Whoever said that the Leaving Cert is the most difficult exam of your life – they’re lying. I did alright(ish) in that test, but have had no need for it since, in fact its details were soon forgotten. The biggest test of your life is monogamy. It is, by far, too cruel a rule. I speak in terms of Darwinism and biology, the fact that a person’s hormones are destined to rage when in some people’s presence, and remain flaccid in other’s. This of course fluctuates from month to month, all in the name of stupid pro-creation. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your husband, wife, or otherwise intended. Isn’t that cruel? It’s a simple mathematic equation… two random people equals one healthy baby. Who wants a baby? Nature, that’s who.
I hold my hand up. I’m guilty of the roving eye, and use the elastic band wrist trick. A vicious snap is often good enough to keep me grounded, but I can’t help wondering about my betrothed. Although he’s the most loyal man there ever was, he can only be human… a fact that stays with me whenever he leaves me for a night of taxi driving. You should see some of the slappers in Bray. They have no shame, they have no morals, they will wear nothing, they will screw anything, and will make this fact known. For a man to deny this takes serious armour.
I found a receipt once in his pocket for flowers and chocolates but I had none to show for it. That fuelled my curiosity for weeks.
I find long blonde hairs on my husband’s coat and I analyse his behaviour quietly because of them.
But why? Why the constant suspicion? Am I looking for clues? Why do we as fully comprehensible humans spring traps and accusations from thin air? If we browse the menus of our opposite sex, why shouldn’t our beloveds do so to?
A drunken moment on honeymoon soon found out. We had sweated out a Black Moon party and were back at the ranch in high spirits, so I asked. Hell, why not? That’s what being married is all about… asking dangerous questions. After all, there’s no point in hiding stuff now, is there?
‘Surely there’s been somebody you’ve been tempted by?’
He was surprised by the question, and evaded it. He changed the subject many times until I oozed it out. His reply left me reeling. He admitted that yes, there had been one or two times when temptation was more than torture itself, but that he had a fail-safe way to deal with it. What works for him, may not work for me, but that’s for me to deal with, however difficult that may be.
So what’s the moral?
I suppose that’s the secret to marriage. Even if I’m glibly stating this after a week or so of the dirty deed, eight full years of partnership have taught me that admittance is most definitely a way through. Stating your inner thoughts and worries opens doors. Marriage is about being faulty, about being impure, about being human.
People ask me what it’s like to be married. I tell them that I can feel nothing different, but that’s not true. Now I know that it’s more than a piece of paper. It’s about suffering the same things together, about holding hands through crowded concerts… it’s like holding a rope. We’re holding our partners over the edge of a cliff and it’s up to them to trust us. With marriage though, it’s like everybody can see us… everybody can see us dangling from that cliff and they’re waiting for us to fall. All we have to do is talk it through.
‘Are you still holding on?’
‘Yes. You’re heavy, but yes I’m holding on.’
The real torture is that we’re always dangling, never to be pulled up to safety. The only thing denying us all from safety is temptation, a frayed rope. The temptation of an affair is to plummet into the unknown, and that, dude, is too far to reckon with.
I desperately want to ask others about the state of their ropes, but it’s too personal a question, they need to be fully inebriated before a satisfactory answer is given. Here though, here is different. Here people have time to think.
How do you not have an affair?