My song today is ‘When You’re Looking That’. This song is by Irish boy band, ‘Westlife’ from their second studio album, ‘Coast to Coast’. It was released on 3 September 2001. ‘When You're Looking Like That’ was most successful in Denmark, where it peaked at Number 6.
In my time, I knew one couple who was engaged ten years before getting married, and I have heard of newlyweds who had decided that the very first thing they would do after their honeymoon period was over was to visit a divorce lawyer as their marriage was cleverly a mistake.
Of all types of relationships that exist between man and woman or the same-sex unions, the ones I believe to be the most difficult to end are those extra-marital ‘affairs’ that are started and are sustained on sheer physicality and sexual compatibility of sufficient satisfaction. These are relationships where the prime satisfaction of the two lovers concerned is that of ‘sex’ without any form of emotional attachment or personal commitment of either lover.
There are many types of ‘affairs’, and all are different from another. Some affairs have an emotional component to them or are combined with practical considerations concerning the two lovers involved, but all affairs contain the pure animalistic enjoyment of sexual companionship. Most affairs, however, are affairs of the ‘head’ and not the ‘heart’. To the men concerned in their extra-marital relationship, their choice of a new partner often makes perfect sense, given their disadvantaged situation. Many men estranged from their wives and partners, and left without a place to live, invariably find that their new partner with whom they are starting a relationship ‘just happens to own their own property.
I have always been more attracted to blacked-haired feminine beauties ever since my teenage years, and in truth, I cannot recall the few occasions in my life when I have dated any woman who did not have long black hair swishing across their shoulders as they walked by. My dear mother was a beautiful woman with long black hair, and I may even have displayed the Oedipus Complex into adult life for all I know.
However, I am willing to wager that there are many men who would easily allow their homelessness circumstances to overlook their preferred choice of hair colour of their female companion, especially if they were ever to find themselves kicked out of the matrimonial home and marriage after cheating on their wife. Whom among these homeless, wife-cheating men would not look more than twice at any woman without a man; especially a woman who fancied the pants off him? It would not matter what length or colour of hair the woman had on her head, providing she possessed her own property to bed down in during this unsettled period he was experiencing between long-term relationships. Even if this wife-cheating man was offered the choice between several women who were waiting in line for his affection to be bestowed on them, and who fancied him to bits, it would be the home-owning female fancier who would win hands down. Her hair could be blonde, ginger, auburn, short, ragged, or even in the process of being lost to alopecia; the fact that she had her own property and was prepared to offer him accommodation, bed, and breakfast, and sex on demand should prove sufficient for him to swallow his pride for the black-haired woman.
During my career as a Probation Officer, where I would also undertake the role of Marriage Guidance Counsellor, I would frequently encounter a person who had an affair. Most unfaithful husbands and wives might engage in a one-night stand during a moment of weakness when their marriage was in difficulties and the physical temptation was at its highest. Such physical indiscretions, however, could be forgiven (even if not forgotten) by the aggrieved party where love still existed and the affair had been one of the head and not the heart. I would invariably find that the marriage partner who had been cheated on was more capable of forgiving their adulterous partner when the illicit relationship had remained solely physical, and the attraction and commitment had never been emotional. However strange it might appear, discovering that one’s marriage partner had tenderly kissed their lover when they were making love, or had told them during the height of their unbridled passion, “I love you” mattered more to the cheated marriage partner than the fact that the adulterous partner had engaged in sexual encounters for two or three years with their lover!
I came across this also whenever I worked with men who went with prostitutes, and also with the occasional prostitute I worked with on different behaviours. I discovered the differences of how the prostitute viewed sex with a punter and sex with her boyfriend. The prostitute made the distinction between the ‘physical’ and the ‘emotional’ by never kissing her punter or telling him that ‘she loved him'. She would be prepared to put anything at all inside or on her mouth, except the punter’s lips. Her punter was permitted to kiss her anywhere on her body, except on the lips. She would mouth any verbal exhortations or engage in all manner of ‘dirty talk’ the punter asked her to in order to increase his excitement during sex, but she would never speak the words, “I love you”. In many ways, the betrayed wife and the prostitute operated the same code that distinguished for them ‘love’ and ‘sex’.
They could understand, tolerate, or even forgive physically going with another man/woman, and they could also envisage circumstances that took them to the edge, but any emotional attachment or emotional commitment to another outside their loving relationship was wholly unacceptable. It was taboo! It was unforgivable! And more than any other form of behaviour, that means kissing on the lips and speaking loving words of emotional endearment was taboo!
This aspect within relationships is also seen where a marriage has irretrievably broken down and run its course. The first thing to disappear in a loving relationship that has passed its sell-by-date is the tender and meaningful kissing between a man and his woman. Even while the continuation of a sexual relationship may be kept going and is tolerated by the couple to keep the peace, all meaningful and loving kissing between the couple whose marriage is at an end has also long since ended. We also see the importance of the loving kiss when life-long couples grow into old age. Long after the physical and sexual part of their relationship has ended, they still maintain the emotional bond of their love by physically kissing each other daily and never letting a day start or end without telling each other endearingly, “I love you”.
I always found that the unfaithful relationship which primarily involved the temptation of the flesh as opposed to an affair of the heart affected the betrayer and the betrayed in a marriage partnership differently. It was those situations where physical passion was the gun of infidelity, that the unfaithful person could not stop shooting his weapon. This was an addictive kind of relationship that he found impossible to walk away from without going back to the other woman for another fix. And yet, however hard he found it was to break off the relationship and end his physical addiction to it, his wife would often stand by him initially as long as she believed he was genuinely wanting to end it with the other woman.
Fighting a physical battle between two women of different ages for the same man is the most uneven of contests. It is like comparing an apple with a pineapple at a time when the husband has changed his fruit preference of a lifetime from the plain to the exotic. The wife who is in battle with her husband’s lover is often on a hiding to nothing. It is like two boxers entering a ring to fight for a vacant title; the older contender and the newcomer. The older woman is defending her title of being the woman in her husband’s life but realises the uphill task she faces. She knows that in the physical stakes, she is greatly disadvantaged. She starts off the fight carrying too much weight and being too old in years and wrinkled in looks, her opponent is always going to look better in the ring. She bears too many scars and stretch lines from a couple of caesarean births, and she knows that even was she able to get back into a bikini, she would never again feel comfortable in one. As for trying to spice up their sex life by putting on some sexy night clothes for her husband to take off, she realises that if she tries to use any Ann summer’s wear to turn her husband back on, as soon as he saw her, he would laugh and run to turn off the bedroom light before patting her good night like an old faithful dog.
All that the wife in this situation has going for her is the emotional investment in her marriage, the knowledge that she loves her husband, and the belief that deep down, he loves her also! Is this enough? It ought to be but sadly it isn’t always.
I once knew a Holmfirth couple who was married with four children. Both husband and wife loved each other and were loving parents, but where the wife had always been faithful, her husband had not stayed true to his marriage vows. It wasn’t that he was a bad man. He was a handsome man who most women would never fail to fancy at first sight. He was eye candy to some women and his overall muscular physique and masculine looks gave him the look of a man much younger than his years. He had always been a physical man and during his courtship and early marriage years, sexual relationships between the couple had always proved very satisfying for both individuals.
As the children came along, and as with most relationships between man and wife, their respective needs as individuals with different family roles in the home diverged more and more. As regarding the frequency and satisfaction levels of ‘making love’, these marriage components could no longer be measured because they had ceased to happen. Occasionally the tired wife and the frustrated husband would experience short sexual relations, but it was no longer an act that could be called ‘making love’. As far as the husband was concerned, it was a physical need that required satisfaction, but for his wife, unfortunately, it felt like three minute’s hard punishment was being exacted.
Although the Holmfirth husband loved his wife to bits, he no longer fancied her in the bedroom, and he had even stopped pressing his intentions on her. However, like an Angus bull filled with sacs of seed, and bursting to service as many cows that would let him mount them, he started going to the pub more on an evening where he would flaunt his availability with the woman there who fancied him. Over the years that followed, he did not have several affairs, he only had one. It was with a married woman ten years younger than he was, and who was physically stunning to boot. For six years, the two married lovers maintained their relationship, which was sustained solely by sheer physicality with pillars of passion and a foundation stone of sensual flesh.
After the first year of his relationship with his lover, his wife discovered their involvement. The couple rowed, and she threatened to leave him. Despite the obvious breakdown in their relationship, she still loved him. Indeed, he had been her first love, besides being the only man she had ever loved. She stayed with him, but put him on a ‘final warning’. Three months later, he was still having his affair, and this time she left him. After packing her suitcases, she and their four children went to stay with a family relative for a week. Before the week was out, he went to persuade her to return home with another promise that he would end his relationship with the other woman. As soon as she set eyes on him, she would instantly recall what it was that made her first fall madly in love with him, and she would return to the matrimonial abode to try again.
For a while, husband and wife would try to resume a more normal marital relationship, but although she tried to physically satisfy him in the bedroom, it became apparent that any flame that flickered between them was ignited by his occasional physical desire and her emotional need to be loved.
For about six years, the man tried to give up his relationship with his younger lover, but each time he was determined to do so, because his lover did not want it to end, she would look her loveliest and be at her most tempting.
Each time he strayed, his wife left him, and the same pattern would follow. After a week, he would look her up at her mother's or sister’s house (wherever she stayed) and persuade her to come back home with the children. By now, the oldest child was beginning to object and he expressed his desire to stay living at his grandmother’s house. The husband again promised to end his affair, but like the physical love addict he was, he could not give up seeing the other woman.
The time came when every worm turns, and the next time his wife left, he never saw her again. She moved to another part of the country, and because she still professed love for her husband she did not re-marry. As for the abandoned husband, he was to learn that when any relationship is based purely upon physical attraction, such a relationship is built on straw. Once the good looks go, the other person often leaves also. The husband became increasingly depressed as he started to appreciate what he had let go of. He let go of his own health and put on a beer belly. He now carried a folded shelf where once the muscles of a six-pack had rippled. His younger lover (still married to the same wealthy man she would never leave) ended their relationship after she met a younger lover who was able to supply her physical demands with the degree of passion she required.
Love and peace