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Letters from America
When Has It Gone Too Far — the Illicit Affair!
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
The Illicit Affair
At least once, sometimes twice a week, I pass through a place called Mount Airy while commuting between Charlotte and Bristol, Tennessee. And in doing those commutes, I regularly seem to stop in this small town to use the restroom, grab some cashews to quell the hunger, or purchase a lottery ticket. And while I am in town, I like to get a newspaper. This particular paper: Issue 22, Volume 122, Jan. 31, 2021, page 5C, I found to be mesmerizing. It was America, day-to-day, like a slap across the face. I was captivated and remember muttering, “No way,” and “This is fascinating,” multiple times. It was an advice column where people write to a woman named Annie, “Dear Annie,” and then they tell her their problems and she provides advice. I don’t really know why, but I like it.

This column is about a nameless woman who says she has been in an illicit affair with a guy named, “Patrick,” for 18 long years and now she wants to break it off, so she writes to Annie (who is amazing) and asks for advice. At this point I put the paper down and tried to contemplate the scenario. I can see it now, readers sipping their morning coffee, opening up the Comic, Puzzles, and Fun, and WHAM! Text messages are being sent. It is a small town and neighbors are nosy and they gossip and one wrong step and everyone knows your business. “I told you! Patrick is a cheater! I knew it all along!”

I got to thinking, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but this happens all the time in America. And it did in England 500 years ago because even Shakespeare hinted at it, referring to jealousy as the “Green-eyed monster.” Jealousy was a problem back then stemming from the reality that people cheat. Nobody wants to believe that their spouse would ever emotionally hurt them like that. But it is as common as taking communion. The excuses of why people cheat are as varied as the people who participate, rich, poor, fat, skinny, long-hair, bald, tall, short, it makes no difference. Most women will have some overused gibberish about, “not being happy,” and “feeling ugly,” etc. If you are so unhappy then eat a bowl of fruit loops and file for divorce. And if you aren’t married, then be abstinent. My advice to this particular woman would be to join a convent. Most guys aren’t as subjective. They either aren’t getting the intimacy at home or they are bored. So, they go out and find some psychopath, like this lady, who hangs around for 18 years and then shares the dirty laundry with the world, grows a conscience, and wants to “just be friends.”

I don’t know if this “husband,” and I am using the term loosely here, can be helped. He must think he is on the Jersey Shore. “I want to love two women,” he says. Back in the old world, guys like him, they used to get slapped around the playground in high school. Then they grow up to become Patrick. The only innocent member of this crooked triangle is the poor wife. You waste 18 years of your life with Paddy the baller, the entire town knows what is going on but you, and for pity’s sake they keep their mouths closed because they all recognize that you wouldn’t last a week in prison.

How do I convince our students at King University in Bristol, Tennessee, that adultery is not only wrong, it is unacceptable, and you don’t have to be the married one to be in the wrong. If you are part of an affair knowing the person is married, then shame on you! Nathaniel Hawthorne had a great idea, make them wear a Scarlett letter. Some public humiliation goes a long way.

2,000 years ago there were Patricks and Karens, just like today in Mount Airy as we read the newspaper and eat our eggs. History keeps repeating itself over and over, and it will for eternity. I guess at the end of the day, you can look at yourself in the mirror and have honor, or you can be a disappointment to yourself, to your family, to your friends, and to society. I don’t know if I will ever understand “the illicit affair.” I guess it is because I believe in dignity and doing what is right. It happens, but those it happens to, will never fully trust again. When the right person comes around they will give them the benefit of the doubt, up to a point, but they will never be ok, like they were before.



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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