How to Pick a Lover

pexels-photo-226166.jpeg“Where The Hell Were You?”

An alibi is the proof that you did do what you didn’t do so that others will think you didn’t do what you did.

—Evan Esar

A love affair takes up time. Sooner or later, there will come to someone an awareness that all of the hours of the day do not seem to have been accounted for. First of all, it is wise never to start the habit of accounting for all of your time. If you are known to wander in art galleries, then you wander in art galleries until you are all wandered out, however long that takes.

Second, you make a point of keeping those time commitments that you do make. Ordinarily, you might come home on a working day anytime between five and seven, which as the French know are the prime times for various kinds of assignations. However, if you say you will be home at five for some reason, then on that day (and that day only), you should be.

Third, when your alibi is in doubt, you do not offer an explanation unasked, but you do offer substantiating evidence. A woman who goes shopping comes home with things she has bought. Sometimes, they were bought three days in advance, in which case she is careful with the sales slips. A woman who has seen a movie has seen a movie, but perhaps, it was on Tuesday afternoon rather than Thursday.



The best laid schemes o’mice and men Gang aft a-gley.

—Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”

And women too, however they were laid.

Even with exquisite care and planning, accidental revelations do happen. A husband who is away on a three-day business trip never leaves town because of a problem with the plane’s engine. A busy executive who is never home before seven comes home at three with a migraine. When you should not have been missed, you find that everyone has been frantic to reach you because your mother is ill. A water main bursts in the basement, but you don’t notice because you are not there when you ordinarily should have been, and you return to find that the entire basement is completely flooded and you have no explanation for your absence.

If you are going to have an affair, you must realize that no matter how discreet you are, it is always possible for an unforeseen circumstance to lead to an inadvertent exposure of your activities.



Beware the man with Lover’s eyes.
He knows your heart; he feels your cries; He seeks the guile in your disguise
Then strips your soul and sees your lies; They never close, those Lover’s eyes.

—Jadah Vaughn, “Lover’s Eyes”

With a little thought and planning, being discreet enough to deceive most of the people most of the time is not difficult. Being discreet enough to deceive a really attentive man or a lover’s incessantly suspicious wife may be almost impossible.

One consequence of being in love is a passionate interest in the other person and in all of the details about that man or woman. A man who is in love with you really looks at you, studies you, memorizes you. All of the little details about you are of consuming interest, which is all very nice but which in the end can be very difficult.

There was once a young lady who was having an affair with her boss and who, like many before her, found a long lunch hour a perfect occasion for what they called a matinee. In the same office was a smitten coworker who had amorous aspirations of his own but who had not been successful.

One day, she came back from lunch on time—cool, poised, and well- groomed—and he looked at her with a significant look and stomped out of the room in a huff. It was only much later that she uncovered how her admirer could “know” about her matinee with such certainty. This was the era before panty hose. Before lunch, a small run was to be seen in her left stocking; after lunch, the little run had mysteriously run to the right leg.

One wife who had assembled herself in haste out of a state of dishabille was chagrined to notice her husband noticing her slip—which just happened to be on inside out.

One young husband rummaged in his wife’s purse for a package of matches. He found, to his mortification, a package of condoms: Trojans, to be precise. Since he had gotten a vasectomy the previous year, he was not amused. Her attempts to explain away the evidence were rather thin.

The best protection from such incriminating mistakes is the protection of time and distance. Anyone involved in an extramarital affair is in most danger when the tryst is in too close proximity to the domestic scene. It is best to set aside or leave enough time to have a shower and change clothes before resuming the daily round.

Alas, this is a luxury which may mean that you see your lover on fewer occasions.


Discreet Indiscretions

Be discreet in all things, and so render it unnecessary to be mysterious about any.

—Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington

If you decide to have an affair and to keep it a secret, take yourself seriously. If you want to write letters, texts or e-mails—and that is an important part of many friendships and love affairs especially when one cannot be in daily contact—then rent a mailbox or use a private e-mail address your partner can’t access.

If you want to keep letters or endearing Hallmark cards, as most people do, rent a safety deposit box. If you have a key to his apartment, put it on a separate key chain and keep it out of sight. Pretend, in other words, that you are your own detective on your own trail and try to be a difficult subject.


Your worst problem in managing an affair is the disruption of your known habits. If you always shop for groceries on Wednesday, then not getting groceries on a Wednesday is a cause for comment. The more you establish yourself as an erratic person with an erratic routine, the more freedom you have. This will mean, of course, that even when you do not have a lover, or when he is not available, your non-predictable patterns must still prevail.

When we are concerned about protecting the chastity of young girls, one of the first measures taken is to impose a curfew. Young ladies in good schools must be home at ten o’clock on weeknights or at midnight on weekends. We assume that there is safety in numbers so that as long as one is out in a group, in the daytime, all is well. Such structuring only shows the lack of imagination of the chaperones and means that, a generation ago, college girls missed a lot of afternoon classes, which they had to make up some other time. After their “matinees,” they went back to their carefully supervised official residence and were snug in their own beds, alone, by “lights-out.”


Husbands and wives think much the same way. The only really serious problems of accountability occur when you have two married people, who are not married to each other, alone together, and when they are alone at a time so far into the night that there is nothing for them to be officially doing. How late is “late” depends on where you live. In many small towns, everything is closed up by 10:30 p.m.; in New York, there would still be many activities happening at 2:30 a.m. Wherever you are, four o’clock in the A of the M is too late.

The first prudent rule, therefore, is to concentrate your activity in the daylight hours. A second protective strategy is to surround yourself with other people. In Hollywood, the coming and goings of the stars are conspicuous and of considerable interest to the public. It is difficult for anyone who is even a minor celebrity to remain incognito for long. So to cope with this problem, there has evolved a custom of going out in the evening in the company of a “beard.” In this context, a beard is a friend who accompanies an illicit couple out in public, thereby creating a group instead of a dyad. A beard can be a man or woman but is usually a man. If a woman is out with two men, or with three, then officially, she is not really out with any of them. She is just “out with the boys.” The beard who comes along to offer his or her protection understands his or her role as third wheel but is willing to enjoy the couple’s company as a favor.

It is a nice bonus that, traditionally, the beard never pays for any of the dinners or drinks and is not expected to return this hospitality. You don’t have to be a movie star to find this strategy a useful distraction.

Do you really think we are living in the ‘Post Racial Society’, as the many conservative talk show hosts and pundits would have us believe – and unabashedly spew forth each and every day? Well I don’t; but you have to give them credit for trying. It would be interesting, albeit disturbing, to open up their minds to see if they actually believe it themselves.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, and initial weeks of the Trump presidency, we’ve been treated to some real cretins who lack any social graces or guile and repeatedly spew vile bigotry into our homes through the airwaves. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, reports of hate-fueled taunts and threats have surged. Swastikas and graffiti declaring “Sieg Heil 2016” were reportedly spray-painted in South Philadelphia. “Trump!” was scrawled on the door to a prayer room used by Muslim students at New York University. A gay pride flag was burned in Rochester, New York. And the apparent effigy of a black man was hanged above the entrance to a coffee shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, dangling from the end of a rope. Trump’s election has also emboldened Republican lawmakers to let loose with inflammatory racist comments. Rep. Steve King drew national attention when he tweeted “somebody else’s babies” can’t save Western civilization, which many interpreted as an endorsement of white nationalism. In January, Rep Mo Brooks said a “war on whites” was responsible for criticisms of then Sen. Jeff Sessions ahead of his confirmation vote for attorney general. In early February, Sen. Ted Cruz called Democrats the “party of the Ku Klux Klan” while defending a rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren for criticizing Sessions; and Rick Santorum accused Obama of not commenting on “black-on-white” crime while he was president.

Back in May 2016, then presidential candidate Trump implied that Gonzalo Curiel, an American citizen born in Indiana and the federal judge presiding over a class action suit against the for-profit Trump University, could not fairly hear the case against him because of his Mexican heritage. “He’s a Mexican,” Trump told CNN. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can’t even believe.” In his first week in office, President Trump’s hastily drafted and prematurely implemented an executive order banning refugees and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which led to the promulgation of a bevy of half-truths and outright lies.

Granted, Trump’s remark about Curiel and his executive order may arguably have nothing to do with the disturbing acts reported above – and their outcomes may not be comparable – but when taken collectively with many other such documented examples of tone-deaf racial comments – they prove beyond a doubt that we do not live in a Post Racial Society when it comes to Power, Politics and Legislation.


And let’s not forget Cliven Bundy, the cattle rancher from Bunkerville, Nevada that Fox, et. al. tried hard to turn into a folk hero in 2014, until he suggested that the ‘Negro’ was better off in slavery. Shock and awe – his words sent all his hero worshippers scurrying for cover. He said what they thought – well, damn it, why’d he have to go and do that? The truth is, all those folks in Congress and the talking heads on Fox didn’t simply latch onto good ole’ Cliven because he made “good sense” espousing the theory of Eminent Domain and that the Federal Government really didn’t exist. There was another reason, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Also, lets not forget the wonder of the 1%. Yes, I am talking about, Donald Sterling. He had his dirty laundry aired and it didn’t go over too well! Players took to Tweeter, along with many others who had something to say about his low and ugly comments regarding his ‘ownership’ of those that he contracted with to play ball for him. Of course, some came to his defense with cries of, ‘he was set up!’ and, ‘he shouldn’t be penalized for what was a private conversation!’ Power is a funny thing though; ultimately, money talks and he didn’t have enough to override the entire NBA and public opinion.

So you may ask, what do these two loud and proud members of the old school and their pronouncements have in common with President Trump and his merry band of cabinet appointees, or with what many think but don’t say aloud where others can hear?

  • Wealth (Obscene to somewhat obscene)
  • Age (Old)
  • Ignorance (Absolute)
  • Race (Caucasian)

Yes, they are all Rich, Old, Ignorant, White Men.

It is as simple as that. In my personal opinion, if we are going to achieve a ‘Post Racial’ society, it is up to those of us who enjoy the privilege of walking down streets, through stores and through life without worry for our lives or our freedom to undo Racism. The simple truth is only White people can teach the next generation about racism, bigotry and prejudice; thus only White people can undo social and institutional racism.

The victims of social and institutional racism can teach us about the harm it does; but they cannot undo the harm, as they are not in our homes teaching our children from an early age. Legislative remedies can go only so far in correcting institutional harm, what we see across our nation is proof of this truth. President Trump and supporters, Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling are examples of bad behaviors that lead to racist outcomes.

Another example is the reaction to our first Black President in the White House.


Asses have been up on shoulders ever since Obama won his first term as President. As much as there are those who say it is not about the half of Barack Obama that is Black, the simple truth is what other reason could it possibly be? This nation saw this man as a Black man, with a Black wife and Black children, move into the House that slaves built and, frankly, lost its collective mind. In an attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency, Trump led a nonstop birther movement with a vengeance, and only ended the charge recently with great reluctance and feeble acknowledgement that President Obama was born in the US. Never in the history of this nation has any President battled Congress for even the smallest of small steps toward compromise. Never in the history of this nation has any President faced a Congress that would rather see the nation fail than have a President succeed. Not Race? Please give us credit for not being complete idiots.

Now, back to old Cliven and Donald. What has happened to them?

Donald got some comeuppance. His money wasn’t enough in the face of what would be lost by the league if players wouldn’t play and sponsors wouldn’t pay. Banned for life from games and a paltry (in the face of the size of his bank account) fine. Other owners forced him to sell his team, and succeeded.


As for good ole’ boy Cliven, well all his friends at Fox and in Congress, they deserted him like rats from a sinking ship and were quick to let all know that they disagreed with his ‘Negro’ comments. Who didn’t disagree? Well let’s see, how about all those great patriots with their guns? You know, the ‘Militia’, the ones who drew down on government officials trying to do their jobs, who put women out in front as targets. Yeah those ones. They camped out on the side of the roads, fighting each other and terrorizing the locals with their roadblocks until they finally disbanded. Good old Cliven, he still owes the Government $1M plus still stands in front of the American Flag (of the government he doesn’t believe in) and fails miserably to understand what he did was so wrong.

Cliven lost his sponsors, Fox News, Donald Trump and his supporters. Cliven should have gone to jail, along with his little buddies the militia. Donald didn’t do anything illegal (this time), simply chose to act immorally and unethically.

Nevada Militia

An interesting read I borrowed from Frank of A Frank Angle fame, shows perhaps why some are so terribly fearful of their place in this ever changing world,

The moral? Yes, there is a moral. We do not live in a post-racial society, not by a very long shot. We are getting there albeit slowly. The next generation, for the most part, are beginning to say, “no more”. Society is changing; our outlooks and views are changing. The younger generations are beginning to question the ignorance and intolerance of those who came before them. Is it fast enough to undo the harm that is being done today?

Not in my opinion. From my perspective, there are still too few of us who feel the way I do to make a profound difference. What can you do? Speak out! Be part of the growing resistance and start teaching your children what is right, stop ignorance now.

This is an earlier post that I felt was worth re-posting in light the current press about Ray Rice and domestic violence.

 Deeds of violence in our society are performed largely by those trying to establish their self-esteem, to defend their self-image, and to demonstrate they too are significant.
—Rollo May, Power and Innocence

 One hazard of intimate relationships is that, because of the intensity of feeling which they engender, they may provide the stimulus for violence. Occasionally, that may involve women being violent with men; but when violence occurs, it’s most often men being abusive with women. Male strength is vastly superior to that of women. Even relatively small
and frail men have a disproportionate advantage, and when that edge is fueled by fury, then it’s a clear and present danger.

Conflict is inevitable in almost all intimate relationships, and some of that conflict is potentially violent. This fact of life, less pleasant than other facts of life, is something that should be taught to all young girls. It’s a reality that a woman of experience must learn to accept and to take into account. She cannot avoid it entirely, but she can learn to minimize the odds.

In our culture, as in many other cultures, there is, for many people, an implicit association between sex and violence. It’s apparent in some pornography, which equates eroticism with dominance and brutality. This sex-violence link is apparent in much of the old folk wisdom, which endorses wife beating as legitimate and even as necessary under some circumstances. Such attitudes are not restricted to the uneducated or to the unsophisticated. The philosopher Nietzsche offers the questionable advice: “When thou goest to a woman, take thy whip.” Noel Coward quips, “Certain women should be struck regularly like gongs.” If a man is not free to beat any woman, he’s often perceived to be free to beat his own, especially if he’s provoked.

Office on Violence Against Women logo

Office on Violence Against Women logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ordinarily, it’s not feasible to ask a man directly whether or not he will hit you. Even if you were to ask, his answer would not necessarily be very informative. You can, however, find many occasions where you can ask him how he feels about corporal punishment for kids. The man who feels that it’s all right to spank, beat, or whip a child “if he deserves it” may very well feel it is also all right to spank, beat, or whip a woman “if she deserves it.” Guess who gets to decide if the deserving child will be improved by abuse? Guess who gets to decide if the deserving woman needs to be corrected?

Some potentially violent men are easy to spot. They tell you outright that they believe that might is right and that their own judgment of the appropriateness of the use of force and pain is justification enough. Don’t be surprised if an argument with such a man eventually leads to him emphasizing his point with the back of his hand.

While you’re talking about life in the abstract, you can always ask a man about his own parents. If he reports that his old man used to knock Mom around, that’s not necessarily a danger signal. Listen to how he describes it. If there’s an undertone of pride in his old man, who really knew how to handle women, then don’t be surprised if eventually he attempts to handle you the same way. If, however, he’s full of sympathy for his mom’s plight and if the story ends as such stories often do, with the boy finally challenging his father successfully thereby being able to protect the mother, then he may be more sensitive to violence against women than are other men. He may, in fact, be the kind of man with whom you will be most safe.

Some philosophers would contend that there’s a potential for violence in all of us and that it only requires sufficient provocation for it to erupt. This may well be true, but it’s difficult to prove or to disprove. If all men are potentially violent, it doesn’t follow that all men are potentially violent in terms of women.

The code of chivalry asserts that although violence is often necessary, it’s not appropriate in those circumstances involving assaults on people who are relatively powerless and defenseless as, for example, women and children. With men living by a chivalrous code, the possibility of violence is virtually negligible. When you fight with them, they will fight back; when you offend them, they make you pay one way or another, but they will not take out their rage physically.

Other men, however, are prone to violence in varying degrees. Many women, at least one in ten, perhaps more, have experienced the violent laying on of hands by a boyfriend, husband, or lover. The violent lover is trouble and is to be avoided no matter what his other attractions may be.

 Related articles

 Ray Rice Is a Reminder Why Congress Passed the Violence Against Women Act



Collusion: The Blind Eye

I pray that I may not be married
But if I am to be married
that I may not be cuckold
but that if I am to be a cuckold
that I may not know it
but if I know it
that I may not care.
—Anonymous Bachelor’s Prayer, circa 1650

In a number of cases, the practice to deceive a husband about an ongoing or prospective affair is simplified by his implicit, and sometimes explicit, agreement not to notice anything. The wife and her husband enter into what amounts to collusion, thereby saving face on both sides. If he doesn’t ask, she doesn’t have to lie; if he doesn’t know of an affair, then he doesn’t have to do anything about it.

Such an arrangement may often occur in a marriage of convenience where there’s little pretense of affection between the husband and wife. They simply agree to lead separate lives and come together only when the business of the marriage, in the form of children or property or social functions, demands it.

A parallel arrangement may also exist for couples who are quite fond of each other but have made a realistic assessment of the importance of their sexual bond. In fiction, the well-known story of Lady Chatterley and her lover involves the explicit permission of her husband to take a lover, and indeed to have a child by him, since the husband was crippled and paralyzed and could not provide an heir for himself. Righteous indignation eventually came, not because she had an affair but because she selected a gamekeeper who was too déclassé to be considered an equal.

History provides some real-life examples of husband-wife collusion. When Lord Horatio Nelson began his infamous affair with Lady Emma Hamilton, they were both living in the same house as her husband Sir William Hamilton, her senior by thirty years. Husband and lover were friends, although there is little doubt that Sir William knew the real parentage of “his” daughter, especially when Lady Emma named her Horatia. He simply announced his quiet determination that the peace of his household would not be disturbed, and apparently it was not.

Emma, Lady Hamilton, by George Romney (died 18...

Emma, Lady Hamilton, by George Romney (died 1802). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Similar situations occur in the contemporary world. There is a vivacious, sensuous wife, a mother of two that I know, who habitually goes out to play bridge or to see a movie or something equally innocuous and returns home at two or

three in the morning and explains that she and the girls “just got to talking and forgot the time.” She has been married for nearly twenty years and has been playing bridge far into the night for at least eighteen of them. She has learned a lot more than Goren and the Blackwood convention.

Her suburban husband watches the eleven o’clock news and then goes to bed and goes to sleep. Sometimes if he wakes up at four and she’s still not back, he worries. She could have had a car accident or be in some kind of trouble. He’s reassured when she comes home all right and goes back to sleep. Sometimes, since he is awake anyway, they make love first.

Eighteen years. He does not ask how the bridge game went. Various men show up at various times to take her to lunch. After lunch, they tend to stay for dinner at the house. The husband is gracious enough, plays the good host, and then retires to his study and his books.

Peering through the window into the mystery of other people’s marriages, one must conclude that the husband does know what’s going on but chooses not to recognize it. This is what is meant by “the blind eye.”

Unless a man has decided that he wants to divorce his wife, presenting a blind eye to her affairs or to the possibility of her affairs is an excellent and wise strategy. If he officially knows, then he’s required to act, and none of the available options for action is very appealing. Oliver Goldsmith considered all of this and concluded that, in the Western world, not seeing may well be the best answer. In The Citizen of the World, he writes, “If I were an English husband, I would take care not to be jealous, nor busily pry into the secrets my wife was pleased to keep from me . . . Whenever I went out, I’d tell my wife where I was going, lest I should unexpectedly meet her abroad in the company of some dear deceiver. Whenever I returned, I would use a particular rap at the door, and give four loud ‘hems’ as I walked deliberately up the staircase. I would never inquisitively peep under her bed, nor look behind the curtains. And even though I knew the Captain was there, I would calmly take a dish of my wife’s cool tea and talk of the army with reverence.”

There are two players in such a charade: one who deceives and one who agrees to be deceived. Vicki Baum puts the same message somewhat differently in And Life Goes On when she observes, “Marriage always demands the greatest understanding of the art of insincerity possible between two human beings.”

The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey

Most of the time, if a man and woman want to have a love affair and if they are both serious about keeping their affiliation unknown, it’s possible to do so. It’s much more possible in a large city than in a small town, it’s much

more possible without children than with them, it’s much more possible if only one of the parties is married. Nevertheless, it can be done and indeed is being done all around you all the time. Linda Wolfe, in Playing Around: Women and Extramarital Sex, describes her surprise at discovering that her West Side Manhattan neighborhood, which appeared on the surface to be a world exclusively of mothers and children, was in reality a world shared extensively with male paramours, some of them fantasized, others quite real. Just in her small apartment building alone, four of the eight married women with small children were having affairs.

Cover of "Playing Around: Women and Extra...

Cover via Amazon


Sometimes, the cuckolded husbands and wives involved are very naive; more often, they have decided at some level of consciousness that they would rather not know. Sometimes, the participants are skilled at maintaining a suitable image so that there is no reason for suspicion. Sometimes, they are skilled at dispelling any suspicions which do arise.

And sometimes, of course, they eventually just don’t care and gleefully toss cats out of their bags and let them land where they may.

There is no word equivalent to “cuckold” for women.
—Joseph Epstein

In medieval times, a man whose wife deceived him with another man was called a cuckold, a pejorative term which fortunately isn’t used much anymore. The origin of the term “cuckold” is revealing. If you are interested in ornithology, the study of birds, you may have come across accounts of the habits of the cuckoo bird. Cuckoos solve the problem of the perpetuation of their species by the simple expedient of laying eggs in other bird’s nests and departing, leaving other birds of another species to raise the young cuckoos.

Once upon a time, observers might signal the approach of a man who was committing adultery with someone’s wife, or who had designs in that direction, by warning the husband with a whispered “cuckoo, cuckoo.” Eventually, the term got changed around to refer to the betrayed not the betrayer and became “cuckold.”

Calling All Cuckoos

Calling All Cuckoos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shakespeare and other authors perpetuated the literary myth that such a man was burdened with a set of horns on his head, which others could see, but of which he was blissfully unaware. It was another version of the truism that the husband, or the wife, is often the last to know. In Italy, one of the most unforgivable insults still is to make the sign of the “cornu” at someone: taking your index and pinkie and putting them on top of your head to resemble horns.

On the issue of bastard children, there are some real legal and moral differences in the situation of single women compared with married ones. If you are single, you might decide to have a child but choose not to get married. You have a right to become a mother without becoming a wife. It’s the contention of many that, as long as you expect nothing of the father, you don’t need to have his consent or, indeed, don’t even need to inform him. It would seem that, if such is your intent, having a child through artificial insemination would be a better alternative, but there is nothing to stop you using the old-fashioned way if this is your decision.

However, if you’re married, any child you have is legally the child of your husband and is assumed to be so socially and emotionally. A husband has the right to certainty of the parenthood of “his” own children. As the lyrics from The King and I caution, “But blossom never ever float from bee to bee to bee.” A basic assumption is that the married woman having an affair has no right to get pregnant by another man. Her body is her own, as is her sexuality; but her children are to be shared for as long as she stays married, and usually after that.

The married woman must be especially scrupulous and fastidious not to let herself get pregnant by her lover rather than by her husband.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Really, Post Racial

QBG_Tilted Tiara

OpEd We are living in a ‘Post Racial Society’, isn’t that what those in the know want us to believe? Do you believe we are living in the fantasyland the pundits gleefully spew forth? Yeah, well neither do I but you have to give them credit for trying. It would be interesting, if a bit filthy, to open up their minds and see if they actually believe it themselves.

In the last few weeks, we were treated to some real cretins, lacking in any form of social grace or guile they have spewed the vile bigotry into our homes through the airwaves. Granted, at least one of them didn’t intend his remarks to reach our ears, they did though and we hung on every disastrous word. Interestingly, these two cases have nothing in common and their outcomes cannot be compared, except for one very specific point; they prove beyond a doubt…

View original post 1,067 more words

You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
—Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

In relating to a paramour, the first thing a wife must decide is just how secret her affair has to be. To decide this usually means deciding whether or not she wants to maintain the viability of her marriage and, if so, for how long. If a couple who embarks upon an illicit affair takes seriously the need to remain undetected, both participants can usually avoid exposure and embarrassment. Most of the time, they get away with it, and no one is the wiser. Most of the time.

A word of warning. A serious word. If someone, a husband or a lover, decides that he does want to know what you do, where you go, and when and with whom, then he can find out. A skilled detective can know more about you in a few weeks than you care to know about yourself. A bugged telephone is not entirely a far-fetched idea if total surveillance is what someone has in mind. Such techniques are expensive, but even those of modest means may decide that the price is worth it if the stakes are high. Few husbands are this unscrupulous or this paranoid, but if there’s enough at stake, it’s always possible for such drastic measures to be taken.

When a married woman has an affair, she must also remember that there are more people potentially involved in the question of secrecy than herself and her husband. She may also be subject to scrutiny by her lover’s wife, or girlfriend, who resents her poaching on what she considers “her” territory.  Your lover’s wife may need to be able to prove his adultery to establish her own alimony payments, and you end up being an unwilling co-respondent in a divorce action. His girlfriend may be simply curious to know what is going on. And if he’s in a position of power and authority, he is always vulnerable to the blackmail of opponents who will resort to whatever techniques they think will work. Mr. Sterling are you paying attention?


Adultery (Photo credit: tugwilson)

Jealousy can be a desperate thing leading to desperate measures. Adultery may also involve serious practical issues: who gets a divorce, contested or otherwise; who gets custody of the children; who does or does not pay alimony.
It is unlikely that anyone will be interested enough in your affairs to go to such drastic lengths to discover and document them, but it is possible, and that possibility is something to assess and to keep in mind.

An outraged husband I know, determined to avoid alimony and to keep custody of his children, led his wife to believe that he would be out of town overnight. He anticipated that she would take advantage of his absence, as she had on other occasions, to entertain her lover in their master bedroom. He quietly let himself into the house and, using equipment he had set up the previous day, secretly taped her activities, using her own video recorder. She was so appalled at the video tape he subsequently produced that she meekly signed over everything to him and retreated to a commune in New Mexico to think things out.

Schoolchildren often advise each other, “Be good. If you can’t be good, be careful.” Out of the mouths of babes can come some sound advice. Be careful.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The chains of marriage are so heavy that it takes two to bear them, and sometimes three.
—Alexandre Dumas: fi ls, L’Esprit d’Alexandre Dumas

As Val, whose blog I highly recommend (, noted in her comment on my last post, the double standard of sexuality has always been more tolerant of the husband who strays than of the wife who strays. Nevertheless, a large proportion of married woman do have extramarital sex, at least once, during the course of their marriages. Quite a large proportion take a lover and have an affair which continues over time on a number of occasions. Some have more than one affair at a time. How large are these proportions? No one knows, but they would seem to be an increasing minority.

Back in 1948, Kinsey and his associates reported in Sexual Behavior in the Human Female that about 20 percent of all wives had had extramarital sex at least once. In 1972, Hunt published a survey done by Redbook magazine, which suggested approximately the same ratio, with rates slightly higher among young women. In her book The Monogamy Myth, Peggy Vaughan estimates that 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair while married. The rate is likely to vary depending on the type of women interviewed, with the highest probably to be found among younger wives working in urban areas. While extramarital sex is still a relatively secretive activity, it’s becoming more and more of an open secret. Elaine Denholtz provides an account of women who are Having It Both Ways, based on a series of very intimate anonymous interviews. Mary Anne Wollison does much the same thing in her discussion of Affairs: The Secret Lives of Women, as does Linda Wolfe in her book Playing Around: Women and Extramarital Affairs.

Cover of "The Monogamy Myth: A Personal H...

Cover via Amazon

Some people who commit adultery do incur most unfortunate results, just as the folk literature tells us. However, in real life, many women have affairs which no one knows about except the participants. Many women have affairs which are eventually discovered but which don’t automatically bring destruction and ruin about their heads. Many women have many affairs and live to tell the tale and, eventually, live happily ever after.

The real message may be that it’s not an extramarital connection per se that is bad for one’s mental health, but the wrong extramarital connection, undertaken with the wrong person for the wrong reasons and managed in the wrong way. There isn’t a whole lot of instruction given wives on the important subject of how to have a successful affair, with the result that there’s a lot of on-the-job training. As a married friend of mine told me after she had a disastrous affair, “The trouble with on-the-job training is that you can make so many mistakes.”

Help may be on the way, as women become more circumspect about their sexual needs. In the early 1980s in Los Angeles, psychologist Cynthia Silverman began to offer workshops for married women who are having—or thinking of having—extramarital affairs. While such groups may offer some psychological support and may be useful in dealing with guilt, they are most noteworthy for the changing attitudes they represent.

A married woman who contemplates an affair should take into account all of the rules of safe conduct discussed in my previous blogs. In addition, however, she needs to contend with two other factors: the risk of exposure and the special problems of pregnancy. More to come on that later.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tag Cloud