Saturday, 6 November 2010


Good afternoon from - yes- sunny Corfu. Once again, mother nature has had the last laugh. Winter clohes are packed away, quilts laid out on beds and oil in tanks ready to turn on that cental heating. Suckers! Summer is back! 28 degrees , today, and perfect skies.If it remains so, I am off to the beach tomorrow. So - on to todays little word/phrase......


It didn’t mean anything, honey. It’s you I love.

Before you all scoff, let’s consider this more carefully. Can it be possibly true? When men stray, does it necessarily mean they no longer love their partner and if, indeed, they claim to love them, how can they stray in the first place? Are men really so different than women? Is it possible for them to detach the emotional from the physical?
Before I continue with today’s discussion, let me say for the record, I am in no way defending the cheat. I, as those who know me will testify, would be the first to be devastated if a man I loved cheated on me. I am an extremely jealous person. I see betrayal every way I turn but….. and now you can throw stones…. For me, the ultimate betrayal would be if my partner/ loved one turned to another for companionship. It would be the thought of them sitting, laughing, talking – sharing together that I would find intolerable. Let’s face it; sex is sex. Anyone can do it – and men usually can with brain and heart detached but the emotional bond that lies between a couple, if that is broken, for me, that is where the biggest hurt lies.
So why have I chosen this topic for today? Let’s say it ties in well with my soon-to-be released contemporary romance, Fragile Dreams. Ellie Rouva is married to a serial cheat. After ten years, she no longer cares. When my dear friend and critique partner read through my first draft, she commented that I had made Ellie’s husband too much of a cliqued bad guy. I needed to somehow humanize him. In a conversation Ellie shares with a young confidante, he asks her the million-dollar question “why did you marry him?”
Basically, Ellie says she saw what see wanted to see. She allowed herself to be seduced by the glamour of his position and the pull of the island. She conjured up a false image of the man. He did not change but Ellie did. In another scene, Ellie confronts her husband, accusing him of never loving her. His answer?
“The other women meant nothing. Everything I did…It was to provoke a reaction from you. You were always so controlled; so cold. You never showed me affection. Every time I tried to touch you, you pushed me away.”

My mother once told me…there are worse things men can do to you than sleep with someone else. Believe me, she has a point: emotional torture, mental bullying, or a man who drinks, gambles, who refuses to work and support his family. Worse – an unsupportive father. But it does seem to be the sexual infidelity that evokes strong reaction in most. Before I go on, I would like to say I am not talking about a man who goes off and embarks on a full-blown affair. At the end of the day, we cannot control with whom and when we will fall in or out of love. Most men, I am sure, genuinely do not want to hurt anyone but what if they simply married the wrong person? What if they have connected with someone much more suited to their emotional needs? Perhaps the women they married and fell in love with has changed and, again, before I have the women’s lib breathing down my neck, I think we need to face a hard truth, here. More times than not, it is the woman who has changed – or rather our tolerance of the man we married has lessened. We notice faults that have always been there but in the throes of the fairy tale romance after which we hunger, we conveniently ignore them. We become caught up in our role of housewife, perfect mother. Often, our children become the centre of our universe and, as bizarre as it may seem to we women, men can become jealous. They feel left out from that special mother/child relationship. Men can be like petulant children. Does this give them right to seek solace elsewhere? After all, many, many husbands do not go out and sleep with the nearest bimbo because their wife is too tired or too involved with day to day running of the home to understand them. No – it does not. I am not condoning such behavior, merely trying to understand.
Now, this is where old school got it right, I believe. The professional mistress – nothing to do with a man’s love for his wife or family. But in today’s modern society, we want retribution. Ultimatums are issued. Decisions made without careful consideration. “Pack your bags and leave. Go to her…your cheap little whore.” Ladies – most times your man had no intention of leaving you for her. You forced his hand. Let’s face it, guys. You love your comfort zone. Ok – if you are a young couple, no kids involved, do as you please. Rush off to the divorce courts but, if children are involved, you owe it to them to try and work out your differences. It may sound, here, as if I am placing the entire onus on the woman. Maybe I am. Let’s face it, girls. We are the superior gender. We think with our brains, not our wil…. If you get my meaning.
My uncle once told me, men are weak; women are by far the much stronger sex. We are mothers and, as such, should be put on a pedestal. I am not sure if I agree entirely but I think I understand what he was trying to say. Men follow their baser instincts. Love, for them, can be separated from sex. For most women, this is not the case. Probably why, when the shoe is on the other foot, a man will be destroyed. He understands, for a woman to cheat {again, I generalize} there has to be emotional involvement. In time, I believe, a woman can forgive and move on, forgive the infidelity. A man – he may say he does but he never recovers nor does he forget. Food for thought? I would love to hear you opinions.

Next week…. It was only a joke…..



  1. Hi Viviane,
    Lovely photo of Corfu; I also love Greece.
    You post is very interesting and as you say, food for thought. As writers, we could take every one of your speculations as contingencies and twists for plots -- and perhaps many of them have been done.

  2. Viviane, I think both sexes can forgive an "indiscretion," man and woman, if there is real repentance and the sorting out of why it happened. When a person is having an "affair," which is a form of a relationship, it's a whole other thing. That means there are some deep-seated problems in the marriage. And at different stages of your life you want and need different things. As for me, at this point, if some man offered me a roll in the hay or a cup of coffee, I'd head for the nearest Starbucks. However, I would never put aside that my husband meets my needs 98% of the time, as I try to meet his. It's all in what you're fortunate to have.

  3. My views on all this are still morphing, I must admit. I think we as a society are changing and becoming more tolerant of multiple loves--and sometimes they overlap or coincide. As you say--we can not choose the time or place we fall.
    I ask--are we as men and women so limited that we can not make room for love? We do with our children. When the first arrives we can not imagine ever loving another breathing thing as deeply. Low and behold--number two is loved as well, as deeply, perhaps in a different way, but just as intense and meaningfully.

    WHy not the same of romantic love? What precludes loving more than one man (or woman) not only in a lifetime, but concurrently? We live twice as long as we ever have (this has only been true for a short time 100-150 years??)
    When we died at 35 or 40, it made cultural sense to keep the nest intact because of the paramount need to launch children into independence. Now, we have another half our life to live when the kids are gone from the nest.
    An awful long time to limit yourself to really knowing and experiencing only half the population. LIfe long monogamy is possible, even desirably wonderful, but as our culture learns to wrap our corporate minds around our longevity, I think more and more deviations from the standard nuclear family/relationship will not only become prevalent, but accepted.

    And that is going to cause some major growing pains...

  4. I think Viviane's original purpose for the post was to look at infidelity in real life and in fiction. Are they the same? What kind of infidelity kills a relationship in fiction? What emotional reactions are most believable to readers?

    I have an ulterior motive, the female protagonist of my Iskander series has a love affair in her past that I tried to write about once and scrapped the work. One day I'm going to try again, but I'm not sure I know her well enough yet. Lord Ricart is easy, he's a serial rake.

    Anyone want to continue this on Muse Readers?

    Chris H.

  5. Thanks to all for their comments. Definately food for thought. I think i will continue o this theme next Saturday. I would love to know what people consider to be cheating.

  6. Very interesting post, Viviane. I do agree that emotional infidelity is the most hurtful.

  7. After speaking with several men I have decided that they actually get their feelings hurt more times than women. They like to be #1 in your life and when that doesn't happen they act out. Some only do it by getting out of the house and going to a bar or else work out. Whatever helps them to forget the pain. Others do it by finding another woman just to feel special for awhile.

    Women on the other hand, also feel the same way and we have needs. When our emotional needs are not met we try to find outlets for that. Occasionally during a marriage you will grow apart and then maybe the woman will look for someone to bring back that excitement she felt when she first got married. Marriage is a messy experience and I should know, because I'm married over 45 years to the same man.:) It's a challenge and sometimes on both sides men's and women's there is a time when you want to see what it would be like to be unmarried.

    People experiment in various ways. Some people leave their families and never return. That is drastic, but many men find ways to deal with this and do have indiscretions with other women. Men don't consider these anything but distractions most of the time. But women, if they do dabble in any of this, get hurt. Because though we love to think of men like eye candy, the truth is that if you have put your time and effort into a marriage no one is really going to replace your husband. If you do want to replace him then divorce him. Women need to have that security level of knowing a man is there for them. If you don't feel that then get rid of him.:)

    As far as fiction goes, marriage is not such a great idea in fiction because there is no friction. Infidelity in fiction should probably always be for women with someone who is irresistible! But with a man unless there is emotional infidelity he sees no reason not to do it. Women are like packages in a grocery store for most men.:) They have their favorite, but any cookie will do when they're hungry.:)

    I don't know, maybe I've gone beyond the topic. It is an interesting idea, though, Viviane and how jealous I am of where you live!!!

  8. Interesting response. It reminds me of Paul Newman's great saying. Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home? good point - but I am sure even steak can become boring.
    I do agree with your point about men and their attitude to emotional infidelity, which leads back to my point; men are so hurt when their women stray because, I believe, nine times out of ten, when women stray, the heart is involved. Its all about, as you so rightly say, EMOTIONAL needs. A hug, litte gestures of affection are so much more important to me than a role in the hay {or olive groves, in my case.
    On Saturday, I will be blogging about what counts as infidelity. Being unfaithful in the mind - is it cheating?