The other night, I was talking to a friend and, in her infinite wisdom, reminded me that there IS a difference between an affair and a relationship.
An affair is a fling. There isn’t any commitment involved. The husband (or wife) is bored with the marriage. Maybe having a child put a strain in the relationship. A man will sometimes feel like he lost the woman he fell in love with. It’s natural…babies are needy and can’t do things for themselves. His wife spends hours on end with the new baby and it’s easy for her to forget that the grown man she married needs some attention too. So what does he do? He maybe meets someone who makes him feel important. That progresses to them having sex. The husband feels guilty about this because, really, his wife hasn’t done anything “wrong”…she just stopped being the sexy, fun-loving person he fell in love with. The guilt gets to be too much or it gets harder and harder to get away, so eventually, the affair fizzles out. In other words, an affair is generally a short term fix that is mostly kept hidden from everyone. Once his wife finds out about the affair or she starts being her old self again, the affair is over.
Before I continue, let me just say that I know having a baby is exhausting! I’ve been through it. It’s hard to feel sexy and free spirited when you can’t keep your eyes open! Is an exhausted wife any reason for a man to run to someone else? No. If a man feels deprived of attention, he needs to have a conversation with his significant other to let her know how he feels. Then, maybe, they can come up with a solution to the problem other than him finding another woman to make him feel wanted.
That being said, I have also seen some women use a new baby as an “excuse” to no longer have sex. How many times can a man hear “I’m SOOOOO tired”, or “We’ll wake the baby”? Babies sleep. After a few weeks of having the baby home, a routine is established. Babies sleep and that should be the time for Mommy to catch a nap too! Seriously…ask your husband what he would prefer; no dirty dishes in the sink or a rested, happy wife? For the record, HE can do some housework too.
OK, so, it happens. He has an affair. Time goes on and nothing changes at home. He sees more and more of his other woman. Then, one day he realizes that he has more feelings for his girlfriend than he does for his wife. He leaves the house earlier in the morning so he could stop at his girlfriend’s house to have breakfast, or just a cup of coffee. He stops by after work and they either go out to dinner or they stay in and cook. He spends more time at his girlfriend’s house and finds that he’s much happier. They go out together, they see friends and family, they don’t hide the fact that they’re seeing each other. This affair has now turned into a relationship.
An affair usually means sex and take out. A relationship means sharing lives. I know exactly when the affair with my man turned into a relationship. It was about six years ago and I was in Florida visiting my son. I was at the pool one day and was talking to a few people about restaurants. The only male there was telling us about his favorite restaurant, but he didn’t like going there alone. Since his wife and son weren’t with him on that particular trip, he asked me if I wanted to go with him. I knew he was “safe”, so I agreed. We went to the restaurant the next night and had a great time. He introduced me to steak tartare and crepe Suzettes. We talked, we took a walk around the financial district since I had never been there and we were home before midnight. We then sat by the pool with a few other people sharing a bottle of wine.
I had always been open with my man, so he knew that I was going out with this friend. However, I guess it made him think that if I could go out with this guy, what was to stop me from actually dating? My birthday was a week after I got home from that trip. When he came over after work, he had a gorgeous necklace for me. It was a heart within a heart and it had a diamond in the middle. Then, he told me that we were going out for dinner. We joked about that being our “first date”. We went to my favorite steak house and over dinner he was so romantic it was sappy! He said that he realized that we had been together for a few years and that technically this was our first official date, but that it was just the beginning. Then he started talking about the necklace and that when he saw it he was reminded of us and that it symbolized his heart protecting my heart. I looked at him and said, “You know…that’s all fine and dandy and very sweet, but, since this is our first date, you won’t be getting laid.” That was the beginning. We have a real date night at least once a week.
Our relationship has progressed from that one night a week to him being here every night. He helps around the house, he watches my pets when I go away, we go food shopping and cook together, we walk together, we go visiting. We hang out and watch movies (well, he watches the movie and I usually fall asleep!). People accept us as a couple. When people tell me there is no commitment here, I have to laugh. He may not be supporting me financially, but I have his emotional support and love. I’m happy with that.