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No Christmas cheer for the cheating

Date
Not everyone is an angel at Christmas.

Not everyone is an angel at Christmas.

December means we’re decking halls and doing things we wouldn’t usually do. Like focusing on family values above all other forms of social connections, for example. These holidays are about home, hearth and happiness. And this is a good thing because family is a core thread in the fabric of a well woven society. Without clans, civilisations can collapse. So too can someone’s sense of self.

Which is why I wonder, what do cheaters do at Christmas? How does the adulterer handle the one time of year when there’s even less forgiveness for their choices than usual? Including - and especially – the forgiveness they administer to themselves. Christmas can be a very lonely time. Even those surrounded by love can feel socially isolated. But there’s little quite like being a homewrecker come the time when homelife is sacrosanct. And there’s little quite like knowing you are wrecking the home you had built.

Yet there are a lot of bad girls and boys about. What do they deserve?

I know somebody who’s having an affair. They’re colleagues. It’s a fairly typical situation. On one hand, this seems to make it less offensive – sometimes it seems like everyone’s doing it, so what’s the problem? But lately, she’s been feeling more remorseful than usual. And it’s important to note feeling guilty is a usual feeling. Not totally without morals is my mate. Few cheaters are.

“I feel like a fraud,” she wrote to me, on the strict condition of anonymity. “I go home to him and the kids, I make lists, I wrap presents, I decorate, and I think ‘what the hell am I doing – why the hell have I let this happen?’

“But then I’m with him, and I can’t pretend my husband makes me feel the same way. It’s only been since winter – spring was beautiful – but now summer is here, my home needs me, and I don’t know if I can do it anymore, either with my lover in the city or my life in the suburbs. But is Christmas the right time to call it off? What about the kids? What about work? What about family – all the relatives are coming – my parents... his parents.

“I’m scared. I don’t know what to do.”

A compelling confessional if ever there was one. What to do indeed?

Christmas can be very lonely, but it can also be very confronting. Notwithstanding New Year's and the obligatory need for new beginnings, the inescapability of festive relatives makes this season challenging for cheaters and non-cheaters alike. But I can only imagine the extra layer of discomfort someone might feel sitting down to feast, belly full of lies, head full of deceit. Especially if a whiff of their wrongdoing was sniffed at by someone likely to launch an inquisition. Like the spouse. Or worse, a kid.

However we all know no-one is perfect. Few people will look back at the year that was and confidently confirm Santa would have no problems with their behaviour whatsoever. Some of us will look at our family and pretend things are better than they are. We’ll say we’re fine when we’re not. We’ll fob off concern and create and excuse. We’ll lie. We’ll cry.

We shouldn’t, should we?

In the spirit of the season we should be honest. We should be frank with the people we love. We should face up to our own truths.  We should come clean about our sins.

But would we? Would you? Will you?

Here’s the other thing we need to remember about Christmas. It may be about family. But at its heart is the message of love. And what’s love without truth, and forgiveness?

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235 comments

  • how do people have an affair for months/years on end and don't expect to get busted sooner or later?.
    as a side note, the turkey is in the freezer.

    Commenter
    Victorious Painter
    Date and time
    December 07, 2012, 7:21AM
    • What's weird is when they bring their 'lover' to the family gathering. My ex's uncle used to bring the woman he was seeing to their family gatherings (including the big Christmas get together and his wife's birthday party) as a 'close friend'....in the presence of his tight lipped and humiliated spouse.

      To this day I don't know how she held back from breaking plates over his head nor do I know how the 'other woman' had the face to turn up in the first place.

      Commenter
      Jill
      Location
      psychedelia
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 8:27AM
    • He sounds like he's a special kind of stupid Jill. The nerve of some people.

      Commenter
      She-Raz
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 8:59AM
    • I think some people have a slowly growing desire to actually get caught. In a crazy way it is maybe easier for some to get a resolution this way than to be straight up honest with their wife or husband about their unfaithfulness.

      Commenter
      eyeswideopen
      Location
      earth
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 9:09AM
    • @ Jill

      Far too many people moralise about what others ought / ought not do.

      Clearly, something 'worked' in that relationship. While not what I'd do, maybe that was their way to cope with their relationship.

      Live and let live.

      Cheers

      Commenter
      Dalliance
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 9:13AM
    • While my brother was helping a mate through a tragic time, this mate was shagging my brother's partner. Some people are real classy. And there is no such thing as karma. They don't get bitten in the backside. Life just continues for them. The only person you can change is yourself.

      Commenter
      Farmer
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 9:34AM
    • Why doesn't your friend buy her hubby a nice xmas pressie to sooth her troubled mind? Maybe a gift voucher to the Stilletto boudiour? Or an all expenses trip to Bangkok with his mates? Surely she would feel better.

      Commenter
      Losing Sculptor
      Location
      Highway to Hell
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 9:54AM
    • @ Loving Sculptor;

      If she did that he might suspect something...

      Commenter
      MO4
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 11:08AM
    • It really did not work, Dalliance.

      The 'live and let live' mantra only really works when you're unaffected by the events and/or can't be bothered. Otherwise passivity is generally an invitation to perpetuate the perceived problem.

      Imagine if your house was burnt down and you went to the police to report the incident partially with the hopes of tracking down the arsonist...and they told you to live and let live. It wouldn't be a very satisfactory response.

      Commenter
      Jill
      Location
      psychedelia
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 11:11AM
    • @Jill, some people’s audacity can be rather spectacular, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of been at the receiving end of some of it myself but nothing anywhere that extreme.

      Commenter
      Victorious Painter
      Date and time
      December 07, 2012, 2:18PM

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