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February 7, 2008

'But I didn't cheat on my husband...'

Ruchi* (names changed on request) and Prateet had nothing in common: She came from a middle-class background, he was a diplomat’s son, she was 27, him 19, she a housewife, him a student. They had met at a salsa class: Her husband – a high-profile life insurance agent didn’t have the luxury of time and definitely not for dancing – and Prateet’s NBA type friends would much rather be dead than caught dancing. The result was them joining alone and being “partnered” with each other.

It all started pretty simply… He joked and called her “aunty,” she scoffed and declared he had much growing up to do. Their conversations were mostly about that day’s practice, the next lessons and who was the best dancer in class. Till one day the class ended earlier and they ended up having coffee and talking other things. He discussed his drug rehab stint, she spoke about missing her parents, he spoke about peer pressure and what professional college to join, she spoke about wanting a job…

From being dancing partners by chance, the two became friends. He felt she was “very cool for her age”, she felt protective about a “youngster in the big, bad world.” Her husband was out of town most of the time and wasn’t around much when he was in town either. They started having more coffees together even on days there was no class, watching movies together, even going shopping. Soon they were calling each other on the phone and talking too. No one had touched the other and no one had tried either, it was just camaraderie. The more Ruchi shared with Prateet, the lesser she felt her husband’s absence.

Their friendship progressed harmlessly, except that the husband noticed she was on the phone a lot and steadily grew suspicious. Then she fell ill for a week and didn’t turn up at the dance class. One night – as she lay sedated – her phone beeped and the husband read the message. It said, “I miss you Ruchi, all our talks, dancing with you… Get well soon. Miss our time together.Prateet.” All hell broke loose.

Next morning the husband accused Ruchi of having an affair. Ruchi denied it, cried there was nothing physical and insisted she was “just friends”. The husband however insisted that an “emotional attachment” with another man was as good as cheating on him… Ruchi was shattered: She had don’t nothing wrong and yet her husband felt cheated and said she had betrayed him. "But I didn't cheat on my husband... How was it an affair?" was all she could say. She didn’t know what to do.

Before you read FURTHER, let me know what YOU think:
1. Is an emotional involvement with another cheating on your partner?
2. Can you “cheat” without having sex?
3. Was Ruchi’s friendship with Prateet, wrong?


the mad momma said...

well the OA and I think its ok.. just read out the post to him... and he says that its just a friendship.. i agree. there is potential for it to get more serious.. but at the point where you stopped the story, it was harmless...

the only caveat - did her husband know? if it were only a friendship... then why wasnt her husband aware of it?

Crimson Feet said...

1. yes
2. yes
3. this doesn't seem like an emotional attachment "as yet", but it would sure grow into one. i don't approve of the husband's reactions either. there are better ways to deal with situations.

Eve* aka JBo said...

From what Ruchi* said, her and hubby didnt have much communication in the first place. She insists she didnt keep it from him intentionally, just that the topic never arose. Also, He chose NOT to ask but kept stewing in his head even when he saw her talking... Comes down to talking openly with your partner.

Abhi said...

To answer your questions:

1. not necessarily.
2. yes, just blow away, spend unwisely, your spouse's money.
3. not easily decidable by us - the others.

Well, cheating is about abuse of the trust placed in a person - spouse, or any other. Sometimes the trust is contractual, as in a marriage where it is implicit that sexual intercourse may not be had with anybody else other than the spouse. Sex, to me, is just one mechanism of trust abuse - especially when defined to be one ;). In contrast, I am not sure if a relationship involves exclusivity of emotional involvement with persons other than the partner. Different individuals have different levels of acceptance/tolerance of such gray areas of relationships. After all, we do say: if you love someone, set them free. If (s)he comes back, (s)he was yours; and if (s)he doesn't, (s)he never was yours to begin with! Or, to look at it another way, my jealous, insecure nature could make me suspect the worst the moment my spouse/partner just glances away from me :(.

A relationship grows in direct proportion to the growth of trust. However, does being able to trust someone more mean that the "ownership over that person" is more? Ownership permits us to dictate our terms to the very person we claim to love! Quite a number of other questions come to mind like:

1. Does Ruchi's increasing trust in Prateet mean that her trust in her husband has decreased? And perhaps more interesting: when would this actually be true? ;)

2. Or what could the possible reasons for a husband assume such a thing if his wife were trusting another guy?

3. Would the husband feel the same way if it was some Preeti instead of Prateet?

Ok. Now to the rest of the story ... ;)

Silvara said...

1. Agree - not necessarily
2. Again it depends - on the relationship - with your partner and the friend.

3. Up until this point and knowing Ruchi's side, I'd say no. The message though - if not knowing the circumstances does look suspicious for her husband - it does come down to how open her relationship is. Him being away and both of them 'ignoring' the growing friendship (by not talking about it - even in passing)is the cause of the misunderstanding.

The other thing though - I mean, what about close friends, or even best friends - someone who has been in someone's life BEFORE the partner came along. Or even family?? Does that change once you get involved romantically with someone? If you still place the same or perhaps more importance on someone other than your partner - is THAT cheating???

Will read on.......

FBM said...

1. Even while in a relationship one is not any one's private property. Freedom & responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

2. The husband in the story till now is the typical insecure patriachal male, who does not believe in equal relationship.

Kim on facebook said...

Hey chica! Ok, here's my take on the subject. No, I do not think that a friendship between a married woman and a man is cheating. However, if a wife is sharing herself emotionally, that is playing w/ fire, because most woman are fed first from their brain and heart before it goes downward (unlike most men). Even though the wife is not "cheating", she is not being honest with her husband because she never told him about her friendship. He has right to be angry and hurt. After "all hell broke loose" as you put it, they should discuss going to marriage counseling if they want to repair their marriage. In order the marriage to repair itself, the friendship with the younger man/boy should end. OR, there is the twisted side where a threesome is always option. lol

Back to the reading now......

Maxine said...

3.The friendship isn't wrong.A 19 year old guy.Gosh..I cant even recollect how a 19 year old feel/look like.But my take is he was just looking for some this n that to go home and jerk off.And also in his age having someone to send those hallmark messages is fulfilling.Also a married woman finding solace on him would also be a feel good factor.The husband being upset and not asking who she talks over the phone,is beyond me.Was he trying to look cool n understanding?But I dont believe Ruchi did not hide it intentionally.My guess is she was afraid the husband wouldn't approve of it and then it would end,or hiding was more convenient to meet up since she wouldnt have to answer to the husband etc.Anyhow,she had fun.Maybe blog about it and move on(to the next);)
Or restore the lost love in her marriage.

Maxine said...

Blogger ate up my 1 and 2.

1.Nope(Friggin shrinks wont let live!!!)
2.Depends.If h/she is a sex head,then no.If emotions matter,then yes.

Cyclops said...

Well, well, very erotic, to begin with. And a good situation to ponder. All the above comments are good, in particular Abhi, Kim & Maxine. Maxine espescially, I guess you don’t like beating around the bush, went straight to the heart of the matter, without mincing any words…….

To all this insightful banter, I can humbly add the following (without having read further) : Ruchi allowing a TEENAGE BOY of all people such closeness, when any woman should have so obviously known what is on the kid’s mind, leads me to assume that, as a woman, she is neither deeply self-aware, nor psychologically independent. If she can let herself float down the stream like this, letting her guard down completely, and then claiming that they were “just friends”, then she is just deceiving hereself, she is in denial, plain and simple. Denial of the fact that she is trapped in an unsatisfying marriage, and is looking for intimacy elsewhere. Women dont usually go straight to the point like how men do, they need some emotional foreplay, and the foreplay is the juice for them. So yes, it IS cheating, at least as far as the woman is concerned.

“ The more Ruchi shared with Prateet, the lesser she felt her husband’s absence. “ This statement cuts to the core of the whole problem. That, along with the fact that the husband DID suspect some misgivings, and yet he DID NOT ask her about it candidly, speaks volumes about their relationship. There isn’t just a simple ‘communication gap’, it makes us ask whether they got married on the basis of mutual attraction, by their own wish and consent, or was it an arranged marriage which, strangely, are so prevalent even today……..

Such an intimacy between a man and a woman, one or both of whom may already be committed elsewhere, is fine provided both are psychologically astute, and each understands that which is best left unsaid. Ruchi isn’t smart at all. Oh, and the kid ? Well, he quite obviously imagines he’s on some wild joyride, doesn’t get that he’s playing with fire. Jackass. Deserves a good beating…..

Finally, this little story is a masterpiece of brevity. In just so many words, you depicted the whole situation, no more, no less. And it’s the ambiguity that’s portrayed so masterfully here. Less is truly more….. in fact its so devoid of detail that its difficult to answer your questions in one word, or in black-and-white.

Okay, enough talk, back onto the story.

Pointblank said...

well...u CAN cheat on ur partner without having sex with another man. And me thinks its more hazardous than having a sexual relation with another man, without emotional attachment. (as in a one night stand or smthg).

But yeah, friendship and love (with out sex) are different, tho there is a thin line dividing the two! Mebbe we r a lil immature to handle friendship between the opp sexes. We cannot easily forget that famous line from Harry met Sally, can we??

rima said...

3.no. rather the husband's reaction is wrong.
are we saying once married, a woman has no "right" to get emotionally attached to another person.crap. at the first place, if the husband had enough time, she wouldn't resort to something like this.
having said that, i dont think one can generalise such a situation in today's date. I guess, as long as a woman feels loved cared and content(as cliched as it may sound), she wouldn't look upto anyone/anything else. And if she does not, she not only has the "right" to be emotionally close but physically close as well.The best thing is ofcourse to get out of such a relationship.

Anirudh said...

Well ya there is a thing called emotional cheating.

But well it was harmless till you stopped the story.

And i think the husband overreacted.

pseudolegolas said...

one thing for sure......u know how to sell a story.......
i think the story is good but is all made up (felt like you have portrayed your own life asking for others' opinions)...........but it surely depicts some general truth.........anyways m not a big fan of this institution called marriage.........
Also from my knowledge of contemporary writing this kind of match (older woman with younger guy) will earn more attraction..........

P.S.-I dont like penguin ideas of life partner

Eve* aka jb said...

Hello Pseudo (or Legolas?),
You are welcome to your opinions. However, those whove been reading this blog will tell you that are mine are ALWAYS written in first person and I pretty much make it clear it's my story. Also, have NOT been known to seek other peoples' opinions when leading my life! ONLY their opinions on certain ideas being discussed.
"Earn more attraction" = do explain.
Penguin ideas of life partner??? What the heck is that??

pseudolegolas said...

Anyways i like your writing style........have just started reading blogs and one of my friends recommended you........most species of penguins keep the same life partner for whole life.........and as i dont believe in those ideas so i think i will not face such a situation (the one depicted by you in your story).........hope to read many more nice articles from you..........