Married Men And Why I Couldn't Resist Them

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By Ethel Van Vare

As an expert on unhealthy relationships (and isn't that what we all aspire to be when we grow up?), I was recently asked to comment on what might have motivated the assorted Mrs. Gingriches to have an affair with a married man in the first place. After all, while Wife #3 might have held out hope that he would leave Wife #2 for her -- he had a track record by then -- Wife #2 had no reason to expect that. For all we know, she was gobsmacked when Newt said he was leaving cancer-stricken Wife #1 for her.

Like a woman I know moaned to me when her own married lover filed for divorce, "What part of 'unavailable' doesn't he understand?" Now that he was actually leaving his wife, things got a little more serious -- and a lot less sexy. I've seen Newt Gingrich. His unavailability was his most attractive quality.

Married men are catnip to some women. Perfectly nice women, women who really don't notice that their actions are harming another woman, or a family, or even their lover himself. Usually the only person they realize they are hurting is them, by denying themselves a fully-rounded relationship with an actual future. Perfectly nice women like, once upon a time, me.

When I was a practicing love addict, married men were my drug of choice. Affairs are goldmines of drama, and there's nothing a junkie likes more than drama. It masquerades so easily as feeling. A wedding ring can turn a certified public accountant into a motorcycle outlaw. You have to -- get to! -- keep secrets and tell lies. Suddenly, your life is filled with all the intrigue and mystery of a spy novel. You meet under false names wearing a floppy hat: "I am Natasha, and I am naked under ziz trenchcoat."

Yes, married men are like artists or CIA agents or vampires -- relationships with them are almost always doomed. But beautifully, romantically doomed, or so it seemed, and that, of course, was the point. Deep down, I was terrified of actual intimacy. The illusion of story-book romance trumps the reality of "What are having for dinner tonight, honey?" every time. There's no arguing over the utility bills, or the kids' bedtimes, or which in-laws to spend Thanksgiving with. No, those duties belong to the wife. You get to model the silk lingerie. Which sounds like more fun to you? I suspect it's a lot like the reason grandparents love spending time with their grandkids; when they get carsick, they just give them back.

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