NBC’s new musical drama Smash is one of my favorites for a host of reasons. I love its realistic, in-your-face portrayal of the cutthroat entertainment business. The show’s various storylines focus on the production of a Broadway show based on the love life of Marilyn Monroe, but Monroe’s “sexcapades” aren’t the only ones shown front and center. One of the lead characters (played by Debra Messing) is having a dangerous affair with one of the production’s stars. The affair ends when the son of Messing’s character catches them kissing while his father’s away and is devastated.
I’m also watching a similar plot play out in my real life. One of my sister-friends was recently involved in a three-month affair with her personal trainer. She has been married for about five years and has no kids. Her husband is not the nicest guy in the world and is far more devoted to his work than anything else, especially my sister-friend. In fact, her husband travels to South America for nearly two weeks out of each month.
I discovered the affair when I noticed a change in my sister-friend’s behavior. She went from always being a bit sullen to all smiles – an indicator that some unmet needs were now being taken care of. I asked her point blank whether she was having an affair or not and she reluctantly told me about the trainer. Naturally, what had started as casual flirting soon turned into much more. Without judgment, I warned her to be careful because these things never turn out good.
Over time, my sister-friend began to spend more time with the trainer. Overnight stays, dinner dates, etc. The physical fling was quickly becoming emotional; stirring up a recipe for disaster. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone an affair of any kind, but an affair of the heart can potentially be far more explosive than a physical “jump off” from time-to-time.
Unfortunately, my fears became reality when my sister-friend and the trainer both caught serious feelings for each other. It’s so easy to do when you’re comparing a fantasy world to the real world in life and marriage. Real life can never compete with the passions of a secret rendezvous. Moreover, it’s much easier to feel the romance when you’re not looking at dirty socks, listening to snoring or dealing with meddlesome mother in laws. All of these are perils of marriage and long-term relationships that come with being with someone day-to-day.
Sure, I understood that my sister-friend had needs that weren’t being met in her marriage. But, without preaching, I reminded her that she needed to work that out within her marriage before venturing outside of it. By initiating and continuing this affair, she was undermining her relationship with her husband, and quite possibly causing irreparable damage.
It’s hard to tell someone on a roller coaster ride they’re enjoying to get off, so she didn’t take my advice. Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago when all hell broke loose. Her husband found some undeleted text messages in her phone. He called the trainer who ultimately spilled the beans while professing his love for my sister-friend. As you can imagine, it sent their lives into a whirlwind.
The saddest part is that once confronted with the idea of being without her husband, my sister-friend woke up. She realized she’d stupidly allowed herself to believe the hype and forget what was most important to her. She is trying to repair the damage she’s caused and I hope its not too late. Needless to say, she switched gyms and now works out with her girls.
Being faithful becomes increasingly more difficult when you’re experiencing problems in your relationship. But, you can’t fix the problems by creating another one and starting an affair. Instead, focus on solving your issues in your current relationship and avoid the dangers of an affair.
Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.
Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.