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February 18, 2004 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Rules for Having an Affair. A great read for you starry-eyed newlyweds!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders (69 comments total)

 
People suck.
posted by xmutex at 2:49 PM on February 18, 2004


Rules for Having an Affair:
1. Don't be a Texan Republican governor....
posted by dash_slot- at 2:50 PM on February 18, 2004


Useful information even if you never use it. I love learning how people act and feel. I don't think they suck, mostly; I think they're complicated and interesting.
posted by lumpley at 2:54 PM on February 18, 2004


Oh, ew. You can make up your own minds about cheating, but this woman in particular makes my skin crawl. She stresses how "honest" she is, but she says that she knew her marriage was over, so it was okay. Um, if it was over, then finish it. If you get your kicks from *cheating*, then if you're really speaking honestly you can admit that.
posted by synapse at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2004


Lying through years of a marriage is your pretty basic, uninteresting, spineless sort of suckage.
posted by xmutex at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2004


So long as she still did her husband's laundry all this time.

*runs*
posted by Space Coyote at 2:58 PM on February 18, 2004


That was really interesting. Thanks, stupidsexyFlanders.
posted by subgenius at 2:59 PM on February 18, 2004


It wasn't until I finished that article that I realized what was missing - this woman has no remorse about this whatsoever. I hope, if I ever have an affair, that I at least feel guilty about it.
posted by joshshmenge at 3:04 PM on February 18, 2004


This can't be much fun. Usually, the best thing for your kids and your marriage is to leave when you're in love with somebody else. These people want both ends of the stick. They are selfish bastards who hurt everyone around them on their denial-ridden way to their own demises.
posted by PrinceValium at 3:18 PM on February 18, 2004


If I'd known this several years ago...




Nope, would've just made things worse.
posted by wendell at 3:29 PM on February 18, 2004


"I used my affair to transition out of my marriage."

Um...wouldn't it just be less painful and far more honorable to just say "Our marriage is over" and end it. THEN sleep with someone else (who's also SINGLE).

"this woman has no remorse about this whatsoever"
joshshmenge, you're so right. That was unreal. Sadly, it's probably quite common.
posted by Spencerinc at 3:29 PM on February 18, 2004


Marriage counselling? Had a good friend who did that for a living and once confided in me that by the time a couple comes for counselling it is too late--but, he said, don't sprad that around. Bad for business.
posted by Postroad at 3:33 PM on February 18, 2004


Bitch.
posted by dg at 3:41 PM on February 18, 2004


Having had affairs in the past, I am *SO* glad I'm polyamorous today, especially after reading this post. This weekend, my wife, her girlfriend, and my three girlfriends all met each other. Sure, it felt a little awkward at times, in that I was juggling several people's happiness, but everyone got along and there was no drama.

Over the course of the last week, I must have spent well over 5 hours kissing. I now appreciate the beauty of lipbalm...
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:48 PM on February 18, 2004


You can take that hippy shit elsewhere.

And cut your hair.
posted by xmutex at 3:54 PM on February 18, 2004


Insomnia, you just couldn't wait to post that, could you :)
posted by PrinceValium at 3:57 PM on February 18, 2004


Marriage counselling? Had a good friend who did that for a living and once confided in me that by the time a couple comes for counselling it is too late--but, he said, don't sprad that around. Bad for business.

So you post it on metafilter!
posted by srboisvert at 4:02 PM on February 18, 2004


Well, even if she's your garden variety human being, she's a good writer.

Only a good writer can so faithfully render all her warts for us all to be horrified by.

Just ask yourselves this question, though. "Could I act this way, be this cold and calculating, this selfish, given the right circumstances?"

For myself, I'm afraid so. Anyone answering "no," gets my vote for sainthood. Not that I get a vote.
posted by rocketpup at 4:05 PM on February 18, 2004 [1 favorite]


rocketpup: There's doing shitty things, and then there's doing shitty things, over and over, having zero remorse, then writing a cute little ha-ha piece about how clever you were at doing shitty little things.

I'm pretty comfortable asserting that I don't have the latter in me.
posted by xmutex at 4:13 PM on February 18, 2004


She talked around it a little, but she left out an important element: it's the thrill of not getting caught.

She talks about all the extreme measures, techniques, tricks, and security precautions with a gleem in her eye, but I don't know if she knows that she probably enjoyed getting away with it more than she enjoyed her newfound lover.

At the end, when she leaves her husband, she seemed surprised that her relationship ended. It's because the thrill of sneaking was gone.
posted by stevis at 4:17 PM on February 18, 2004


And people are opposed to gay marriages based on real love why?

This sucked to read and know that there are people out there planning on doing just what the article shows them how.

I'd rant off with epithets but what's the point? There are losers like this woman all over the world and they're just itching to crow about their cheap and tawdry affairs. The word for them? Whores.
posted by fenriq at 4:28 PM on February 18, 2004


Whew... good info there - I almost want to forward this to my girlfriend, but I won't... heh.

Cheating is horrible... but sometimes it just materializes as an acceptable thing. (Incidentally, I've met plenty of women in relationships who were looking to start something on the side for various reasons: bored, on their way out of a relationship, guy has a sexual disfunction, etc...)

The best part in this whole piece is the section on denial - I don't *think* my girlfriend would cheat on me, but I wouldn't want to know if she did... no matter how suspicious I became. And while she swears that she would want to know if I cheated on her - I'd never own up to it... the knowledge of infidelity serves no purpose other than to emotionally scar. Further, guilt is the punishment for cheating - if you can't do the time, don't do the crime...

Also, I'm the prideful, jealous type and on top of that I come form a part of the country where "He needed kill'n" is a justifiable legal defense... I've been a few rows with other guys over women before, so... the less I know the better.
posted by wfrgms at 4:28 PM on February 18, 2004


"Insomnia, you just couldn't wait to post that, could you?"

Nope! 'cause I'm a happy boy...
hubbahubbahubbahubbahubba!

Really, though, affairs don't have to be this big, huge source of grief. The Europeans have a much more open attitude towards having affairs, often turning a blind eye towards indiscretions.

On a scientific level, there are known biological changes that occur when a person is in love. Seritonin levels crash, which increases anxiety and libido, for instance. Still, why argue with nature if a partner finds someone else interesting too? It doesn't necessarily reflect on you or your suitability as a life-long partner.

Jealousy is like any other emotion, in that it can be reasoned and coped with. Sure, not everyone can deal with their own emotions well, but many people can. If people who are homosexual can deal with often overwhelming levels of guilt in order to express their natural attraction to others, why can't others deal with their emotions too? Should those of us who can face up to our essential nature turn our back on it and suffer for the sake of those who cannot?!

Certainly, artists and creative people through the ages have tended towards multiple relationships too. Recently, a biography on Aldous Huxley revealed that his wife used to organize his social life for him, to a large degree... including their affairs. Strange new world indeed.

So, why should a person have to be everything for one person? Children learn to share their toys, adults learn to put up with demeaning, soulcrushing work eight hours a day for years, but somehow people can't learn to overcome jealousy? I don't buy it.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2004


Having had affairs in the past, I am *SO* glad I'm polyamorous today, especially after reading this post. This weekend, my wife, her girlfriend, and my three girlfriends all met each other.

Ladies and gentlemen: meet the Slut family. Take a cold shower, mister.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on February 18, 2004


This is presuming, of course, that you're not just testing your fiction out here before sending it in to Penthouse Forum. In which case, you sould still use a cold shower.
posted by jonmc at 5:28 PM on February 18, 2004


Well, certainly if there's full consent and mutuality involved on all sides, it can't be an "affair", which implies some sort of misdiscretion. But I'd be interested in how polyamory works without some kind of "primary" partner, whether it be a spouse, a live-in sig-o, or otherwise. Is it kind of like having two kids and not playing favorites?
posted by PrinceValium at 5:59 PM on February 18, 2004


This was fascinating. Also, not to sound calculating, but there is alot in here that is completely spot on advice -- the parts about always paying in cash, never giving out an address, finding a beard (I now see I served that function for someone).

It's interesting how our attitudes toward murderers and adultery both require the doer to feel remorse before we want to show them any mercy. With or without remorse, it's the same deed, the same results, and the same disavowal. I think this shows that while the deed itself is important, what's more important to those involved is the mental state that got the person to that point, and whether we think that mental state makes them salvageable.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:05 PM on February 18, 2004


Having had affairs in the past, I am *SO* glad I'm polyamorous today, especially after reading this post. This weekend, my wife, her girlfriend, and my three girlfriends all met each other.

I've read that line several times and I seem to interpret it a different way each time. Is it just me?

BTW...If anyone wants to give me an Orkut invite, I would appreciate it.</shameless>
posted by republican at 6:28 PM on February 18, 2004


Won't somebody think of the children!?

Seriously, though, the kids don't get any mention in all this. As far as I'm concerned, you give up this kind of selfishness when you have kids. Your wishes simply come second.

I'm not trying to say that you have an obligation to "stay married (presumably, unhappily) for the kids' sake" but rather, that your obligation is to try your damnedest to figure out how to continue to live relatively happily with your spouse. It's not about you any longer.
posted by tippiedog at 6:49 PM on February 18, 2004


This article contains a lot of very useful advice for people who are trying to figure out whether their spouse is having an affair.
posted by kindall at 6:49 PM on February 18, 2004


Having had affairs in the past, I am *SO* glad I'm polyamorous today, especially after reading this post. This weekend, my wife, her girlfriend, and my three girlfriends all met each other.

I've read that line several times and I seem to interpret it a different way each time. Is it just me?


I, for one, would like to know what this weekend thought of insomnia's wife, her girlfriend, and his three girlfriends. Was it a bit awkward for this weekend to meet so many new people at once?
posted by Dasein at 6:50 PM on February 18, 2004


I agree with insomnia_lj about jealousy. I'm not polyamorous, but I certainly understand why some people are - what works for one person should not be assumed to work for everyone. I find the level of anger and disgust toward the author of this article weird - she's not gloating, she's matter-of-fact, the fact that many here interpret this article as bragging or gloating is interesting - the story's about the specific details of getting away with having an affair, not the emotional impact or anything else, what did you expect her to say? She's summing up three years of her life in a page, of course we're not getting the whole picture. And she is appropriately taciturn about her husband and their marriage (beyond what's relevant to the story), so we don't know anything at all about why she had the affair, beyond the fact that her marriage was no longer working. She needed the affair to transition out of her marriage - my view on relationship breakdowns is that it's always better that it happen sooner rather than later, and that it happen at all rather than people muddling along for years when it's long past its sell-by date - therefore, if you need to have an affair to embolden yourself enough to do what you know you'll have to do at some point, so be it. Her vows were broken once she decided her marriage was over, they weren't broken by the affair.
posted by biscotti at 7:01 PM on February 18, 2004


Ditto tippiedog. Marriage (or liflong committment, or living together, or whatever, ) changes its color once children make their inevitable appearance.

We liberals bitch about Bush's hypocritical No Child Left Behind Act...what about these guys? Are their libidos and emotional stroking needs greater than their developing a framework for making their kids happy and secure and creative and smart and social?

I must have missed that part.
posted by kozad at 7:02 PM on February 18, 2004


I didn't really start despising the woman until I got to this part:
I told all of my friends, day by day, month by month. The paradox was that I was trying to be authentic and truthful within a weird framework of lies and deceit. I was feeling powerful, alive, sexy and purposeful. I wanted everyone to know that I was finally happy.
I know a guy whose wife did this to him. She told all their friends she'd met someone else and "found love for the first time" long before he found out. It tore him to pieces. Cheating is one thing—I've been on all three sides of the triangle in my checkered career (and gotten it out of my system, thanks), and I understand how it happens. But this shit is really bad.
posted by languagehat at 7:45 PM on February 18, 2004


I don't know biscotti, I don't think the children were edited out for space. The account of blowing the guy on the sidewalk, for instance, seemed a little braggy and gloaty (although possibly good fodder for Burberry's ad agency). Anyway, yeah, the article really made me want to take a shower.

And NOT to get the smell of latex out of my ass!!! Pervs.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:45 PM on February 18, 2004


People like this have no business bringing children into this world. If these people weren't parents, I'd say, "whatever sizzles your burger", but people who have children forfeit their right to indulge their hedonism as this woman has.

She's tragic.
posted by bicyclingfool at 7:47 PM on February 18, 2004


I still don't see how unhappy parents in a loveless marriage are any better for the kids than secret affair-having parents (where needs unfulfilled in the marriage are at least fulfilled somewhere) or amicably divorced parents. Not everyone is cut out for the whole monogamous, "til death do us part" thing, and some don't find this out until later in life - pretending otherwise (that lifetime monogamy is "normal" and that only those with moral failings or weakness commit adultery or end marriages), and that such people should just buckle down and deal with it is unreasonable, naive and also cruel. Kids can be happy and secure and creative and smart and all those good things in many different family configurations, what matters is genuine love, caring and involvement, and security and trust in those things, not who sleeps with whom, or where.

Some amount of selfishness is a good thing: an unhappy and unfulfilled parent is not a good parent, and telling them to pretend they can live happily with someone they can't live happily with, and that their bid for happiness in their lives is simply over because of their children is not a recipe for a happy, generous, well-balanced parent, no matter how much we might like it to be. Telling people they need to think of their children is all well and good, but you can only subjugate your own needs for so long, and they will come out in the end, often in a far more explosive way than they might have otherwise. I'm all for putting kids first, but you have to look after yourself as well - few people are so saintly as to be able to completely ignore their own needs and honestly work for the happiness of others at the expense of all their own, and I don't know that I think most people should hold themselves to such an unattinable ideal, precisely for the sake of the children. Better to come from a broken home than a breaking one. But I've said all this before, and it sounds like there's an echo in here.
posted by biscotti at 8:29 PM on February 18, 2004


Yeah, this freaked me out too (my throat was tightening with each paragraph), but I also really admired the clinical precision of it -- like people have said, she's probably not completely aware of just what she was getting out of the whole thing, but she does assemble an extremely compelling portrait of how she felt throughout.

Great post.
posted by logovisual at 8:30 PM on February 18, 2004


Telling my husband that I was in love with someone else, that I was intimate with another, would only dwarf our own martial issues.

Love is a battlefield.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:58 PM on February 19, 2004


He lives in Chelsea and I live on the Upper East Side, so we picked a neutral neighborhood—Soho—to minimize the risk of bumping into friend or foe.

So, she's a bitch, and he's a fag. At least the New York angle explains things a bit better. How very Holly Golightly.

Fucking cowards. Either stay married and faithful or split.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:54 PM on February 19, 2004


I'm old fashioned--I think that if you do something "bad" for a long time, that it changes you in ways that aren't immediately obvious. i.e. "Nobody rides for free." So she didn't really get away with anything. I'm also shocked that everyone is so down on this woman. I think it's wrong, but some of you are really pissed.
posted by mecran01 at 8:57 PM on February 19, 2004


Insomnia,

I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by pemulis at 11:30 PM on February 19, 2004


I know a guy whose wife did this to him. She told all their friends she'd met someone else and "found love for the first time" long before he found out. It tore him to pieces.

I had a partner do the same thing. Told all her closest friends that she'd found the love of her life. I didn't find out until much later.

Spouses (or equivalents) always know, though, on some level. I knew what was probably going on but was having my own case of denial and wishful thinking along the lines of, "if I ignore this then she'll come to her senses."
posted by Tholian at 2:07 AM on February 20, 2004


Wow. Is it National MetaFilter Christian Morality Day? When I was a kid, a friends' parents were both conducting extra-mural affairs. He didn't know this until much later. his mother and father were friends, who had fallen out of "romantic" love. Had they split, the my friend (as 12 year old boy) would've been deprived of their father except for sad second-sunday-in-at-the-zoo periods, rather than having a father there to help with homework, advise on girls and puberty, etc etc. The father would have been deprived of his son, whom he loved.

I had an affair with a married woman with kids. Her husband had a very low sex-drive, hers was very high. She loved him dearly, and didn't want the marriage to end, but needed sex. At 17, I was able to fulfill that, with his knowledge and his agreement. They're still together.

"What about the dear little children" my arse. Children are damaged by a loved parent leaving home, or the bitterness that no sex life can bring to a marriage, not that their mum furtively fucks a guy from work at a hotel once a month.
posted by Pericles at 2:27 AM on February 20, 2004


I can see exactly where you're coming from, Pericles, and I applaud your open-minded attitude.

What's your wife's phone number...? I have a proposition for her...
posted by Perigee at 4:13 AM on February 20, 2004


Heh. I didn't say it worked for everyone, Perigee. Just that miserable monogamy isn't always the best alternative to divorce, whatever the christian right might say.

And right now I'm happily monogamous. As is my wife. I think......
posted by Pericles at 4:22 AM on February 20, 2004


Well, that's where the whole problem is, at least in my mind, Pericles; you're (not you personally) jiggering around with a set contract post-facto.

I can't think of too many guys who would, given free choice, enter into marriage if the contract said, "Here's the deal - you're hooked to this woman, and if you have children, you're stuck with 'em. If she decides to hump the entire Lakers bench, then you're still hooked, cuz God knows we don't want to upset the tots. If she has a kid with one of the busboys at your local Chinese buffet, well, that one's yours too. If she cuts you off from the tunnel of love because she's saving it for the butcher, tough luck to you."

Guys get married almost exclusively for one reason - they're twitterpated enough to think that they've found someone they've got exclusive rights to. Otherwise, it's just as easy to screw around and let her pay her own way in the world without comingling your paycheck. Or get together with 5 guys and just pass around the pony-rides between each other like season tickets to the Eagles. Rightfully or no, modern conceptions of romantic love are pretty much hardwired to singular access to the input jacks.

With all due respect to your friend, what you're saying is that you're happy that both his parents lived solitary lies at home, and, forsaking any chance at real happiness for themselves, they spent the better part of twenty years getting quickie orgasms in cheap hotels just so your pal didn't have to deal with joint custody.

Now stick things on the other foot. Should you find your happily monogamous wife is boinking the guy at the gas station and has shipped you out of a double bed into a single, you're going to be jake with that for the 20 years or so it takes for your (theoretical) newborn son to get his butt grown up and well-adjusted into a life of his choice.

In all honesty, do you think that solution would work for you?

(BTW - just out of curiousity, did you ever meet that low-sex-drive husband? Did he shake your hand and say, "Thanks for pumping the wife up?" I ask because women have about as many lies as any man has when it comes to sneaking some extracurricular mambo...)
posted by Perigee at 5:45 AM on February 20, 2004


Children are damaged by a loved parent leaving home, or the bitterness that no sex life can bring to a marriage, not that their mum furtively fucks a guy from work at a hotel once a month.

Don't forget - in the case under discussion, this woman and her husband did have a sex life before and during her affair and they did divorce. I suppose there are some circumstances where infidelity could work, but that would necessitate the okay of all parties involved. She didn't have that.

This woman has behaved solely to please herself and doesn't even seem to care how much she hurt others, and that is what is revolting everyone.
posted by orange swan at 6:08 AM on February 20, 2004


Life is a journey - it's not about winning, it's not about loosing.

It's about who you f*ck on your way.
posted by spazzm at 6:17 AM on February 20, 2004


It amazes me how worked up people get over this. Especially since this happens *so* frequently. I was doing a some web research about this the other day - depending on who you ask, as many as 50% of all married men and women will be involved in an extramarital affair. The American Association of Blood Banks reports (1, 2) that 28% of all paternity testing they do reveals the man tested is not the father of the child. With no link, this can't be considered as evidence, but... I have heard about, but cannot find, a study of middle class households that was quickly cancelled when it became apparent that similar paternity rates would be revealed.

Lots of people cheat, for lots of reasons. And EVERYONE lies about sex. Why is it regarded as such a failing? The tendency of most men to act as if their marriage license is a deed to the real estate between their wives' legs seems pretty medieval (at best) to me.

[on preview] Perigee, you're making several assumptions about Pericles' scenario that aren't present in the story. Pericles says that the couple were friends, just not sexually compatible. There's no idication they were "living solitary lies" at home, or that they were "forsaking any chance at real happiness for themselves" - it is within the realm of possibility that they were both happy with the situation they lived with.

Modern conceptions of romantic love may well be hardwired to singular access to the input jacks, but that seems to me to be only what people say in public. And a pretty willfully stupid approach to human sexuality, too. How many stories like this have I heard that started out "I never believed I would do this" or things to that effect.

[on second preview] orange swan - I guess I don't get the revulsion, mainly because she is acting how human beings act. People want to feel "powerful, alive, sexy and purposeful" as she puts it. People get married for all kinds of reasons, and relationships go stale for all kinds of reasons - but it takes a long time to extricate yourself from a marriage, especially if there are kids involved. Should she have waited for 3 years before taking care of her own soul?
posted by Irontom at 6:19 AM on February 20, 2004


More than that, Orange (well said, by the way, Perigee). The dishonesty is the sign of weakness in character that should frankly be of more concern to the woman than her own sexual satisfaction. I guess some people just have different priorities.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:21 AM on February 20, 2004


"These people want both ends of the stick. They are selfish bastards who hurt everyone around them on their denial-ridden way to their own demises."

As a reformed human being, and someone who used to do this sort of thing, I can assure you this statement is 100% accurate.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:42 AM on February 20, 2004


Should she have waited for 3 years before taking care of her own soul?

Her husband wasted several years of his life being lied to and trying to work on a marriage she knew all along she wanted to end. Should he have had to wait three years to take care of his soul?
posted by orange swan at 6:46 AM on February 20, 2004


One of the things I edited out of my post was this:

"Two things I will knock her for - she got married for *all* the wrong reasons. And, she was cowardly for waiting on her husband to leave, and not ending the marriage herself (I wonder what the deal was with this). However, I will not knock anyone for being weird about sex and then lying about it."

Guess I should have left that in.
posted by Irontom at 7:32 AM on February 20, 2004


Interesting article, expecially the mefits reactions :-) !

Here's mine:

an artistic husband (is that a euphemism for non-supportive and non-supporting?) mh in which way
wasn't he enough supportive ? Did he leave her with the
obnoxious duty of bringing out the trash , therefore he's not supportive or did he routinely tell her you are a costant failure and disappointment ? I'd like some details on this.

People cheat for three reasons: to transition out of a marriage; to stay in a marriage; or because they just can’t stay monogamous How enlightening, dare to explain why or shell we accept your infinite wisdom ? You left out "cheating for revenge" and probably some other variations.

I would have never gotten involved if I hadn’t been 100 percent sure that my marriage was over

Last time I checked a marriage involves -two- people, the other may not be so sure or just not even -realize- it's over, or may want to try to see what is wrong and do what is needed to repair the damages, if possible ; did you tell him at all ?

No, as it is obvious you wanted to keep him as a "spare", showing your egotic behavior , ego doesn't like losing resource does it , it doesn't matter that the resource is an human being. He probably was just a "toy" in your mind as you say that I married him because I thought he was appropriate: handsome, a good friend, smart, Jewish, good in bed (no: really good in bed—initially, at least) and would never leave me.

Your emotional immaturity is adamant, but it is no excuse for cheating as you _realized_ all the time you were cheating and enjoyed it, it never crossed your mind you could hurt him ? You still need to learn a lot more.

Steven was concerned about the implications at work.
He was using you.

My husband was acutely aware that our marriage was dying, and he suggested, yet again, that we go to a marriage counselor. It was the last thing in the world I wanted to do

Why ? Care to explain the readers WHY ? Ok, some marriage counselors are probably a total waste of time and money like _some_ psycologists, but you could have realized that this refusal was denial of reality, your marriage is probably over if you refuse to even TRY to understand what's wrong with it.

After almost three years, my husband finally left. I was free. My affair became shaky

Poor girl you were really confused. In my opinion, the cheating wasn't a transition phase, it was an unnecessary complication of an already troubled couple and I seriously doubt the writer (even if it's a fiction) feels really any better then before or have understood why she was with that man to being with.
posted by elpapacito at 8:47 AM on February 20, 2004


Irontom: Never been cheated on, eh?

And Perigee is absolutely right about the odor of bullshit attached to the "low-sex-drive husband." Lies about the spouse are the staple diet of infidelity.
posted by languagehat at 9:04 AM on February 20, 2004


Perigee: yeah, I met him a lot of times - in fact, he and his wife were round to dinner 3 weeks ago with me and my wife and kids. But I guess we're just hippies ;-) .. and it was 20 years ago.

And Irontom, you're right. My mate's parents were great friends and loving parents, and considered that staying together as a family unit was more important than having sex with their respective partners in their own house.

As I said (or rather, didn't, but hoped to imply), these ways don't work for everyone, but if they work for you and your partner, then that's fine. Of course, I accept that the husband in the original article had no knowledge and hence no choice, but it doesn't make her evil for what she did. Deceitful, yes. Gloating? Perhaps. Evil - no.
posted by Pericles at 9:13 AM on February 20, 2004


languagehat: nice try - guess again.

I'm not giving any details, but I forgave her as soon as I found out. It has been exactly *no* problem since then. If it happens again, we'll deal with it then, like the mature adults I fool myself into thinking we might be.
posted by Irontom at 9:44 AM on February 20, 2004


For all you justifying just how okay this type of behavior is... why do they call it cheating? If you go into a polyamorous relationship beforehand, then that's one thing. But to have someone make a promise to be exclusive with you, and then break that promise to satisfy their own selfish desires, that's another thing. These people who have affairs are in my opinion cowards and losers who don't have to courage to be honest to those they profess to love. Polyamory and open marriages aside.
posted by hurkle at 10:59 AM on February 20, 2004


languagehat :I know a guy whose wife did this to him. She told all their friends she'd met someone else and "found love for the first time" long before he found out. It tore him to pieces.

Seen that before. Respected professional discovers his wife is cheating him because he becomes the joke of the whole workplace (yep she worked in the same place in which I also happened to work). The wifey told some "friends" at work.

Eventually, this action was deemed to be unnecessary and damaging by a judge the day she asked for his house and part of his money ; the consequences were, to the best of my understanding, that she renounced to ask for a greater amount of money because he threatened her to use his unnecessary speaking against him during the judgement for kids.

Guess that cheating doesn't always pay.
posted by elpapacito at 11:09 AM on February 20, 2004


Seen that before. Respected professional discovers his wife is cheating him because he becomes the joke of the whole workplace (yep she worked in the same place in which I also happened to work). The wifey told some "friends" at work.

Ouch. I know that it may not seem as damaging, since we were a gay couple and not legally married, but this is what happened to me. We worked at the same job--a symphony orchestra--and I became the laughingstock of the whole place.

At the same time, none of my co-workers felt comfortable telling me what was going on. Although one did offer to help me bug my house.
posted by Tholian at 1:35 PM on February 20, 2004


This woman has behaved solely to please herself and doesn't even seem to care how much she hurt others, and that is what is revolting everyone.
Was was was, why she posted her " Rules tips on having an affair", it's her conclusion. Plus she had no children and him having kids is why "he" was in an affair. Her affair is over but if she had had kids, would have laid heavily into them both at the thread's beginning.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:29 PM on February 20, 2004


tholian: I guess you got one good point : it doesn't matter if married or not, if omo or etero sexual couple, cheating can be damaging to these who don't cheat, even -outside- the relationship.

I'll add it can be damaging for cheaters as well if they're exposed , because they appear to be not strong enough to sustain their choices while facing the consequences.
posted by elpapacito at 6:51 PM on February 20, 2004


"Children are damaged by a loved parent leaving home, or the bitterness that no sex life can bring to a marriage, not that their mum furtively fucks a guy from work at a hotel once a month."

True. It should be pointed out though that there are many polyamorous families out there -- usually triads or dyads -- who all live together and, according to many experts, have very happy, healthy kids. One of the women that I am dating shaires the raising a of a kid with her two partners, another man and the biological mother. Even though the kid is not biologically hers, she's about the most amazing mother I have ever seen, and homeschools the kid, who is an incredibly bright, inquisitive 5 year old who loves her mommy, mommy, and daddy. The kid goes out on field trips all the time, plays in a soccer league, and is surrounded constantly by caring adults, plays with other children (esp. from other poly households, and is rarely ever fobbed off on someone else for her care.

That said, if you are having an affair without your spouse's knowledge, you very well could hurt your child when your actions lead to a dissolution of your marriage.

"I can see exactly where you're coming from, Pericles, and I applaud your open-minded attitude. What's your wife's phone number...? I have a proposition for her..."

It should also be pointed out that most people who are polyamorous wouldn't get involved in a relationship with anyone who wasn't honest with their s/o. Those who do are generally quite frowned upon within the community.

"Ladies and gentlemen: meet the Slut family. Take a cold shower, mister."

Look... I started out like a lot of other people. I met my wife when I was around 22 and she was 20. She was the best friend of my friend. We had an exclusive relationship for about 3 years, but we also used to hang out online in the early BBS chat rooms, as many of our friends were also online -- such was growing up in the Silicon Valley.

In the course of this regular, daily contact with others, we both developed crushes on other people online... and we knew about each other's crushes to a certain extent too. What we didn't know is that we each had an affair. We kept it hidden and denied, denied, denied. Instead, it came out about two years later during an argument.

Now, we were doing fine otherwise. We had a good life overall. We had a lot of affection for each other, a lot of shared interests, a lot of shared cats, and good communication overall. We were both hurt, but we weren't going to let old affairs break up our relationship.

I was honest with her. I told her, point blank, that as much as I regretted the affair, I couldn't promise it would never happen again. I knew enough about me, even back then, to know I couldn't trust myself entirely, because love and attraction is a very overpowering thing. I knew that I would never be a good poster boy for monogamy, as much as I might wish to be. My problem, really, was I developped feelings for people very easily. So did my wife. We got over this new knowledge, and, infact, it openned our relationship up to a greater degree of trust.

One night, a year or two later, I was working late when she gave me a call, saying I should close up work and come home, where she was having a few friends over. I came home and found that people had been drinking and that the boyfriend of my best friend (who's gay), was making out with two other friends, a M-F couple who were both bisexual. They were also being quite flirty with my wife and myself. To make a long story short "Dear Penthouse Forum..."

What nobody knew what to deal with at the time, however, were the ramifications of that event. Things went explodey and were irretrievably awkward, and although I still maintained my relationship with my best friend, sadly I lost two good friends as a result.

It was painful, but it was also a learning experience. Eventually, we started attending gatherings and learned a lot more about how to manage consentual non-monogamous relationships, how to cope with jealousy, etc. It's still a learning experience for both of us, but it has brought us closer together. We can have complete honesty with each other, and we can be more fully ourselves than ever before in our relationship. We can even do amusing things like walk down the street together and compare notes on people we find attractive, which is quite cool.

In September of last year, I started occasionally dating the woman I mentioned previously, and so far things are going well, though I don't get to see her as often as I would like -- her first priority is taking care of their child.

About a month ago, I had an online crush admit her attraction to me, we met, and there was an immediate spark between us, and just an incredible level of immediate trust. We wanted the same things, wanted to develop a long-lasting relationship, etc. Incredible.

Surprisingly around the same time, I heard from a woman who I met back in my old BBS days who I had a huge crush on and used to chat with everyday. She found my journal... it turns out that she has been polyamorous for a few years. We just started seeing each other now too, and she's more wonderful than I remember her, with greater wisdom and more experience under her belt.

Last week, I was pulling my hair out. "Why do two amazing people have to come into my life at the same time?" My answer to that was... why not?! I am falling for them, and I honestly would love for everything to work out and would like to have them as partners indefinitely, if the last few weeks have been any indication. Maybe one day, if things go well enough, we'll consider forming a poly household / households, living with or near each other, sharing our lives more closely.

And yes, I still absolutely love my wife. One relationship doesn't replace another. Each relationship develops its own level, and none of my sweeties could be a substitute for any other. They each share and reflect a very special part of me, and each have something to offer which is special and unique. We communicate in depth with each other all the time, and when I can't be with them, I miss them all.

So am I a slut? Maybe I am. I'm glad I am who I am, and that I am not trying to live a monogamous lifestyle which isn't well-suited for me. If I am a slut, I can honestly say I don't want any additional relationships right now. Really, I'm very happy.

Those of us within the polyamorous community view same-sex marriages as only a part of what is necessary. If any consenting adults want to form lasting partnerships with legal ramifications, what business is it of the government to say they can't? I don't get it.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:05 PM on February 20, 2004


I notice that pretty much no one has directed bile against the guy the author slept with, who also had an affair yet stayed with his wife. In my humble opinion he was the most mendacious individual in this story because he lied to everyone involved.

On the other had, the author was the one who wrote the article so I guess she makes herself the target. Still, I wonder: Some of the statements I've read here seem kinda directed at the author because she was an unfaithful woman, and not because she had an affair per se. But maybe that's just my perception.
posted by moonbiter at 10:30 PM on February 20, 2004


"I notice that pretty much no one has directed bile against the guy..."

Very true. Women usually get the most criticism for being unfaithful.

That said, she did kind of direct a lot of criticism her way by the cold way she wrote the article. Frankly, I think that her coldblooded style was appropriate in a way, as she wanted to show affairs for what they are, not what we would like them to be.

Still, I wouldn't date her. Would you?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:23 PM on February 20, 2004


I think what galls people is the betrayal, especially the premeditated and sustained betrayal, both of her husband and of her own vows. I think people rightly read that as the difference between someone who made a mistake or slipped up versus someone that values their own moment-to-moment satisfaction and entertainment above values like honesty, fair play, and respect for people close to them. The pattern of sustained betrayal makes people think, rightfully, in my opinion, that "This person is perfectly open to abusing any trust between us for her own benefit, amusement or convienience."

I notice that pretty much no one has directed bile against the guy...

His betrayal, while enormous, is not as great, as he did not perform a premeditated abandonment-in-place with goal of grinding down his spouse until she was totally disheartened and threw in the towel, as she did.

I don't think you'll find anyone praising his cheating while damning hers, but it doesn't distract from the sustained and apalling abuse of trust she crafted, with the goal of destroying her marriage and obliterating her vows.
posted by NortonDC at 12:53 AM on February 21, 2004


Still, I wouldn't date her. Would you?!

Well, actually, I "dated" someone similar to her for eight years. Now, mind you, my situation was a bit different than the author's, but I have some sympathy for her because of my own history. I would never want to repeat it, but attraction and love are powerful emotions and life has a way of being really surreal sometimes.

I don't think you'll find anyone praising his cheating while damning hers ...

You would be surprised. In my experience, the woman in the affair usually gets the scorn (as insomnia_lj mentions), while the guy gets a kind of free pass. I found that a lot of my male peers seemed to give me good marks for "doing" some other guy's wife, while not really respecting her. On the other hand, a lot of my female friends were sympathetic for both of us.
posted by moonbiter at 1:37 AM on February 24, 2004


If it had been "Stephen" who had written the article in a similar no-regrets tone, he would have been criticized plenty.

In college a roommate of mine started up a flirtation with a married man who lived next door. He ended it before it got very far at all, but my attitude towards my roommate while it was going on was, "Don't talk to me about it. If I don't have to hear you preening about how he's attracted to you or trashing his perfectly nice wife or whining about how it didn't work out, then it will be your business and I won't judge you."
posted by orange swan at 12:18 PM on February 24, 2004


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