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Dear Em & Lo: What’s So Wrong with Cheating on My Husband?

Wed, Mar 18, 2009

Advice, Dear Em & Lo

set_him_free_signphoto by Son_of_Groucho

Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve read your books and love your website, but I notice you are against any infidelity and look down on those who have affairs, but you’re okay with swinging and group sex and anal sex probes and bisexuals and all kinds of things that normal folks (who occasionally stray) find disgusting. I guess my point is, how can you judge like that?  You judge cheaters but support skank!  You know your sex drive better than I do, obviously, but let’s say your husband could no longer perform in bed due to E.D.  You don’t honestly expect me to believe you would go without sex or rely on a dildo for the rest of your life, do you?  I think that’s B.S.

What I’d like you both to know is that we’re not bad people.  We’re your softball coaches and school teachers.  I feed my neighbor’s son peanut butter and jelly on a Tuesday afternoon and have sex with her husband on Thursday night because she hasn’t let him touch her since she had the baby — THREE YEARS AGO!  We’re not trailer trash from the Jerry Springer show. We’re real people, ignored by our spouses.  We’re not evil. Give us a break, okay? After all, it’s not like you two are devout Church-going types either, ya know? You preach about free, uncommitted sex with both the opposite sex and the same sex (as long as a condom is involved) and hey, that’s fine.  Just don’t judge the rest of us. There are reasons for the things we do.  We don’t spread disease through our little suburban neighborhoods or anything like that.

– Straying Dog

Dear S.D.,

Here’s what we do judge:

  1. Lying to your husband (except when he asks if his penis is too small).
  2. Lying to your neighbor (except when she asks if her new haircut makes her look like Blossom).
  3. Lying to anyone, for that matter. And yes, faking orgasms is lying.
  4. Sex without barrier protection (i.e. condoms) — unless you’re monogamous, have been tested together, have agreed to incur the risks of forgoing barrier protection, and are using another form of birth control (unless of course you’re both trying to get pregnant together).
  5. Sexism.
  6. Homophobia.
  7. Anti-choice people who want to take away our reproductive rights, comprehensive sex education, and access to birth control.
  8. Um, we can’t think of much else that we do judge. Pleated khakis on men, maybe?

And here’s what we don’t judge (as long as it’s done safely and consensually, of course):

  1. Homosexuality.
  2. Bisexuality.
  3. Swinging.
  4. Group sex.
  5. Open relationships.
  6. Casual safe sex (so long as both parties understand and accept its casual nature).
  7. Anal play.
  8. Sex toys, including anal sex probes.
  9. Jerry Springer.
  10. Kink.
  11. Roleplaying.
  12. Spanking.
  13. Bondage.
  14. Booty calls.
  15. Dirty talk.
  16. Phone sex.
  17. Text sex.
  18. Pony play (okay, sometimes we judge pony play…hey, we’re only human).
  19. Strap-on sex.
  20. Celibacy.
  21. Solo sex.
  22. Latex.
  23. Watersports.
  24. Legal prostitution.

Need we go on? We didn’t think so. You’re right — you totally nailed us. So long as sex is consensual, legal, honest, and fully condom-ed, we probably wouldn’t judge it. But if you’re married and sleeping with your neighbor’s husband and the respective spouses don’t know about it or don’t condone it — then hells yes, we judge you! You think anal probes are skank? Well, we think that cheating on your husband — and not only that, but doing it with someone else’s husband, to boot — is 100% pure skank.

We know we sound naive when we say this. We know we’re idealists. And we admit we have no idea what it’s like to want to stay in a crumbling marriage for the kids (or for the mortgage). We have no idea what it’s like to be ignored in a marriage — or in the bedroom. And we have no idea what it’s like to be married to an inoperative penis.

We can think of a only a few very special circumstances where unsanctioned cheating might be justifiable, or at least understandable: For example, a husband suffers from E.D. and it threatens his masculinity to the point where he just completely shuts off from anything sexual and doesn’t deal with it at all it in order to keep it together psychologically, while his wife, who loves him and wants to be with him and doesn’t want to break his heart, decides to get a little no-emotional-strings-attached-sex on the side to satisfy her needs. Maybe we could understand that.

Or maybe not. We’re inclined to believe that in the majority of cases of cheating, there’s a lot of rationalizing that’s done on the part of the cheater for two major reasons. First, because it allows people the opportunity for drama and excitement in their lives (doing the forbidden thing, the taboo thing, the wrong thing always does). But that drama and excitement comes at the expense of the trust and feelings and dignity of the people they made a promise to, the people they’re supposed to truly love: their spouses. Second, it’s simply the easier way out.

Sure, it sucks if your husband gets E.D., but isn’t that the whole point of “in sickness and in health”? Also, who said that sex has to be all about intercourse? Last we heard, cunnilingus didn’t involve the penis. Same goes for handwork. And the same goes for most of the stuff in our don’t-judge list, too. We’re sorry, but we just don’t think that faulty mechanics void your marriage vows (assuming, of course, that your marriage vows included sexual fidelity).

And sure, it sucks if your husband or wife ignores you, but since when did cheating solve that? Last we heard, good old-fashioned communication was a much better tool to fix that kind of problem. Or marriage counseling. Or divorce.

If your partner just plain doesn’t want sex anymore and you do — and you’ve tried everything you can possibly think of to remedy the situation, including reading all our books and seeing a sex or marriage therapist together — then ask their permission to have an affair. (Yep, that’s right, if they give their permission, it’s not skanky — it’s just good, clean fun.) If your partner says no, then you have two options: (1) Leave them. (2) Suck it up and deal with a sexless marriage (and learn to appreciate the art of masturbation). And those are your only two options. If sex is soooooooooo important to you that you think it justifies cheating, then it should be important enough to you to get a divorce. And if your marriage is soooooooooo important to you that you can’t possibly consider a divorce, then guess what? You’re going to have to sacrifice the sex part.

If you choose option one and leave your partner, do not, under any circumstances, have an affair with someone else’s spouse. We’re all in this monogamy biz together, and it’s our civic responsibility to keep each other honest and faithful. We don’t care if you’re not spreading STDs (though you can never be 100% sure about that if people are sleeping around) — you’re still spreading lying, disrespect, and some seriously bad karma.

We know that a sanctioned affair isn’t really the “done” thing yet. But you know what? It should be! Slowly, more and more people are catching on. And we’re going to keep on preaching our honesty message until the rest of you cheaters get on board.

And that’s the gospel according to Em & Lo.

From our high horse,

Em & Lo

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136 Responses to “Dear Em & Lo: What’s So Wrong with Cheating on My Husband?”

  1. TK Says:

    The best thing that can happen to that skank is for her to find out that her husband is not interested in her because he is banging his neighbor too! There is a big difference between cheating and an open marriage!

  2. Matt Says:

    This might be my favorite thing you guys have written ever.

    Ever!

  3. Matt Says:

    By the way, what the f is pony play?!?

  4. Slartibartfast Says:

    Mercy! Please, EmLo, don’t edit yourselves. Share with the group. Actually, I love your response but that shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m just having difficulty accepting that there are those among us so benighted that they could write anything like the initial letter. It *has* to be a troll. I’m not a naif or an ingenue, but I can’t believe anyone would be so confused over the difference between blatantly deceptive behavior (i.e. lying), and consensual behavior. Incidentally, I had no idea your ‘OK’ list was so long or inclusive. There goes my ‘Confession’… And it harm no one, do as you will.

  5. Kavita Says:

    you guys rock. ’nuff said

  6. Chelsea B Says:

    Amen!
    You proved your point, respectfully too.
    I am also appalled that S.D. referred to people on the Jerry Springer show as “trailer trash” and that they are not “real people.” What a judgmental statement in itself.

  7. Nora Says:

    I can understand cheating under certain circumstances, but it is still wrong and disrespectful.

  8. ficklechic Says:

    This is most definitely my favorite thing you guys have writted! From an “ex” other woman… I kinda-sorta-understand what S.D. is saying, but having ridden that rollercoaster and (ahem) grown up a bit, I completely 100% agree with you. Cheating is never ever ever ever ok or the only option. If it’s worth it to cheat, it’s worth it to leave!
    KUDOS LADIES KUDOS

  9. Erin Says:

    Woah bitch back off. You made a commitment to your lover whom your made your spouse when you got married. Now your a lie and cheat like a filthy slut. good job. not the person i want teaching my kids. You are a bad example this is not a harlequin novel it’s real life your spouse will be hurt and devistated by your actions. Grow up. If they don’t say it’s okay get a divorce. Your acting like a snank acting like this. This person may not be intereseted in sex but that is between her and her husband if they both agree to sex out side the marriage and so does your poor duped spose then go ahead and fuck each other senseless.

  10. Elizabeth Says:

    I agree 100%. Cheating will (most likely) hurt someone TERRIBLY. Way more than walking away would.

  11. Vivian Says:

    That was such a classy response to an unclassy letter! Good job! I loved reading it and I completely agree- cheating is for skanks.

  12. terry Says:

    Dear Em and Lo: I guess you are very young and your experence in life very short. Now, that is not an excuse for you to judge and condemn people in situations you wouldn´t even imagine. How dare you? I´ve been there and I know what it is. Divorce? After 30 years of marriage? tell him bye-bye just when he is sick and feels devastated and old? Be cruel to him when he needs you? And you say, no, I can´t do that, and you become a sort of martyr, and you are healthy and want to live and love, but he is self-conscious and doesn´t even want to hear a word about it. And you get bitter and dry. No sex, no friends, just two people sittng in front of the tv. At last I had to leave, and I don´t feel proud. Cheating? I often think that would have been the best and the kindest solution for the two of us.
    Life is long and complicated, and things are not so simple. Avoid black and white. Lfe is full of gry hues

  13. Sophie Says:

    I agree with S.D. and Terry. Of course I am all for fidelity and all against lies, but life is strange and sometimes pre-made principles just don’t match difficult, icky, human situations. I love reading you girls and share the same “ok” list, but I often found myself disagreeing with you on that point. Personally, I am truthful to myself and my partner when I have one, but I am open to other views. If I could not anymore be with someone who could not deal with his shit and would not, if needed, agree to see a counselor (as many men of a certain age are), I am not the woman who will throw stones to my sisters and brothers who are not yet ready to face their fears of loneliness, abandonment or whatnot. I have recently met with an “open” marriage much more dysfunctionnal than one that would cultivate a little secrecy.

  14. Audra Says:

    Good job ladies! I totally agree with you. If you are unhappy with someone, then you talk to them, and if that doesn’t work take the next step. Who wants to go on living a lie to their loved ones?

    It might hurt sometimes, but in this case two wrongs don’t make a right.

  15. screwball Says:

    What’s wrong with pleated khakis?

  16. Lacey Says:

    I agree with Terrie and Sophie. Erin, the point that letter was trying to make is that your school teachers, neighbors, heck, even your own family members (and in some cases your preachers!) may be in this very same situation, but you don’t know about it. They are still your friends and confidents. Here is someone admitting to it, and you hate her for that, but what if she’s YOUR neighbor? Or your sister? Or your yoga instructor? I believe people are all basically good, but some of us have secrets. As long as we’re not hurting anyone, it shouldn’t affect our jobs, our friendships, fellow Em and Lo readers, etc. See my point?

  17. kf Says:

    I forget sometimes that there are still people in the world who aren’t as open minded on all things sexual… it’s a pretty sobering thought.

  18. Matt Says:

    But Lacey–the ARE hurting someone. How do people not get that? If you’re lying to your partner and going behind his back, and doing something that would bother or even devastate him if he found out–along with the fact that he’d been lied to by someone he loves–then it’s hurting him.

    There’s always a chance that you’ll be discovered, and by doing something like this, you’re putting your partner at risk. There’s the risk that the partner finds out and is hurt. There’s the risk that other people in the town/friend circle/community will find out and gossip about it. One or both of those two things is more than likely to happen sooner or later.

    But even if you’re so careful that you never get found out, it’s hurtful to the relationship itself. It’s selfish behavior, and trying to dress it up with moral relativism is pure bullshit. Grow a pair, actually talk to the person, and let them at least make the decision whether they want the relationship to be over or they’d be up for some kind of consensual arrangement. That’s showing your partner the respect and decency he deserves.

  19. Rolando Says:

    “But Lacey–the ARE hurting someone. How do people not get that? If you’re lying to your partner and going behind his back, and doing something that would bother or even devastate him if he found out–along with the fact that he’d been lied to by someone he loves–then it’s hurting him.”

    I agree with this. Plus these secrets are never kept. “It all comes out in the wash.”

  20. Doridori Says:

    Well said Em and Lo. I couldn’t agree with you ladies more.

  21. tlutar Says:

    You know cheating on you husband is one thing but does that person you are cheating on your husband with have a girlfriend or a WIFE? Too many woman are giving out free sex and doing it to men who are married with once happy sex lives until that other woman comes along. However when men begin to experience the change of life like us women they are unable to perform and think getting free sex will help thier problems. Hello it is not working!

  22. PK Says:

    Dear Lady Cha…er…Stray Dog,

    How is Clifford doing these days?

  23. trillie Says:

    GREAT post!

    I also agree with Nora: Sometimes things are understandable with enough background information and a few miles in someone else’s shoes, but that doesn’t make them right (morally, ethically, you know).

  24. Mayhem Says:

    Kudos to Em & Lo for such a well-written response! I completely agree with every point they make.

    I also find it endlessly amusing that the pro-cheating people keep pointing out that they are “normal people.” I don’t honestly care who is doing the cheating. If MY friends, teachers, or family were cheating – I’d disapprove of it then too.

    Being my friend doesn’t make you infallible in my eyes. If someone’s a great teacher – they can still be a dirty skank who throws all principles out the window when things become less than ideal.

    Lying to people is not the answer to your problems. When you get caught cheating – you’ll realize how it only made things more difficult. Stop making excuses and get some communication in your relationships!

  25. Elizabeth Says:

    I understand the fear of loneliness and abandonment, but as someone who has been cheated on, and as someone who understands how deeply that hurts, I just can’t be okay with that. I mean, really, How would “stray dog” feel if she found out that the reason her husband can’t get it up for her is because he’s doing it with someone else? In all likelihood, she would feel hurt, broken and inadequate. I mean, granted, I’m not her, maybe she’d feel relieved or something, but if it would hurt you why would you do that to your partner, who you are supposed to love just as much? My problem, and what I gather of Em and Lo’s problem is that these people are LYING to each other. If your relationship needs deceit to survive, why is it worth it?

    On a side note: Matt, Pony play is a form of sex that sometimes happens in BDSM type situations (maybe others, but that’s only where I’ve heard of it). The “pony” or submissive person will use a bit, wear a saddle and reigns, etc. It seems a bit odd to me, but hey, if that’s what you like… :)

  26. emandlo Says:

    By the way, if you ever want to put your own marriage into perspective, read (or re-read) this amazing Modern Love essay in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/fashion/08love.html

    Now THAT”S a marriage vow!

  27. Lauren in bk Says:

    The original letter was so ignorant, I almost want to think it is a prank. Great response, ladies! Up with honesty and communication. Down with lying skanks (and skunks)!

  28. Heather Says:

    I have been with my Fiance’ for 8 years this June, We have 2 Children together, 6 & 4, I have cheated 1 time last year and It was because of alcohol, I felt terrible about it and told him the day after it happened, What made it worse is that my Fiance’ was passed out in my car with my youngest daughter, they were both asleep and I was being a SKANK persay, I know someone is going to call me that eventually so I said it. I am young, Im 24, he is 27, It was a one time F-Up, I have never felt so terrible in my life, I know I hurt my Fiance’, He cried and cried about it, and said I was a sorry excuse for a mom,woman,person. I have seen the guy that it happened with numerous times and the guy has talked to my sister and told her unbenost to me at the time that He does not remeber anything from that night.? I guess that could be the truth being he was Drunk also, I just know that it hurt my Fiance’ alot and I don’t ever want to do that to him again, I would have gained nothing and lost everything. Heather

  29. Slartibartfast Says:

    I’ve read through the comments posted to date and it seems that the consensus is pretty clear. Lying for the sake of your own convenience is bad/wrong and lying to a spouse is a worse infraction than lying to a partner with whom you have a lesser level of commitment. I have no problem with any of that. However, the rather patronizing comment from Terry on March 18 refuses to let go. If by “you are very young and your experence in life very short,” the writer means that EmLo have clear expectations of honesty, respect and fair play then I have to agree. If something else is intended, then it’s clear that Terry is attempting to defend the policy of lying to a spouse because it presents a ‘path of least resistance.’ That is, at best, lazy and more likely hypocritical cowardice. An attempt to justify such a betrayal on the grounds that being forthright is too ‘cruel’ to your spouse is too much. If you’re not willing to sacrifice for them, they’re not principles. Guidelines or suggestions, maybe. Or else you’re just comfortable with a level of ethical flexibility that I am not. I’m not especially young and I have been around a little bit. I have experienced similar circumstances to those described by Terry. I chose to honor my commitments until a resolution was reached. Infidelity was never on the menu.

  30. Kavita Says:

    cheating and lying hurts. i may not have the “life experience” (since i am a lowly college student) but being cheated on hurts, and puts you at danger for diseases that I DO NOT WANT. I have the policy with every boyfriend that if you want to cheat in a specific moment, just take two seconds call me and tell me you want to do something else. break up with me. and go. It hurts to much otherwise.

  31. Sophie Says:

    Of course being cheated on hurts, no one will argue against that. The point is, it’s no use stigmatizing people who do or who have done it, because stigmatizing is NEVER helpful. It’s not helpful to alcohol abusers, it’s not helpful to drug addicts, it’s just a waste of energy that would be better spent on dealing pain and suffering that are a part of life. It’s especially not useful to stigmatize oneself by spilling out a drunken one-night stand to a spouse and devastate him.

  32. Winger Says:

    I understand where “Straying Dog” comes from, being a former adulterous myself. I cheated because I was in a marriage that did not give me everything I believed I should have in a relationship. Let me clarify, I had an affair, just as this woman is doing. In turn, I was hurtful and malicious. I was deceptive and selfish. I was selfish. I was selfish.

    Thankfully, I can recognize this fact and I can say I’ve truly grown from the experience and realize the depth and severity of my actions. Unfortunately, it seems as though “Straying Dog” cannot see this about herself. She is choosing to believe in a fantasy where her cheating is a way of life, and completely justifiable, when it is clearly not.

  33. Yatz Says:

    Having been cheated on, I agree with Em and Lo. Lying is fraud, like it or not. It’s not fraud when all parties are consenting. When someone else changes the rules without the fully informing all the concerned parties, it’s fraud.

    Classy column, Em and Lo.

  34. Devil's Advocate Says:

    Secrets will come out in the end because it’s only fair: Suspicious spouses/significant others will be totally justified in spying on potential cheaters. I’m talking account hacking, cell phone GPS tracking, hidden cameras, NSA-style wiretapping, private detectives, the whole nine yards. Because hey, if people choose to act without any ethics or consideration, why should they expect the ones they profess to love to live by any higher standard? Victims don’t have to cheat to retaliate. It’s just a race to the bottom.

  35. Dave W Says:

    Wow. Sophie strikes again with her “stigmatizing” comment.

    1) “stigmatize oneself” – I don’t know where to start in assessing that phrase
    2) According to her logic, I think she’d see plenty of stigmatization of alcoholics and drug users happening in AA and NA
    3) If I believe a behavior is morally wrong, how do I proceed from there without “stigmatizing”?

    I understand that some people have experiences in the formative years of their lives that cause them to fight with all of their might to avoid facing up to specific situations. I’d call it a tragic flaw. But just because I understand it, and don’t place most of the blame on that person for it, it doesn’t mean I’m obligated to be friends with that person, or married to them. And I certainly apply the same moral code to them as I do to everyone else. Your own situation can never make cheating right.

  36. Lacey Says:

    Again, I think my point is being lost. Your sister could have cheated on her husband and never told you about it. You and your sister are not just relatives, but the very best of friends. You tell her everything, you share everything, you trust her and love her unconditionally. Then she confesses to you that her husband is no longer interested in sex, someone came on to her at work and she gave in. Do you still love your sister? Well, I hope you do. And you’ll never know about the school teachers or the softball coaches or your accountant or whoever. So they’d still be your friends. The whole point of the post is STOP JUDGING PEOPLE TILL YOU’VE WALKED A MILE IN THEIR SHOES. You may have a friend who tells you they cheated and you may decide that you can no longer be their friend, but another friend of yours cheated too, they just never told you about it. Therefore, they are still your friend. Fair? Nope. I have cheated. I am a good person. Em and Lo might like me, actually, if they never knew about it. See my point?

  37. Matt Says:

    Lacey, who’s talking about not loving their sister or not wanting to be someone’s friend? We’re just saying it’s a shitty thing to do to someone. I’m still friends with some people who’ve done shitty things to me in the past. That doesn’t mean I think the things they did were okay, it just means that I forgave them.

    And just because something happens all the time with all sorts of people you’d never guess cheat doesn’t make it okay, either. We’re not talking about whether someone’s a good/bad person here, but whether or not a specific action is good/bad.

    I can still love somebody and ask of them that they don’t cheat on me–even if that person has cheated in the past. Because I stay with that person does not mean that I am agreeing that cheating is okay, only that we all make mistakes sometimes.

    You seem to be very confused about all of this. Your points don’t follow any sort of logic. But that’s okay, I don’t think that makes you a bad person.

  38. Johnny Says:

    For many men (and women, but I won’t go into that), a lifetime of monogamy is a tall order.

    The problem with non-monogamy clauses in relationships is that women are notorious flip-floppers on this subject. They’ll agree to it early on, because they want to seem kinky or whatever, then change their minds when they get their hooks in.

    That means a guy’s options are either to never settle down, to settle down temporarily until he can’t deal with his constant natural attraction to other women, or to keep a family together while getting the occasional side-nook.

    Until people collectively become less sexually possessive, cheating is often the simplest way.

  39. katie Says:

    wow. some people just do not get it.
    Cheating is never okay. Cheating because you need sex
    is WEAK, SELFISH, and STUPID. All of you women who are justifying yourselves with this bullshit about it being better are just selfish.
    I have been on both sides of this and I know that cheating is never okay.
    NEVER, it is disrespectful and destroys relationships.

  40. Nicky Says:

    B.S. What your spouse does not know won’t hurt them! You are all crazy in believing that strap ons and same sex f—-ng is ok. You are the sick ones and need to be judged. If my spouse is not giving me what I want I’m not leaving if I have alot to lose. Forget about permission, permission for what?!! My spouse would not be the wiser. Though I would not f my next door neighbor for fear that my behind may be busted. Don’t judge! You are doing and believing in sicker crap that will not get you or my cheating behind in heaven!

  41. mj Says:

    if you feel unwanted by your husband, i can totally understand.i admire you (a bit). there are many times when i feel the urge to cheat because i feel unwanted.but i just can’t do it. i’ve been taking my security needs for so long now.

  42. Matt Says:

    Nicky, a major reason some of us don’t cheat is because of the guilt we’d feel. I couldn’t do something to my wife that I know would hurt her if she knew, and then sit with the knowledge of that, smiling at her and pretending everything’s okay. I couldn’t live with myself. I’d feel like a huge fraud just sitting across from her at breakfast, or any time we said “I love you.”

    If you don’t feel any guilt, chances are pretty high you’re a sociopath. I honestly don’t say that as a judgment, just an observation. If you can do something to someone close to you that you know would hurt them, and then pretend like nothing’s wrong–with no guilt at all–well, that’s not something most people can do without great discomfort and private suffering.

    Which brings me back to Em&Lo’s point: if getting this action on the side is so unavoidable, why not just get a divorce and spare everyone?

    Also: Johnny, you’re leaving out one choice: DEAL with the feelings of attraction to others without acting on them. It’s not always easy, for sure, but lots of us do it, the same way we might avoid other temptations to act selfishly at work or in friendships or in other parts of our lives. Why should we always get everything we want, especially when it’s at the expense of others?

  43. Sophie Says:

    Matt: Finally a response with a little nuance.

    On an other note: I am too in favor of legal prostitution, as Em and Lo. I just hope, for the sake of their logic, that only unmarried and uncommitted men and women would engage in sexual intercourse with sex workers…

  44. carrieanne Says:

    To Matt: Your 100% correct, and unfortunately I speak from experience. My BIGGEST regret in my life is hurting my husband. I couldnt look him in the eye, and act as everything was okay. Only a heartless person can do that…Thankfully, with counseling, and forgiveness, my husband took me back. This was years ago…and still TODAY not a day goes by that I dont feel guilty for the pain I caused him. Sometimes, just seeing him, I will look at him and I am crushed inside to know what I did to this man. I live every day making it up to him, and do it with pleasure. He is a good man, and nobody deserves this. You dont realize the devastation and destruction you can do to someone, and it’s not anyones right to do that to anyone. If you must sleep around, then unattach yourself now. It’s not YOUR choice to decide if your partner should endure the heartbreak. And, I ASSURE YOU THIS…they will find out, the truth will always come out, one day, no matter how careful, you will be found out. If I could change things, I would…for there is no worse feeling in the world, than seeing your spouse’s eyes when they learn of your infidelity. You will not ever know till it happens to you, and it is something you will have etched in your soul forever. I have paid a severe price inside my heart for what I have done…and it was so not worth it. Seeing the one you love suffer the pain that they do becuase of something you did…is just as bad, if not worse than being on the receiving end. It is The CHEATER who will justifiably be hurt worse in the end,….. You will not ever be the same again. I promise you that.

  45. carrieanne Says:

    Is someone were to assault or even murder another person…would we be able to say “let’s not judge them, they must have a good reason for what they did.” You do the SAME harm to someone’s heart and soul when you cheat. In fact, some may say it might be worse.
    If your husband isnt having sex with you……it might be a good guess that he knows your having an affair………

  46. Wendell Says:

    Good post, Em and Lo, and interesting discussion. However, I wish some of the commenters would brush up on the differences between “your” and “you’re.”

    General comment, but mostly to those who would disagree with Em and Lo on this: go back and read what *exactly* they judge. They judge the person’s *actions.* There is a difference.

    The only people they claim to judge are those anti-choice, anti-sex, anti-sex-ed people, and I would wholeheartedly agree.

    Johnny, two quick questions: 1. Do you realize how many problematic assumptions and generalizations there are in your post? 2. How long have you been reading this blog? Rectifying the latter would certainly help the former.

  47. Johnny Says:

    I just think our need for fidelity comes from our basest emotions – possessiveness, jealousy, denial of our parnters’ inherent sexuality… Once we reject the first two, and accept the third, sexual fidelity becomes much less of a big deal.

    It’s a huge mental and emotional leap, but it’s possible.

  48. Matt Says:

    Johnny, it’s possible to do what? Have an open marriage? That’s not what we’re talking about here. Anything consensual is not cheating. If you’re talking about an arrangement, more power to you. If you’re talking about lying to the person you supposedly love and doing something behind their back that would hurt them, that’s fucked up, plain and simple. (And cowardly to boot.)

  49. Joe Says:

    If your spouse no longer is interested in having sex with you, don’t you call that being sold a bill of goods? Would you ladies feel any better if S.D. and her paramour told their respective spouses that they were going to go take care of business elsewhere?

  50. Married Lady Says:

    I am 100% against affairs. They don’t solve marital problems. Lying and breaking promises are wrong. But sometimes I think you have to acknowledge that doing the right thing is hard and figure out how to say that doing the wrong thing is wrong, but understandable.

    I think it’s crazy to tell people it’s better to get divorced or ask your partner to agree to have affairs. Divorce may be honest, but it hurts people at least as much as being told their penis is too small or their hair looks bad. Divorce hurts kids. And a couple may love each other and have built a life and financial future together. Asking your partner to let you sleep with someone else may hurt them, too. Doing it even with their agreement may hurt them.

    Basically, all the choices are going to hurt your partner – cheating on them, leaving them, or pushing for a non-monogamous relationship. On the other hand, truly not having sex is painful. Anyone who stands by someone in that situation is a saint. It’s what we should all do. But it’s understandable if people don’t manage it all the time – just not right.


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