Thursday, March 13, 2008

Did You Know?

Leah started a little discussion about The Time Traveler's Wife. I e-mailed her some thoughts and we kept chatting. Part of what breaks my heart about the book is the fact that I draw a parallel between the story and stories of adultery (my own included). The emotions are searing and vivid and...anyway, good book, go read it.

In the course of the discussion about adultery I threw out there that some people cheat on a spouse not because they have no sense of commitment and want to leave and can't but because they are intensely unhappy in a relationship but still love the other person and don't want to leave. They need some outlet, some other support, to allow them to continue to live in their current situation. Still unhealthy, still deeply twisted but it's actually done from a sense of commitment rather than the reverse.

Leah was surprised and had never thought of that possibility before.

I was surprised that she hadn't.

Had you?


  1. I'll have to let that percolate for a bit; I'm not sure I can make it fit in my paradigm, but I'm willing to try it on...

  2. Anonymous7:34 PM

    I read that book a while back. I barely remember it.

    As I mentioned a while back in a comment here, I wrote a little post about "pretty."

  3. Chili I keep thinking of examples that are about your kids and sometimes you need help with dealing with them. My examples don't track perfectly, though, so I'm not quite ready to share.

  4. Anonymous10:14 AM

    "Honey, screwing around with my secretary is much cheaper than marriage counseling." "Same with your friend Judy." "I knew you'd understand. How are the kids?"

    Screwing around is a failure of commitment.

  5. Interesting. Hm.
    I've never cheated and I don't see myself cheating. I think I'd probably get out of my situation if it got to that point, because I'd feel so guilty and I'd a terrible liar.

    A good friend of mine was cheated on repeatedly, and we both can't figure out whether the guy had major issues or because of what you're saying. They were together for four years.

    I guess it's easy for people to think that the adulterer is getting the better end of the situation. I guess it can be very complicated too, with both sides being tortured.

  6. I finally caught up to this post today, during lunch. There's a lot that jumps in my mind at the topic of adultery, but little of it is easily put into type (especially with my students wandering around). If you can give me a few days, I'd like to try to articulate some thoughts.

    Oh, and on the Josh Waitzkin comment from before, here's the link to his website ( I picked his book up just the other day, but I haven't read enough of it to comment on it.

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  8. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my all-time favorite books. So well-written, so lovely.

  9. I love the book so much.

    Wayfarer, can't wait to hear what you have to say.

    I'm not saying it's a healthy choice or that it is OK in any way but there are different reasons behind it. I'm committed to understanding it is all. Gerry, the act may be a failure of commitment, what I'm exploring is where the impetus originates.