**If you happen to feel guilty by the end of this post, its purely coincidental!**
A close friend is experiencing fallout from her marriage, the existence of which she was working minute by minute on denying. She felt ‘that’ funny feeling when he got no good reason to be angry and nit-picking, his unexplained absences with ‘new friends‘, or need for privacy on his smart phone. In other words, he began to overreact on everything. She often dismissed it as “no big deal”, or “it’s only temporary” as she couldn’t fathom ending up in a relationship like this. She contends that this happened as his needs might not be met in their relationship. Really, lady?? That’s how you reason this? How society has brain-washed us into certain beliefs about our spouses…phew!! For many of us, it is as easy as one slightly questionable reply that maybe at first just seems witty or funny.
Social media has become a way of life for most of us and there are new social networking sites popping up all the time. We find ourselves on Facebook, tweeting, IMing, texting and emailing to avoid unwanted ears hearing our conversations (ironically). These have become vital connections for many of us which means there are more ways for people to connect online and more ways of risking a heart connection that could ruin a relationship. This can all be very innocent, but then again maybe it’s not. It might be fulfilling in a certain way but this type of virtual affair is so damaging and often continues for a long time as its a beautiful fantasy that never causes any trouble, has only nice things to say, and is always available.
With the marvels of modern technology, the game is so easy to play. It makes it easier to go undetected, for a short while, but it leaves an electronic trail that will inevitably be stumbled upon sometime or the other as was the case with my friend. Virtual infidelity is much more devastating than a real affair with a person. No one intends to do anything, and it always “just happens” for virtually someone to worm their way into your life.
This reminds of me of a particular scene in a recently released Bollywood movie ‘Shaadi ke Side Effects‘. In it, a husband tells a white-lie (work trip) to his wife and checks in a hotel for a weekend to spend time alone…to simply enjoy what fascinates him – sleeping late, eating breakfast in bed, watching television, etc. In his defense, he explains this escapism as a fool-proof method for a happy married life. He describes infidelity as not just a friendship with an opposite sex but anything, consciously or subconsciously, that devoid or avoid spending time with his wife. Brunches or game night with your buddies, over involvement with the children, long hours at work, socially active online, joining communities/ causes and many other such instances, if deliberately chosen to avoid spending time with your spouse requires an intervention. It will do the same damage to a relationship, as could any opposite gender friendship.
Somehow it’s always easier though to point a finger at your partner rather than putting yourself under the spotlight and soul searching within yourself to get to the root of the problem. It takes two to tango or want someone to stray.