Monday, April 30, 2007

Emotional Infidelity vs. Actual Cheating

Sticking with the topic of infidelity since it's obviously such a controversial one, I have an interesting conundrum for you. Which is worse, emotional infidelity or actual cheating?

We all know what actual cheating is - sleeping with someone else, kissing, basically crossing whatever physical boundaries a couple have agreed in their relationship. Just so we're all on the same page as to what constitutes emotional infidelity, let me give you a little scenario. Ross and Rachel (sorry, those are the first names that came to mind) have been together about three years and there's no doubt for either of them that they're with the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. Rachel has just had a promotion at work so she's working late and working weekends and when she's not working so hard, she's so exhausted that she either wants to stay at home and sleep or when she's with Ross, she's not much company. This has been going on for about a month and a half.

The company Ross works for is also going through some major changes and there's a lot of pressure on all the employees. One day after work, a bunch of them go to the pub and Ross spends a lot of time talking to a colleague called Hannah. He's always thought she was a nice woman but they'd never really spent any time together. For whatever reason, tonight they get talking and they spend the whole night venting their frustrations about the company and making fun of their colleagues. Over the next couple of weeks, they start going for lunch together and go out occasionally after work with other co-workers. They're always IMing at work, they have in jokes and soon they're sharing the details of their personal lives with each other. They cheer each other up after a particularly hard day at work and they can tell what the other is thinking simply by looking at their face. Rachel's work hours are becoming slightly more normal and she and Ross are spending more time together but when Ross's beloved Chelsea loses a game, the first person he thinks to tell is Hannah, not Rachel. And it's Hannah's opinion he asks for when he's thinking of changing his mortgage provider, and it's her he spends hours venting to when his parents decide to separate after 35 years of marriage. They're both attractive people so it's only a matter of time before they start to fancy each other and Ross starts to wonder if he's with the wrong person. In this particular scenario, nothing ever happens between them.

Is that worse than if Ross had gotten drunk one night and kissed/slept with his ex girlfriend/co-worker/random woman?

For me, emotional infidelity would be much more hurtful than if he had slept with someone else. Partly because I know that realistically at some point (in fact, several points) in a relationship, both parties will be attracted to other people, it's inevitable, people don't stop being attractive just because you're in love. But I believe that the things that would set me apart from the other women are our shared experiences, his feelings for me as a person and the relationship we've built. I guess I'm naive enough to believe that as long as he values all of those things, then I'll always be set apart from other women and it is this that will stop him from cheating on me. That's why it would hurt me so much more to know that he's shared newer, more fun experiences with someone else, and he finds her funnier or smarter or sweeter than me, and he feels something for her that is based on much deeper than just physical. Now here's the conundrum. Even though that would hurt me more, I'd forgive emotional infidelity and if he wanted to work on our relationship then I'd do everything in my power to work on it and make it right again. But I wouldn't forgive physical infidelity even though in some ways, it's the lesser of two evils for me. Does that make sense?

I think it’s because there is an innocence about emotional infidelity. It’s often one of those situations that you’re in before you even realise it. While as far as I’m concerned, whichever way I look at it, if a guy cheated on me, it means he put his needs before my feelings.

What do you guys think? Which would you find harder to forgive? Why?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

She is Loving Him Still

Trying to push the past away

Still waiting for the lights to change
She tries, tries for the sake of their pride, pride
Learning to barely feel the pain
Thicker the skin the less the strain
And though it's really hurting
She ain’t breaking, breaking, breaking
Coz she's loving him still, after all this time

Now he knows his weakness shows
Selfish soul, never changing
That's fine, because she's loving him still
After all this time

(Lyrics from 'After All this Time' - Simon Webbe)

Okay so I guess I should confess right about now that I was a fan of the boy band 'Blue'. But this post isn't about me confessing to all the pop music I love - Backstreet Boys 4 Eva! Okay on a serious note, I'm not into the solo stuff from the ‘Blue’ boys but I've loved this song since the first time I heard it. And the lyrics really challenged a deep seated belief I've always held.

See, I've always thought (rightly or wrongly) that women who stayed with men that cheated on them were either stupid or dumb or both. The song isn't about a guy who cheats, at least not explicitly. It was written about Simon's grandmother and it's about a woman who has been through a lot with her husband. He's selfish and has hurt her time and time again over the years and yet she stays with him. More importantly though, she continues to love him.

I had heard the song a few times before the lyrics sunk in and got me thinking. I have heard so many explanations and justifications for why women stay with cheating men but they had never changed my feelings about the women. In my mind, they just aren't strong enough to change their situation. I have to admit that this song doesn't make me stray from my assertion that the second I know a guy is cheating on me, I'm out the door. But it did make me think that maybe these women aren't weak and stupid like I first thought. After all, the only difference between relationships that last forever and those that don't is that some people refuse to let their marriages fail. Some people take their vows so seriously that they'll fight to keep them till the very end. How can that be weak? These people are strong ... warriors. In the same way, women who know that their husbands are having/have had affairs, and choose to put up with the humiliation, and insecurity, and hurt because they when they said 'till death do us part', they meant it, deserve my admiration not my contempt and pity. Because they're stronger and more unselfish than I'll ever be in this respect.

PS: I think it’s fair to say some people shouldn’t have ever gotten together in the first place and in that case, I think it’s actually more admirable for them to acknowledge the fact and cut their losses.

Another PS: I'm not talking about the women who turn a blind eye to the cheating and pretend it's not happening and will fight anyone who even dares to suggest otherwise because you can’t fight for something if you don’t admit it’s happening in the first place. I'm referring to the women who see their husbands for who they really are, warts and all, and are not afraid to fight for what they believe they deserve in their marriage, but in spite of all this, they have a one track minded belief that marriage is forever.

Yet Another PS: I might contradict myself at times and that’s because I’m not completely clear about my feelings on issue.

What do you all think? This should be interesting because I've heard it expressed by several women that all men cheat and that as long as he's discreet about it and it doesn't happen to often, we should thank our lucky stars and accept it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Robin Thicke!!!

I went to see Robin Thicke with some friends at the Jazz Cafe last Wednesday. He was late. The doors opened at 7pm and he didn't come out till 9:40pm even though we know for a fact that he was in the building the whole time because my friends had seen him outside when they arrived. It's fair to say that by the time he came on stage, the crowd was a bit disgruntled to say the least but the fact that by the end of his first song, we had all forgiven him for his lateness should give you some indication of how amazing his performance was.

Honestly, I've seen a couple of really great performers live but Robin Thicke was by far the best! He has such a great energy on stage and even though he put on a great performance (very raunchy at times with his hands straying down towards his crotch during 'Teach you a lesson'), his voice didn't suffer at all. You know how you can tell that people are singing live by the fact that their voices don't sound as polished as they do on records? Well there was none of that here. His voice was pitch perfect at all times and in my opinion he sounds even better live on some songs that he does on his records. I loved hearing him sing my favourites and he made me like even the songs that I deemed average SO MUCH MORE! My favourite performances were 'Shooter', 'Angel', 'Wanna love you girl (he did Pharell's rap and I thought he was pretty good' and 'Teach you a lesson'.

My one gripe with him apart from him being late? He didn't sing 'Superman' or 'I need Love'; my favourite songs on the album. Otherwise, it was an experience that I can't wait to repeat! Plus he had a cute bassist; Greg - the first picture above.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why I’m Single…

A couple of weeks ago I went out with this guy I had met a few months ago. We went to the cinema to see 'The Illusionist', then went for a drink at a Yate's bar that we ended up leaving because the music kept getting louder and louder until we couldn't hear ourselves. Then we went to Starbucks, had a couple of hot chocolates with whipped cream and then we got the tube to my stop where he waited for me to get on my bus before he went off to get his bus. He is a really great guy; good looking, smart, ambitious, he's got a similar sense of right and wrong as I do and we echo a lot of each other's thoughts. So how come I don’t want to be anything other than friends.

I just had a text from this guy who I met about 9 months ago at a party. He's a friend of a friend and we got along really well that night. He's very sarcastic and cheeky like I am, and he was really generous, putting all our drinks on his tab. I got an email from my friend the Monday morning after I met him saying that I'd made quite an impression on him and he was asking her for my number. I wasn't interested and somehow she got the message across to him. Our paths crossed again a couple of months ago at her birthday party and once again, we got along really well. A couple of weeks later I bumped into him at my tube station. A month after that, I once again bumped into him at my tube station and he asked me for my number. Now, I'm really bad at making it clear to someone at the asking for my number stage that I'm not interested. I just think it's really presumptuous of me to go, 'obviously you fancy the pants off me which is why you're asking for my number. There's no way you could be possibly interested in just being friends because I'm that hot so sorry, no, you can't have my number because I'm not interested'... you get the point. So I gave him my number. A couple of weeks after that I bumped into him at Green park tube station (fate or what?). He called to ask me if I wanted to go to the cinema and maybe dinner and I said yes but realised that I had made other commitments so I cancelled. He's funny, intelligent and has a great job and all I want to be is friends.

A few days ago, I met up with this guy I know who recently moved to Austria. He was in town for the weekend and told me a while ago so I'd make some time to hang out with him. I met him at a party late last year when he still lived in London but due to his 'player' reputation, I refused to give him my number and didn't call him when he gave me his card and asked me to call him. I saw him a couple of months later at another party and he was really sweet and very attentive. Each time he walked past me, or I walked past him, he would make sure he stopped to say something, anything to me. And later, when we all moved on some dingy club packed with So Solid Crew wannabies, he offered to drive me home. We've stayed in touch over the months, bumped into each other at parties and the like in Lagos, and he's always made it pretty clear he likes me and he's always been really sweet to me. My official line for why I won't get involved with him is because I think he's too much of a player. Unofficially? Hmmm, I’m not sure.

I think my point is that I know (and have known) a lot of amazing guys. Guys that I wouldn't hesitate to fix my very best friends with, but when it comes down to it, I never give them a chance and I have no idea why that is. Actually, that's a lie; I know why it is ... I'm very afraid of commitment. And I've narrowed down the reason for my commitment phobia to a couple of reasons. The first is that I'm very happy with the way my life is at the moment and I'm scared of it changing. The second is that I'm scared of the lack of choice that comes with having a boyfriend ... what if I miss out on the love of my life because I'm dating someone?

And it’s not that I can’t see the advantages of being in a relationship … I really would like to be in a relationship. It’s just that every time I’m with someone where there is potential for something to happen, I panic and start to think of all the reasons why I don’t want to be tied down.
Maybe I just haven’t met the right person …