The following are approximately the first 1000 words from Chapter 10 of Jonar Nader’s book,
How to Lose Friends and Infuriate Lovers.
My partner cheated on me
I am an impatient reader. I can almost manage those two-minute detective books where the reader has to solve a mystery after being given the outline of a crime. These mini ‘who dunnit?’ stories are tricky in that the clues are scant. I shall give you an example. See if you can spot the guilty party in the following scenario, and try to solve this problem.
Before they were married, Mary would accompany John to all his football matches, no matter where they were held. Six months into their marriage, John’s grand-final was scheduled interstate. He begged Mary to travel with him, but she refused, saying that she wanted to stay home to attend her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebrations. John was disappointed, and made his feelings known, saying that their relationship should take priority. This was John’s first major grand-final, and he did not want to be the only player on tour without his partner. Mary stayed. John went. After winning, John’s team went out to a nightclub where John met a beautiful lady, whom he invited to his hotel room. After several beers, they became intimate. Mary eventually found out about John’s dalliance. In a fit of rage, she accidentally ran over John’s foot, resulting in his forced retirement from football. In retaliation, John burned Mary’s thesis, which she had been working on for five years as part of her doctorial studies. Her computer and back-up copies were also destroyed. Mary wanted to file for divorce, but her legal counsel warned her that she stood to lose millions of dollars, because she was the wealthy partner. She had no concrete proof of infidelity, and therefore would not be able to stop a court from awarding the cheating husband half her estate. Mary was so devastated that she contemplated suicide, and later asked a private-eye to source a hit-man to eliminate her husband. The hit-man took $70,000 but he did not bump-off the husband. ‘Murder is a serious business, m’Lady,’ said the hit-man. ‘If you retain me for another three months, at $10,263 per month, I will give you satisfaction.’
Now you, the reader, come into the picture. It is up to you to solve the mystery. The only clue that you are later given is that the hit-man handles these types of cases all the time, and he knows that murder should always be the last resort. Before his current lucrative job, the hit-man was a qualified marriage counsellor and a psychologist. He believed that John was genuinely remorseful, and that John’s love for Mary was strong. What did the hit-man do to solve the case to Mary’s satisfaction?
Naturally, one would want to ask dozens of questions, but two-minute mysteries must remain, as the name implies, brief. What do you suppose transpired? Well, the next clue that I can give you is that the hit-man assisted Mary to get John out of her life. She obtained her divorce, and she did not have to surrender any of her assets. So, what did the hit-man do?
The hit-man followed John and collected enough surveillance material to prove that John was cheating on his wife. How did the hit-man know that John would re-offend? ‘It’s simple, m’Lady,’ said the hit-man. ‘From my experience, partners who sleep around, will sleep around. Just watch them long enough and they’ll re-offend. It’s never failed.’
Here is my probing question: what was the nature of the real issue at hand? Having read about the chain of unfortunate events, can you pin-point the moment when the problem first started? Was John unreasonable in expecting his wife to forego her parents’ celebrations? Should John have cancelled his game, in order to show more respect for his in-laws? Did the problem start when John went out to the nightclub with his mates? Should he have resisted the temptation? Or was it the alcohol that clouded his judgement? Did Mary over-react? Did her fit of rage, that ended John’s career (as a result of running over his foot), trigger the calamitous conclusion to an otherwise amicable marriage?
Although these questions are open to debate, we need to know when the relationship started to deteriorate, and if John could justify his affair in any way.
So far, I have tried to distract you by inflaming the synopsis. I wanted to trick you into focussing on the wrong part of the picture. This is what mystery-writers do.
The purpose of this excursion was to highlight the typical analytical and emotional processes that follow similar scenarios of infidelity. Some call it cheating. Others call it weakness. Some say it’s temptation. Many will argue that men and women are different in this respect — insisting that men tend to drift or stray more easily than women.
Yes, there are differences between the sexes. However, gender is not one of them. I do not believe in the gender gap.
Anything that you wish to submit, in defence of your argument, about your friend of the opposite sex, could be correct. You would have every right to tell me that John or Mary is this or that. Fine. Your observations might well be accurate. However, John is John, and Mary is Mary. That’s all. They are who they are, because of who they are, not because of their gender. You cannot say that men are this and women are that. Only John is this and Mary is that. Full stop. Any suggestion about men coming from one planet and women from another is alien to me.
A friend of mine was trying to tell me that men are sex-mad. As an attractive woman, she has had to resist many advances from rich and powerful men who constantly tried their luck. Her experiences with some men have led her to believe that men are more inclined to be ruled by their hormones. I do not know how she could possibly hold such inaccurate assumptions. All her experiences were real, but how could she form any opinion about men in general? For her to know the truth about this, she would need to spend part of her life as a man. Only then would she know what men have to endure when women make passes at them.
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