[To] carry off an affair, [the adulterer who started this discussing by asking Rogers for advice] had to feel entitled to this misbehavior. To what does he feel entitled? Not all entitlements are bad. He might feel entitled to be swept away by a grand passion. He might feel entitled to lots of worshipful attention. He might feel entitled to more sex. He might feel entitled to stress relief. Who knows? It’s worth asking, framed that way -- to what does this man feel entitled, enough to violate the terms of one of the very few vows he’s made in his life. Seriously -- we watch vows from Crusaders, and comic book avengers, and nuns and scarlett o’hara’s calorie count . . . but we only make one or two in our life. What sort of entitlement makes it easy to disregard that vow?
Sinner is also in thrall to some particular bad ideas in circulation. Love conquers all, love excuses all, I couldn’t help myself, affairs are sexy, while married love is boring . . . who knows? It’s all on sale in hollywood, so there’s a chance the guy is just a sucker for pop-culture. He might want to consider what influences he succumbed to. Did he go looking? “Dear penthouse letters. . . . I never thought it could happen to me . . . .” I think it’s kind of funny, b/c what I get out of it is nearly an animist belief that the whole world is one pulsing orgasmic reality slightly covered with clothes and manners. If he keeps the attitudes, without examining them -- he might think he’s enslaved to the boring woman and has heroically given up wildly satisfying sex, sacrificed any possibility of his own happiness . . . it’s worth checking, to see what he thought about all of this . . . .
. . . The pain is realizing that [your wronged wife is] in love with a different man -- the good man you might have been. You are experiencing, possibly, a form of jealousy: she loves another. She thinks it is you. That’s a poetic form of justice, don’t you think?
Why not fit his face onto yours, and pretend to be him? A good, honorable, decent, loyal, faithful man. At some point, the mask might become true, and your smaller, meaner, more selfish self will have crawled into a corner, to not be appreciated, or see the light of day in all his meagre dragony glory. To be unknown, as you sought to reveal yourself, you must admit, is a sort of punishment. To not be accepted just as you are, as incontinent, weak, helpless . . . it’s every infant’s nightmare. you’ve just dressed it up in grownup clothes.
Your wife loves another man. You could have been him, but you aren’t. That’s the burden you are trying to cast off -- you’re jealous of him, the one she knows and loves . . . .
Don’t confess, and kill the other, honorable man. Behave as if he were you. You are his doppelganger. Do him proud, Joseph Conrad tough-man proud. You’ll have the chance to grow to be honorable.
"She loves another. She thinks it is you."
When better than Valentine's Day to discuss adultery? Belladonna Rogers at PJ Media ran a column last week about whether an adulterer should make a clean breast of things to his/her spouse. Honestly, I don't know. I'm inclined to think, as I commented there, that you can camouflage part of yourself, but you can't replace it with something real. So your spouse will detect the blank, dead spot without necessarily knowing what's wrong. I suspect the dead spot is more dangerous than the adultery.
In today's follow-up column, Ms. Rogers holds to her original advice that confession is merely self-indulgent and cruel to the wronged spouse. Checking again on last week's comments, I found this very thoughtful one:
By Texan99 on Tuesday, February 14, 2012