I don’t care if you have a wife or girlfriend.

Monogamy is an old construct based on a patriarchal tenant to track ownership of property, which has now become a belief system about love and sex and a strict set of rules of operation for life with someone.

It’s also basically impossible to maintain over a lifetime.

I grew up with the idea that I would find a man who would fill all the gaps in my life that I couldn’t fill on my own.  He’d be a compliment to me as a grown woman, he’d support me in my endeavors to reach my goals outside of him and I would do the same.  We would understand when the other needed time with friends or to immerse ourselves in our own careers.

Even with this understanding that we would each need many to feel fulfilled in most aspects of our lives, I also understood — without a shadow of a doubt — that I could only actualize my sexuality via him and him alone.  Where I could turn to the world for everything else, sex was strictly off limits.

Maybe I have it wrong, but here’s how I perceive our basic, mainstream monogamy today:

It is unacceptable to:

  • have non-professional contact with anyone but your partner – this includes emails, texts, sending photos, and touching
  • speak in a sexual manner to a non-partner
  • look appreciatively at anyone who is not a partner
  • have sexual, lustful thoughts about someone else
  • have desires for any of the above

There’s that old cliche, often drunkenly delivered by a bro in the wedding party, that sums it up pretty clearly: Marriage is basically like eating steak and only steak for the rest of your life.  And it is if you try to follow the rules most of us know about, but then we wake up one day and reality takes a shit on our dinner plate.  Oh hi, Reality.  Is that you?

I can’t quite figure out why, when it comes to sex, we close the shutters like we do.  Why are our partners not allowed to even talk to another woman?  Or think about another man?  Or engage in a dance of wits and sexual energy?  Is it all the fear of our partner fucking someone else?  Of loving another?  Of being left?

I’m not at all saying the answer to our monogamous society is polyamory or open relationships (those are as difficult in their own ways to navigate as a monogamous relationship, for the record), but I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t making our relationships all the more impossible because our expectations are completely outer limits.  Why not attempt monogamy, but understand your wife really needs for other men to get off to pics of her naked body or that sometimes your man needs to jerk off to a real live woman who thinks he’s available?  All while trusting no one will abandon anyone.

I’m thinking about this for a number of reasons.  First, because some of you have shared with me that you think The Soldier might be married.  His unwillingness to share his last name, his disappearance, his general unavailability.  It’s raised flags for some of you.

Second, an old lover messaged me a couple of weeks ago.  When we did our little naked dance 5 years ago, he was dating a woman and lived with her; it was very serious.  Today, they’re married.

And third, there’s another man, a tall, green-eyed fella who duped me into thinking he was single.  After our date, on a grey rainy morning, he texted me his confession.  I felt like the rain streaking my bedroom windows were my hopes of an “us” symbolically slipping away.  We met later that night to hash it out and as it turned out, to make out some more.

The thing of it is, I’m not out to wreck homes, but neither am I out to tell people what to do with theirs.  I know how hard monogamy is, I know how painful it can be to leave, and if I can provide some kind of respite, then I am happy to play along.

I’ve never known anyone, man or woman, who breaks a promise just for the thrill and not a greater gain: the ability to stay in a sexless marriage, the resolve to keep the status quo, the strength to stand a failing relationship, the stamina to wait until the nest is empty.

There might be better ways of handling feelings of neglect, anger, or desire than turning to someone new in secret, but I get it.  The problems of a relationship might seem simultaneously insurmountable and precious.  No one wants to walk away from a stable home just because his wife won’t suck his dick anymore, but the dick must be sucked, figuratively speaking.  Everyone’s dick must be sucked.

When I’ve cheated it was while under the influence of alcohol.  In my 20s, belly-scorching Southern Comfort would strip me down to deeply suppressed feelings of dissatisfaction and twice I found myself writhing on the dance floor with strange men who were neither of my boyfriends at the given time.

In the following days I contemplated my actions, which had been a surprise to even me.  I didn’t confess, I didn’t even feel all that guilty.  The men whose mouths I’d latched onto were irrelevant, already forgotten specters in my cloudy thoughts.  What was important was that I had been compelled into their arms by some unseen force, my sub-conscious.  It was telling me I wasn’t happy.

That sub-conscious muscle is what propelled me into the arms of another man while I was married, too, and it was impossible to ignore.  It forced me to review my misery to a life-altering degree.

Without telling my husband what had transpired between me and the other man, I described my heartache, my sadness, my complete unhappiness in our marriage.  We even briefly opened up our marriage, but had the disastrous rule of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which felt disingenuous and wildly impractical.  I spent most of my time hiding my texting activity and arranging trysts.  It was exhausting.

Technically, I have cheated — the Rules of Monogamy say I have — but I have never had to look at someone and see the hurt in his eyes or watch his heart break.  Even knowing the technical definition, I was still able to do some emotional gymnastics in order to believe that maybe I didn’t really cheat-cheat because it wasn’t with my vagina.  Is a slut a slut if no one is there to judge her?

My stumbles outside the cinched belt of monogamy were basically in the dark.  The boyfriends likely wouldn’t have been too pleased, but I’d have defended myself vociferously that it was just a drunken night.  Certainly my husband would have had serious grounds for seismic outrage.  I count myself as lucky that a) no one witnessed my mistakes and b) I didn’t wait for them to become even bigger and either ended the relationship or attempted to fix it immediately.

This entire blog is based on my set of sexual morals which are loose compared to the majority, therefore none of this may come as a surprise to you.  The fact that I am apologetic towards those who cheat and also engage with it on the other end means that I accept a broader understanding of what a person might need in life and that sometimes we’re forced to find it outside of a partner.  And I don’t judge.

It also means that I don’t feel any kind of responsibility to police a relationship.  As I told the tall, green-eyed man, “I don’t mind being with you, but the second I get a whiff of drama about this, I’m out.  I don’t want your girlfriend to know I exist; it’s your job to use me to better your life, not fuck it up.”  He understood and agreed.  We’ve yet to engage in anything beyond some cum art on my tits, but I’m open to more.

And if The Soldier has a wife, well, I assume he has his reasons, too, and if our lives remain in positions to benefit from our knowing one another, then great.  If not, peace out.

The married man, the one who was attached 5 years ago, has long used other women to supplement a sexless, neglected life.  When I asked him why he didn’t just leave her he said he loved her and felt he could get his needs met this way while still building a life with her.  Ok, I’m in.

I have some rules that help me decide what to do:  1) He may not talk shit about his woman.  Ever.  2) Finding outside companionship can’t be in retaliation.  I’ve turned men down because they’ve called their wives prudes, frigid, and cows.  How dare they.

I don’t want to split hairs with anyone on this; I know lots of people might think I’m depraved, a bad woman, a scourge on society.  If he’s married, he’s off limits, right?  But I am dissolute, truly.  Some people are very black and white, but it’s a black and white that resembles prison bars, not a Hitchcock movie.  There’s no tension, plot, or climax.

Maybe people wouldn’t hide and sneak around if they were allowed to be a fully sexual person within parameters everyone felt comfortable with and agreed to.  An understanding that not just one person could possibly fulfill the endless depths and needs of a single individual.  A regard for your partner’s needs, both physical and emotional, in an honest and open way.  Being forced to break your vows in order to survive a relationship is a heart-crushing process; we do it to find peace, not to maim.

If you are lucky enough to find that person, then I applaud you, but for the rest of us, we need more than just the one and we need the freedom to find it.  If we did, no one would be accused of cheating, they’d just be living.

 

A 40-something single mother who writes honestly about sex, body image, D/s, relationships, her nervous tics, and how much she loves to fucking fuck. She also likes to show you her tits.

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29 thoughts on “I don’t care if you have a wife or girlfriend.
  1. I couldn’t agree more. And still I understand husbands and wives who don’t like and/or want it. There’s a very thin line between having an affair and getting involved emotionally with someone else. During sex, our brain is off. It’s all about sensations. And it’s addictive. And sometimes we end wondering if it’s not what we would want for the rest of our lives. And we sometimes forget that we married for another reason: the brain connection. Let’s be honest, we never marry for the sex. I’ve had amazing sex with women I’d never marry (before marrying). And I could have married various women I had a brain connection with, possibly without even have sex with them… Wait… strike that!… Anyways, Getting both can be the jackpot. It happens. But it probably rarely, if ever, does last forever…

    But men should be honest too: if one “cheats”, he has to accept she can “cheat” too… it’s not a one-way game. Thing is, it may come to be living with your BFF and having sex with others… Not sure that’s what marriage is meant for, though…

    1. Marriage is whatever we make of it! People wouldn’t be considered cheaters (of any variety) if they were allowed to explore their world with permission (sexting, for example). I dunno, our current rules just make success virtually impossible. :)

      1. Yep, I just wonder what options we have anyway? Never marry and miss it? Marry and end divorcing….? Well, let’s face it, most of my unions (married or not) failed because of sex… (the lack thereof, obviously…)

        You know what? the worst is, at the end you start wondering if you’re not the problem… Maybe I’m just a bad lover?
        50g recently posted…Bi-sexualMy Profile

  2. You said this all very well. I’ve been married to the same man for 36 years, in what has become a sexless vanilla marriage and I often wonder why. I wonder why I stay when I crave sex with others, and a much kinkier sex than I ever wanted or needed before.

    We make marriage to be too much of a big deal. Those who don’t want to be married feel forced to do so, and those who want to, until recently felt it denied.

    We also make too big of a deal about sex. It needs to save for the right one and only the right one. Sex is a human need, like breathing, like food, like water. It shouldn’t be an option. Like laughing!! Can you imagine being told you could never laugh with someone other than just one person?

  3. Congratulations! You’ve touched on what has become *our* life, except we don’t call it cheating, but SHARING! When people can abandon their insecurities and overcome their jealousies, love, life, and relationships can reach new levels! Oh, and the sex is beyond fantastic too! 💙❤️💜
    xoxo/JTK

    1. I think it’s a matter of allowing a partner to be whole in a way that lets them explore their world while still remaining committed. I’m not at all prescribing sex with others (it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, after all), but suggesting instead to let them be a sexual entity with more than just a single partner if necessary. You three are supremely lucky :)

  4. Hy, I think you started this post from a defensive position, but warmed into the topic. I agree that conventional monogamy is challenging, but I also think each couple should be able to create their own definition due to the uniqueness of their relationship. I listen to Dan Savage every week and he is constantly fielding questions from people who have partners that are not sexually compatible, but they love them too much to leave. Dan tries to educate his listeners (and readers) in order to avoid such a grim scenario. He (and I) are also an advocate of discreet cheating in many circumstances.

    I dated several married men last year as part of my Ashley Madison experiment. They had no desire to leave their wives, however, none of them had an open relationship, so they were cheating. I saw the lengths they went to protect their families. I see cheating as a symptom to underlying problems that include anger, boredom, sexual incompatibility, troubled marriage — the list could go on. I cheated once in my marriage and it was because I was so lonely, so desperate for love and approval.

    In my current relationship, it will be interesting where we journey. Our communication is open — no subject is taboo. The Hunter teases about a 3-some and perhaps some day I will have the confidence in our relationship to open it up. We have been together less than a year, so I want us to have ample time to deepen our bonds before we have more serious conversations.

    In the meantime, I think we as a society need to be less judgemental about people’s relationships. I think “the other woman” is at risk in these situations because society scorns them more sometimes than the man (Monica Lewinsky for example). Men can suffer some, however, it can haunt a woman far longer both personally and professionally. So I recommend the upmost discretion for self-protection.

    I love this post and the comments. Hy, you have really been thinking and growing this year. Keep it up.
    MaggieMayat50 recently posted…Full Circle….in WalmartMy Profile

    1. Agreed (though I don’t see how I started it defensively). I think the common constraints of what we consider as faithful make most of us cheaters on some level or another and it seems to me that there’s less of it if we open our minds to what “faithful” means. I hope this piece conveyed the breadth of my thoughts on this. I think it’s absolutely up to each partnership to define what is and isn’t ok, but I worry that we say Nay too often when not truly necessary. Does it really matter if you have “discreet” dalliances in order to stay? I don’t think it does. Also, I should listen to Dan Savage at least I’ve in my life lol.

  5. I’m glad you wrote this article. If you have a moment I’ll explain. I have been with the same girl for 7+ years. It started off hot and heavy. Sex a couple of times a day and in crazy locations. 3 months in and she gets pregnant. I confronted her about why she said it was alright for me to not wear protection? I assumed she was on the pill. Turns out she had never seen a ob gyn ever! So I step up and have her move in. The sex was still good up to the birth of the baby. Then she said that she no longer enjoyed it and that she never really like me touching her breast. I’m a boob man. So I changed for her. Fast forward a year. My job gets cut off. So we move 500 miles south to start new. In the transtion she losses her job, 34k a year, and cuts back the sex to 2-3 times a month. She makes it very clear she doesn’t like having sex with me. We make it work but I’m depressed. Then one night she wakes me up she wants the crazy fun sex we use to have. It was great. Like old times. It turns out it was a one time thing that resulted in her having baby number 2. Before baby two arrived her mom starts dying from breast cancer. A month or two before her mom passes she asks me if I’m ever going to marry her daughter? I didn’t want to but how can I tell this women no. So it was settled. A quick court house wedding before her mom passes. She died shortly after. Then four months later baby two arrives. Now after baby two it’s “hurry up and cum so I can go to sleep” or “really we just did it last week.” None of which helps my self-esteem. As if that wasn’t bad enough she decides to have a complete hysterectomy and breast removal with no reconstruction because she doesn’t want to die like her mom. The sex has almost stopped all together. So I have turned to sites like this. I have met some great people. Everyone I’ve meet have made me feel needed and special. Traded pictures or just talking. She hates it. She sees it as a form of cheating. So I’ve started hiding it from her. There has never been sex but yet I still feel shame. I don’t when the marriage will end but I’m most certain it will. I feel traped. So I read this article. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that feels this way. Thank you for all that you do. Also thanks for picture yesterday on instagram. You really did make my day. I was so happy till I had to go home.

    1. I’ve emailed you a longer response than what this will be, but basically, don’t try to change your feelings (it’s impossible). Own them, work to understand them, be strong and honest, and don’t be afraid to change. xx Hy

  6. Monogamy may not be for everyone. For 36 years, monogamy has worked for Bonnie and I. It has given us intimacy and joy. It is a choice that has brought us much happiness. As always, our very best to you.
    Respectfully
    Stan

    1. But you and Bonnie don’t have “traditional” monogamy because if y’all did you wouldn’t be here and talking to me. You’ve been open and honest in a beautiful way with each other about your sexualities and needs that makes cheating obsolete. You two have the realistic kind of partnership I wish all of us could have.

  7. I want to concur… I have been that ‘other woman’ and I loved what I had from those men. It ended though because I wanted more. I said at the beginning, no ‘I don’t want more, you’re safe, no commitment, I get the best of you’ to them . But over time I realised I did want more, I resented the time with their families and while I was getting partial commitment and satisfaction from them I wouldn’t open myself up properly to someone new who might give me more of what I needed. I wasn’t going to force myself upon them and their families, and while my stance changed over time, theirs hadn’t. I wasn’t going to destroy their worlds. One remains a deep friend who I love deeply and will always care for, the other did not deal with it well, and cut me out completely from his life.

  8. Things happen in marriages, some tragic, some not so.

    Before we tie the knot, are often faced with a quandary–wait for the ‘right’ person, whom might not arrive or make do with the willing party at hand. Most do the latter, with irrational exuberance that things will improve or at least, not worsen. no wonder most people suck at picking stocks or seeing trends.)

    The problem is that something will be sacrificed. Too often, it is the sex life.
    If I could actually bet on what suffers in most marriages, I would short the sex factor and become a super trazillionaire.

    It isn’t your job to police anyone but yourself.

    You have your reasons and boundaries. Hopefully, they have some, too.
    Liras recently posted…Memory |Lost not FoundMy Profile

  9. This was really thought provoking post Hy, and I really appreciate it. It’s helped me get some perspective on my choices over time, and given me some parameters for the future.
    Thanks.
    Indigo Byrd recently posted…Art Twist #1My Profile

  10. I just read this and the many comments, identifying with all the sentiments expressed. I’ve wrestled with the idea of monogamy: When younger I thought it absurd not to admit attraction to others even whilst with my first and great love. Being proud to hear her appreciation for others, while simultaneously, without words being necessary, doing it to affirm she had chosen me.. and the same for me in return. I’ve tried polyamory both overt & hidden (for which you can read ‘open relationships’ & ‘hidden simultaneous affairs’). But couldn’t truly feel happy, feeling it raised barriers in me to opening up on deeper feelings, which I wanted to realise but couldn’t quite allow myself to, for fear of loss. I have always wanted kids since I was 21, though I’ve never had any; a source of pain to me. I’ve crept into and plunged into relationships both of weeks and years. The more sex I have the more I want, the more love I feel the more I CAN feel -and want. Am I too demanding or just a guy with a Big heart? Will I ever find someone with as big a heart who want as much as I do to ‘become a part of each other’ when joined together, making love? I’ve looked in more places I can recount, in places & with lovers -from & in many countries. I’ve loved deeply, given and received as freely as a flowing stream though never married, never had children (of my own). I’m feeling like I’ll never have the dream of a family of my/’our’ own . Have I gained and yet lost out, have I missed out yet gained much more…? All I know is I’m left feeling I AM missing something, comfort and companionship, yet these are not enough, on their own, and I couldn’t settle for a loveless, sexless union just for these.
    Still I believe we are a species that tend instinctively toward monogamy yet fundamentally drawn, too, to find more.

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