One of the worst nightmares for anyone in a relationship is that the love of their life is cheating on them. Some people trust their partners, while others, constantly beset by fears and insecurities, obsess continuously over their partner’s whereabouts and friends/colleagues of the opposite sex. People, who do have secret affairs outside their current relationship or marriage, do so for several reasons. These may range from boredom with routine, inability to reason with sexual urges; to dissatisfaction with their current relationship, loneliness due to long periods of travelling, etc.
What most people who have been married for too long crave more than anything else is that lost romance. That feeling of butterflies in the stomach, those rosy thoughts of anticipation, which makes one look forward to each day with more enthusiasm. It makes one dress better, look great and feel alive – because all of a sudden, life doesn’t look so bad – and actually feels worth living. They miss these things – they crave for the lost magic. They still love their partners, but that love has changed. It doesn’t have that zing anymore – their conversations are now restricted to short sentences regarding food, various bills to be paid, social obligations to be met, children, etc. The raw pull of attraction they once felt for their partners no longer exists.
But it so happens, at work or at some place where they frequently visit as a part of their routine – like a voluntary organisation, a workshop, or even a dance class – that they meet someone. This someone may or may not be in a relationship too. They talk, and their like-mindedness makes them friends at first. Slowly, they start finding in each other the things they secretly crave in their spouses, which sparks off an attraction. For example, a woman who secretly wishes her husband was more attentive than he is now, starts to feel very attracted to a friend she met at a dance class when he offered to carry her heavy grocery bags for her one evening because she suffered from a backache problem – something her husband had either forgotten, or did not care about.
Attracted though they may be to each other, these people do realise that they cannot act on their impulses, as they don’t want to hurt other people. Yet, they cannot ignore their own feelings either. They spend a lot of time together, and become each other’s confidante. Each can’t stop thinking about the other when they are alone with their thoughts. When they are together, it’s as though the world has shrunk to include just the 2 of them. All their personal problems and worries seem to fade away. Since both of them are wise enough to know their limits, they feel safe knowing that they can enjoy this while it lasts, and that they are not, technically, doing anything wrong. They don’t have any obligations or responsibilities towards each other, and thus, no expectations. And it is because of this factor, that the attraction remains, that the romance thrives.
But is this justified? Is this another “level” of cheating? Does it qualify to be called such? These are questions that depend on the persons themselves, and on their spouses – on their perceptions of “cheating”. Perhaps, it isn’t. Perhaps it is. Some may say it’s worse than having a full blown affair, because in a full blown affair, people usually only cheat physically on their partners, whereas in such “affairs”, people cheat on an emotional level, and since emotions really rule the relationship, these “affairs” are also equally sinful. No one can really say anything for sure. The only thing that is certain – is that whether an affair is real, or platonic – it stems from missing elements in one’s current relationship. Perhaps it would be wise to acknowledge that and take necessary steps – to revive the magic the relationship once had. Or perhaps – some dreams are so beautiful and so private that they are meant to be seen, but never lived.