Marriage is a big fucking deal.
That's right, you know I mean what I'm saying. I want this to be abso-fucking-lutely clear. Lately I have been witness to a great many incidents that either blur or plain old step right over the lines of what is appropriate when dealing with someone who is married. I am not passing any judgement on those in the gray areas. I haven't got all the information, so I'm not at liberty to make that judgement. And if I've already talked to you about that, don't worry, this isn't about you.
Also, let me preface this rant I'm to go on with the qualifier that if you are in an open, or poly-amorous marriage, this obviously works very different for you. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about people who have been lead to believe they are in a monogamous marriage.
What I want to write about is the bold faced stepping over the lines while someone is still married. Kissing and making out DO qualify as cheating. Just so you fucking know. Having sex, I don't think I need to even qualify that. And you know what else is cheating? Emotional stuff too. I'm sorry, if you have found you are emotionally attracted to someone else, you need to either cut that person out, or decide it is time to end your marriage. Because you can rationalize it any way you like, but even in the case of a spouse being abusive, you are still choosing to be MARRIED to that person, so until you sever that bond, you have no right to go around messing with other people. If you are brave enough to step outside the bonds of your marriage to cheat, then you better be brave enough to fucking leave. I am well aware that leaving behind long term relationships is a scary thing, but that doesn't make it right to hook some poor sap along while you make up your mind. If you are seriously having thoughts about ending the marriage, deal with that all on its own, don't add in the idea of another person. If you are finding that is a part in ending your marriage, then you need to cut that person off until you can see clearly enough to decide if ending your marriage is still what you want.
Because, people, here is the bottom line. I'm sure that when X met his new wife, the one he left me for, he demonized the shit out of me. Made me out to be some terrible woman, that he was totally justified in leaving. I'm sure that he told her how mean I must have been to him and why he was some sort of sap for marrying me and that I was the bad guy. And anyone who has read my blog or talked to me about it, I'm sure, has heard me go on & on about what a dick he was. That's easier for me to do since he left me. But in the end, I was still his wife. I still loved him enough to want to make it work, to want him to stay when he left me. I married him because he had redeeming qualities and there was something I saw in him that made me want him in the first place. And I know he cared about me. I know he loved me, in his bizarre way. I saw the tears, they were real. I felt the hand squeeze when we knew it was the end. And I would be lying if I said I didn't love him with a very deep and true part of my soul. When things were happy, he was funny, he was thoughtful, and in some respect, he got me. I'm not trying to pretty up a dead horse, we were a terrible match, and ultimately THAT is why we failed, but no matter what, all I can see it for now is that he cheated. He left me for some other woman. I am a jilted bride, we never made it to our first anniversary because he met someone else and it will never leave me. I try so hard to be objective when I look back and remember that we weren't a good couple. But I can't see that because all of it is clouded with how he left me for someone else. He couldn't just leave me based on our marriage failing, he left me for someone else. He'd rather string me along until something better came along.
So your new make out buddy can go on & on about how terrible their spouse is, how neglected or insulted or alone they make them feel, but ultimately they haven't left them, they're still married to them, and if/when that spouse finds out, imagine the pain they are going to feel. That husband will mask it with anger and blame the other man for taking advantage of his wife, and that wife will accuse the other woman of stealing her husband. They will never lose that image in their mind, they will never lose that feeling of betrayal and loss. It will lessen over time, it will fade, but it has done the damage. Alan has NEVER given me reason to think he would ever cheat on me, but sometimes my brain will make it up anyways, because I know how easy it is to fool myself into a false sense of security, so my brain occasionally returns to that pain & says "look how easy it would be for Alan to do this."
And I feel small for saying it. But I can't stop it, because the damage is already done. I know, 100% without any fear, that Alan will never do that to me. Doesn't stop the thoughts from coming anyways.
I know that life is complicated, and there are always other factors, and that people are crippled by fear. Believe me, I know it. But ultimately, you are responsible for your choices. If you are unhappy with your marriage, unhappy enough to look elsewhere, then fucking end it. Just end it. Or consider counseling. If its so far-gone that you can justify your affair, then you are too far-gone, end it. If the married person you're considering fooling around with has an oh-so-sad tale of woe about their loveless marriage, and their good-for-nothing spouse, realize they are making justifications to get you to side with them. 9 times out of 10, that spouse isn't as bad as they say. And that spouse has feelings too, and very likely loves their mate, in some form or another. And in the end, messing around with a married person always means SOMEONE is going to get hurt. And that will be partially on your shoulders, no matter which way that cookie crumbles.
And I promise you, it will crumble.