It’s a real pleasure today to welcome author Linda MacDonald as my guest on Being Anne. Linda’s been here before – with an excellent guest post on taking a second chance on love. You might also remember my review of the wonderful The Man in the Needlecord Jacket (read it again here) – just between you and me, I think it’s a book that will be featuring in my Books of the Year when I put my list together in December, and I’m delighted to hear that it’s about to be featured again on a forthcoming blog tour. I do hope I’ll have the time and opportunity to catch up on Linda’s other books – failing that, I’ll be first in the queue for whatever she does next.
Today we wanted to share news of the audiobook of Meeting Lydia:
Marianne Hayward is having a midlife wobble. When she finds her charming husband has befriended the glamorous Charmaine, she is seized by jealousy. Her once-happy marriage begins to slide.
Insecurities resurface from when she was bullied at a boys’ prep school. Only one boy was never horrible to her, the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey; her first crush.
Daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited where she searches for Edward convinced he may be the answer to all her problems. But she is unprepared for the power of email relationships.
Narrated by the talented voice actress Harriet Carmichael, Meeting Lydia is a book about childhood bullying, midlife crises, obsession and jealousy and will appeal to anyone interested in relationship dynamics.
One reviewer said that this book “has immense depth and touches the soul…”. And do you know, I don’t doubt it for a moment. Here are the purchase links for the audiobook:
Linda has written an excellent guest post today that she’s called Texting for Trouble – a brief history of electronic relationships. Over to you, Linda…
When Friends Reunited hit the headlines in 2001, it was the beginning of an avalanche of people connecting electronically. It heralded an exciting time of long-lost friendships and joyous reunions, but there was a dark side: a proliferation in clandestine affairs.
Before social networking, it was most unlikely we would have contacted an ex or someone we hardly knew by landline or letter. Suddenly this became legitimate, and without thinking of the consequences many people began email relationships with people from the past.
If an existing partnership has lost its excitement, finding a lost love can be thrilling. Soon, another wave of stories became big news: stories of broken marriages and heartbreak.
According to Dr. Nancy Kalish, we are often imprinted on the first person with whom we fall in love and getting together later in life can start things off again. We reminisce; we remember the laughter, the awakening of passion. Any confirmation that we are still attractive and desirable is extremely powerful and can be addictive, providing an escape from a dull midlife world. Flirting may creep into the emails and we might suggest meeting. This may of course burst the bubbles because emails present an artificial view of the real person and are an unreliable indicator of whether we would really get on. But if the old flame is rekindled, where do we go next?
Some rekindled relationships are successful and if the individuals involved are single, separated or bereaved, then this is wonderful. But the flip side is of broken relationships that were otherwise steady and heartbreak for partners and children. Sometimes these newly kindled affairs work well in the short term but once the magic of love has worn off and real life sets in, they break down – often for the same reasons as they did in the first place.
In situations of no previously existing romantic relationship, mailing and even meeting carries less risk, but is not risk free. And even if there is no threat of attraction or infidelity, problems can occur because partners may feel excluded and jealous.
Where previously it was emails and lost loves that provided the biggest threat, now it is as likely that the danger will come in the form of text messages from passing acquaintances. An exchange of numbers with a person at work, at the pub or evening class, or even at the school gates may lead to an involvement that would never have occurred in the days when the only phone option was landline and the person who answered could have been your partner as likely as you.
Texts are typically even more immediate than emails in providing gratification. They may start out innocently enough. Contact about work or scheduling, a question about kids’ schooling, nothing untoward. But gradually they may become more personal: a word or two of support or sympathy in response to a whinge, an ‘x’ perhaps, the click of a button and an instant thrill to someone on the receiving end. There’s a false sense of intimacy in a text message and very quickly texters may feel they have a bond. A tentative, ‘Thought of u when …’ receives a ‘Flattered!’ in reply. Then, ‘I missed u today.’ An ambiguous, ‘It would be nice to meet up …’ could lead to, ‘Yes, what do you have in mind?’ And so on. An escalation of emotion in the space of a few minutes.
Email is associated with business, with work, with a laptop or desktop and may be easier to hide. But a text message may be received late at night, in the bedroom, in the bathroom, in a private place. It may announce itself with a telltale ping and initiate an immediate reaction from the recipient. There may be an air of secrecy about the communications and if challenged, the partner may react crossly, even say you are in the wrong for being jealous. But a texting affair steals time, emotion and energy from the prime relationship. It’s a dangerous game that once started may become an addiction and be difficult to stop.
My first novel Meeting Lydia is set in 2001, before texting became commonplace in the adult population. Therefore the electronic relationship in the book takes the form of email exchanges and explores the pros and cons of such between partners who are both married. The same psychology also applies to text relationships.
If you value your existing partnership, there is now enough research to know that electronic relationships need to be handled with extreme care. Couples counsellor Debra Macleod says, ‘Texting affairs are the gateway to emotional and physical affairs.’ And Nancy Kalish says, ‘Don’t do lunch.’ Be warned!
About the author
Linda MacDonald is the author of four independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.
After studying psychology at Goldsmiths’, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.
Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham, Kent.