).
Oh gosh I had NEVER heard of that word before! I love it!
My ex-husband had 3 affairs, which is why he is my EX…but a year after our divorce when he came back wanting to reconcile, I asked him why he cheated on me in the first place…funny thing is, it had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with me or our relationship. It was, for him the excitement of doing something he knew was wrong and seeing if he could get away with it…
So needless to say, after hearing that answer, I told him our family was PERMANANTLY broken, and I wound not ever for any reason even consider a reconciliation.
I loved your post today. It brings to light a very interesting point. Thanks again for your wisdom.
Good for you in standing up for yourself and not putting up with it 🙂
“I can only handle so much sex & coffee talk at a time”..tough job lol
Most people cheat because they are paying more attention to what they are missing, rather then what they have. My weakness through my experience was repeatedly forgiving my ex-husband and still being loyal and honest; my heart took too long to except what my mind already knew.
Once a cheater always a cheater.
‘my heart took too long to except what my mind already knew”
Wow, well put. Its hard to let go of something that our heart is attached to.
Interesting topic and even more interesting comments – people trying to nail you for being “ageist” and for commenting on someone’s looks. I didn’t think you were making judgements – I can understand what you are trying to say without getting hung up on how you might have phrased it.
And to quote the person commenting above – “Great post!”
😉 thank you Rhan
“..when men cheat its rarely because they are hooking up with a hotter woman.”
I’m not a man, but in my experience, men who cheat are usually looking for respect, admiration, appreciation. It’s a bit hard to put into words, but men and women perceive love differently. Women tend feel loved when there is loyalty, protection, men tend to feel loved when there is respect, admiration. In our modern culture, we’ve messed up the natural biology of love. Women aren’t supposed to respect and admire men, that’s so un-feminist. And men, men aren’t supposed to provide protection, that’s so sexist! So neither gender gets it’s needs met and we go looking for what is missing outside of our marriages.
There’s a lot of adultery, infidelity, divorce, in our world today and I really do think that it has a lot to do with our denial of some basic truths about interpersonal relationships between men and women and how that works.
“respect, admiration, appreciation”
I love your take on this. So far the jury is weighing towards men who are cheaters are losers… but you’ve offered a different perspective in regards to their motivation; of course it doesn’t necessarily excuse bad behavior.
Oh…i think your readers are going to call you out on some stereotypes you might be carrying around… Infidelity is a very interesting topic… and the Why? is as varied as the many personalities who engage in it.
Fortunately I can handle the comments…. to be honest; some things I say in an article are aimed at promoting discussion and don’t always reflect ‘exactly’ what I’m thinking on a particular topic; after all, I’m not ageist at ALL! My closest friend in life who died two years ago was 84
All in the spirit of discussion, then… (*&$%able at 84? asked in the spirit of discussion of course.)
I totally agree with biochicklet on this. Respect and honesty are simply something that no everyone see’s value in or are up to the challenge. I agree also that the times when my husband and I grow the most is when we are completely honest with each other and communicate even our deepest or embarrassing feelings (and we end up having the most amazing love making sessions EVER…tmi? lol). I took a vow knowing that it was going to be difficult, yet not knowing HOW difficult but regardless I made that promise not only to my husband but to myself. I think that anyone who thinks that they are doing their wife or husband some type of service by lying to them to “keep them happy” is sorely mistaken. And now I step off of my soap box 😉
It was a great soap box speech AND i’m on board with all that you said 🙂
Like your angle on a lot of stuff, but on this one your have a lot to learn.
Thank you for your honest Bryan
I am reminded of the first episode of Strange Sex. They featured a woman who was 90-something who frequently dated men in their 20s. Neither parties were married, but it was still odd.
I think affairs have more to do with the entire quality of the marriage than just being attracted to someone. People want to feel valued and desired by their partner. If those small important things are missing, it can cripple the whole relationship. It would be healthier for a person to express their needs to their partner, but I guess having an affair works, too.
I once interviewed the creator of AshleyMadison.com. He claimed his website was helping marriages. The affair was how couples realized there was a problem and many were motivated to fix their marriages. I’m not sure I buy that, but I guess it could work for some people. I certainly wouldn’t recommend having an affair as a good way to mend a marriage.
I SAW THAT EPISODE! lol it was a good one. As far as the what the dude from ashleymadison said, hmmm…..I don’t buy it either TK
No matter a person’s politics, religion or non, marital status or the value they place on marriage, I’ve noticed that there is near universal disapproval shown for marital cheating among everyone I know.
Except among the cheaters 😉
In my “unmarried” opinion I feel like marriage is an enterprise. Two people start this company for specific reasons to grow, have more money, a higher social status … So I think both parties should, from the beginning lay down their contract of things they can accept and what they’re willing to bear.
I think the best couple I ever saw is Frank and Claire Underwood (from House of Cards). They cheat on one another and do the most horrible things, there still honest to each other which is the only thing that counts … right?
I LOVE that example of the Underwoods; it helps that its my FAVORITE show and I literally watched season two in less than a week! lol….. Mad Men is number five in my favorite show list 😀
Never had the chance to watch mad men, but if it’s anything like House of cards I’d go for it.
PS: Binge watch season 2 in 3 days, a personal record.
I’m so so so sooooooo glad you said something about that word “honor.” I don’t know how you held your tongue on that one lol. I practically retched the second I read that comment from your acquaintance – he clearly has a warped sense of honor if cheating is honorable. It’s despicable that a “grandma” would behave that way too – apparently some people never grow up, ever, or learn about how to treat others with respect. Blech. I never ever could get behind cheating. There’s never any need for it – be a grown up and try and work it out with your spouse OR if that hasn’t worked then divorce! Don’t ever cheat because more than likely you’re cheating yourself anyway. I agree with the first commenter – these people are liars. I can’t stand liars. Grrr. Okay sorry…getting of my soapbox now lol this is a topic that really gets me.
OMG Jen!!! You pulled out the “grandma” word… AND I’m the one getting heat for being ‘ageist” LMAO!!!!
LOL oh I didn’t realize you were getting heat for that…muahahahaha. I don’t think you’re being ageist – there’s just a normal expectation of behavior when you reach certain ages – it’s called MATURITY! That’s not the same thing at all. Tsk tsk. I probably shouldn’t have called her that in such a derogatory fashion but when I don’t have respect for people it’s hard not to be like that and I don’t have respect for cheaters/liars. Regardless of her age she’s just that and it’s disappointing because you would think she’d be better than that, especially at her age (again the expectation that she’d matured past that but apparently not).
Guess I will stay old fashioned. With all the Graigslist ads and here a site to find an affair called second love.
As for those famous people. they just screw around with who ever is there since they always away from home. not the best examples LOL
As for cheating. it is a lust thing. lusting a need or a want. being wanted . But if you miss that in a marriage i think the communication is broken. (read; lots of work, never home one or the other)
And though I stood on both ends I will never be or provide a cheater again.
I think is the funniest article I have ever read from you; too much of life causes you to ditch the coffee shop. LOL. This can only get better if the husband starts drinking coffee and drops in on the same shop and catches them together. Dude you have a dangerous career 🙂 VW
Kenneth, have you read the book Sex at Dawn? It’s what I call popular anthropology. It’ll blow your mind about how different cultures view/approach sexuality. I bet you’ll enjoy it. I was disappointed with the ending, just as I am with some of these comments. There are such broad generalizations about sex and drives and motivations for sex, love, companionship and intimacy. For example, the continued focus on men cheating or women being cold. It really goes both ways.
Hi kenneth, I am new to blogging. I’m Irish. You liked something I wrote yesterday. I clicked on your photo. My God! You are popular! 47 thousand!!
A big thank you. I feel proud even though I am trying to be anti-pride.
I like columbo also. Maybe your male aquaintance hasn’t had many girlfriends. Maybe porn hasn’t altered his desires. There is something understandable in his predicament.
You are a good writer.
You really do meet some interesting people out there! (No comment about the series watching, the one fact about it that I’d know if someone asked me is to say that this Culture Monk person who writes cool blog posts recently became crazy about it 🙂 Actually, I’m being serious.)
I thought it was interesting that you noted people who were married to “hot” women and then cheated on them. I recognize you noted that chemistry is chemistry but there might be more to it than that. I am anti-divorce despite infidelity but maybe I define it differently. I think if there’s a really solid relationship between a married person and an unmarried – or maybe both married but to different people – that’s definitely problematic. But who am I to judge? Anyway, I wouldn’t be thrilled if my husband cheated on me – but I understand that people get restless and better a cheating spouse then a resentful one, in my opinion. Long term though, that’s a bit much. Again, who am I to judge? These things happen and if either myself or my husband ever stopped being sexually attracted to one another, maybe one of us would enter into some extra-marital sex long term. The hand-holding part is what got to me though. It’s more than infidelity at that point, I think. Love your posts!
Sicker, snicker…I think it’s funny that all this talk is about MEN who cheat. Who do you thing they are cheating WITH?
Excellent point as usual 🙂
Why do we expect rational behavior from people who have deliberately chosen to ignore reason? When we choose to sin, do we choose to sin because it is sane to do so?