Would you ditch your other half for cheating? Our writers can’t agree
Does an illicit kiss ALWAYS mean it’s over! As Seann Walsh’s Strictly kissing saga rumbles on, we ask would you ditch your other half if they Cha-Cha-cheated on you with a stolen smooch?
Strictly couple Seann Walsh and Katya Jones created a scandal this week after pictures emerged of them locked in a passionate clinch, prompting Walsh’s long-term girlfriend to end their five-year romance. But does an illicit kiss always mean curtains for a relationship?
Quentin Letts: ‘Romantic infatuation can evaporate in days. A marriage is worth so much more.’
KISSING DON’T LAST — COOKERY DO!
When cafe owner René in TV’s ’Allo ’Allo! was caught kissing other women, he would invent absurd excuses and indignantly tell his wife not to be such a ‘stupid woman’ in concluding he was up to hanky-panky.
Then there is a Marx Brothers film in which Chico, found in an illicit clinch, claims: ‘I wasn’t kissing her. I was just whispering in her mouth.’
Laughter is the best response to these things. Jealousy corrodes the soul.
I can’t say I have watched the shenanigans on Strictly Come Dancing or that I had ever heard of contestant Seann Walsh. From what I have since gathered, he does not sound much of a catch, and I suspect his ex-girlfriend will do better without him. He looks an untidy fellow.
In Othello, Shakespeare shows us what can happen when a husband imagines his wife has fallen for another man. The fatal tragedy that unfolds on stage may be an extreme example, but possessiveness is a destructive thing. If only early 17th-century Venice had had a branch of Relate where Othello and Desdemona could have taken marriage guidance.
Cheating on your lover is poor form, yes. I doubt I would be happy if I found my wife in the arms of another. But there is a saying, ‘kissing don’t last, cookery do’.
Lois and I have been married for 22 years and before that we were an item for eight years in which there were a few hiccups. Thank goodness we persevered with one another.
Romantic infatuation can evaporate in days. A marriage is worth so much more.
Olivia Fane: ‘My first marriage was an open one. We wrote our contract over a bottle of wine.’
A KISS WOULD BE THE END OF MY MARRIAGE
I expected to feel totally cool seeing the pictures of Strictly professional dancer Katya Jones and sexy Seann snogging. I expected to think: ‘What’s the fuss?’ But the quality of the kiss was just too good for comfort: full of desire, joy and pent-up yearning for each other.
Above all, it was a kiss that seemed to actually mean something to both of them. Even if they both decide to keep their hands to themselves in future, Katya will be dreaming of Seann and Seann of Katya. You can’t police dreams.
My first marriage was an open one. We wrote our contract over a bottle of wine.
I was to be allowed ten snogs a year because, I told my husband, that’s what I enjoyed most in life — the anticipation of that first kiss with a new bloke. I would use up my full quota, too.
But Seann and Katya’s kiss was of a different order to my stolen, random kisses.
After all, they’d been dancing the Paso Doble together in front of millions.
Even though my marriage allowed it, I never actually saw my husband gaze into the eyes of another woman. On paper, infidelity seems so trivial, so ordinary. But in real life, it’s unbearably painful.
My second marriage is quite different. He is mine, and I am his. There are no rules; no ‘you can do this, but not that’.
I would have scarcely looked up from my book if my first husband had told me about some drunken snog or other. But if someone posted a video of my second husband in a passionate embrace and that was how I learned of his infatuation, along with thousands of others, I would feel like vomiting.
Would it spell the end of our marriage? Not immediately. I would try to be strong, try to forgive him.
But something magic would have been broken, and he wouldn’t like the new, sad, angry version of me.
So I’m afraid my answer is, yes — a kiss would spell the end of my marriage.
Seann Walsh was caught kissing his dance partner Katya in London while his girlfriend was home alone on her birthday
Shona Sibary: ‘get it. God knows, I’d be tempted in the same situation.’
LET IT GO — BUT MAKE HIM PAY!
The Strictly Curse has struck again. Or has it?
One drink too many and a quick, passionate snog later, and now all the nation is talking about is whether Seann (‘I’m not the person I’m being portrayed as’) Walsh has been somehow unfairly kicked into touch by his partner.
But doesn’t it bring to mind those immortal words from that film classic, Casablanca? ‘You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss.’
And it is, isn’t it? A moment of madness, a regrettable indiscretion. If my husband did the same — and I found out — I know what I would do. Give him a hard time for a few days and make him pay.
But call a day on our relationship? Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t throw away 19 years of marriage and the stable home life of your four children for meaningless infidelity.
Lust, a racing heartbeat, the desire for physical excitement with someone you haven’t been watching undress for nearly two decades? I get it. God knows, I’d be tempted in the same situation.
But any sensible woman must know this has nothing to do with love and the years of hard graft you plough into making a marriage work.
It’s a regrettable — but understandable — human reaction to alcohol and the company of someone attractive who isn’t berating you for not emptying the dishwasher.
Personally, I’d let it go. But not before mentioning that pair of £250 boots in Russell & Bromley first . . .
Monica Porter: ‘There are worse sins than smooching the wrong person.’
TWO STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT
There are worse sins than smooching the wrong person, and most mortals are capable of slipping up in the great game of love and lust. So you would do your best to ride out the hurt, and hope that it doesn’t happen again.
The real problem arises when this type of foolish, momentary intimacy isn’t a one-off but becomes a pattern. The amiable ladies’ man becomes the womaniser and eventually the reviled ‘love cheat’.
And, ironically, by forgiving the transgressor his first slip-up, you might encourage him down that very path. So maybe the answer is: two strikes and you’re out.
The truth is that in the #MeToo era, this kind of cheating behaviour will be ever harder to get away with and be forgiven.
If, as the poet Philip Larkin put it, sex began in 1963 with the Beatles’ first LP, it ended in 2017 with the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It’s a brave fella who tries to grab an illicit snog these days.
Brian Viner: ‘A really healthy relationship should be able to survive war, pestilence, famine, separation, ill-health, religious or cultural differences and infidelity, too.’
A SNOG IS NOT the SAME AS AN AFFAIR
We get the kisses we deserve.
In the late 19th century, ‘The Kiss’ meant a wonderful marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin.
In the Forties it meant the spectacular cinematic clinch between Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in the Hitchcock film Notorious.
Now, ‘The Kiss’ is a drunken snog in the street between two people made semi-famous by Strictly Come Dancing, pinged around the world on social media.
Should a single illicit kiss ever break up a long-term relationship? It depends. If the relationship is built on sand, then yes. But if it has rock-solid foundations of mutual love and respect, then emphatically not.
A really healthy relationship should be able to survive war, pestilence, famine, separation, ill-health, religious or cultural differences and infidelity, too.
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My own 25-year marriage has overcome one of those challenges (I’m not saying which one, though it wasn’t pestilence) and is all the stronger for it. Of course, infidelity comes in many forms. There are committed, deceitful affairs, and there are one-off late-night snogs. It’s ridiculous to confuse the two.
I wouldn’t much like to see my wife kissing someone else. But allowing such an indiscretion to bring a relationship to its knees is the stuff of the primary school playground.
Julia Stephenson: ‘The only time I was unfaithful was at the end of an unhappy marriage.’
IF HE STRAYED, I’D KILL HIM
When I was younger, I might not have thrown away a happy, long-term relationship over a drunken snog if my partner was truly regretful and it never happened again.
But a fully blown emotional affair is much more serious.
The only time I was unfaithful was at the end of an unhappy marriage, and it was the catalyst needed to bring a miserable union to an end.
I did once have a boyfriend who was unfaithful, but I was quite unbothered by it. Retrospectively, I realise this was because I wasn’t very bothered about him.
I suspect if my long-term inamorato indulged in any kind of flirtation I would attack him with a machete, which makes me realise that faithfulness is very important to me. But how can anyone know how they’d react until it happens?
YES, TRUST CAN BE REBUILT
Linda Kelsey: ‘Relationship red lines are not the same for everyone, and the rules change over time.’
Betrayal is a beastly, complex and painful breach of trust. But if knowledge of one boozy, extra- marital snog was all it took to call curtains on your relationship, few would survive beyond the office drinks at Christmas.
On the other hand Seann’s in flagrante kiss with Katya was no first offence as far as his partner Rebecca Humphries was concerned. And the humiliation of seeing it acted out so publicly would have added grave insult to injury.
Relationship red lines are not the same for everyone, and the rules change over time.
In my experience what we can, or can’t, tolerate in youthful relationships might be rather different decades down the line.
When I was a teenager, seeing a boyfriend talking to a pretty girl would throw me into a fit of despair, because I had no real confidence in myself.
Now in my 60s, and in a strong and loving relationship with my partner of ten years, if I see him flirting with an attractive woman, I think, good for him — and good for me, too, to know that he hasn’t lost it.
Among my married friends, I’ve seen infidelity cause horrible hurt. And yet a number of these oft-fractured marriages have become closer as children have left the nest and my friends have gone on to become grandparents.
Despite the affairs, these couples have decided they’d rather stay than go. Eventually trust has been rebuilt.
I don’t condone affairs but neither will I outright condemn them. Often these infidelities seem to have saved rather than destroyed marriages.
Infidelity is a very big gamble, though — and unless you are prepared for the possibility of ending your existing relationship, don’t embark on another one simultaneously.
Esther Rantzen: ‘I would have been furious if I’d been alone on my birthday while my other half was snogging someone else.’
SEANN NEEDS TO WAKE UP FAST
A drunken kiss is rarely lethal to a good relationship. But in this case it wasn’t just the kiss. It was the fact he was caught out big time, and that it happened on the night of his partner’s birthday.
I would have been furious if I’d been alone on my birthday while my other half was snogging someone else. Especially if I knew that he would be spending the next few months with his legs wrapped around her.
Because that’s how they dance on Strictly, his legs plastered onto yours so you can’t get a scrap of tissue paper between you. I know, I’ve been there. I don’t want to take sides in their private lives, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Seann hasn’t woken up to reality.
We live in a world where everybody has a mobile phone with built-in video, and if you appear on the most popular programme on TV, you must expect to be recognised, caught out and filmed any time, anywhere.
Seann and Katya have both apologised now, so Strictly is allowing them to dance together again.
Luckily it’s the Charleston this Saturday, so I’d advise them to swivel and bounce miles apart. For the sake of cha-cha-chastity.
Virginia Ironside: ‘It must have been extremely humiliating for Rebecca to have actually to witness his betrayal on film — along with millions of complete strangers.’
IT’S RIGHT TO SAY: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
So sexy are some of the dances on Strictly that I’m often amazed the couples bother to hang around to hear the scores before they rush to a darkened alley to strip off their scanty, sparkly outfits and get down to it.
Even Craig Revel Horwood, one of the pickiest judges, described Seann and Katya’s Paso Doble as ‘hot’.
And the ‘Curse of Strictly’ has hit before. So surely Rebecca Humphries, Seann’s girlfriend, must have known the dangers before she let him loose on the show?
Now, as far as we know it was only a snog. Not exactly break-up material. Tears, flowers, begging apologies should have put things right pretty quickly.
But I suspect there was more to it. Either it wasn’t ‘just a kiss’ and it went a lot further. Or could it have been the final straw after a series of small betrayals? That’s what Rebecca implied in her open letter on social media.
It must have been extremely humiliating for Rebecca to have actually to witness his betrayal on film — along with millions of complete strangers.
Rebecca had every right to say ‘enough is enough’ and get Seann out of her life as quickly as possible.
Carol Sarler: ‘Good grief, if every marriage or relationship were to break up because of it, there would scarcely be an intact family left in the country.’
WHAT’S THE FUSS? WE’VE ALL DONE IT
It is fast becoming the most famous snog ever, but it is also the least surprising.
Katya Jones, lithe, long-limbed, groomed; Seann ‘Cha-Cha cheat’ Walsh, stand-up comedian — which means (and, trust me, I’ve met hundreds of them) a man with a compulsion to get up on stage every night and beg total strangers to love him.
And there they are: paid small fortunes to rub up against each other. While half-naked.
It was all so inevitable that it’s hard to see what the fuss is about.
Besides, it’s no good pretending that an illicit kiss is solely the province of the showbusiness crowd. Which of us has not been to an office party where, come midnight, nobody knows where our Johnny has gone, but Judy left at the same time?
Which of us has never stood, a sherry for the worse, under the mistletoe and not been at all surprised — let alone cross — when the pursed lips of a handsome neighbour hove into view?
Good grief, if every marriage or relationship were to break up because of it, there would scarcely be an intact family left in the country.
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