I was at my parents’ house earlier today doing a bit of IT Support for my dad. Over tea and chocolate digestives, Dad mentioned that Mum has recently been demonstrating an impressive knowledge of cricket while they’ve been satisfying their current addiction for watching every single TV quiz programme ever.
My dad is massively into cricket. My mum isn’t. But clearly having been married to a cricket fan for almost five decades has caused a certain amount of cricketing knowledge to seep into my mother’s consciousness through some kind of osmosis.
|Note for my American readership: Cricket is a bit like baseball.
But with more wickets, “Howzats?” and “Silly Mid On”s.
And stopping for tea, obviously.
I didn’t say that, though. Because apparently, when I see a line that shouldn’t be crossed, I like to leap across that line with gay abandon. What response did I give to one of my parents saying that the other one knew more about cricket than they realised? I said: “Maybe Mum’s having an affair?”
(I would like to say at this point that my mum was actually part of this conversation. I mean there’s lines and there’s lines.)
My reasoning was that if someone shows an interest in a subject that they’ve never shown an interest in before, there must be an ulterior motive, hmm? My mum’s response was, entirely reasonably, “And when would I have time for this affair? I certainly haven’t noticed it happening.” My dad mused that if Mum was having an affair then doing so with a professional cricketer would be pretty impressive.
I blame Mumsnet. I have spent far too much time recently reading Mumsnet talkboards. If you spend any time at all on the Relationships board, it’s very easy to come to the conclusion that all men are lying, adulterous arseholes. This mistrust permeates the whole of Mumsnet. If anyone so much as suggests that their “DH” has started showing a fondness for Mint Choc Chip ice cream when he has always previously preferred Rum and Raisin, mumsnetters will immediately cry “Leave the Bastard! He’s been lying to you! He obviously has a secret life you don’t know about!”. It’s the middle-class equivalent of Jeremy Kyle every day.
I don’t really think there’s any extra-marital hanky-panky going on in my parents’ marriage. They have been dating for fifty-four years and still quite obviously fancy one another like crazy. If I were an only child, I could claim that the reason that I have never managed to maintain a long-term relationship is because of the ludicrously high standard of coupley bliss presented to me by my parents. Obviously, I could never possibly hope to achieve that so there is no point in trying. Unfortunately, my two siblings’ happy long-term marriages throw a bit of a spanner into that particular hypothesis.
I blogged about the Ashley Madison data leak a couple of months ago. There’s cold hard statistics which demonstrate that – at least as far as this particular “Adultery R Us” website was concerned – intent to play away is largely a male pursuit. Actual heterosexual infidelity is probably more a 50/50 thing, though.
According to this webpage which I just googled, roughly 30% to 60% of all married individuals will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage. Jesus, really? Is that likely? That’s fucking massive. Clearly, my research has been minimal. I would hope that was some kind of biased survey because otherwise I have to consider the idea that of my five closest friends (and their five partners), it’s statistically probably that maybe three of them have fucked someone else since whenever it was I turned up in my best dress on their special day, toasted their happiness and enjoyed their wedding breakfast catering.
I want some reassurance here. I’ve never been married. I absolutely never intend to get married. I’m forty-one years old so I reckon I’ve dodged that particular bullet. But I want to believe that the married couples I know are doing it properly. I got all teared up during the Groom’s speech at your wedding, you bastards. Don’t tell me those warm fuzzy feelings were based on lies.
|I honestly can’t imagine that there is a woman on earth I could love as much as you.
But, you know, if I DO get a better offer, I’m totally gonna go for it.
Clearly whatever other people choose to do with their marriages is no concern of mine. That said, I am probably going to re-activate my online dating account in the next few weeks. I do worry that within my target age bracket of 35 to 55 year olds, there are going to people who, despite saying that they are divorced or separated, are actually still living with partners who have no idea that their partners are cruising for a bit of spanky, extramarital fun without their significant other’s consent.
And while I might be absolutely OK with open polyamorous relationships, I have no intention of inadvertently becoming the Other Woman in someone else’s exclusive relationship. What percentage of those extra-marital affair statistics involve people who had no idea that they were fucking somebody else’s current partner?
I guess if I do start dating again, I shall have to rely on my ‘gut instinct’. I’m wary of relying on any of my internal organs when it comes to judging another individual’s honesty. And I’m pretty sure my ‘gut’ isn’t really up to the task. It does a fine job of transferring food to my digestive system. I have no problems with its performance on that score. Ascertaining whether relative strangers are on the level? That might be a bit of an ask.
|“He’s a wrong ‘un.”|
So, reassure me, readers. Tell me that everyone in an exclusive monogamous relationship remains entirely faithful to their partner. And the only married people fucking outside of the conjugal bedroom are fully on-board polygamists who have all read The Ethical Slut and are happy to discuss their extra-marital relationships with their spouses over tea and biscuits.
It might not be true but, fuck it, that’s the world I want to live in.