Loyalty and Lust

Hilary Smith

Hilary Smith is a writer with Relationships Aotearoa and an experienced counsellor. www.relationshipsaotearoa.org.nz

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 Relationship Services on 0800 RELATE (0800 735 283) or your local office which is listed in the telephone directory.

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  • Switch says

    I mean WOW Hillary, your article just rocked..

    It never occured to me that trying for an affair might be actually me not wanting to grow up...
    You ARE right there, Loyalty isnt easy... both in relationships with spouse and keeping an account with God.

    And I know God CARES that I am loyal to him too.
    Loyalty is hard. We need to grow up.

    Its high time. awesome article !
  • Switch says
    Loyalty DOES lighten your load...
    And if we have trouble, we can remember that a commitment to God as well as to my wife can help us be loyal.

  • Why bring religion into it?
  • Sharky says
    Totally agree about growing up. You need to go in to a relationship with your eyes open and in the full knowledge that you will be tempted to stray from your partner. It's certainly not going to be all roses and RCA, that's for sure.

    If you go into it knowing this, however, your can recognise the position you're in and choose not to be weak. Cheating on someone when they have committed their life to yours is weak and I simply don't understand how someone can hurt someone like that knowing how much they will change them. Cheating on someone changes that person irrevocably for the worse. How can people face having such a negative impact on a person't life?!
  • Ben says
    A very topical artical, given that the Christmas party season us upon us.
  • Ben says
    Plese excuse my spelling. I meant article, not artical.
  • Loyalty really is one of the most important things in a relationship along with honesty and it will get you a looong way. Without it, what do you have? This counts for love, friendship, family, any kind of relationship.
  • Kent says
    This article caught my attention because yesterday i was with a woman who then told me she had a partner. We'd spent a week and a half working together and flirting before we hooked up and she hadn't mentioned a thing about him... Now i feel like a dishonorable prick, i feel really sorry for the other guy, and i feel screwed over myself...
    I just think it's worth mentioning that affairs can make everyone involved feel like a muppet
  • as time goes on and we become stuck in a "comfort zone" boredom sonmetimes starts to set in, relationships can become predictable, or even mundane - then the urge sets in. Solution - spice things up a little, change your routine, go out on a whim, show them how much you care without wanting anything in return, its not easy, but if its too easy is it really fulfilling???

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