“The man that thinks he loves his mistress for her own sake is mightily mistaken."
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Fantasy is synonymous with any affair; reality is ruinous to an affair.
A married man or woman engaged in a secretive relationship outside of his or her marriage is engaging in an affair.
What constitutes the relationship? The obvious answer is any relationship with another person.
However, humans can have relationships of all kinds; with all kinds.
Take a man whose wife visits him during his lunch break.
They take a walk, hold hands, eat a tasty and satisfying lunch, are engrossed in conversation, and end with a short kiss on the cheek. And immediately after she departs, the first thing this man has on his mind is the attractive colleague in the next office with whom he’s been sharing many a similar moment.
Take the same lunch date, and yet the man’s thoughts aren’t immediately focused on a certain, attractive woman, but on the next shot of liquor, line of cocaine, or strip club.
The feelings; the urges; the desires are very similar, though the object of these thoughts and feelings are not the same.
The Mistress can take almost any form and provide the same result: illusion—
A false sense of comfort, affirmation, connection, or escape. It regulates the nerves through emotional paralysis. The Mistress permeates the life of its benefactor.
Porn isn’t cheating; many men think.
Taking drugs or over-drinking isn’t cheating; most everyone would agree.
Having sex with another woman or man—that’s cheating.
Yet, is it not cheating when a husband takes time and energy away from his wife and family to watch pornography without their knowledge?
Is the hurt the husband feels not understandable when he comes home after a typical commute to find his wife starting her third glass of wine and not the first as she had previously told him?
Most feel betrayed—Their marriage undermined by these objects.
Secrets can damage committed relationships.
How is it not cheating? It’s a life apart from the spouse. It’s colluding oneself to an object or relationship outside of the marital commitment.
That commitment is designed to fulfill needs that can only be met within the boundaries of marriage.
Most people can’t name these unmet needs.
Most are unaware of their existence and the deep level of influence they have on our lives.
The short list of needs consists of security, love, meaning, and belonging.
We are wired for relationship, and if the ones we have aren’t fulfilling, we’ll find them artificially,
Or mute the desire.
Is it self love or self loathing that precipitates an affair? Is it self preservation or self destruction that maintains it? The emotional conditions ripe for affairs are many.
For most, they revolve around unmet relational needs—too much of a bad thing; not enough of a good thing, or a mixture of both.
Vices seduce by introducing themselves as virtue: fulfilling needs that, seemingly, can’t otherwise be met.
Those courting a mistress, be it drugs, alcohol, porn, or anything else, would state they had it under control; they could stop at any time. Many would be lying, and not just to their spouse or significant other; they’d be lying to themselves.