Infidelity Happens: But Not Necessarily to You
A commonly held belief about relationships says that women should just accept the fact that men will always look at other women, because men are wired to be more visually aroused. Ancient hunting instinct, and all that.
I think that’s crap. Women should accept it because all of us, men and women, are wired to be visually aroused, to one extent or another. I recently read a deftly tantalizing article from the perspective of the “Other Woman” (Esquire) which pretty much lays bare (ha) what we all already know: women cheaters are just as common as men cheaters.
Ladies, are you telling me that all men become asexual blobs the moment you fall for one guy? That the sight of Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, 2012) or Jon Hamm or George Clooney or whomever no longer interests you? Heck, those guys interest me.
But you wouldn’t say physical beauty is all there is to attraction. Of course not. Same goes for your man, whom you just caught glancing at the cute waitress.
Yes, I’m talking about relativity innocent double-takes that may increase with the sudden reappearance of short shorts and sundresses this time of year. True infidelity is a whole different ballgame. It requires action, premeditation, crossing a line. And just as there’s an enormous gap between you swooning over Robert Pattinson and having an affair with a pale, malnourished English gent, the fact that your man admires other women does not necessarily lead to a relationship-obliterating affair.
The fact is, we live with the knowledge that both women and men are wistful about, question the values of, grapple
with, fear, idealize and rescind on the value of high fidelity everyday. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect a lot of women out there know that they could be the “Other Woman” or have themselves an “Other Man” in about as long as it takes to send a text message.
The game is to keep an even score with that knowledge. Taste its empowerment and you're off on a perilous ride; catch a glimpse of the paranoia it can bring and it's a swift slide to psycho hose beast land.
Psycho hose beast: Jackie Christie. Married to former NBA player Doug Christie, she has maintained a white-knuckle hold on the man, vigilantly guarding against the “Other Woman.” When Doug was playing for the Toronto Raptors, she once attacked a female fan who was asking for an autograph. “It scared me, because my voice sounded like a demon,” she said about the confrontation in a New York Times article entitled “The Great Whipped Hope.” Doug claims to have not made eye contact with another woman since he got married. There was even an urban legend that Jackie wouldn’t let a female doctor give Doug the Heimlich maneuver when he was choking in a restaurant.
While this seems to work for these two lovebirds (inasmuch as Stockholm Syndrome counts as “working”), crippling paranoia is not an integral ingredient in a healthy marriage, last time I checked. Goes without saying: neither is cheating.
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on twitter @pauldanielbeer.
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