Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…Part 2

Abby decided to stay awhile, ordering as many drinks as her body could tolerate, or rather to numb every sense that was hurting. She really didn’t want to let him go, but she also didn’t want to be the one responsible for someone else’s pain.

With each drink, Abby tried to piece together a picture of what she thought Agustin’s fiancée looked like. Maybe she’s a beautiful, modelesque woman with long flowing hair and a Stepford wife personality. Then again, maybe she was an out-of-shape, hunch-backed troll with warts and hairs growing out of a mole on her nose. Abby giggled to herself.

“Hello, is this seat taken?”

Abby looked up to see a very handsome blonde-haired man stand before her with a gleaming smile. She perked up thinking that maybe her luck was about to change. “No, no one’s sitting there.”

“Thanks!” The handsome man took the chair and rejoined his group of friends who seemed to be celebrating something or another.

Abby sulked. Head low. Heart lower.

“I guarantee you that whatever it is, really isn’t as bad as you think.”

The man’s accent was thick. Between that and the effects of the alcohol, Abby’s mind was starting to swoon. She really didn’t want to entertain conversation – mostly because she didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. “Yeah, well, you don’t know so why don’t you buzz off.”

“I could, but you look like you need a friend.”

Abby looked up at the man – hard. “And I guess you’re trying to be my friend, right?”

“Alright, alright. Maybe not a friend per se. Maybe I could be a listening ear.”

Abby really did want someone to talk to. She need to be comforted, but a part of her felt like she was being desperate about confiding in a stranger.

“How about we start with names.” He smiled trying to encourage Abby to do the same. “I’m Khalil. And you are…?”

“Abby.”

“What is troubling you Abby?”

“You just want to jump right in. Let me ask you this. If I tell you all about me, what benefit is it to you?”

Khalil sat back in his chair considering her question. “Is it so wrong for a person to want to help another?”

“No, but most men have some type of agenda when they see a woman who’s down.”

“Sorry you think that way. I am not most men. I want to help you, if I can.”

Abby leaned back. Her brain was still swimming, fighting against inebriation to determine whether to take a chance or not.  He was decent looking.  Tan skinned with coal-black hair and a friendly smile.  But most of all he was being nice at a time when it seemed that she was falling apart.  After studying him, she gave in.  She hoped it wasn’t another mistake.

Abby gave the highlights of her day with Khalil listening attentively. There was something about his eyes that made her feel comfortable.  As the conversation continued, Khalil’s eyes danced in a way like a snake charmer putting his prey in a trance. Before Abby realized it, they were leaving the restaurant and heading back to his place.

When all was said and done, Abby had slept with Khalil. She felt ashamed, embarrassed, and like an easy whore. While Khalil was still sleep, Abby eased out of bed, grabbed her clothes, and cried all the way home. She couldn’t believe she’d stooped to this level. Was the hurt from Agustin that bad that she had to resort to this?

Abby didn’t know what to do with herself. She didn’t have girlfriends to confide in or at least a relative that she felt wouldn’t judge her. She wanted to turn herself inside out and wash away all the bad things that had happened today. But all she could do was pace….rummage through uncomfortable feelings….rack her brain through questions that didn’t seem to have answers.

Ding, dong.

Abby stood still. She prayed that Khalil had not followed her.

“Abby open up. It’s me.”

“Agustin?” Abby hurried to open the door.   “What are you doing here?”

Agustin hastily entered the apartment, taking Abby’s face into his hands. He began kissing her. Abby pushed him away.

“Aren’t you supposed to be getting married?”

Agustin slowly held up his left hand.  Without making direct eye contact, “I am married.”

Abby moved further away from him wiping away his kiss with the back of her hand. “Married?! Shouldn’t you be with your wife then? Why would you come here?”

“Abby, I love you. I don’t really know why I went through with the wedding, but I know my life is with you.”

“Get out!”

“But Abby can’t we talk about it?”

Abby started a push-punch combination on Agustin, “GET OUT!”

He left. Abby slunk on the couch.  Her emotions were numb, but her mind was in disbelief.  She quickly scanned the room to see if maybe she was being punked.

Mental Infidelity – Does it Really Exist???

Photo: DNA Plus
Photo: DNA Plus

When one thinks about infidelity, often the first thought is something sexual, occurring between two people with one or both being in a relationship with someone else.  There are scars that may come from this – feelings of betrayal, distrust, hurt, and a plethora more depending on the person.  The result of these affairs can split relationships, marriages, families, and even cause a ripple in the bonds with friends, co-workers, and others who once held a high esteem for the individual involved.

Emotional infidelity isn’t far behind.  While there may not be physical contact, there is a deeper bond created by sharing thoughts and feelings with another instead of sharing with the spouse or mate.  When the cat’s out of the bag, there may be similar feelings of betrayal, hurt, and distrust.  Some may try to work through those things to better the relationship with their mate/spouse.  Others may see it as the writing on the wall, now knowing what the mate/spouse is capable of and decide to part ways – not wishing to experience further damage.

So what about mental infidelity?  What is it?  What does it involve?  Are we all guilty of it?

According to Dr. Bill Strom at Power to Change, mental infidelity is the practice of fantasizing about other partners.

Photo: Getty Image
Photo: Getty Image

Reading that definition leads to the assumption that just merely seeing someone and having a thought about how attractive they are is mental infidelity.  On the contrary, Dr. Strom affirms that the line is crossed when the individual in a relationship daydreams about what life would be like with the other person.  It could even be the belief formed that life, sex, time and so on would be better with this person as opposed to the mate/spouse.

When you think about it, mental infidelity could be the precursor to emotional infidelity and that leading on to physical infidelity.  It’s a chain of thoughts that can yield desired feelings leading to actions and behaviors that may feel good, but could have dire consequences.

Reminds me of the tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that I learned in my counseling classes eons ago. The principle of CBT is that what you think drives the way you feel and we act accordingly.  Please take that information as just that.  I’m not a practicing counselor or therapist nor is this post meant to be therapeutic.

So why the post, then?  Recently, I’ve had discussions with friends about relationships, and one of the topics was infidelity – emotional and physical (or some call it sexual).  When I asked whether they believed in mental infidelity, there were crickets.  They had not heard about it or knew what it was.  But I see that this is a question that others have as well.    It drew my curiosity at how common this may be in action, not theory, and how many people would be willing to admit it.

I will be the first, at least here.  In my first marriage, things weren’t the greatest.  There were financial difficulties,  an interfering family member, and finding out that the goals we discussed before marriage as joint ventures were now lone endeavors.  Trying to talk and work through these issues was like talking in the wind.  I was frustrated.

I remember a man who I had known from years before.  I never dated him, slept with him, or anything other than a cordial greeting.  But the way he carried himself and treated other people made me admire him.  He was motivated and appeared to be balanced.  I wondered at times what life would have been like if he and I were together.  My imagination went wild thinking about how much we’d accomplish – build a house, have kids, travel the world, etc.  But the truth was that I was already in a relationship – no matter how unhappy or unfulfilled.  Besides I was raised that when one marries, it is ’til death. I would learn later that infidelity was an out as well (based on my understanding of Matthew 5:31-32).

All in all, everything came to a head and we divorced.  I did not seek the guy I had fantasized about.  Not really sure why I didn’t.

When I think about that time and what has been described above as mental infidelity, I am afraid to say that I was guilty.  And I’m pretty positive that my thoughts further drove my dissatisfaction with my former marriage.  All a hard pill to swallow, but one that I will take with wisdom.

Photo: Worship House Media
Photo: Worship House Media

So how can we avoid the whole infidelity thing?  Dr. Strom offers a point of sage advice:

Commitment is our intent to stay in relationship with our wives [or husbands]; faithfulness is the practice of doing so.

Makes sense.  What’s the point of holding on knowing that you won’t be faithful?  In like manner, why be faithful and then be lackadaisical in the commitment to the relationship?  Never understood why some are monogamously in relationships without putting forth effort.  Relationships, especially marriages, are already hard work when there is an effort. Why make relationships an unpleasurable struggle by being unfaithful or not committed?

I think I’ve said enough. 🙂  So, what are your thoughts about mental infidelity?  Is it a deal-breaker?