Friday, July 17, 2009

Looking at the "other woman"

Greetings!

This post is about a friend I've known for years. She is, ostensibly at least, happily married with two grown-up children. Since 1995 she has been in a relationship with a man who is not her husband. When she first met him, he was married with young children and her younger child had just been born.

Today, even after 14 years, their spouses have not discovered their relationship and are happy in their respective marriages.

What I find most astonishing is not that their
illicit love has lasted, but the fact that both she and her lover could keep their families happy for so many years.

When I had asked her this question some years ago, she had said, "When we fell in love and got into a relationship we decided that we would not break up our homes. So we meet when we can and when we meet it is wonderful, but always, we put our families first. Besides," she added frankly, "because we both feel guilty we put in a lot of extra effort into our marriages, and also perhaps, because we are anxious they don't find us out."

"But how can you make love with your husband when you love someone else? "I asked
her. "Doesn't it involve a lot of lying?" For me, this seems to be the impossible part.

"Yes, " she said simply. " I have to steel myself to sleep with my husband. But I would put up with worse to keep the happiness I have with my love."

I met her yesterday, after a long time and over coffee and pakoras, asked her if she has ever regretted it.

She smiled. "Sometimes, I do feel you know, as if my life has been a lie. I don't think of the man I live with as my husband, and the man whom I think of as my husband is someone else's. But I don't regret even a minute. How can you expect me to regret that I have so much love and that it has lasted so many years?"

"What is it about your love that is so special?" I asked her a little jealously. (Read that "very jealously")

"That we talk. I don't have that with my husband. We spend hours talking about everything and anything. You know, Rose, it's not about sex. It's just that we are so comfortable with each other."

I believe her, but wouldn't she have been happier married to her lover?

"I don't think so," she said thoughtfully. "I think, you know, marriage might have killed the magic. Besides, who knows if our love could have survived the guilt of breaking up two families?"

Now who am I to argue with an expert?

Almost everyone who knows them is aware of the affair, but the relationship has in true Indian tradition been kept from the spouses of both parties. Many of the women in our circle avoid her. She knows it and hardly socialises. She tells me her world for so many years has only been herself and him. She does not care what anyone thinks of her. Walking the tightrope between keeping a happy home and loving her "other man" keeps her more than occupied.

To me, she was and will remain a friend. And yes, definitely a good woman. Loving someone she is not married to, cannot make her otherwise. She works hard, has brought up her children well, has managed to keep a husband happy and is even religious. (She says she agonises when the pastor talks of adultery but even her fear of hell is not enough to keep her from meeting him.)

She has a word of advice though, for us unfortunates. "Don't fall in love with a married man. Even when you know he loves you to bits, there is just too much heartache. And if you do happen to fall in love, try to remain just friends."

That's mean darling! What's sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander?




3 comments:

Achayan said...

It can happen to any one and we can't blame her for the situation she is in. Anyway she handled it cleverly and took wise decisions.

dominickerala said...

great piece! what makes this writing so beautifully genuine is the style you have chosen to write... and i felt i wasn't reading but someone talking to me!

life is all about mysteries and if you can keep the mystery going without anyone knowing it's even more enjoyable!

people fall in love and fall out of love! some relations are kept just for the sanctity of the relation! so in this case the marriage is just a respected formal relationship while love just happens outside marriage!

its pretty cool as long as it remains a mystery!

i enjoyed reading it!

thank you

Kuttyedathi said...

Let me quote the lines I loved and those which reciprocated my thoughts .. "To me, she was and will remain a friend. And yes, definitely a good woman. Loving someone she is not married to, cannot make her otherwise. She works hard, has brought up her children well, has managed to keep a husband happy "

And I loved what was special in her illicit Love --
"That we talk. I don't have that with my husband. We spend hours talking about everything and anything. You know, Rose, it's not about sex. It's just that we are so comfortable with each other."

I beleive even if there was no sex involved in that second relation, she would have continued that relation and treaure it. The root reason is, talk.

Talk has such a big role in a relation, and in most of the marriages, Talk is a very scarce commodity after marriage. She herself told that she have that most important peice missing in hers. She found her comfort zone in that OTHER Man. Just like a very best friend of her..OR even more than that.

Can we blame her for that ?