“Why do women steal another’ woman’s partner?”
That question was asked by a distraught woman in my June 20 column, after describing her husband’s affair with a “selfish, loose friend” whom he saw three times weekly, and spoke to daily, until he was quarantined at home with his family.
Ellie - My response is necessarily generalized since the letter-writer who asked and the real-life examples I use here, are all kept anonymous.
They include women and men who, for various reasons, wrote me with questions regarding their own or their partners’ illicit affairs.
A- There is no single pattern to such liaisons.
Some women set their sights on a married man, simply because they can.
Proximity of where they both live or work, or signals from the man about being “available” for an extra-marital affair, moves the flirting forward.
Neither party considers the wife. They’re both mainly interested in the sexual excitement of the moment.
But some women are predatory and want more of the man’s time, more emotional possession.
A proprietary intent takes over, as those women believe they’re entitled to more serious gain: his lifestyle added to their own.
These women even justify their campaign by telling themselves and others that “his wife neglected him,” in favour of the kids or her own interests.
The wife may actually be naturally occupied with many tasks including a full-time job and/or home maintenance, studies, child care, her kids’ education.
She believes that her husband’s equally busy with his work and other commitments. She only suspects the affair after some time.
By then, regular trysts have become a habit for the cheating husband and his girlfriend.
When questioned by his spouse, the man lies, offers excuses.
At home, there are accusations, arguments, physical distance and strain.
No wonder a wife, e.g. the writer, feels her man’s been “stolen” from her.
But what of the men who think a casual fling isn’t really cheating? Who feel that way “three times weekly” or with a different partner whenever a wandering eye provides him with another willing “friend?”
An affair is a mutual agreement, two people signing on, maybe casually at first, then hanging on to a heady habit.
But the point of my putting a mirror on the question asked by a wife who now knows of her husband’s affair, is this answer which reflects most of the cases described to me:
Marriage is commonly thought/hoped to be a sacred trust. For varied reasons, such as inattention, stress or disaffection, that trust gets lost.
The feeling of having had that trust/commitment stolen, is deeply painful.
Yet I must say to that wife: No woman or man actually steals another’s partner.
Moreover, marital counselling can help repair a frayed marriage, if a couple wishes to try.
It requires a willingness to hear each other’s truths and to absorb the insights that the professional therapist shares with you both.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man fed up with his live-in girlfriend’s messiness in a small apartment (June 1):
Reader – “I’ve experienced where one partner’s tidy and organized, and the other, not so much.
“Two simple solutions made a HUGE difference:
1. The five-to-six-minute tidy-up where clothes are put away or hung up. (Before retiring for the night).
2. Keep a basket by or under the bed for the laptop, books, markers, etc...
“It’s a win-win solution.”
Ellie - I love this simple, quick, pitch-in-together approach!
FEEDBACK Regarding the Canadian whose boyfriend, in the US, is the object of xenophobia from Canadian friends/family (June 4):
Reader – “When I read what the Canadian writer is dealing with regarding family and this American boyfriend, it brought to mind some of the issues during the three years we lived in the US.
“The couple up the street became good friends of ours, as also happened with our children.
“When some outrageous incidents took place, I recall the father in this family saying to us, “I am a proud American but it does not mean that I am proud of everything that the American Government does or says.”
“I always remembered that and quoted our friend as needed.”
Reader #2 – “You might tell the writer that many cross-border parks are now open where people from both sides can meet and then go back home.
“Some lovers are even bringing tents for more private meetings.”
Tip of the day:
Marital counselling can help, if both partners listen to professional insights, and accept the therapist’s guidance toward making changes.