A friend recently asked for my thoughts on relationships and cheating. He had stumbled upon a forum and was surprised by the overwhelming number of people who had cheated or been cheated on.
This has always been a relatively painful subject for me to explore. Cheating to me is revolting and plain wrong, especially in marriages.
I just can’t comprehend it in the slightest.
They were young once, and desperately in love; They made the same promises we did, the same unrealistic promises – in the words of Jean-Jacques Lafon: Demandez-moi de vous construire des tours, des cathedrales sur des sables mouvant. Ask me to build towers and cathedrals for you on quick sand.
At which point did they forget that and instead decide to let everything collapse into the sand?
Words of endearments turned to ones of cruelty, intentionally uttered to destroy. Chilly stares clashing over the dinner table, quarrels stealing past the curtain of the night to children that lie trembling in their beds, shattered into shards of confusion and pain.
Affairs. Substitutes. Weak, cowardly attempts to relive the dizzying moments of their youth that stole their breath away. One after another, and another. Unsatisfying, frustrating, ugly. And what they’re looking for will continue to remain elusive, because the one person who had staked claims to their heart is the one person they’re shutting out firmly.
New people can be exciting. They tell stories that paint unknown territory under your feet. Unknown, but exciting. They don’t have that annoying habit that your partner has of frowning disapprovingly when you tell them about an idea you just came up with, and asking were you sober when you thought it through, darling? They may touch you in ways that make you feel, for a few breathless moments, like every flawed inch of you is perfect.
This excitement is like that of plunging from the highest point of a roller coaster. You love it because it jolts your life out of its stasis. It’s exhilarating. You’re pure sensations and no rationality. There’s no need for rationality. All you need to do is to relinquish all control and just free fall.
But you can’t free fall forever.
You begin to wish it would end. You begin to crave solid ground and familiarity. The tension that has built up in your arms, your back, your neck, is desperately searching for release. And as you ball your fists up ever more tightly, your nails etching crescent grooves into your palm, you can’t cry out or make a single sound no matter how hard you try.
When the ride is finally over, you take a step uncertainly, all shaken up. Your clothes and your hair are in disarray. You’re ashamed of your weakness so you try to pretend everything’s okay. You try to walk confidently and nonchalantly. You boast to your friends how good that felt, and what a badass you are. You can fool everyone but you’re the one who has to live with the uneasiness, the nausea, the shame.
Relationships can get difficult, extremely difficult, as we spend more and more time with one person. We get tired of the endless shouting matches over silly things such as the pile of dirty dishes in the sink or suspicious facebook messages from ‘a friend’. Or worse, we get tired of no longer having anything to talk about, and we end up in another silly shouting match because we don’t have anything in common anymore.
When you find the right person, it should not be boredom that ensues, but immense comfort as you begin to know the other person like yourself. To be able to sit down with someone and not care about how you look or act, to share the same inside jokes and memories, is the greatest luxury anyone can ever, ever have.
New people bring excitement, a thrill of the unknown. But we always discard our new jeans for our old ones, simply because they mould to our every curve with ease, and they always, always make us feel good about ourselves.