One thing that people who engage in extramarital affairs all have in common is that they are all willing to imagine that the crumbs they are receiving is in reality a banquet. They feast on those crumbs and call it dinner. But why? Why would anyone think so little of themselves that they essentially start seeing someone who is already in a sense cheating on them? The first answer that comes to mind is low self-esteem. But, I honestly believe it goes much deeper than just having such a low opinion of yourself that you would scrape the floor for crumbs.
An affair relationship removes the one thing all other relationships have……responsibility. When two people are having an affair there is zero work involved. And the partnership was entered into with the knowledge that there would be no commitment. It’s carefree and fun. It’s easy to profess love to someone with whom there will be no work and it will be a given that lying is okay and expected. There are no schedules to keep or kids to look after. There is no daily routine. And that’s the key element. It all happens outside of the realm of their real lives. And that’s the only way it could happen for them. Affairs are extra-curricular lives sitting somewhere in the blind spot of their real lives.
The allure of that “new” feeling drives affair partners to believe that this is what they have been missing. In reality what is missing is their inability to recognize deep love. All romantic relationships start out with that new passion-filled feeling and eventually morph into deep love. These are inherently different, yet the same. In deep love, the new is obviously gone. What takes its place is the familiar and the comfortable. And some people just can’t deal with that settled in feeling of love. It doesn’t seem as fun or as passionate as the new love. It is, of course, but in such a different way.
While new love requires very little to fall into it, deep loves requires all of the things that seem like work to stay. Deep love requires you to have loved deeply within your real life, the life that is messy and hard and at times unbearable. This is the life where you are you and you’re not always nice and you’re not always attractive and you don’t always feel like talking to your partner. But, it’s also the life where babies are born and your kid gets his first basket in the game and your teenager has his first kiss and your husband takes care of you when you’re sick and dances with you in your room with no music and holds your hand when you’re walking into Lowes.
To some people that new love feeling is like a drug. It’s so powerful to them that they can’t recognize deep love long enough to enjoy the benefits, and as soon as that deeper, more meaningful loves starts to kick in, and the new wears off, they are once again looking for something more. We think it’s this vicious cycle that these habitual cheaters get caught up in, but in truth this is what they really want. It’s only when good people get caught up in their webs that we stop and take notice.
While crumbs are not a banquet for most of us, they sometimes are what others are looking for exactly, a broken piece of something that they can pretend is a whole until they’re ready to brush it off and find something else.