If it didn't mean anything, why did you do it?
You say forever. You mean it. After all, this is true love. Faithful is what you are. It's a delight not a duty. Even when the chemistry quits running the show, being together is great. This is your best friend, your biggest fan.
Loyalty is a real treasure. You discover it in some of your worst moments. Like when the doctor tells you the news isn't good or when you lose your job. When the tough stuff is happening and your partner is there for you, you know how much faithful and forever matter.
Sometimes you mess up, or you're foolish. Sometimes your choices really cost your partner something, or challenge their loyalty to others. When they stand beside you anyway then you're truly in the lap of loyalty.
You get in on the act too. You support your partner, you admire them, you adjust yourself to make space for them. You might even feel pretty good about yourself for being a fine, loyal, loving partner.
Then one day you're looking at someone else. You find them fascinating. When you talk together the conversations stimulate you, satisfy something you hadn't realised you were missing.
This new person feels fresh and exciting. Their attention unlocks possibilities in you and you feel exciting.
Suddenly, the rest of your world feels distinctly dull. Your relationship feels stuck or hard, or plain ho-hum. When you're with your partner you feel plain ho-hum.
What you've got is the launching pad for an affair. Maybe in your most private fantasy the affair is already underway. After all, it feels so right, so easy, so natural, so good. In fact it feels so like a movie you can almost hear the soundtrack playing.
Someone new seems to offer the chance to remake yourself. How delicious to start again with no baggage to hold you back. No unflattering reminders of the moments that shame you and the habits that shape you.
Except that the baggage is yours. It doesn't stay with your partner. It comes with you. You can only lose yourself in lust for so long before the parts of yourself you're sick of resurface.
Someone you've been with for a long time knows about your baggage. Their knowledge keeps it in your face and invites you to unpack. That's some of what a partnership is about. Letting someone know you, helps you to know yourself. The better acquainted you get with yourself, the more likely you'll do some growing.
But sometimes growing is hard work. Someone new gives you a holiday from all that. You can soak up the attention while they get to know the bits of you that you've already got sorted. Or you can experiment with a fantasy you. It's easy for as long as it's new.
Next time you're tempted to ditch your loyalty and launch an affair you might ask yourself what it means. Maybe you have some growing to do and a lusty affair offers a welcome diversion.
Living with loyalty isn't easy, but it might just unpack some baggage and lighten your load.
If you would like help to live with loyalty, contact Relationships Aotearoa on 0800 RELATE (0800 735 283) or your local office which is listed in the telephone directory.