Having a lover who’s married can be a complicated situation for several reasons. It’s never easy to meet up with them, especially spontaneously, and the time that you actually get to spend with them is always going to be limited. Just getting into contact with them can present difficulties; you just never know if they’re alone, with their official partners or busy with their families. An ongoing affair requires care and discretion at all times. It’s essential to maintain the facade of your lover’s ‘official’ life because they rarely have the intention to dismantle it just for your benefit. It’s also common, after an illicit tryst, for your part-time partner to go back to their respectable married existence. It’s a conventional life that you’ll never be a part of.
If you have an official partner yourself then the inconvenience of maintaining another relationship on the side might be easier to handle. Both you, and a married lover, would understand the difficulties inherent in living a double life under similar shared circumstances. It’s quite different for single people, however. It can seem to them that the true infidelity applies to the time their lover wastes with his spouse. Of course, not all of those singles who enjoy having married lovers need to suffer. Indeed, some prefer to have a really committed lover, who’s already spoken for, than have a faithful partner who’s committed only to them.
People with married lovers often see the difficulties of maintaining their clandestine relationship as a welcome challenge and not as an impediment at all. The very idea of a married lover can be the real turn on. The constraints on the moments that can be shared with each other ensure that what time there is has to be harnessed and dedicated to pure indulgent pleasure. There can be no moments squandered on arguments about washing machines, discussions about mortgages or issues over in-laws.
One summer, when I was a student, I got off with a married man. More to the point, he had only just got back from honeymoon. He was my boss in a pub and I was working there as a waitress at weekends. I suppose that made it a double prohibition: having an affair with an older married man who was also my employer. I was impacted by him when I had the job interview. His muscular physique and easy humour got me going right from the first day even after I found out that he was engaged to be married in the coming months.
I chose not to pursue my attraction for him and decided that having him as a sweet piece of eye-candy would be more than sufficient. One afternoon, near the end of summer, we found ourselves alone together in the otherwise empty pub. He offered me a drink and I accepted. More drinks and banter followed. Even though he was a newlywed, I began to flirt with him overtly. He responded to my advances with some of his own. I deduced, quite quickly, that this would be my only opportunity to score with him and I didn’t hesitate to take it.
Afterwards, I had no guilt whatsoever. He was the committed one, not me. I contented myself with the knowledge that if it hadn’t been me, then he would’ve cheated with someone else soon enough. I did end up thinking about his wife though and wondered whether she really knew the man she’d married.
Looking back at that time with the benefit of hindsight and experience I’ve begun to see things differently. The sugary taste of forbidden fruit continues to intrigue and attract me but not when it’s in relation to married men (or women). These days, I disregard them. This is because, simply put, I want to be number one.
And, I’m so not into sharing.
Translation of ‘Los amantes casados’, published in El País.