So people are having a lot of affairs. Maybe part of the reason divorce is so high, is we’re just not wired for sex and love with only one person. I mean, we’re not swans. And look how happy they appear! Okay, so men and women are looking for sex outside their primary relationship. Hmmm. There’s even a site all about it, to facilitate your cheating. And it’s no surprise that the same site, AshelyMadison, has plenty of spicy content to keep you titillated.
Let’s dig into some of the data and see what arises, so to speak. Those numbers in the graphic above are pretty wild. 56% of men and 34% of women claim to be in a “happy” or “very happy” marriage, and yet they cheat. WHAT? I don’t get it. I mean, I understand chemistry and lust and unfulfilled sexual desires, but… CHEATING?
Okay, so maybe I’m wired more like a swan, or maybe I’m clinging to more sexually conservative times. Maybe the modern relationships are about being open and okay with multiple partners. Recently, I heard a first-date talk about “her lover Jim and her lover Eric.” I was like… What? And she was sexy as hell, mind you, but I didn’t compute. I mean, of course I did, but… (Okay, enough about me, let’s keep digging in the dirt of the data.)
I’m pretty sure this holds true for me, as well. A sexual affair would be unforgivable. And an emotional one, which I experienced being on the losing end of, might be forgivable. (see: Cheating Hearts, Cheating Minds) But it wasn’t easy. And now I see that the emotional affair was even more deep for her than for me. Ouch! Is kissing or texting cheating? In my book, absolutely. What do you think? Okay, so let’s say you’re into cheating, what’s that look like? Let’s see what the cheating site to end all cheating sites says.
Having a fuck buddy is the thing that dreams are made of for a lot of men. A woman who doesn’t expect commitments and is willing to put out is a wet dream that many men have been chasing for years. The fallacy to this is that men think that women aren’t interested in this kind of relationship which is dead wrong. Women, especially the high-powered women of today, are interested in saving time and many of them have put aside their relationship goals in order to focus on their career. Having a sex friend allows them to achieve the release that they need without having to jump through the same relationship hoops that men loathe jumping through when they just want a good time. – AshleyMadison
If you’re going to do it, get down to it. But don’t spend too much time and energy on it. And don’t worry too much about becoming friends. That’s not what it’s about.
The most important rule being that this relationship is about sex and nothing else. While you can be friendly, the whole point of this arrangement is to not have to spend too much time on it. – AshleyMadison
So there you have it. If you want sex outside of your marriage, for whatever reason. If you think you want to keep your “happy” marriage and still get a little on the side… Well, not to pass judgement, but, I think you’re a bit insane. However, that decision is up to you. And when your partner finds out, up to the two of you to determine just how “open” your marriage will be.
Remember that you don’t have any claim on them and they don’t have any claim on you. The less intimacy you have with a fuck buddy, the better. You don’t want any emotional intimacy in this relationship as that leads to the development of feelings. Instead, focus on that physical intimacy that you’ve been craving. — AshleyMadison
Ack. This isn’t for me. The emotional slip caused me irreparable damage. While she admitted she was wrong and promised not to contact this person again, I was wounded. I don’t know how deeply it went, but often my dreams were about her being plundered by some other dude. And she wasn’t giving it to me. My logic said she was getting it somewhere. I know that’s not necessarily so, and with our sexless/touchless period, I’m sure she wasn’t looking for anything sexual. And I certainly wasn’t getting any.
I wasn’t looking outside the marriage for anything. I was committed up until the point that the divorce was finalized. I was unhappy. I could’ve used AshleyMadison, perhaps, to stave off my sexual cravings. But in my book, my marriage was about the trust and bond between the two of us. Emotional infidelity or sexual infidelity was like murder to me. And it eventually killed our marriage.
[Note: I’m not providing links to AshleyMadison, although I’m sure I could derive some affiliate marketing bucks from them, but I don’t agree with their idea of cheating as fun. Ever.]
The Off Parent
- Zen and the Art of Lovemaking – Won’t Save Your Marriage
- Negotiating Love and Desire
- Negativity and Isolation: Branching Out To Avoid Breaking Up
- Easier To Be Quiet
- Cheating Hearts, Cheating Minds
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask – David Reuben MD.
- She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman – Ian Kerner
- Joy of Sex – Alex Comfort (you want the old version, the drawings are stunning)
- Hot Sex – Traci Cox
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)
- The Cold, Hard Truth About Cheating, Based On Science – HuffPo
- How To Get and Keep a Fuck Buddy – Ashley Madison
I don’t think I ever caught her cheating on me. I’m going to assume that she told me the truth about things when confronted. But, without taking her clothes off, there was a moment, a very painful moment, that I can now see was really an affair. It didn’t wreck our marriage, but it put a huge hole in my trust. And when things got difficult it was occasionally hard for me to not imagine she was seeing him, or someone, for lunch again.
After all, she was in a relationship when we ran into each other again. And she took some lunches and even a date with me before calling it off with me, so she could go figure if she was IN or OUT with the other guy.
IF I had owned that this behavior was a problem, I MIGHT have avoided the marriage and divorce all together. That of course, is not the way things worked out. She called me about six weeks after asking for a “moment of silence” and simply said, “We’re done.” My first question, “What are you doing tonight? Wanna go over to a friend’s and watch a movie with us?” “Sure.” Swoon. Remove brain from cranium and move to other head. Again, water under the bridge, but looking back, to uncover my mistakes, this was the biggest one. IF she was willing to have lunches with ME, while still living with HIM… (I didn’t really know the status of their relationship at the time.) I just don’t think that was very CLEAR. For the other guy or me.
Jump cut about 4 years later and we’re married with a child in the crib. Wow. A wonderful life.
And then we were unjustly interrupted, like everyone else, by the prosperity ending 911 tragedy. The comfy lifestyle and happy home became a source of stress and “oh my goodness.” And unfortunately, my self-employment viability came crashing to the ground as my clients all FROZE all business. I struggled. I got depressed. I got on medication. I hated life. I loved my wife and kid. But I was suddenly not sure how I was going to support them or the lifestyle I had hoped to accomplish at this point in my life.
So we soldiered along and the second child was born into this rough world. We got what we wanted, a boy AND a girl. Happy bouncing babies. Not so happy and bouncing parents.
One day, during this “rough patch” I came home and pulled up a browser on her computer. We always used whatever computer was on the desk at the time. (this was before universal wifi everywhere) And her gmail account was open. Nonchalantly, I noticed some spam in her inbox, and as I was the gatekeeper, I clicked on one of the spammy messages.
It was not spam.
It was from a younger man, who she had recently started working with as part of a freelance team. He was thanking her for sharing the local library with him as a place for coffee and respite within our community. He was talking to her about “dealing with your husband’s depression” and “let’s do it again soon.”
In my fragile mental state I almost cracked. I can see how this kind of thing would make people go mad. At that point I was not all that comfortable with my anger, so I turned it inward and go sad. And fat. And what hope I had was lost to my wrong-headed fantasies about their tryst.
I did tell her and she apologized and said she saw how this would hurt me and that she would stop. She claimed to be unaware of how it “might have affected me” since she was innocent of any real transgression, but she would abide by my wishes and not see this guy for lunches any more. And she would tell him as well.
But the wound was slow to heal for me. She seemed to move right along, except when I would bring it up in counseling. But even then, it wasn’t anything all that important, other than how I perceived it. She said. I’m certain she understood how it hurt me, as I expressed this fairly well. But she was unwilling to really dig into what had made her share intimate details of our lives with a stranger. How she would turn to him for comfort rather than explore the pain with me. We were already in therapy. What was she doing with THAT time?
I took screenshots of all of the messages and put them away somewhere. But later, as I was purging my own pain and guilt, I deleted them. I would not want to look back on them now. But this experience does allow me to reflect on several things.
- My ex-y was having honesty issues, even with me, when we met.
- While she wasn’t very expressive of her emotions, they did exist.
- The warning flare around her intention in going to lunch with me while living with another man, should have been a deal killer. But she was/is very beautiful. I fell for her charms and did not listen to the concerns I should have been hearing.
It reminds me a little bit of the woman, who more recently stopped responding with positive reinforcements when I asked her to do things. Truth is, she liked to drink. And though I occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer, it’s not part of my normal day. Giving up alcohol for Lent would be trivial, not a hardship. (ice cream would be hard)
I am getting clearer and clearer in my request for a relationship. And I am honing my listening skills. And ultimately I am attempting to learn about my heart, my communication styles, and my needs. THEN, and only after I have some clarity for myself, am I open to having a new relationship enter my life. The one I am ready for.
The Off Parent
< back to The Hard Stuff pages
- My Divorce: A Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory
- Waiting for the Other Person to Change
- Love, War, Divorce: Why I’m Not Fighting My Ex-Wife About Custody
- Divorce is Not About What’s Fair, Let’s Get That Straight
- Getting Angry, Reaching Forgiveness, and Moving On After Divorce
- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
- Laugh It Off (building a resource library of funny videos and other diversions)
- Facebook (follow us on Facebook and keep up with all the conversations)
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)
image via creative commons: how to make an angry face out of someone’s body