Dear Em & Lo: Should I Cheat on My Husband Who’s Abroad?


Dear Em & Lo,

I read your articles, and you give great advice to other readers, so maybe you can help me! My husband lives in another country; he’s in the process of coming over here, but we aren’t even sure when! We have been apart for a year already, and we’ve been married for 3 years. The thing is, there’s this other guy. I do not want a relationship with him or anything, more like a one-night stand. Or a friends+benefits type thing? Is this wrong of me? I have been good for the past 3 years but I can’t take it anymore. How would I even ask a guy for a one-night stand? If my husband doesn’t know, it doesn’t hurt him, right? Plus, we don’t have any kids together. I really need your help.

— Married Without a Man

Dear MWAM,

Wait, we’re confused: you say you read our advice columns, and yet you’re asking us if you should secretly cheat on your husband?  If you read this site, then you should already know our answer to this question: NOFUCKINGWAY!

Traditionally, marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. You’ve only been hitched a measly three years — that’s nothing! And you’ve been apart for only a year. After 5, maybe even 3 years, we might be a little more sympathetic, but then again we have vibrators that have lasted longer than that — and you should too! Assuming your marriage vows included sexual fidelity (and it sounds like they have) then you need to either A) honor those vows, or B) renegotiate them with your husband. Cheating — even if it’s just a one-night thing — is not an option.

If you go with door A, then there are several things you can do to satisfy your longings. Invest in the aforementioned heavy-duty vibrators and use them. Fluff up your fantasy life. Have regular phone sex with your husband. Set up video chats between the two of you so you can masturbate simultaneously while watching each other. But most importantly, try to remember why you recently married this guy in the first place. When a person considers betraying their partner, it’s obvious some love and respect has been lost somewhere along the way — do a little soul-searching to try to get it back.

If you go with door B, then you need to be honest with him, in the kindest, gentlest, least offensive way possible. Explain to him how much you miss him and miss having sex with him, and how you’ve been feeling primal urges lately that are becoming too difficult to ignore. Would he consider some kind of arrangement for while you two are apart? One that wouldn’t negate your love or commitment, but one that might simply scratch that itch. Obviously, there are many steps to this kind of deal-making which we don’t have the room or time to go into, so you should check out Tristan Taormino’s book, “Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships” — it’s your best bet for having your cake and eating it too.

Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win,
Em & Lo


  1. Truly amazing how everyone missed my point. Everyone assumes I *want* to cheat. No desire to do so at all–unlike MWAM, there is no other guy in the picture, nor am I remotely inclined to look for another. So I’m not posting in the fear that I could be led to lying, deceit, or unfaithfulness.

    My point was that my husband moved across an ocean with minimal discussion and, apparently, without any understanding or concern about my feelings. Since he moved, he continues to pressure me to move–something he didn’t initially do when the job was offered. (“We’ll just visit often!”, he said. Keep in mind that his first planned trip back to the States is more than eight months after he left and I felt like I had to nag him for three months to purchase the ticket.)

    Any reader should understand that I married after I was 40 and I’ve developed a career that I love. Beyond my husband, I also love my family and my current job is within a relatively easy drive of many of them. My mother is getting older and this has been a benefit for both of us. As I’ve already said, when we married, my soon-to-be husband and I were living in the same location and, when he was looking for a job at an admittedly stressful time, he had more than one completely reasonable option in that area. However, he still opted to commit to an overseas job that would last longer than the length of time we’d been married.

    Can anyone comment without immediately jumping to the conclusion that I’m simply desperate to have sex with anyone? How sad if that is the immediate thought that crosses the mind rather than so many more serious issues that confront us.

  2. That’s true kb, Frieda, just divorce him, save yourself any lying, deceit, and being unfaithful. Accept what has happened (him moving without blinking an eye) and get out of the marriage and into one with a husband that sees you everyday.

  3. Frieda-if you feel that he’s left you already, why not be honest and make that official before you sleep with someone else? I don’t really see what you’d be losing by doing it with dignity instead of sneaking around.

  4. Sorry to disappoint. I’m not the original poster, just someone who has doubts about her marriage as well. My husband is not fighting–he is not in the military. Unlike a soldier, he had a choice as to whether to stay living with me in the same city or going overseas. He chose to go when he knew that there was no way I could go with him. As for him divorcing me–with him there and the two of us apart with no clear plans as to when we’ll see each other next, I feel as if he has left me already.

  5. ^So you are the poster then, with your quote: “The thing is, there’s this other guy. I do not want a relationship with him or anything, more like a one-night stand. Or a friends+benefits type thing? ”

    Then you say, quote: “It isn’t that I’m currently thinking of cheating or even have the opportunity,”

    So which is it? You want to cheat on your husband, then you aren’t thinking of cheating, you are confused. Sounds like your husband wanted to do something for his/your/our country, and fight for it. He’s fighting for you too you know. For your daughter. Buy a vibrator, surround yourself with family/friends. Not some random ‘one night stand’ guy who just might give you an STD; you never know when you are that desperate. Don’t cheat on your husband. He just might divorce you faster than you can say ‘I’m sorry!’

  6. Well, I **am** having doubts. When I met my husband, we lived within a few miles of each other. We married and were together a little over a year and a half when he decided to accept a job overseas for three years!! We’d discussed the possibility for a year, but when they came back saying three, he didn’t blink. After he left, I spent entirely too much time answering calls from prospective employers in our area asking if he was still available, so it seems clear that he could have stayed with me. When he made this decision, he knew he was moving somewhere that I could not easily follow. I have a career that I enjoy and do not speak the language in the country where he moved. He did not seem to think much about me or his daughter, who also lives in the States, when he made the decision to move for three years.

    I miss having someone’s arms around me at night. I miss having him nearby when I want to talk about my day. And, to be frank, I miss sex.

    It isn’t that I’m currently thinking of cheating or even have the opportunity, but given that it was his decision to move overseas and not mine, should he be surprised if I have doubts? I should say that if you’re in the military and you’re deployed somewhere, I do not have the same issues. In my husband’s case, it was not a requirement, but a choice.

  7. I am a sailor in the navy and have been married for only a couple years and it truly hurts me to read questions like this when i am sacrificing my youth and possibly my life for my country and my beautiful young wife only to live with the haunting image of her just “having a one night stand”
    please be honest with us ladies, its only fair that we should know if you are having doubts

  8. i have been away from my bf for past 3 years now and i do not think about cheating on him because i know that he is far away from me because he wants the best for us and we truly love each other.

    why do you wanna be selfish when he is not doing this for himself only but for you as well. why do you wanna be so selfish and have random sex with whoever and lie on your vows you took on your marriage.

    you seriously need to sit and set your priorities and emotions right, loves not a game. its about bonding emotionally with that person and caring deeply for him. do not throw away love that easily coz its something definitely hard to find these day.

    why cant you move to where your husband works. i know you will lose your job (if you are working) but at least it will save your marriage and your self respect as well.

    sorry is i was harsh but i really hate cheaters. the worlds full of them.

  9. There is a problem here, and in my opinion it’s not your urge to cheat. It’s bad enough that you are apart, much worse that there is no visible end to it. Many long distance relationships don’t work because one or both parties need physical closeness and want to share ordinary day-to-day activities. These aren’t things that you can easily reproduce with hardware or phone sex. I am guessing that you are feeling very remote from your spouse emotionally as well as physically. It’s hard for that not to happen, maybe even inevitable the longer you accept the situation.

    Before you make a unilateral decision to leave the relationship (because that is what cheating is) you two should ask tough questions about why after 3 years you are still apart and resolve how you are going to bring this separation to an end. Otherwise you are in a marriage in name only.

  10. Do not cheat. If you go out with that scum of a guy that is lurking around you even though he knows you are married, then, you will destroy your marriage, you will never see your husband in the same manner, and he will be able to read the difference in your face.

    That guy you are going to allow to use you for fun will either use you and leave you, or else will stab your husband in the back by stealing his wife, with YOUR complicity.

    Before playing with fire, and getting burnt ( and scarred, because fire leaves awfull scars ), talk to your husband about your needs. Speed up the legal process to bring him here, or consider moving there untill he comes here.

    Try anything before jumping off the cliff. It is better to terminate a relationship than cheating. What does he want? Does he want to come to you again? I suggest you travel there, talk to him, and find solutions.

    If you cheat, you will destroy your mind, you will hurt another person, and you will serve and become useful to a scum of a guy like that one you are talking about, that guy, that scum that sipped through the cracks in the pavement.

  11. Hmm, I may disagree. I’m all for commitment, and doubt I could ever be in an open relationship. However, I know of people who have been and somehow they’ve made it work. They even say it helps their relationship!!

  12. MWAM, to me, it sounds a bit like you are trying to get a “free ticket” and justification for cheating from Em&Lo? (As always, great advice!). I think Jenna hits the nail on the head when she suggests the possibility of cheating not only because you are horny for sex, but also because you are horny for emotions and closeness 😉

    He’s your husband, that probably means you love him, he loves you, you want to stay together, both of you want each other to be happy, you are probably best friends, and all those things are prerequisites of being able to talk to each other seriously about your wants, needs, and problems. So just… talk to each other. Find a solution. And then, maybe also buy those webcams 😀

  13. Is it possible that you are considering cheating for more of an emotional reason than a physical one? Maybe you miss hubby so much and are subconciously trying to fill in the blank with another guy… Just ask your self, if you go for it and screw this guy one time, is it really going to make you feel any better? You’ll be sexually satisfied for an hour or maybe a day but your man will still be gone. You may start getting into the mind set of “well, it’s already happened once. Why shouldn’t it keep happening?” Although I’ve never been married, I understand how you feel. I’m not judging you because I know it is really hard to be away from someone you care about. But just remember that the physical intimacy with some dude, will not replace the emotional intimacy that you have with your husband. Is it worth screwing up that emotional bond?

  14. I maybe stupid but i have never really understood why some people think because a spouse is away for a long period of time it’s okay to have an affair. Your spouse still loves you, they don’t enjoy being away from you, they will if you cheat on them and they find out, they want you as much as you them and it’s not fair to betray their trust. Life is no love story movie, in real life people get hurt very badly, this is not some 1940’s war era dramatic story, this is your marriage, get creative have phone sex, connect via live video chat, it’s not ideal, but it’s honest. If you can’t handle not having sex and are already thinking about cheating your half way out of your marriage and you didn’t know it. Perhaps your partner is better off with a person who won’t cheat.

  15. I cannot say it enough, Em&Lo are my heroes!!!! I can understand being apart from your bf, gf, husband, wife is very hard. But, in a committed relationship, you should, well ‘Commit!!’

    If you cannot handle it and need sex, use sex toys, and visualize your husband. Plus, put yourself in your husband’s shoes. Would you like if he was cheating on you with some random girl, not a ‘relationship’ but a one night stand?? Can’t you go visit him? He’s your husband for crying out loud.

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