I have had this diary in my queue for almost 2 years. From time to time I revisit it and try to hone what it is I really want to say. I didn't want it to be a diary about lust. Or about conquest. Or sex. Even though those strains run through it. The fact is...I still struggle with the one and only affair I have ever been involved in during my life. It haunts me. I don't have to remember it...it has never really stopped shaping me. In ways that I regret, I must say...but cannot escape. It was like stepping in a hot glob of bubblegum, and I've been trying to scrape it off of my shoe for some 14 years now.
It's still there.
This will be a self revelatory diary, I suppose. Though self revelation is not my primary goal. It is, however, part of what makes me need to write this diary. I feel like Atlas at times...and I would dearly like to rid myself of the weight I have been carrying for so many years.
When most people think of extra-marital affairs, their first image is that of the "Other Woman." I was the "Other Man."
It doesn't matter who you are...it's a bad place to be. Even as it feels so perfectly right at the time.
You can save a drowning person from a river, or a riptide at the beach. Perhaps, even, from simply the deep end of the pool. You can't save a person who is trapped in a deadend marriage, or even worse...only they can save themselves. If you think you have the lifesaver that you can toss in their direction, and can pull them in...you need to step back, look in the mirror, and do an honest assessment of your own narcissism and your own motivations.
Are you really trying to save someone else? Or is it really something deeper than that? I understand that the heart wants what the heart wants, but the heart is a fickle organ. At at the end of the day, it's not that hard to understand:
I was raised on Hollywood images of "the affair." They were mostly romantic. Think Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, in "An Affair to Remember.". Or Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn in "Same Time Next Year."
It was either "no harm, no foul", or it was "and they lived happily ever after."
That's not real life. But it's amazing the hold that both popular culture and your own narcissism can hold upon your psyche. When I met Susan, I was attracted to her immediately. She was irresistible. And she was married.
No problema, I told myself...I had been flirting with her for a couple of months, and I knew she was unhappy in her marriage to the n'th degree. Or so I thought. I could steal this woman away from her negligent husband in three snaps of the finger.
See how it begins? Narcissism.
But it was more than that. I was truly rocked by her, and she seemed to be wowed by me. Looking back upon it, I hate to be so cynical as to say that we were just using each other...I know it was more than that. But in the end...yeah...everyone sort of retreated to the neutral corners that they had been inhabiting long before, and the "Lust in the Dust" turned into "just don't call my husband."
Remember the premise of "An Affair to Remember?"
Handsome playboy Nicky Ferrante and beautiful night club singer Terry McKay have a romance while on a cruise from Europe to New York. Despite being engaged to other people, both agree to reunite at the top of the Empire State Building in six months."Same Time, Next Year" was equally Hollywood hogwash:
A man and woman meet by chance at a romantic inn over dinner. Although both are married to others, they find themselves in the same bed the next morning questioning how this could have happened. They agree to meet on the same weekend each year. Originally a stage play, the two are seen changing, years apart, always in the same room in different scenes. Each of them always appears on schedule, but as time goes on each has some personal crisis that the other helps them through, often without both of them understanding what is going onThat shit only happens in a Hollywood screenplay. In real life? It gets a bit messy.
Some of you are nodding your head, and saying damned right it gets messy. And some of you are saying "I wouldn't know...I've never been there."
Some of you might even get your chones all up in a bunch at the thought that a man or a woman might violate their conjugal promises of purity, fidelity...honesty.
We are not honest or feal creatures. We are humans. And sometimes we make the wrong choice.
But....we are mostly inclined to live with the choices we make. Things have to get sort of bad before we are willing to say..."I made a bad decision." Anyone who is attracted to a good looking woman, or a handsome man, who seems to be stuck in the amber of a toxic marriage, needs to ask themselves..."How did they get there? And why do they stay?"
As for me...like I said, I was raised on Hollywood cotton candy. I met this woman and
started wooing her immediately, knowing that she was married...but also knowing that she was unhappy. I gave myself one year. I knew that married people were inclined to cling to the security of what they knew and had. Even as they fucked someone else.
I wasn't going to be her fuck. (Although I was). I gave it 365 days. At the end of that year...none of you should be surprised that she was no closer to leaving than she was when I met her. I was, I hate to admit it, rather chastened. I called her husband up, who had, over the past 18 months sort of figured out that someone was screwing his wife, cause he wasn't...I invited him to meet me, actually.
I was so angry I just wanted to rub it in his face...come what may. I wanted to meet him and say to him....well, I won't repeat here what I wanted to say to him.
The point is...you cant forget this shit like it was a puppet show on some Sunday afternoon in the park. It follows you, and shapes you.
Don't go down that road. It's a rocky road, and it's a dead end. It's a dark street.