Random question: What is infidelity?

break

A couple of weeks ago a was chatting to a friend of mine about infidelity.  I’m not certain how it came up really, but this friend and I often end up in some pretty deep philosophical discussion. I think we were talking about break ups in general and then somehow we came to cheating and what that actually means.

Where does the cheating actually start? Is it when you start thinking about someone other than your chosen partner? When you start flirting together? The first time you kiss? Or is the line sex?

It seems I might have a pretty “relaxed” view on cheating, most probably due to the fact that I have never been cheated on, nor have I cheated. Having not suffered as a result of infidelity I tend to take quite a clinical approach to the definition.

I, like pretty much the rest of the world, draw a hard line at sex and other sexual activity. I don’t care if the other person didn’t mean anything. We all know that lust is more likely to be the trigger of infidelity than love. I don’t care if it was only oral sex, or if you had your clothes on or if it wasn’t in missionary. It’s sex with someone who is not your partner, so unless you have a specific agreement, it’s all cheating and therefore it’s all wrong.

Kissing is also a definite line, although I have to admit that, for now, that line seems to be just slightly lighter. It’s a definite betrayal, and I’m sure that if this kiss came to be I’d be devastated. But for some reason, I can kind of see how an “accidental” kiss can happen. You know the story: guy and girl having a drink at a work conference or something. They’re having fun and enjoying each other’s company, they’re drunk and flirty, they look into each others eyes… By no means am I excusing the kiss – it’s NOT okay. Ever.

Flirting can be quite innocent – it’s often opportunistic and can just be a bit of fun. However beware if you’re emotionally available and attracted to the other person – flirting could be the start of something bigger. It’s when the flirting continues, and morphs into a relationship that the line starts to get fuzzy. The relationship could still be innocent, right? We all need friends and confidantes. But is it okay to confide about your marital issues to someone you’re attracted to? Maybe. Maybe not. What about if you start to lie to your partner about seeing that person, or you start to hide the evidence? I’ll give some points to the offender(s) for having the self control not to take it to the next level. However even if there is no physical contact, it’s a slippery slope to betrayal.

The physical stuff is pretty easy – lines drawn. It’s the non-physical stuff that is harder – flirting, flirty texts and emails, internet relationships. These activities don’t fall into your traditional definitions of cheating, and although at this stage I’m putting them in the not cheating pile, they may not entirely be free of fault. Depending on circumstance and emotional state these actions may mean more trouble than physical adultery. It’s when love can form.

Tip #2: Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Secrets to a Long Love Story

I bet you’re thinking cliché right? I know, I know, but the saying must have come from somewhere. Hubby and I have been together for 15 (plus) years and I sometimes wonder whether we’d still be together if we didn’t manage a few breaks from each other. I’m not necessarily talking months and months apart across continents (although we did that too), but more so short stints – a long weekend here, a couple of weeks there.

Fortunately or unfortunately my hubby is a hobby fiend – fishing, hunting, dirt bikes – you name it and he’s probably been into it at some point. And again fortunately or unfortunately, all of these hobbies seemed to be best executed on boys’ trips away (and require he spend a bomb on accessories). Sometimes I’d be the one to go away – girls’ trip, family trip back to Thailand, work trip.

Time-Alone-QuoteThese breaks were great, as I love a bit of ‘me’ time – a little space every so often to re-evaluate, relax and reorganise my home and my mind. Self-examination is much easier to do without someone else there, and generally you need more than one or two days to do it. I’d also put in some extra family time, to be a good sister to my brother and a good daughter to my mother. Or sometimes I’d use the time to catch up with friends – I’d go out for a large one, come home completely drunk, take ages to get in the front door making as much noise as possible, then cook myself some 2 minute noodles and pass out on the couch (noodles uneaten), all without getting into any trouble for waking hubby up!

Whatever happened during our time apart, the little break would allow us time to miss the other and all those lovely things that come with them -the skin contact, the conversation, that other person to share some laughs with. It helps you forget (just a little) about those annoying habits your partner has too, so serves to extend those gaps between one tiff and the next. It gives you an opportunity to experience things without them, build some stories to tell, and best of all it allows you to reunite with them and have all those great emotions flood back.

But there is an unexpected bonus of a mini-break: it helps you remember how to be you, an individual, rather than one half of a couple. And that the world doesn’t fall apart if you’re by yourself.

I think the great poet Kahlil Gibran sums it all up beautifully in his passages from “The Prophet

But let there be space in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from the same cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be Joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
 
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Secrets to a long love story

Spend quality time

Secrets to a long love story

The CatCat and Hubby story is a long one. We met in highschool, and through the many peaks and troughs we’ve managed to stay together, stay in love and stay happy. So it probably comes as no surprise that there have been a few people over the years asking me for the secret to our success. I’ve been hesitant to provide too much advice as I can honestly say that our relationship isn’t perfect, and nor is it easy. We argue, we’ve been through a few rough patches, and sometimes it’s just plain old hard work. And I have this strange relationship with Karma where I’m afraid if I give any advice or if I criticise I will be met with the exact opposite, just to spite me. I never comment on parenting for the same reason – I’m afraid that I’ll be cursed with an uncontrollable, tantrum throwing devil child some day. So at the risk of Karma coming to get me later on, I will pen a few tips for those that are interested.

Tip 1: Spend quality time together
Sounds easy right? But sitting next to each other on the couch while you’re both on your iPhones doesn’t count. Going out for drinks or dinner with friends doesn’t count either. What I’m talking about is 1 on 1 time when you can actually have a conversation with each other. Hubby and I do a couple of things that allow us some time together, that don’t even cost a thing.

If the stars align (i.e. he’s working and doesn’t have an early job), Hubby gives me lifts into work. It’s actually much faster for him to take a different route but the drive time (complete with traffic) gives us a good opportunity to chat. If we have time we stop off to pick up a coffee on our way and we chat about what’s coming up at work, what we might be doing socially (seeing as Hubby is terrible at keeping track of stuff like that), and we listen to AM radio (!) which often results in healthy debates over current affairs.

Another activity which gives us a bit of time together are our after dinner walks. These 4-6 km walks are only something we started recently as part of our health kick and they’ve worked a treat. We have really improved our fitness, and we get around 45 minutes to chat (when we’re not puffing from walking up those steep hills).

Hopefully that’s given you some ideas as to how to get a bit of extra QT with your love.

Watch this space for more tips and tricks for a long love story.