Cynthia’s Affair Ch. 02

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As might well be expected, Cynthia found it difficult to concentrate on mundane things for the next few days. She went over Dr. Butler’s proposal time and time again, thinking of the dangers, the rami?cations, the impact on her marriage, and, certainly not least, the question of in?delity and adultery. Against all these negative factors lay her real need for that elusive something that was missing in her life. She had felt her depression growing, held at bay by her busy life during the day, but threatening to engulf her at night. She recognized that she might be over-reacting, over-dramatizing the issue, seeking a chimera and letting it upset her life, but, as with most things, logic had little chance against emotion. She could come to no conclusion, and, needing impartial advice, raised the issue with Cathy. She described the entire interview in detail and ?nally, and hesitantly, told her of Dr. Butler’s proposal.

“I couldn’t believe that she suggested an affair, particularly since I hadn’t mentioned that I had already thought of it. Now, I just don’t know what to do. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else since I talked to her. Damn, it’s one thing to speculate about doing something like that but to think of actually doing it!”

“Well, honey, I don’t think that anyone can tell you what you ought to do. It sounds like the therapist laid out the pros and cons pretty clearly. Certainly, if you go ahead with it, you will have the problems she mentioned. You are the only one who can decide if your situation is bad enough to be worth it. Heaven knows, I’d hate to have to make that decision for myself”

Cynthia sat there, silently, and then blurted out, “Did you ever have an affair?” Before Cathy could respond, she hurried on, “What am I thinking of? I can’t ask you a question like that. It’s none of my business what you’ve done! The question is, what am I going to do!”

“Now, wait, Cynthia! I don’t mind talking about myself if it will help. If you mean, have I ever had a ‘love affair,’ the answer is no. If you mean, did I ever have extramarital sex, the answer is yes. However, my situation was completely different from yours. I certainly have never had any ‘romance’ problems with Eddie and the extramarital sex just happened. The ?rst time was when I was one of the chaperons for the senior class trip to Washington, D.C. After the kids had been checked in and were in bed, several of us went out for a snack and drink before turning in ourselves. We were in two different hotels, so we separated afterwards and Don Anderson and I…do you remember him?”

“Sure, he was the principal at Eastern H.S. when I was teaching there.”

“Well, we went back to our hotel, still talking, and, without really thinking anything about it, I invited him to my room to continue the conversation. I had known him and his wife, Tessie, for several years, even going out with them on occasion, and there had never been anything between us. However, the conversation quickly took on a more personal tone and, within a half-hour, we were in bed. We had sex, talked some more, had sex again, and went to sleep. He left around 6:00 AM. and snuck back to his room, leaving me stunned about what had I had done, but, I’ll admit, not the least bit sorry. I wondered how on earth I would be able to face him with the others around the next day, but it was as if nothing had happened between us, and everything was perfectly normal. That night, I went back to my room without having talked to him alone. I went to bed and, as I anticipated, around 11:30 he knocked on the door and we spent the night together again.”

“Wow, that’s something! Did Eddie ever ?nd out?”

“Oh, we came back home the next day, and the ?rst thing I did was tell him about it! I knew that there was no way that l could conceal it from him, he knows me too well. If I try to hide something from him guilt just radiates from me.”

“My god, what did he do? Was he mad?”

“Not a bit. I’ll admit that I was a little uneasy at ?rst, but he’d told me long ago that if I were ever in a situation that I didn’t want to stop something, just to go ahead. He said that he wouldn’t mind or be jealous as long as I was just playing around, not being serious. He was really happy that I’d enjoyed myself and I told him everything I had done. It was almost as much fun telling him as doing it!”

“Oh, that’s wonderful! I know that David would not react that way, and, I guess, not many men would. You’re very lucky.” She hesitated, then asked, “Did you do anything with Don Anderson after that? If you don’t mind me asking!”

“No, I don’t mind. Since Eddie wasn’t bothered, even encouraged me, I had sex with Don fairly regularly until he retired a few years ago and he and Tessie moved to Arizona. They were quite happy together, but she just wasn’t interested in sex, so I didn’t really feel that I was hurting her in any way. In any case, I guess you could call our liaison an ‘affair’ beylikdüzü ucuz escort since it lasted over ten years, but it really was nothing but a series of pleasant sexual interludes. We developed a real affection for each other, but it really was just a very close friendship, certainly not a love relationship.”

“Darn it, that’s exactly the kind of affair that I’d like to have! I don’t want some big thing! How do you get something like that going? I went on that senior trip for years and no one ever even hinted at anything, much less make a pass at me!”

“I don’t know if you can start something like that. It may be that it just has to happen. On the other hand, would you even recognize the signs if a man were interested? No man, at least one you would be interested in, would blatantly proposition you. He would be afraid of offending you and would only hint, show extra interest in you — things like that, and if you didn’t pick up on it, he’d probably assume that you weren’t interested. It’s a very delicate game on both sides and unless one of you, somehow, makes the risky move from hinting to suggesting, nothing will happen. To tell the truth, to this day I really don’t know just how Don and I moved from a casual conversation to going to bed together. I know that he didn’t baldly proposition me and I also know that I didn’t trumpet my availability, but the messages got across!

I think, though, that men and women give unspoken signals to those in whom they might have interest, signals that they may well not know they are giving. When there is no interest, or the signals are missed, nothing happens. Most often, when the attraction is there, a rapport develops so that smiles, gestures, glances, or whatever, are more personal and have more meaning, each party subtlety indicating interest and availability. The next step toward a sexual relationship comes naturally.” Then, laughing, “Heaven know, I’m no expert on this whole subject. Any time I’ve had a relationship, or whatever you want to call it, it seems to have just happened without any overt actions on my part. Things just seem to happen! I know that I’m not helping much!”

In a way, Cynthia was shocked at her friend’s admission of adultery, not shocked at the affair, itself, but just that she simply had never thought of Cathy and sex at the same time. On the other hand, thinking about it now, she realized, in retrospect, that men always seemed attracted to Cathy, talking and kidding with her, asking advice, and just, in general, enjoying her company. Even teenage boys had seemed to get crushes on her regularly while she taught high school classes. She radiated a sense of friendliness, of approachability, which appealed to both men and women, and, again in retrospect, Cynthia realized that she was very attractive — not beautiful or with a perfect ?gure, just a very nice, outgoing woman that people liked. It was perfectly understandable that passes would be made at her, and, given her generous and friendly (and apparently sensual) nature, that some of those passes might be welcomed. Unfortunately, Cynthia recognized that she, herself; was not like that. While she was friendly and open with people, she simply didn’t have in her personality whatever it was that caused men and women to gravitate to Cathy. Still, she realized that Cathy’s story had crystallized things in her own mind.

“No, you did help, in two ways, I guess. First, if you could have an affair or affairs, it makes it more acceptable for me to do so. Somehow it makes the whole idea less frightening, less immoral, for I know that you are a good person! Secondly, if you enjoyed it enough to continue for so long, I think that I might have the same luck. Unfortunately, all I have to do is ?nd the right man who is attracted to me, ?nd a way to subtlety let him know that I’m interested, and go from there! Should be easy! Actually, I have no idea as to how to proceed, but, Cathy, you were a real help. When I talk to the therapist I intend to say that I do want to go on with it and see if she has any advice as to how to proceed. In any case, I can’t thank you enough for telling me about your experience! I can’t believe that I asked such a personal and intimate question, but it makes me feel very good that you trust me enough to answer. You’re very sweet!

However, when Cynthia returned to Dr. Butler’s office for her next appointment, she was due for a surprise. The therapist began with a few general remarks to put Cynthia at ease, and then began. “Now, Mrs. Anders, I don’t want to trivialize your problem, but I must reiterate that it is quite common for women to ?nd that their husbands have lost whatever romantic or affectionate impulses that they once had. There are multitudes of reasons for this, but we’ve already discussed them, and the important thing is that you feel deprived and unappreciated, regardless of the reason. I have found in the past that the best beylikdüzü üniversiteli escort way to cause a woman to focus on her real problem, and decide how far she will go to remedy it, is to use shock treatment. So, at the end of last week’s session, I proposed that you seriously consider having an affair. Now, I’m sure, despite the fact that you didn’t mention it, that you had already thought of that option.” Dr. Butler looked questioningly at Cynthia and was rewarded by a hesitant nod, accompanied by a crimson blush.

Dr. Butler smiled, saying, “Actually, I think that all women in your situation think of an affair as, if nothing else, a way of saying, ‘See, someone thinks I’m attractive and cares about me!’ Usually, however, it’s like a kid thinking of running away from home so that ‘they’ll miss me when I’m gone!’ That’s why I frequently suggest an affair at the end of the ?rst discussion. Frankly, most women are not prepared to go that far, they just like thinking about getting back at their husbands, not actually doing anything. Shocking them with a proposal that they take such a dangerous action to brighten up their lives causes them to think about their whole life and, most often, they decide that things, overall, are not too bad. Living with it is better than any real alternative. However, the shock therapy also works the other way. After being forced to consider all the alternatives, some women decide that the risk is worth it, and we go from there. Now, where do you ?t?”

“I honestly don’t know what to tell you. I’ve thought it over very thoroughly, and, if I had the opportunity, I would have an affair. I’ve thought of the moral angle, and that doesn’t bother me. The idea of being unfaithful, an adulteress, if you like, doesn’t faze me. Actually, to be honest, I do have qualms about that, but not enough to stop me if I had the chance. I recognize the dangers you mention, and they would worry me, but, again, not enough. So, I guess the bottom line is, I’m ready for an affair, but I have no idea how to go about it! How does one start something like that? Who would I do it with? I’ve wracked my brain ever since l decided that I would like to go through with it, but I’ve come up with no answer. Good heavens, I’m a high school principal, approaching fifty. My ?gure is still good, I’m not overweight, and, if you’ll forgive the immodesty, my mirror tells me that I’m still rather pretty — but I’m still a 46 year-old married woman with a husband and three children!”

“Well, of course, you’ve pinpointed one of the problems. An affair is easy if you spot someone across the room at, say, a convention, a spark ?ies, and you end up in bed. Simple, straight forward and, if you’re lucky, instead of a one-night stand, you start a pleasant, perhaps long-lasting, affair. However, a spur of the moment happening like that is very different from cold-bloodedly deciding to have an affair and then looking for a prospect. For men, it’s easier, of course. If a man decides that he wants an affair, co-conspirator unspeci?ed, he can approach it many ways: ask a co-worker out to lunch and proposition her, get a female friend into a corner at a party and subtly proposition her, or, if worst comes to worst (and he just wants sex) pick up someone at a bar. If he’s rejected, he can always act as if he were joking, or high, or just pretend that he was misunderstood. In any case, he’s “just being a man” or having a male ‘mid-life crisis.’

“Even in the modern world, a woman, particularly a middle-aged woman, cannot do those things. Oh, she can ?irt and tease, thus hinting that she is available, but the man must normally make the ?rst move. Unfortunately, if a man is of a mind to seek extramarital solace, and thus ready to take the initiative, he is most likely to look for a younger partner, not someone his own age or older. So, in addition to the dangers of a sexual liaison, a woman must add the difficulty of making contact with a man of the quality to appeal to her.”

“In other words, while I have decided that I would actually like to have an affair despite those dangers, I can’t do it anyway!”

“Oh, now, all isn’t lost. There are still things you can do. First, you need to think carefully about the men you know who might be available. Has anyone hinted to you, or as they say now, ‘hit’ on you? Is there someone who really attracts you? You go to conferences, so you should think of men you’ve met there. You could be much freer to show your availability to someone away from home — perhaps dress more provocatively, “accidentally” expose something, maybe seem to drink a little too much. The problem, of course, is what you want out of the experience. If it’s just extramarital sex, perhaps doing something different with a different person that is one thing. On the other hand, if what you want is a relationship, sex combined with something more personal, more emotionally satisfying, beyoğlu escort it’s something else.

“The ?rst, you can get from virtually any acceptable man, probably at a convention, meeting, or whatever. Such contacts can be very satisfying, permitting a renewal of sexual interest, perhaps engaging it carnal acts that you have never done, or would think of doing, with your husband. A woman can be much more wanton, engage in lascivious activities, when involved with someone who is almost a stranger. As a sex therapist, I have talked with numerous women who have performed sexual acts that would simply shock their husbands, yet they have found those acts to be very exciting. The whole process can be very therapeutic.

“However, if you desire the latter, a relationship, and I think you do, it becomes more complicated. A one-night stand cannot give you the lift and support you want, for that requires an emotional commitment, genuine affection. Sexual intercourse, in all its variants, can be exhilarating when there are no ties between the participants — sheer physical pleasure without worrying about the other person or what they think of you. Nonetheless, sexual pleasure can be just as intense, perhaps more so, without actual intercourse if there is real affection, even love, between the parties. That, of course, is what you ?nd missing between you and your husband: so having sex with him, while physically pleasurable, leaves you feeling unfulfilled

Cynthia listened intently to Dr. Butler’s discourse, nodding her head in agreement with most points, particularly her last statement. “That is exactly the situation! It’s physically exciting while we’re doing it, but when we’re ?nished, I feel sort of empty! I’d rather just lie there, being held and, maybe, fondled, even if we didn’t have intercourse. I’d feel more loved, more appreciated! Then I’d really enjoy being screwed!” Suddenly, realizing what she’d said, Cynthia blushed, adding, “I guess I shouldn’t say ‘screwed,’ but it just came out.”

“Good heavens, I’m a sex therapist! I doubt that there’s a word I haven’t heard or used dealing with sex. Call it screwing, fucking, whatever seems natural to you. I certainly won’t be offended! Now, back to the real issue. What you want is, of course, extraordinarily difficult to get. It’s hard enough to ?nd a man with whom to have sex, considering the natural limitations you are faced with. Unlike a man, you can’t even, and certainly wouldn’t want, to just go out and pick up someone to screw you. It wouldn’t do what you want, anyway. But, that would be easy compared to ?nding someone to give you affection, to lie quietly in bed holding you, without creating other problems. Even if you did ?nd such a person, you risk having the affair becoming too intense. So, if you do ?nd someone, you have to walk a very thin line between a purely physical relationship that might be exciting but is as unfulfilling as screwing at home, and a close, emotional bond that would threaten your marriage.”

Cynthia looked as if she were going to cry as she said, tremblingly, “I’ve thought of a lot of this, but hearing you spelling it out so clearly makes me realize that there is little I can do. I can’t just go out and ?nd someone, and no one is going to ?nd me!” Then, angrily, “I’m stuck! I feel like putting one of those ads in the paper, ’46 year-old married woman wants affair. Needs love and affection that husband doesn’t supply!'”

“Say, now, don’t get upset. I just want to be very sure that we know what you want and that you are really aware of the problems. I know that it sounds discouraging, but it doesn’t mean that there is no hope. Extramarital relationships are difficult and, if you are certain that you want to go on, you need to consider the possible partners. I think that the next thing you should do is to think of all the men you know who appeal to you and seem to like you in return. Do any of them go out of their way to talk to you? Have they commented on your clothes or your hair? Has anyone kidded you about how attractive you are? The recent sexual harassment protections for women, unfortunately, have made men reluctant to make that kind of comment, but if they have done so it may show real interest.

If such interest exists, and you’re interested, forget your natural reserve and shyness, and respond warmly. If he asks you to go for lunch, don’t say you have to work, pick up your daughter, or any of the other lame excuses that keep you from taking a chance and being available. For that matter, in today’s world, you could ask him out to lunch if you have a school business justi?cation. In other words, if someone interests you, work on him subtly, show your own interest and let him make the moves. He’ll work to seduce you if he sees that you might succumb. Now, off the top of your head, can you think of someone who might be a candidate?”

“Unfortunately, I can’t. The men I deal with, teachers mostly, are married and are my subordinates. I just don’t have a chance to meet many men that I could have an affair with, even if I was attracted to them. We do have teacher conferences and “retreats” where other schools are represented, so, I guess, something would be possible there, but I certainly would have no opportunity or time to have anything but what you called a ‘one-night stand.'”

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