Sunday, August 9, 2009

Choose One: Adulterer #1 or Adulterer #2

"It seems to me there are at least two types of adulteries and we misleadingly lump them together. There is the one-night-stand sort of adultery — the guy who wanders off with a series of youngish women so he can feel like a dashing playboy. Then there is the deeply-in-love sort of adultery."

I wonder if Mr. Brooks is suggesting that there are actually FOUR types of adultery:
the two he defines here and, of course, another two types that would be defined for women instead of "the guy who wanders off... so he can feel like a dashing playboy." I presume the the other two unspoken forms of adultery (the female variety) would be committed by some ungrateful trampish sort of woman.

"Both types represent a betrayal of the family, of course. Sanford wasn’t just cheating on his wife. He was cheating on his children. But I confess I think less harshly of people who commit adultery No. 2 than adultery No. 1. At least they are in search of something transcendent. They are in the grip of an addiction-like behavior."

I assume this means, according to Mr. Brooks, that if you are screwing a series of women rather than one repeatedly, you needn't worry about whether or not you have an addiction.

"Therein lies the paradox, though. People who commit sleazy adultery can probably go on with their lives and marriage. They may be shallow and selfish, but they can probably keep their affairs compartmentalized. People who commit true-love adultery actually do more damage to their families and to their entire lives. The betrayal is more tinged with profound feeling but also more complete."

Well, I'm glad we have a definition to help us out here, as well as some parameters:
SLEAZY ADULTERY: acceptable due to its ability to be compartmentalized (unless you get caught)
TRUE-LOVE ADULTERY: unacceptable due to the fact that it involves actual emotion.
Just so we understand....

April 8, 2011 Update:
I have new information that more clearly defines the two types of adultery and why it's worse when it's a woman committing either of the two types. Furthermore, unless a man is committing adultery for love (but don't worry, there are loopholes for men in that category as well), men cannot be held at fault for the "one-night-stand type of adultery" since he just can't control himself with so many floozies running loose in the world. Thanks, Jill, for this wonderfully eye-opening piece in Feministe:  Female infidelity: "It's different"