When a man has an affair, he gets caught. When a woman has an affair – she leaves her husband.
The other day, I bumped into an old acquaintance. I hadn’t seen him for a few years – and we had never been close. So when he asked me the predictable “Hi! How are you? How was your Christmas?” I realised that he probably had no idea that since our last meeting, I had left my ex-husband and divorced him.
He noticed my hesitation, so I thought it best to explain. He was somewhat taken aback. And for the first time in ages, I felt a slight lump in my throat and my eyes started to tingle… But I won the battle against the tears. Without in any way being critical of my ex-husband, I explained, and he was very sympathetic. And I appreciated that.
As the conversation progressed, I told him that what had tipped me over the edge was meeting someone I had a connection with. Not having an affair, but knowing that if I didn’t leave, I probably would.
Then he piped up and mentioned an article he had read in GQ Magazine (I think it was GQ!). The article (which I have not read, as I don’t buy GQ Magazine!) was discussing the subject of affairs and from what he told me, the conclusion seemed to be:
Men who have affairs get caught; women who have affairs leave their husbands.
It really stuck in my head and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
And I’ve been thinking about the people I know, men and women who’ve had affairs, and the outcome once the affair has been uncovered. I have to be honest - it is a very accurate statement.
I believe very strongly that an affair is a sign of a bad marriage. Whilst I’m totally against affairs, I don’t force my views on others. And I don’t believe that all blame can be laid at the foot of the person who goes off and has an affair. This post is not about fault…
Of the men I know who have had affairs (but stay once caught!), whilst they may not be happy in their ‘marriage’ they still have comfortable home lives. Their meals are cooked, the kids are looked after and their clothes are returned, clean and ironed, to the wardrobe. This is quite a lot of comfort to forfeit. And if they can muddle along at home, with the support of a woman on the outside, providing a distraction, emotional support, or just sex, there is no real incentive to leave. So if the wife 'forgives' or 'gives another chance' - in general, they stay.
But women are a very different species. For us (and I’m really talking about those of us with children) an affair is a very different matter. Firstly, whether you’re working or not, an affair would have to be fitted-in around the kids routines, and / or work. Not always that easy! And as a general rule (with notable exceptions, I’m sure) women are less driven by purely sexual desires. If they get involved in an affair, it is probably the emotional needs that they are seeking to address. And if that’s the case, it takes the affair to a different level.
Women who leave their kids behind when they leave a marriage, are the exception. It happens. But it is not that common. Most women who leave a marriage have their kids in tow. At the point they get involved in an affair, they are aware that they have kids to consider. So when a woman has an affair, she knows that the worst case scenario (if it goes ‘tits up’) is that she could be on her own looking after the kids. Therefore, she probably won’t get involved with someone unless she believes they are serious about a long-term commitment. An affair is not an easy cop-out. To have even got to this point is a sign that for the woman, the marriage is all but over.
After all, an affair is a very, very big gamble. Men are less forgiving of infidelity than women.
I know. My husband would never have given me a second chance. Conversely, would have put up with a great deal, if I thought it was in the children's best interest.
But now, like many women, I am on my own with two kids to raise.
It’s not easy.
But I do have peace of mind. I did get involved with the rebound guy – and I knew it wouldn’t last. But he gave me the confidence to get through my divoce. And I know that leaving was the right thing to do.
And I will move on. Life will improve. And at the end of the day…
I’m not living a lie….