Tempting Temptations

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

"I can resist everything except temptation."
Oscar Wilde
There could be a million and one reasons as to why people stray. Emotions and needs can overwhelm, and sometimes that desire to 'feel wanted' can seduce someone into doing something that would not be morally right. Emotionally, too... if your other half gets wind of it.

Why stray? Sometimes that extra effort needed to revive a staid and comfortable relationship can be a far less interesting prospect than being with someone new - and perhaps different in a lot of ways. Cloaked in secrecy, it beckons - and like the forbidden fruit, sometimes the hardest thing to resist is temptation.

Perhaps it seems to the husband that life suddenly just consists of poopy diapers, screaming kids, and a frustrated wife. He's surrounded by sweet young things (SYTs) who flash their winsome smiles and wiggle their obviously-have-not-been-pregnant bottoms or whatever parts of their anatomy that they normally employ to get their way at work.

And then there are the marriages which are falling apart. Perhaps the spouse has suddenly become too aggressive, irritable, demanding or will argue for the sake of arguing. So the husband has become unattractive, paunchy and unkempt, preferring to spend his time romancing that perfect doe eyed creature in a virtual city. Then there's that nice smelling dude at work who is leaving a cup of coffee at the table even before you step in.

It's happening everywhere I turn... now that I know where to look. It's a bit like looking for a ghost in a window, in those horror movies. Blink, and you've missed it.

Perhaps in the West it's all too common, and the success rates of office politics is measured by how much bounce you put on the (hotel) mattress - or in some cases now - public carparks at parks.

Down here its all very cloak and dagger. Very reputation ruining to be caught, high stakes, high risk. And once in a while heads of departments are caught with their cigars out and their pants down.

Whilst I can understand it all, I don't condone it. Just don't get caught.

I've told the husband that if he ever told me that he will stay faithful to me for the rest of his life, I'll take it that he's being condescending to me. It's not that I don't want to take him at words value, it's just that I've seen enough to know that people stray for various reasons, and usually, it's done by the people whom you think are least likely to do so.

So you gasp, and in horror, exclaim: 
"Oh my!! I wouldn't have thought he / she would be capable of doing that! And why? He / she seems to have a perfect family and an enviable relationship!"

I told the hubs - if you find yourself in contempt of your vows and feel that you made a mistake, just don't let me find out. Then I dealt him the ultimate blow: 

"Oh, and if you even contemplate straying, just remember that the moment you do... you have already put your entire family on the line. You must know that by entering into an illicit affair, you are prepared to give us up. If you're really committed to someone (and isn't marriage the ultimate commitment? aside from work) even if you can't seem to find a shadow of the woman who is beaming next to you in the wedding pics, you made the choice when you married me. Through thick and thin, sickness and in health. Don't let me even get started on how marriage has changed you!" (beatific smile)

Well then; here's my take on this:

Don't tempt temptations.

If that new intern in the too tight clothes and cleavage to put the valley of death to shame bends down a little too much in front of you - keep your eyes on her other less attractive features, like perhaps her jug ears. Keep your hands where everyone can see them - especially when you spy the usual rumour mongers doing too much unnecessary walking back and forth, via the open office door.

If marriage is turning into a routine, find something novel to do with the other half, that excites both of you. Perhaps a holiday somewhere exotic, perhaps... get some ideas from the immensely popular 50 shades trilogy.

If you don't want to cheat on your spouse, don't go out one on one with anyone tasty at work, period. It's really all about minimizing risk, and preventing scenarios of temptation from arising in the first place. Because, really, once you're both taking off each other's underwear in some seedy motel somewhere, it's rather too late to stop.

But that's where my argument breaks down.

The truth is that people here may not confess to it, but they DO want to cheat. As long as they don't get caught.

That's just how it is. We can't expect to still look at each other with the same starry eyed wonder and (innocence) as of the time when it all started. As much as we think they've changed, they've also made adjustments for us. We've changed too... to accommodate progressions in life.

To me, being in a long term marriage (or relationship) is akin to wearing a pair of comfortable, albeit worn out shoes. You wear them and forget they're there because they are comfortable and don't give you any trouble. It's a pair of reliable shoes, and will not cause you to slip and fall. Sure... it may not be the greatest looking pair available, but you know they won't hurt you. 

Once in awhile, it's tempting to think this way: "They may be functional, but there is nothing attractive to them. Others can see that my shoes are just my size and were designed for me. So if they are a perfect fit, then why do they look so tattered and unappealing?"

When that thought assails you, think of the countless times you have walked in those shoes, and the places you have been. Memories are what make your presence in the present, worthwhile.

Me? I steer clear of uncapped soy sauce bottles. I wouldn't want to risk losing what I have in a moment of folly. As much as the hubs and I disagree on a lot of things, we also agree on a lot more stuff. I nag at him because he never puts things back to where he found them. He chooses to ignore my quirks and idiosyncrasies, because (I quote): "You wouldn't be who you are, without them".



  1. Agreed that anyone and everyone seems to be indulging in a bit of dishonesty these days. Even in my tiny circle, it happens (I'm the holder of quite a few secrets). And yes, I do ask "Why?" and think to myself, "Wow I would've never figured him/her to do that..."

    Ultimately I think we can only watch over our own actions, and this is really one area of my life where I don't need to be progressive. Sure, I don't get out much (or at all) but these days, with sites like Grindr/Blendr and so on, you can hatch big plans without leaving home. But why complicate life?

    I hope that one day I can say this about my own marriage; this is from a Modern Love piece:

    "I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it."

  2. It's true that many marriages break apart now because commitment is no longer a promise they hold dear and the vow is merely a repeition of what the priest reads out at the wedding ceremony. The 'Western' notion of sexual liberty (promiscuity?) has slowly but gradually eroded our value system and I am saddened each time I hear a relative, colleague and friend fall victim to yet another strayed marriage. The hubs and I have started praying for God to prepare a good and faithful man for our daughter so that when we passed on, she'll have a friend and soulmate, someone who wouldn't break her heart and whom she can lean on for better or worst, through the storms of life, for life.

  3. The thing that gets me is the widespread acceptance of all, and even the resignation expressed by those who are 'victims'... someone once told me, how do you know his wife doesn't 'allow' him to go ahead? So long as he provides well for her. She can have her own toy boy.

    No one bats an eyelid because it's so common. And that's scary.

    Personally, steering miles clear from any potential temptation is the way to go. No flirting (no matter how harmless), even over email or phone chats. The bible puts it simply - Flee. Not walk slowly away, not turn to face the other direction but RUN.

  4. Good piece! Many affairs are not planned and temptations are everywhere. Someone once told me, everyone in a marriage desire to have a fling at least once! That shocked me and I retreat to reflect if I was being naive or dishonest.

    Just because we are married to our bestest of friends does not eliminate the fact that I will not be thinking (alot) about the very sophisticated man I met at an event.

    All marriages enters a stage where everything becomes too familiar, there are no more stories, dreams, family history to share. Kids in a marriage and work pressure mounting, both parties screaming for a place and space to rest and relax and for goodness sake not worry about the kids for one minute!

    Couple dates are sedated, intimacy gets thrown out of the window. One can be very much in love (committal stage), but don't make love every week any more than the newly weds. Issues are swept under the carpet. Couples just don't really talk anymore, no wonder there is no more intimacy.

    There are so many ways to spice up a marriage and we just don't have enough time or energy for it, but that's precisely what is tearing many marriages apart.

    Temptation will always be lurking around the corner. Its not what we believe it to be wrong, but what do we do when the tyre hits the road. Trouble is an affair will always look like a coincidence. We just did not suspect that it began way back with a text, a look, a flattery, even something as legitimate as work opportunity. Fleeing happens first in the mind.

    Finally not every marriage that has seen an affair breaks up, sometimes it is a wake-up call and the marriage turns around albeit much work. Hopefully we don't have to go there. But if we do, may true love find its way to forgiveness and grace to cover a multitude of sins.



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