To Cheat…or Tweet? Infidelity in the Age of Social Media, for Industry Feb 2015. I’m arrested by an online confession, a particularly pitiable example of a lonely woman’s sexless marriage. At first glance it’s a tempting glimpse of one road onto the highway of cheating and/or divorce.
A lot of the commenters telling her to leave seemed like obvious romantics at first, but they had one major thing in common—they were women who had for the most part experienced the same thing, and they had left and were happier. The other commenters were far more practical in their responses, especially the men; those ranged from the hard truth (he’s gay, or he’s cheating, catch him in the act) to somewhat defensively pointing out that asexuality is a thing.
I couldn’t decide on any particular judgment. All I knew (thanks, internet!) was that there were many like her, and that in her article she hadn’t bothered to come up with any of her own solutions, even theoretically. She hadn’t left him nor suggested it. So if she was not gearing up to leave her husband, getting some psyching up from the online chorus, why was this woman even writing? Maybe this confession was a temporary solution in itself, or maybe she wanted another suggestion of escape.
My first instinct, therefore, was to give her the out that she seemed to be courting, and comment—that she should get a lover, not least because divorce is so obvious…and high risk. Marriage is often not what we thought, but of course nothing is. I couldn’t help but think of a man (actually men) in a similar situation, just cheating, doing what he needs to do for himself, not railing on a blogging community site about it. So why shouldn’t she?
I started to wonder about the passivity beneath her anonymous advice-seeking. Was she just venting, or genuinely seeking help? Maybe she was asking permission to do something she wasn’t yet consciously considering? If so how does her “audience” help and/or hurt the process?
Read the rest on Industry’s site.
I just hit the send button on my next column. Writing feels belabored, with a million words coming out wrong and me trying to tease a thread that is at times obscure at best. It is especially so when I can’t find the joy. Then it’s just work, confusing work. I guess I could consider myself a professional, in light of the fact that a deadline and editor means I’m doing it, regardless of how it feels.
It’s just a bit painstaking, lately, which is uncomfortable. I feel as if I’m continually peeling back layers of received thought and language. I am unlearning. But it seems I’m writing variations on the same theme over and over—about autonomy in our relationship with the world, or the real and the counterfeit. I mean, how long can a relatively clueless person like myself write about relationships, trying to convince others of my idealistic notions? Who am I trying to persuade? Some things I will never know, and some things I can only describe to people who will never see things the way I do.
This is me as a baby. I already had the penchant for staring off into space.
“What are you thinking about?” my family would ask when I was a little older. “Life!” I said.
Well, here’s to finding something to stare at this weekend aside from the TV.