Re: As long as we're over-sharing

1

So, incredibly nosy question.

How many kids are you set on having and why that number?

I can empathize with wanting a kid or two very badly. I can also see wanting more than two enough to be happy if it happened that way, but somehow I have trouble seeing wanting more than two badly enough to seek infertility treatment over it. I don't mean to say anything negative about your plans, just that if I picture someone with two kids already going to the doctor because she can't get pregnant again, the reasons I can come up with for that all seem to be conservative religious or inapplicable in present day America (like, more hands to work the farm), rather than anything that applies to you. So I'm wondering about your thinking.

(This comment feels kind of assholish -- I'd be less straightforward about my curiosity with someone else, but you're generally really open about this kind of questioning. Obviously, tell me to back the hell off if you'd like.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:32 AM
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Well, hang on. There's an awfully big difference between the very mild, cheap infertility treatments and things like IVF. I don't think we'd go for anything expensive, given that we've got healthy kids and that there are other ways to augment your family. But it seems silly to draw the line at any intervention, when the first ones are so mild and statistically helpful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:39 AM
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But to your original question, I'd really like to have four kids. It's just what comes from my gut - I don't have any intellectual reason, but it just makes me happy to think that we might have a family of four kids.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:40 AM
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Fair enough -- I was thinking of 'infertility treatment' as sort of a monolithic big crazy invasive deal, rather than the possibility of stopping after mild intervention. What are you thinking of if getting pregnant doesn't work? Infant adoption, foster care, something else I haven't thought of?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:48 AM
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Make a golem?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:49 AM
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Well, if getting pregnant doesn't work, then we're no longer on a super tight time schedule. I think my preference then would be to schedule mastectomies/oophorectomies and let that get taken care of, and then revisit the issue. But I'd definitely be open to conversations around foster care, especially once our kids are a little older.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:50 AM
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what comes from my gut

This indicates a level of anatomical confusion that may explain what the problem is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:55 AM
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I've swallowed all the watermelon seeds I can stand and nothing's happening. All I can say is that I'm at a loss.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:56 AM
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I'm glad you found it mildly uncomfortable. Rachel said hers was awful.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:59 AM
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Have you tried putting out fresh stork food? Sometimes they're picky about that. Your neighbors might be getting all your babies!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:59 AM
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I THINK SIFU HAS A POINT


Posted by: OPINIONATED RABBI BEZALEL | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 7:59 AM
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9: The tech said it's much more uncomfortable if you haven't had kids. Was Rachel's pre-twins?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:00 AM
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12: Yes. I guess that makes sense.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:02 AM
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I live-commented my version of this (for my super-fun recurrent uterine cysts) a year and a half ago. It was fairly unpleasant, especially since the catheter fell out part way through or something and they actually had to reinsert the damn thing. It wasn't painful but awkward and uncomfortable and I was pretty miserable about it at the time. No kids, obviously.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:06 AM
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4: There's lots of interventions that are much less invasive. Judging from my experience, the best treatment known to man is to be around a childless woman trying unsuccessfully for her first, because then you get pregnant from, like, everything. I swear I'm surrounded by babies and babies-to-be.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:30 AM
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Are you and Shivbunny planning as well?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:32 AM
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Well, you know what they say about plans.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:35 AM
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The ran in Span falls manly on them?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:37 AM
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They're wee and sleekit, frequently ganging agley?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:40 AM
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I swear I'm surrounded by babies and babies-to-be.

ME TOO. I went to a conference, and there were five pregnant women - three in the immediate circle of close acquaintances that I usually hang out with at this conference, and two more that kept popping up at all the sessions.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:41 AM
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(And I know that secondary infertility is vastly less frustrating and scary than primary.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:42 AM
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We don't even know if we have problems, but we're at the point where we're starting to have to figure out what next steps are going to be next.

(And this isn't misery poker. Just an opportunity for a joke, because apparently I have the power of making everyone on Facebook fertile. yes, yes, confirmation bias, but jeesh.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:47 AM
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In the spirit of oversharing, let me tell you about the procedure to remove a clamp a month after my kidney transplant. A flexible plastic tube with a tiny camera and something like a fishinghook on the end goes down the, uh, mineshaft, through various stuff up to the edge of the kidney, where the clamp is. The urologist (an attractive young woman, FWIW) looks through the camera until she sees the clamp, snags it with the fishing hook, and pulls the whole thing out. Only a topical anaesthetic, which doesn't cover the majority of the path.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:48 AM
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God, just the thought of having any more kids makes me break out in a cold sweat. There are days I would gladly give away my youngest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:51 AM
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THE PLANS URNAE WEE AND SLEEKIT, THE MOOSE IS.


Posted by: Opinionated Robert Burns | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:57 AM
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24 last: Sounds like there's potential for a win-win here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:57 AM
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23: I had a similar urethral spelunking for kidney stones. It was not very fun but beat the hell out of the stones.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 8:58 AM
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But it seems silly to draw the line at any intervention, when the first ones are so mild and statistically helpful.

What are some of the first ones, may I ask?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:02 AM
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Boxers instead of briefs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:04 AM
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Only a topical anaesthetic, which doesn't cover the majority of the path.

They need to develop some sort of dignity anesthetic, something that numbs your sense of shame while you pull your pants down and have a camera shoved up your ass by an attractive young woman who hasn't even bought you a drink yet.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:06 AM
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What are some of the first ones, may I ask?

MOAR FUCKING!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:07 AM
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re: 23

I had the same thing [not for stones, but the similar camera-up-the-tube deal]. The surgeon/person-I-should-have-battered-fuck-out-of had his students around and was pontificating.

'As you can see we inflate the bladder thing here, and now it's safely lodged. Like so.'

[Gives it a hefty tug]

[Giving the lie to his surgeony-bullshit the thing pulls straight out, causing me to contract in pain and begin plotting his death.]


Posted by: Someone Presidential | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:08 AM
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28: Exactly what Heebie's talking about in the post, no? Pump dye through your tubes to (a) see if they're clear and maybe (b) clear a minor blockage with the dye itself?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:10 AM
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The dye can do that?!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:11 AM
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34: Scrubbing bubbles!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:13 AM
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I have a vague, unexamined belief that I read somewhere that it can. I could be wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:13 AM
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That would make the procedure seem much more terrifying.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:13 AM
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The result of a quick google:

Interestingly, studies have shown that women have a higher rate of a natural pregnancy occurring after having a hysterosalpingogram. It is thought that the dye may help to resolve a partial blockage or to flush out some debris in the fallopian tubes that had been hindering conception. Although an HSG may be helpful for those people trying to conceive, it is important to remember that it is first and foremost a diagnostic test, not an infertility treatment.

So that's a maybe.

Why would that be scary, though? I'm not getting it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:15 AM
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Hysterosalpingogram was my favorite Jonathan Swift character.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:18 AM
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heebie, are you charting?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:23 AM
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Yep. And my temperatures were not showing any clear ovulation jump, and my cycles were all over the place. You?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:28 AM
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Why would that be scary, though? I'm not getting it.

Foreign stuff up in my lady parts?! With enough force to knock something loose? I realize it's not like it's being blasted up there, but still.

(This may have something to do with having once read the transcripts of the medical experiment parts of the Nuremberg Trials.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:29 AM
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My OB mentioned that it can be therapeutic - like if you've got some dead cells laying in the tube, blocking things, it can flush them out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:32 AM
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Did you ever chart before these difficulties, heebie? Have you been using the ovulation predictor tests, like you did with your previous two pregnancies, and if so are they showing anything?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:33 AM
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Yeah, I've charted before, and used LH strips before, and both worked great before. The LH strips continued to work, however. Apparently you can produce the luteinizing hormone and be all set to ovulate and not actually ovulate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:35 AM
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35 is quite funny.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:37 AM
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41: Yup. It's kind of fun, in a science nerd kind of way (Downside is you can kinda tell exactly when you had a fertilization that didn't take.) .Anyhow, I'd mentioned it b/c I remembered you were doing the ovulation predictor strips and those sometimes, per 45, aren't always the full story.

The scrubbing bubbles thing is making me laugh.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 9:48 AM
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The problem is that it's a daily omnipresence. You can be as relaxed and c'est la vie as possible, but there's still a daily associated task that makes it seem eternally unsuccessful, and it is such slow going.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:05 AM
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Lord knows 15 gets it right.

I had an HSG done a couple of years ago when Scomber Mix and I were first getting worried. They warned me that there might be mild cramping, but it was way worse than the worst cramping I've ever had in the normal run of things. A heads-up would have made that a little easier to handle. Also the radiologist explained that the catheter would be about the size of a piece of spaghetti (fine, whatever) but then insisted on saying, "All right, I'm going to go ahead and insert the spaghetti." NO NO NO NO.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:08 AM
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48 is so right.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:13 AM
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God, just the thought of having any more kids makes me break out in a cold sweat.

Word. God it's so easy with two older ones. More expensive than when they were small, but way less stress. They're turning 15 and 13 this summer and it's all just things like giving them money so they can walk to the store and peruse the Burt's Bees display, dropping them off at the light rail station so they can ride to the amusement park, movie theatre, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:20 AM
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40: heebie is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:57 AM
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"All right, I'm going to go ahead and insert the spaghetti."

This is amazing. I think I'm going to say it to myself (in my head) every time I eat spaghetti. It's no IT'S MOLE, but it's really something.

gswift, is there a gap of a grade between your girls? Nia is only 16 months older than Mara but because of where their birthdays fall, she'll be starting first grade (unless the state figures out she may have missed more than the legally allowed number of kindergarten days) and Mara has another year of preschool before kindergarten. I think this will be better than having them more back-to-back if she ends up staying.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 10:59 AM
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30: if you ask nicely they can give you more sedation. I asked for the maximum dosage for a colonoscopy (some sort of opiate and a benzopdiazepine?) and it made the whole day just wonderful. Shame is for the fully conscious.


Posted by: internal film star | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:09 AM
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Also I feel kind of nauseated still from the procedure. Uck.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:30 AM
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gswift, is there a gap of a grade between your girls?

Yep, going into 10th and 8th grades come fall. I don't know that it would have made much of a difference if there wasn't the one grade gap though. From my experience I definitely think having two of same gender close in age is the way to go. My brother has two little boys who are similarly less than two years apart in age and he's loving it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:35 AM
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Maybe Tweety can get some kind of class credit for building you a robot family, heebie. He'd have to tone down all the EXTERMINATE! stuff. But still, something to think about.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:52 AM
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He'd have to tone down all the EXTERMINATE! stuff.

Whoa, whoa, let's not be too hasty.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 12:02 PM
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56: It's definitely been great so far. The girls look enough alike that Mara's bio-grandpa said to Nia last night, "Now which one are you? You look just like your mama too!" before we had a chance to tell him what was up. Their temperaments and interests are similar. I think they're already having a sisterly relationship after two weeks or whatever it's been.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 12:05 PM
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57, 58: let's make this happen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 12:11 PM
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Hmm -- I had a galactogram once, which is a (very fine) needle of barium injected into a milk gland. The X-rays were actually rather lovely, and I wish I had a copy, also a copy of an X-ray I got for pneumonia once. I like my collarbones.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 12:21 PM
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You may remember me from the "holy shit was that an unpleasant ectopic pregnancy not that they're a walk in the park to start with" episode a year ago that was after a miscarriage. Which was also on top of two years of unexplained infertility plus two rounds of IUI (glorified turkey baster).

We recently signed up for IVF, paying in advance for two rounds in order to save money. Something like 14k, not including meds. We did the extraction and fertilization and froze three good embryos (well, one great one, and one good one, and one maybe good enough one). We delayed the implantation so mrs Fillmore could get a fibroid removed from her uterus.

Mrs F was set to start wearing hormone patches under her swimsuit on our beach vacay last week... But her period never showed up...

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors, etc. Now we're at six weeks, and it's not ectopic, and it has a heartbeat. Fingers x'd y'all.


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:47 PM
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Crossed! Good luck!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-18-12 11:50 PM
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Good luck, Millard.

Mrs Presidential (and I) had a miscarried pregnancy earlier in the year: very early in the process, at the stage I think where lots of people lose them without being aware they are pregnant, but still upsetting. Mrs Presidential is pregnant again, and at a similar early stage, and there seem to be some warning signs it might be going the same way as the first, but fingers crossed also.

Ironically, neither pregnancy strictly planned. No.1 : 'lets stop taking the pill, it's going to take ages to get pregnant anyway and if it happens some time in the next year or so, that'll be OK.' .... a couple of weeks pass ... 'Oh'. No. 2: 'well, it's only been a six weeks or so since the last pregnancy, it's bound to take ages.; ... a couple of weeks pass ... 'Oh.'

We aren't telling anyone at all, until another couple of months pass, but it's shit not talking about it at all.


Posted by: Someone Presidential | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 3:35 AM
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Millard, I'm so glad to hear a hopeful update. Definitely fingers crossed for more.

Heebz, you probably know this, but if you're thinking about fostering someday, there's a general thought that you should not go out of birth order, so not take in a child who's older than any of your children. I obviously just did this and think it's actually a good fit for us, but that's because Mara doesn't really have a birth order since she's been in at least four homes with different setups, plus identifies as younger than her siblings and yet has never lived with the older ones. Anyhow, even if you did move in that direction it wouldn't be for a few more years and that would give you a little wiggle room after Hokey Pokey, but there are going to be lots of other families looking for those little little kids too and I think the TX state agency is biased toward homes with a stay-at-home parent so they don't have to pay toward daycare. I personally think bringing in a much older kid can work if done thoughtfully and carefully, but if Hawaii were five and you added a six or seven year old, that could be hard on her as the no-longer-oldest child.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 3:38 AM
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64.last: I couldn't agree more. I fully understand the wisdom of it (we haven't even heard a heartbeat yet) but I am just not built for keeping secrets this way.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 5:50 AM
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It's kind of convenient we have so many presidents in this predicament so no one's identity will be compromised when announcements are made. Best wishes to all.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 6:06 AM
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If we do go ahead with the IVF someday, we will have the pleasure of having a younger child conceived before its older sibling.


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 8:29 AM
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Heh. That should make for great squabbling material. (And good luck to you and to TJ, and everyone else in similar straits.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 8:29 AM
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Best of luck to all presidents and first ladies.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 8:41 AM
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69: Or some legal issue. Somewhat similar to Lord Balfour's concern during an early debate (1916) in Parliament over Summer [Daylight Saving] Time:

[on the night the clocks are set back] Supposing some unfortunate lady was confined with twins and one child was born 10 minutes before 1 o'clock. ... the time of birth of the two children would be reversed. ... Such an alteration might conceivably affect the property and titles in that House.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 8:58 AM
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62, 64, 66: Triple crossed!!!


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 7:37 PM
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Oversharing? I believe I've written here before about how we almost accidentally aborted our first kid. Wife had trouble with cycles after coming off several years of pill when we first tried- had 3 month cycles after which they would induce a period. Finally started ovulating, second cycle was successful, but then two blood tests over a couple weeks showed HCG levels were going down meaning it would be a miscarriage. They suggested doing an abortion to make things cleaner and more predictable, but we decided to wait and let it happen naturally. When nothing happened they checked again, and HCG levels were way back up. They went back and checked the second test and figured out they'd mixed up the sample and the real number was perfectly fine. Isn't malpractice funny? He's now almost 8 and is a crazy mix of smart, athletic, and popular that makes no sense to me given the lack of the latter two from my childhood.
(Please don't take this comment as in any way politically pro-life.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 9:26 PM
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GASP


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-19-12 11:36 PM
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Total reproductive freedom for all! Free abortion and/or childcare on demand! Good luck to all who are trying to have kids! I like babies!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:18 AM
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73. Bloody hellfire!

Yes I do love malpractice. At least on the occasion they told Mrs y she had advanced liver cancer before deciding that she'd actually tested positive for a gall stone and they'd misplaced the report, they didn't suggest taking her out the back and shooting her.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:58 AM
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Jesus fucking christ


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 5:42 AM
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77. Yeah, it's been on the radio all day. They're examining the guy's house now for explosives. No doubt some crazed conspiracy theory or six will emerge.

But the poor fuckers in that theatre, there are no words.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 5:46 AM
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73: Good lord. Whatever happened to "measure twice, cut once"? I'd be tempted to send the doctor who'd advised the abortion a holiday card with a nice picture of your kid and a chatty letter about how he's doing every year for the rest of his life. (not really. I can't even get it together to send non-harassing holiday cards.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 5:48 AM
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I wouldn't assume it is harder to send non-harassing holiday cards than the harassing kind. The motivation level is different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:07 AM
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You could just get a harrassing stamp rather than writing individual notes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:11 AM
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hhaarraassiinngg


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:11 AM
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The stamped-harrrassment note just says "I hate everybody." Hand written notes, even if very brief, are better able to indicate focused rage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:14 AM
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Could just scrawl "DIE" on every card, I guess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:20 AM
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Obviously, using letters cut from newspaper headlines is still best for a truly formal threat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:21 AM
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77: URL says 14 dead, text of article says 12. When I walked by a TV half an hour ago, it said something like 12 dead, 38 shot, but I wasn't sure if that was inclusive or not (as in, 38 people hit with bullets, of whom 12 died and 26 are still alive, or 50 people hit with bullets, of whom 12 died and 38 are still alive.) Things are clearly still up in the air.

Before I left this morning my girlfriend told me about the incident in the barest outline, and I said, "so, I suppose it would be premature of me to assume he's a Limbaugh fan." I feel that this detail from the article of 77 is very interesting: the gunman was "wearing a gas mask." That's obviously not indicative of anything in particular and my speculation really was premature, considering that it would be practical in general and the article actually mentions pepper spray or tear gas, it's just amazing that someone would shoot up a movie theater dressed as the villain of the movie. I've seen that idea in at least two works of fiction and it's very hard to take seriously there.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:24 AM
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I'm thinking there should be a Miss Meanie to complement Miss Manners.

STUPID READER: You are not properly viewing entertainment as a means of delivering insults and pointed messages. By all means hold the dinner party, inviting everyone in the offending friends' circle save them. I assure you that you will find that you outdo yourself as a hostess in those circumstances.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 6:30 AM
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86: I thought the Joker from the previous film was a frighteningly realistic (or at least concievable) supervillain. If any films were to inspire this sort of thing I'm not surprised its these.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:01 AM
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Yeah, I mean, the idea that "I am going to effect my CHAOS" is a pretty common one among spree shooters. It also perfectly aligns with the Joker.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:04 AM
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Oversharing? This seems like as good a thread as any to share with you all that my eight-month affair with a woman fifteen years my junior has just come to a sudden and heartbreaking and I am completely adrift and bereft and trying to reconcile with my wife while drifting through my life in a complete depressive funk.

People, love stinks, and people (me) are stupid.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:06 AM
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Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn't interrupt a discussion of a horrific tragedy with my own bullshit.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:07 AM
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Interrupt away. I think we're just free styling at this point. And I'm sorry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:10 AM
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I think 90 fits just fine in this thread. Good luck un-screwing the pooch, ACI.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:12 AM
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Now now, just because the affair ended, there's no reason to go calling her a dog, togolosh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:13 AM
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Since she's only fifteen years your junior, if your wife tries to say that she was young enough to be your daughter, you can argue back that it is biologically possible but really unlikely at that age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:16 AM
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Also, best wishes to you all on pulling through this.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:17 AM
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Thanks. I know, it's "just a breakup." But I was in looooooooooove. Trying to adjust to being completely cut off from someone who was in my life nearly every day...

I guess it's time to get back on Unfogged.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:17 AM
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Dang. Apt pseud, certainly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:21 AM
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Trying to adjust to being completely cut off from someone who was in my life nearly every day...

Yeah, that's one of the really hard parts. So sorry, ACI. (And we've all been there to one degree or another, so you're not a complete idiot.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:26 AM
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Yeah, I can't say that you've made clever or laudable decisions in the past, but that doesn't mean you don't get any sympathy now: some of my favorite people ever have gotten themselves in similar situations. Just remember that heavy commenting on Unfogged heals all emotional trauma.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:30 AM
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When Selena Gomez left me I was pretty sad, but when she started dating the Bieber I pretty much freaked the fuck out.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:32 AM
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some of my favorite people ever have gotten themselves in similar situations

Chances are everybody here (above a certain age, anyhow) has more friends who have gotten into similar situations than they are aware of. It isn't the sort of thing people often discuss without the cover of anonymity. Life is long and complicated.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:34 AM
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101: It's always strange when your ex takes up with someone who has your exact same hair style.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:36 AM
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102 gets it right.

OT: for a special casual Friday, my firm is having "Black shirt" day today. Objectively pro fascist!!!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:39 AM
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Just remember that heavy commenting on Unfogged heals all emotional trauma.

That, and 20 mg of citalopram, I hope.

I do appreciate the empathy. My wife is slowly downshifting out of righteous rage, and most of my friends who know are trying to be non-judgmentally supportive.

Pretty much hit bottom this weekend with the closest I've ever come to self-harm, and now am enjoying a fruit salad of the states of grief. (Depression is the omnipresent honeydew melon.)


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:43 AM
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Chances are everybody here (above a certain age, anyhow) has more friends who have gotten into similar situations than they are aware of.

My sister had her tenth wedding anniversary earlier this summer. She just revealed to me that she has recently started an affair. I really wish I could unknow that.


Posted by: Above a certain age | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:45 AM
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I really wish I could unknow that.

Yeah... when I told my father what was going on, his idea of supportive sympathy was sharing that last year he had an affair with the wife of a kid I went to high school with.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:47 AM
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OT: for a special casual Friday, my firm is having "Black shirt" day today. Objectively pro fascist!!!

Are they anti-semitic or just completely idiotic? I mean a few people who happen to be wearing black shirts among all the other colours signifies nothing. Making it a uniform OTOH...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:48 AM
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107: !!!!!!!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:48 AM
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Are they anti-semitic or just completely idiotic?

Just clueless, I'm sure. These are Americans we're talking about, so you should assume a stunning lack of historical knowledge.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:51 AM
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106, 107: Yeah, every time the conversation here turns to affairs, I beat this same drum. I'm not advocating them, but they're way more common than many people realize. I've had conversations with several different friends who were filled with righteous outrage about their spouse's recently revealed affair (where I'm generally talking them down from immediately initiating the divorce process or various forms of property destruction) that eventually turned to revelations of their own undisclosed extramarital affairs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 7:58 AM
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(where I'm generally talking them down from immediately initiating the divorce process or various forms of property destruction)

Either of those things generate huge amount of economic activity and create jobs. Why do you hate America?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:00 AM
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Sympathies on the heartbreak, been there.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:15 AM
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The medical school at Univ. of Colorado has confirmed that the shooter was a student there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:41 AM
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Another bloodbath caused by Obamacare. When will the socialists who enslave us learn?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:47 AM
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Suspect's mother: "You have the right person"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:50 AM
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104: Any chance you could get them to rebrand it as Black Shorts Friday?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:54 AM
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Footer bags, you mean? How perfectly foul.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 8:58 AM
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ACI: That is a huge drag. I dunno, I guess, coming from the anarchist xmilieux, where it's so common for people to (a) identify as bisexual or queer or something, and (b) to have open relationships, it's kind of strange to think in terms of normative hetero monogamous couples having "affairs" and stuff. I mean, I think it's not a good thing to step out behind your partner's back, but neither does it make you history's greatest monster. Like, objectively. Just not that heinous. The whole vocabulary of "affairs" and "cheating" just seems so retrograde too. I mean, business is business and action is action, right?

Maybe I need to start reading some of those novels written by New England adulterers, for New England adulterers, about New England adulterers committing adultery, in New England, if I want more perspective on this. Or I could stab myself in the eye with a fork. Either way.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:03 AM
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WHERE DO I GET SOME OF THAT ACTION?


Posted by: OPINIONATED MONOGAMIST | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:03 AM
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118: BOOM!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:04 AM
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118. Come, come!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:04 AM
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119: In my wife's (and my) opinion, my greater transgression was not sexual infidelity but emotional infidelity. That is, it's one thing to sleep with someone on the side, but falling in love with her is what caused the crisis.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:11 AM
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Having sex with people you don't really like at all would solve lots of problems.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:13 AM
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123: Just being nosy, but how do you feel about your wife? That is, was this something totally separate from your relationship with her, or did it have something to do with an underlying problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:15 AM
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I wonder if accessorising the shirt with a nice fetching armbad would be a step too far? Did Spode have a logo? I forget.

In the National Gallery in Edinburgh last week I spotted this:

http://www.nationalgalleries.org/collection/simple-search/B/1566/artistName/Edward%20Baird/recordId/115534

I didn't even know Scotland had a national party with fascist/jockist uniforms. [Or maybe they didn't, and it was something Fionn MacColla's mum knocked up for him]


Posted by: nattargcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:20 AM
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It's hardly nosy when I'm being anonymously confessional on the internet!

Unsurprisingly, my relationship with my wife sort of slowly degraded over time (due to a variety of not-entirely-unusual reasons) and that opened a window for an illicit sexual relationship and then there was kind of a vicious cycle: the more attention I paid to my girlfriend, the less attention I paid to my wife, so the more our relationship degraded, so the more attention I paid to my girlfriend.

Now that it's out in the open, and the girlfriend is out of the picture, my wife and I are in counseling to see if we can fix those underlying problems. It's a whole mess that I feel very complicatedly ambivalent about.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:21 AM
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122 to 126.1.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:25 AM
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Kids? If no kids, Then uncertainty about your spouse rather than definitely wanting to stay coupled means in my opinion the end of the relationship. Feelings at crisis times are informative.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:28 AM
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Kids, of course. Were there no kids, I'd likely have left months ago.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:30 AM
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129: Right. IMX counseling was good for making more clear (at least to me) the reasons for the eventual divorce.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:33 AM
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I'm in a similar situation, but no disclosure. Sympathies, good luck.


Posted by: Abe Lincoln | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:33 AM
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131: Yes. Counseling will be productive and informative, no matter what we ultimately decide, in really confronting the underlying problems and determining whether they are addressable/fixable/tolerable.

132: Good luck to you, too, Mr. President. It's quite a ride until the crash at the end.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:36 AM
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126. In the 40s Compton McKenzie was using "Fascist" as a synonym for SNP. Times have changed.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:36 AM
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Last year, no, the year before, I spent hours a day talking to two separate close friends who wanted to, then resisted affairs. For months. At first it was titillating, but after hours and hours and hours on the phone I couldn't be interested any more.

My main take-away was that bright, self-aware people can get absolutely possessed and have an overpowering desire to do what they would have sworn they never would. In fact, they did swear they never would.

I now have strong suspicions that my boyfriend is about to propose, and a big part of me thinks, why set myself up for failure? Why make this covenant that people just like me, with all the good intentions and awareness and discipline that you'd expect of a good person, haven't been able to keep. I don't normally make promises I don't know I can keep. I'm so happy with him. I'm happy to build a family with him. But I don't believe that people have a good chance of upholding either part of monogamy until death do us part.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:45 AM
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ACI, did we talk about this offline? Or was I chatting with Mr. Lincoln? If it is neither of you, then yet another Unfogged commenter is in your position.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:47 AM
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re: 134

I did a bit of reading around, and it seems like many/most of the founding 1930s Scottish Nationalists [in the various parties that eventually became the SNP] were left of centre, rather than fascist in sympathy. But there were a few who clearly admired bits of European fascism. Then again, I suppose much of fascism had its roots in a type of left-populism.* The SNP of my youth was definitely a fairly twee centrist party with more in common with the Tories than with Labour -- until Salmond et al dragged it left.

* not in the 'Liberal Fascism' bullshitty sense.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:47 AM
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Megan, I don't think we've ever talked offline... But I'm always looking for people to whine at talk to.

You know, I always feel awful when talking to my non-married friends who take my experience as a sign that they should never get married.

Monogamy until death do us part is really hard -- says me, who failed at it -- but I don't think it has to be the only model for a marriage. And really hard doesn't mean impossible.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:52 AM
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Falling in love with someone else is indeed a big problem for a monogamous relationship. Anyhow, good luck to you, the counseling will help no matter what.

The black shirt thing is just ignorance, put together by people with no living memory of the USSR; black shirts aren't at all a well known fascist marker here. "White robe and hood casual Friday" would be more of a problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:52 AM
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I'm so happy with him. I'm happy to build a family with him. But I don't believe that people have a good chance of upholding either part of monogamy until death do us part.

As ACI says, and I'm sure you know, monogamy until death isn't the only model for marriage. It's wonderful that you've found such a great partner; have you discussed this with him explicitly?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:56 AM
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137. Sure, Labour tried to stick them with the label "Tartan Tories", but they never had the core of pit bull nastiness that the real thing has. I interviewed Donald Stewart once in the 70s, and his dream was clearly based on Scandi-social democracy, although of the right wing type.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:57 AM
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Sorry--that came out more curt and less sympathetic than I intended. I can only imagine that feeling ambivalence about something like that must be frustrating, and didn't mean to make light of it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 9:59 AM
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Although, pro tip: don't propose a non-monogamous relationship by revealing to your partner that you've been having an affair.

One of those circumstances where the fait accompli is not really a good idea.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:02 AM
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Yeah. He's gung-ho on monogamy. To date I've always been comfortable with monogamy, so I can say that I'm happy to stay monogamous unless we explicitly re-negotiate. He doesn't think he'd ever have an affair, but neither did my two friends.

He did say we could tailor our vows. I could make an open-ended commitment to him, but how can I say with certainty that we'll be together until death do us part?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:02 AM
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Oh, I didn't notice any unpleasant tone, X. No worries.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:04 AM
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but how can I say with certainty that we'll be together until death do us part?

Suicide pact?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:04 AM
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ACI and Abe, I'm not coming out of an infidelity situation, but Lee and I were getting way too close to the breakup point in the winter and have been thriving in therapy because we found a therapist who's insightful in a way that's helpful to both of us. My advice is to make sure you're comfortable with your counselor, because as the "guilty" party you may feel you have to go along with what your wife wants, but Lee has been very clear that she wouldn't have put in the effort she has if she hadn't liked our therapist.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:04 AM
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That would do it. But we have a puppy to think of.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:05 AM
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Oh man, I can't stop laughing at 143.1.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:05 AM
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139: Walk around all day with your arms folded across your chest, nodding smugly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:06 AM
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I know yet another person who did 143.1.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:07 AM
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But we have a puppy to think of.

Maybe make arrangements for something like this.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:08 AM
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With regards to 143.1, my wife, who is an evil genius, said, basically, "I'd be open to possibly discussing some kind of non-monogamous arrangement at some point in the future... but not with HER."


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:09 AM
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It's all well and good to be reflective before starting out, but there's not point in thinking in circles about it. It isn't like there is a carefully negotiated wording for the vows that will save heart break if years from now one if you wants out and the other doesn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:10 AM
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He did say we could tailor our vows. I could make an open-ended commitment to him, but how can I say with certainty that we'll be together until death do us part?

I think writing your own vows is a good idea. Perhaps it would help, when coming up with them, to not focus on what others say, or what others' expectations are, but on what it is that you're trying to celebrate in front of your loved ones in a public way--whatever that happens to be.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:11 AM
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153: (Very nosy queestion, feel more than free to ignore) How did your wife learn about HER? I realize specifics might be identifying, but I'm just curious if it was a "busted" kind of thing or if somebody decided to come clean.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:12 AM
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I have a friend who fell in love with another woman, negotiated with his wife around him having an affair with this other woman, had the affair, dumped the other woman, and got back together with his wife. It was really a tour de force of getting his way, but it was nonetheless pretty unpleasant for everybody involved, in the end.


Posted by: Eh, probably president, you know? | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:13 AM
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black shirts aren't at all a well known fascist marker here.

Um, your country did participate in WWII, amirite? Your population includes a large number of Jewish people, many of them descended from German immigrants, whose grandparents may have mentioned the term "Schutzstaffel" in passing; also a fair few Italian Americans who may have heard of the "Squadristi" in the tales of the old country and why they don't live there.

Oh Jesus Christ, what's the point..?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:18 AM
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156: I got sort of busted, covered, and then eventually came clean. The details are far more interesting, of course.

The eventually coming clean was one of those impulsive word-vomit things. After the incident where I was sort-of caught (and several incidents where she was sort-of caught), my girlfriend and I had agreed that, were we to be confronted or caught again, we would confess all and deal with the consequences. But having made that decision felt like carrying a loaded gun around, and I just blurted it out more or less unprompted.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:19 AM
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Brown shirts are more associated with fascism here than black shirts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:20 AM
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You got Chekhov'd!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:20 AM
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Megan, you're discussing vows but only think he's about to propose?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:24 AM
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158:

What Moby said. WWII history, at least when I was in high school, was very much just the broad strokes involving the Nazis and the Japanese. Italian involvement seemed like it got glossed over a bit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:25 AM
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I'm not good with tags yet on my iPhone.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:26 AM
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158: What you fail to understand is that people here don't give a shit about Europe. I mean, not me, but. It's way more excusably ignorant than the multiple uses of blackface (hey, costume party, why not) that I saw in France/Switzerland in the mid-90s.

143.1 is indeed hilarious.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:27 AM
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Your population includes a large number of Jewish people

In some places. I had met maybe five Jewish people in my life before I got to college.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:27 AM
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Isn't that fairly common these days -- people talking about marriage in a fair amount of detail as something that's in the future of the relationship but with the "proposal" held off as a ritual event that triggers the actual wedding planning?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:28 AM
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If the black shirt thing were in fact anti-semitic it would be a truly stunning display of self hatred. Let the somewhat accurate stereotypes of Hollywood lawyers be a clue.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:30 AM
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160, 163. Whatever. It remains the case that the SS uniform (led by Himmler, ran Auschwitz, y'know, that kind of stuff) featured black shirts, brown shirts were the SA, who were rather spectacularly downgraded in 1934.

I've no idea why Halford is dragging the USSR into it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:32 AM
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Oyez, Oyez. We call the Somewhat Accurate Stereotypes of Hollywood Lawyers to the stand.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:33 AM
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I'm even more puzzled by it from a fashion point of view. A black shirt that a man would wear to work (as opposed to a t-shirt) seems not exactly unlikely, but the sort of thing that out of ten random men, maybe only two would have. Is this an East Coast/West Coast thing again, or am I just out of touch with What The Well-Dressed Man Is Wearing over his knee length underwear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:34 AM
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169.1: Nearly everybody here would recognize the black SS uniform, from Hogan's Heroes if nothing else. But they get called the "SS" not the Blackshirts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:35 AM
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171 is right, though about 1/2 of those affected are women. I had one black (actually charcoal grey) polo shirt that I'm wearing, and the same seems to be the case for the other males.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:36 AM
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159: VNQ, FMTFTI. Given that she apparently got sort-of caught more often than you did, I am right in thinking your wife knows both of you? That would probably make it worse from her point of view.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:37 AM
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172: Also right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:38 AM
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169: Historical facts notwithstanding, over here "brownshirts" is a term one could utter and reasonably expect the listener to make a connection to fascism/Nazism. "Blackshirts" on the other hand, would more likely get parsed as "black shirts" and would either result in clueless looks or mental images of people with a particular fashion sense.

On preview, I second 172.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:40 AM
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Halford, do make sure you stop by the wholesome thread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:41 AM
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174: Took me far too long to figure out the acronym.

No, my wife doesn't know her; in fact, she's not local. My girlfriend was trying to keep our relationship secret from her boyfriend. She was unsuccessful, in the end.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:42 AM
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On monogamy in marriage, there are three positions:

(a) Monogamy as an absolute, with an affair a betrayal that leads to a near-automatic end to the relationship;

(b) Monogamy as a goal, with a recognition that, while an affair is a betrayal, shit happens, sometimes people have desires and screw up, and with the couple "realistic" about the issue and committed to working through the problems;

(c) A genuinely non-monogamous marriage, where people can have affairs no problem.

In my view (c) is both extremely rare and extremely unstable, although obviously it happens. Even people who say they want (c) often end up in "But I'm your HUSBAND, god damn it!" mode.

(b) is more or less the view of the godless French. (a) is the official American line but more people are living or have lived (b) than most people think.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:46 AM
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178.1: It's just something new I'm trying out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:46 AM
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I still only got the first part of the acronym. I'm not to proud to ask; Moby, what does it mean?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:48 AM
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181: (Very nosy queestion, feel more than free to ignore)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:49 AM
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172: Right redux. I know the historical term but a black shirt doesn't have any emotional kick other than feeling good about a lack of dandruff. "SS" bothers me some no matter what the innocent context.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:49 AM
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Oh. I didn't get the first part of the acronym.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:49 AM
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Yeah, it's probably not going to catch on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:50 AM
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I've been resisting jumping in, but this is both a propos to 179 and conceivably helpful to Megan (though I'm not sure on which side). More than a decade into our marriage, my wife (decided? discovered?) that monogamy wasn't working for her--not a "get busted then ask for an open marriage" situation, though there were prospects on the horizon at the time. In some ways, the end result has been somewhere between Halford's (b) and (c): it wasn't what I had in mind when I got married, but it's worked out pretty satisfactorily so far. I wouldn't recommend trying this with a marriage that isn't quite strong to begin with, though.


Posted by: François Hollande | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:53 AM
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Nearly everybody here would recognize the black SS uniform, from Hogan's Heroes if nothing else.

Geez, Hogan's Heroes went off the air 41 years ago, grandpa. I've never seen a second of it. I don't think it was rerun as much as comparable shows like Gilligan's Island and Green Acres.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:55 AM
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We'd always been a (b) marriage (in principle), and had delicate, awkward, vague conversations about (c).

I think I may have very likely screwed up the possibility of moving from (b) to a (c) by having the affair.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 10:59 AM
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Gilligan's Island should have done an episode where a secret cabal of long-hidden SS men convene on what they think of as an uninhabited island to plot a 4th Reich.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:00 AM
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158: Please, tell us more about what cultural and historical concepts most Americans are familiar with.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:02 AM
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I think I may have very likely screwed up the possibility of moving from (b) to a (c) by having the affair.

One might suspect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:03 AM
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187: All black with silver trimmings triggers "SS" for me, Hogan's seen lately or not.
Black shirts or black pants alone don't, I've been wearing black jeans almost to the exclusion of all else ever since I played grease-monkey at a gas station in the very early Sixties.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:04 AM
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As a good Dan Savage reader, I could come to grips with (b), but I'm worried that he defaults to (a). It isn't that I know I'll want to cheat; I've been happily monogamous for years before. But given what I've seen of affairs, I don't want them to be a dealbreaker (including his potential affairs).

It isn't like there is a carefully negotiated wording for the vows that will save heart break if years from now one if you wants out and the other doesn't.

I know that. I can't control whether heartbreak comes. I'm just strongly fixated on the integrity of my vows. I really don't want to take a vow I have doubts about going in. (My relationship doesn't give me doubts. Watching other good people have affairs gives me doubts. I can't distinguish between them and me.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:05 AM
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I wore all black yesterday but I was wearing cargo shorts so I'm pretty sure nobody thought I was a nazi.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:06 AM
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They're the ones who sometimes leave the place where you are; you're the one who doesn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:07 AM
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Watching other good people have affairs gives me doubts. I can't distinguish between them and me.

They're the ones with poor muscle tone and water-wasting habits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:07 AM
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Aagh. I'm too slow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:08 AM
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You know what really freaks me out? For all the statistics, none of our friends are divorced. My wife and I have been to dozens of weddings since we've been together, and all those people are still together. Part of what brought me back from the brink was not wanting to be the first to fall.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:11 AM
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143.1: Isn't that more or less what bitch phd did?

And, it's sort of what my ex-wife did -- she hadn't actually started an affair, but she was planning to. So, she told me she wanted to have an open marriage. Really, she was just hedging her bets -- she was hoping her relationship with the new guy would work out and they would live happily after, but if it didn't work out, she was still hoping that she could continue to live in relatively secure misery with me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:16 AM
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DUDE! I was talking to my one friend who agonized over cheating (I didn't think much of her husbandmarriage, honestly) and she said that she had no divorced friends. None of her kids' friends' parents were divorced. She couldn't think of one.

That struck me as so strange. I know so many people who ended the marriages of their twenties. But she said that everyone in the childrearing years was married.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:16 AM
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At each of my kid's schools or groups, I've been the only divorced parent. UMC people with small kids really really don't seem to get divorced, at least IME. But that doesn't mean that I'm not way happier being divorced.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:20 AM
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Isn't that more or less what bitch phd did?

The impression I got of Tedra's deal was that, while it was on sort of a "Easier to get forgiveness than permission" basis when they were working it out, that they'd been on terms where extra-relationship fooling around was unsurprising from before they were married. So, sort of, but no shocking announcement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:21 AM
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Wow. Almost everybody I know (in my general age cohort) who got married in their 20s is divorced, kids or not.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:27 AM
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The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men & women in those days

I don't know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race

Lucky or unlucky, we didn't know
the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them

Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special


Posted by: Opinionated Zombie Adrienne Rich | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:27 AM
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203 -- these are almost all folks who got married in their 30s, I think.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:28 AM
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That's a pretty common pattern from what I've seen -- a fair number of quick, early divorces, but not nearly so many among couples with kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:32 AM
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ACI: Have *we* talked offline? Because if so, shitty as this feels -- and I don't want to minimize that -- it's a step towards rejoining your marriage to a great person you love. Really, if you are who I think you are, you are in a much better position to fix your marriage than people who just married the wrong person in the first place.

Also, while there's certainly such a thing as excessive and unproductive guilt, guilt of reasonable proportions will probably be helpful to your relationship, so go ahead and feel guilty. Guilt is an emotion that connects you to your values, the person you want to be, and your commitment to the mother of your children. IMO, it's okay to let yourself experience it and use it motivate acting differently. (And of course it's also okay to let yourself experience grief over the end of the relationship with your gf.)

I have some experience being the confidante to cheaters, none being the confidante to the cheated on, and none in either role in life, so this is going to be entirely received wisdom, but I'll repeat it anyway. My supervisor for couple's therapy (who was incredibly smart about people, who I loved, etc. etc.) said that his own experience and the wisdom of the field is that being cheated on is frequently not just upsetting but traumatic, and deserves to be treated that way if that's how its experienced by the person who's cheated on. Treating it as just that serious, and not minimizing it at all, is the best thing for the recovery of the marriage.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:38 AM
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My relationship doesn't give me doubts. Watching other good people have affairs gives me doubts. I can't distinguish between them and me

IME most relationships fail because they were flawed* from the start and/or the couple joined together with insufficient self-awareness. Which means that working through this stuff is critical to not getting it wrong, but it doesn't mean that perfectly compatible, completely loving people find themselves hit with a thunderbolt that makes them stray. It happens, and people certainly do grow apart across several decades, I'm just saying that most marriages that fail are doomed from "I do", not because things changed.

But then my social circle, while less outlying than ACI's, mostly consists of still-married people. Hmm. We were married at roughly 30, and most of our guests were that age as well. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone who was there who's gotten divorced. Except AB's parents, but they already were (and boy were they flawed from the start).

* not intended judgmentally; I just mean the incompatibility was there from the start, but not acknowledged/addressed


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:38 AM
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205: When I was a teenager, one of the adults on a church youth group retreat said that he didn't think anybody should get married before they were 30. God knows, a lot of us would have saved ourselves a world of heartbreak and pain had we lived by that admonishment. Or maybe everybody would be getting divorced in their 40s instead of in their 30s.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have had my oldest son, who at 15 is honestly one of the most impressive people I know.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:42 AM
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143.1: You really should have gone presidential as Newt Gingrich.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: pause endlessly, then go in (9) | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:47 AM
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I was going to say that I hardly know anyone who married that young, but then I thought of at least 3 couples who've been together since college and are now approaching (or past) 40, 2 with kids, one without.

Pretty sure I've mentioned before that in Miami, ours was (seemingly) the only intact family, but in northern NJ, my best friend's parents were virtually the only ones who weren't together. There's certainly a cultural element to it, one that I think works at both ends - taking marriage seriously enough* at the outset, and working hard at it (and putting up with some shit) during the course of it.

To be clear, while I'm obviously pretty pro-marriage for myself, I have no problem with divorce, and would never advise someone to stay in a broken marriage.

* again, not judging here, I just mean that in a time/place where people are divorcing pretty freely, you're not going to focus as much on just how long-term your feelings are about a potential partner


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:48 AM
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Re vows, my brother and his bride promised to"do their best". They're divorced now, but not because either of them were cheating.

My parents got divorced after my dad had a second affair (same bloody woman), but then got married again 3 years later and have seemed perfectly happy ever since (20+ years ago), so I have always had an optimistic view of the effects of infidelity, though haven't ever been tempted to test that.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:49 AM
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who at 15 is honestly one of the most impressive people I know... laydeez.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:49 AM
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Have *we* talked offline?

Wow, how many people on unfogged are talking to other people on unfogged (that they aren't in a relationship with) about emotionally fraught issues on a regular basis?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:50 AM
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I know a lot of happily married people in their thirties who are on their second marriage, and have small children. It's not immediately obvious that they were divorced, if there were no kids from the first marriage.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 11:52 AM
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So much for the sanctity of off-blog communication.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:07 PM
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Wow, how many people on unfogged are talking to other people on unfogged (that they aren't in a relationship with) about emotionally fraught issues on a regular basis?

Makes sense, doesn't it? People you "know" well enough to unload to, but mostly isolated from the rest of your social circle, so there's minimal risk of gossip?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:08 PM
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Oh my god, was that you?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:13 PM
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207: ...being cheated on is frequently not just upsetting but traumatic...

Ayup. It rips apart something you'd taken for granted and it's coming from someone you love. It is suddenly finding out that one of the bedrock elements of your identity is a big fat lie. It's the emotional equivalent of losing a limb or of finding out that one of your senses is wired backwards, so what you think is the smell of roses is to everyone else the smell of shit. It's not about something you have it's about something you are.

I imagine it's different for people who don't take monogamy seriously, or who expect a certain amount of lying and shitty behavior from their nearest and dearest, but I'm way over on Megan's side of the fence when it comes to that. I took my vows seriously or I would not have made them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:13 PM
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209.last: That means even after he's married, everyone will want to have affairs with him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:19 PM
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re: 214

There's a complicated set of brass and leather speaking tubes connecting the inner clique to Mineshaft headquarters. In Mexico.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:29 PM
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I took my vows seriously or I would not have made them.

Cultural standards make this a tricky position to be in. Say you're like Megan -- intending monogamy, but with a complete lack of faith that even good, thoughtful people can reliably be monogamous (based on repeatedly having seen good, thoughtful people screw it up), so you can't swear to lifelong monogamy without feeling perjured.

What do you do? Stay single? That seems like a harsh solution, if you have someone you want to marry. Work out vows that explicitly recognize that you can't promise lifelong monogamy, because you don't think it's something people can reliably promise? This works if your prospective spouse is on the same wavelength as you, but I think most people in the US aren't up for an explicit premarital recognition of infidelity as a live possibility.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:30 PM
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Tia, yeah, I'm pretty sure you know who I am.

And I agree with you, that the guilt is productive. I don't honestly know if the marriage can be fixed, but I'm firmly committed to trying.

Everyone says what you say, that I should of course recommit myself to my wife, who is in fact a wonderful person and a good match for me. And I don't know how much of my ambivalence is real, or just hot-young-girlfriend-induced insanity, or what...

I'm honestly worried about the future. But I know everything will look different in a few months when I'm less depressed and (hopefully) she's let me move back into the house.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:35 PM
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218: No that was "Tuttle", not "Buttle" (sub-reference 221).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:36 PM
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You know, the part that makes the vows hard isn't even the monogamy (although you stated my concern perfectly). The lifelong part is the part I don't feel I can swear to. I could swear to five years. I could swear to ten years. But I honestly don't know who I will be when I am sixty. If I've changed this much from 20 to 40, who will I be when I'm 60? Thank god I don't have to keep any vows made when I was 20. In absolute faith back then, I could have vowed to to love tkd and Asian-Am boys with bangs in their face forever. (Well, I kinda still love the latter, but now I see them as adorable kids.)

I can make an open-ended commitment, but I just don't know about the entire rest of my life.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:38 PM
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Worth saying that these are my concerns, but they're address-able by tailoring the vows, which he is willing to do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:40 PM
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In 225, I'm trying to distinguish the situation where, without cheating, spouses simply find that they aren't the same people twenty-five years down the line and want to (perhaps amicably) go their own ways. I don't even mean to imply wrong-doing, but that might also violate a vow of "lifelong".


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:45 PM
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But I honestly don't know who I will be when I am sixty

I do not experience this at all, but it makes a lot of sense to me. And not just because I'm divorced and remarried. I'm interested to know where you go with this.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:46 PM
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Right, and 225/227 really resonate for me. Fifteen years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be a different person at this stage in our relationship, but I am. We both are.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:48 PM
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Megan, I have a friend who has a four-year contract with her husband, where they set mutual goals and agree to what's going to happen in the next four years. The idea is supposed to be that if they find themselves in an impossible situation, they can dissolve things amicably, though they haven't tried to do that. Mostly I think it's because she has an anxiety disorder and this lets her look at the future in digestible parts. But your vows you make in front of everyone can hint at more complex or more simple vows you've made to each other, I think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:49 PM
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On the Blackshirts issue, it occurs to me that I may not relate the term to fascism because my college football team refers to its defense as "the Blackshirts." A perfectly common thing* to hear coming from my TV in the fall is "The Blackshirts call a blitz and sack France so at the end of the third republic Pétain is coming back in."

* Only the first part of that is commonly heard. To get the rest, you'd need for the Huskers to be playing a team with a quarterback named "France" and a punter named "Pétain" and for the announcer to have a speech impediment that caused him to confuse the words "down" and "republic."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:50 PM
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Megan, I'd say the best you can do is to vow to always be honest and open with each other. There's no way you can predict what you'll want and how you'll have changed decades from now, but as long as you can communicate with each other along the way, you'll be aware of each other's changes, and it minimizes the chances of either of you getting blindsided with something hurtful.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:53 PM
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This is all cart-in-front-of-the-horse, of course. But it lets me accept a proposal, should there be one, in clean conscience.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 12:55 PM
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222: I think if you don't have confidence in your ability to keep your vows you do need to work around that. Megan is IMO taking the right approach of trying not to swear to something she's got real doubts about being able to uphold.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 1:08 PM
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If it is neither of you, then yet another Unfogged commenter is in your position

I am neither Abe Lincoln nor A Complete Idiot (though I have been a complete idiot), nor have I spoken with Megan, but I am in a roughly similar position, so that's yet another, further substantiating what Apo said upthread. Revealing the demise of one's marriage turns out to be a good way to find out how many other people you know are having similar problems--it's an invitation to people who are dying to talk about theirs but haven't because of marital omertà.


Posted by: James Madison | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 1:44 PM
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I wouldn't have associated Blackshirts with WWII before this thread. (I'm embarrassed to add, but probably not Brownshirts, either, if it was out of context.)

I'm fascinated by all this adultery talk in this thread. And sympathetic to those going through difficult times, but mostly really fascinated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 2:22 PM
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225
The lifelong part is the part I don't feel I can swear to. I could swear to five years. I could swear to ten years. But I honestly don't know who I will be when I am sixty. If I've changed this much from 20 to 40, who will I be when I'm 60?

You know, I understand this basic idea, but I don't share it, which surprises me because I think I'm in a similar place otherwise.

When I look back to 20, I haven't changed much. Grown up, sure - more confident, even before my current relationship and job, more experienced, less superficial - but I'm still a geek, an introvert, have a weird sense of humor, etc. I have very similar interests. I wouldn't have predicted exactly where I am in life, but it's not a huge surprise either.

I don't know. Maybe people are just different. Uh oh. Or maybe there's a big change coming for me between 30 and 40, since after all Megan is talking about a longer timespan than me. Or maybe, Megan, you're worrying over nothing? (Sorry to put it so flippantly, I know there's a better way to say that basic idea, I'm just trying to post quickly and then leave the office. "Borrowing trouble" seems close.) Just a thought.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 2:24 PM
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I'm with Megan. The regrets I have when looking in the mirror are for the lies, not the radical alterations in my life and the X's life caused by my wanting out. I can only apologize for the lies, I can't rewind the tape and reshoot my life with me being less cowardly.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 3:24 PM
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When my now-wife and I were setting up our vows, we pretty much just took pieces from a few different standard sets of vows, and left "forsaking all others" on the cutting room floor.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:08 PM
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I'm now feeling bad that I have no memory at all of what was in our vows. It was a secular ceremony, and we were trying to make it fairly brisk and minimal -- mostly, we took the guy from 1-800-Dial-A-Priest's sample vows, and redlined all the stuff about becoming one with the worldriver, which I wasn't up for. But what, exactly, we swore to, I couldn't tell you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:11 PM
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1-800-Dial-A-Priest

Please tell me this is literal.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:17 PM
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My memory is really terrible, and I haven't found the ad in the Yellow Pages when I looked for it in later years, so I wouldn't swear that it's literal rather than an embellishment that I've retroactively edited into my memory. But it was definitely a guy we found from an ad in the Yellow Pages, and that's what I remember the name being.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:19 PM
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So just by pure percentages there has to be one commenter who is 1. having an affair and 2. in the early stages of pregnancy, right? Reveal yourself!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:19 PM
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Blume, I think you're being called out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:34 PM
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242: My brother hired a guy whose ministry was a prison and who had a radio show. (It was in Guernville. If I showed you the pix, all would agree -- hippies!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:34 PM
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one with the worldriver

Despite the spelling issue I parsed this as "one with the whorl-driver," which sounds mildly disturbing but possibly fun?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:35 PM
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239: We tried to do "disdaining all others" but the priest didn't buy that we just wanted something stronger than "forsaking."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 4:40 PM
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But I honestly don't know who I will be when I am sixty. If I've changed this much from 20 to 40, who will I be when I'm 60?

Yeeeeeees, but, you partly get to *make* yourself who you'll be at 60.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-20-12 5:50 PM
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248: this is exactly right, and importantly true -- a 58-yr-old person writes


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 07-21-12 10:57 AM
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The adventure (see 62) begins: "Last night, the smell of your armpit woke me up."


Posted by: Millard Fillmore | Link to this comment | 07-21-12 1:08 PM
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That's not how the adventure begins.


Posted by: OPINIONATED REMO WILLIAMS | Link to this comment | 07-21-12 2:00 PM
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248, 249: And there's the terror and pity of it all.

Luckily, the crimes and misdemeanors are accompanied by a growing equanimity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-12 5:15 PM
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A bit late to the thread, but one big problem I see for ACI is that he is going through a difficult time and his wife, rather than feeling bad for him and wanting to be supportive, is only going to be more hurt and pissed off by that. This is not a good dynamic, and I suspect a part of the reason why many of the people who are basically 'B' type marriages don't survive serious affairs. The other big reason is the one his wife has already given him.

To Megan - you need to know how your bf feels. But one possibility is that he wants the promise, with the full understanding that people do sometimes break those promises, and no promises in return on how he'll react if that happens. I know that I would never break up with a serious gf over a single one night stand or even a casual short fling, but if I were serious enough about someone to want to propose, I'd treat a refusal to promise fidelity as a huge red flag about whether the relationship can work for me.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:06 AM
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I agree with 251.1.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:14 AM
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I meant 253.1.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:14 AM
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I so do not get 253.2

I had a huge argument with a friend one time starting from the fact that he was getting married, told me I was immature or some shit for not being very interested in monogamy, but acknowledged that he would likely cheat one day. I don't get why it's somehow better to make a promise you're not planning on keeping, but I find a lot of people think this.


Posted by: George H. W. Bush | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:56 AM
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To make it make sense, I think you have to separate out your sense of how bad infidelity is from how common it is. You can realistically think "A large percentage of people cheat, I don't see any reason to think I won't be in that percentage," and still also think "Cheating is a terrible thing to do -- if I do end up doing it, I will be terribly ashamed of myself and think of it as a huge transgression."

The two thoughts are only inconsistent if you think of 'how most people behave' as 'an acceptable way to behave.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:07 AM
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Now, I do think the sort of person who thinks of 'the way most people behave' as 'largely unacceptably evil' is going to have a difficult, sad life, but it's not insane. Personally, I kind of lean toward 'if it's the sort of terrible thing that a really large percentage of people do sometime in their lives, you should be able to talk about it openly as a possibility and recover from it if it happens,' but it's not like that's logically necessary or anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:11 AM
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I had a huge argument with a friend one time starting from the fact that he was getting married, told me I was immature or some shit for not being very interested in monogamy, but acknowledged that he would likely cheat one day. I don't get why it's somehow better to make a promise you're not planning on keeping, but I find a lot of people think this.

Yes, a lot of people believe it's good to publicly aspire to standards they may not be able to reach.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:18 AM
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Cheating is as bad or conversely acceptable as people feel it is. I've never given a shit about it in casual relationships, but when in love even a drunken one night stand with a stranger really bothered me. On the other hand I don't feel cheating is a special sort of bad behavior - that sort of one night stand is no different than your partner acting like a total asshole to you in some other way. The chance of never once being a complete asshole in a long term relationship is pretty slim. For me the vow is in effect acknowledging that cheating is bad behaviour, that my partner will really try not to do it, and if they do they'll feel bad about it and accept that I'll be upset. Refusing to do so suggests the possibility of reacting to me being upset with a 'oh come on, who cares, it's completely meaningless, and I'm really pissed off that you're at all upset and upset at me' attitude.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:21 AM
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Also, "cheating" isn't just one thing, practically or ethically. There's a huge spectrum from openly renegotiating the terms of a relationship, to drunken one-night stands or low-grade romantic obsessions that eventuate in nothing more than really trying your friends' patience with the late-night phone calls, to more serious affairs like ACI's, and all the way on up to being Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Marriages are much more likely to survive incidents on the lower end. And even if one has statistical doubts that one will be able to fully keep a commitment to marital monogamy, it's statistically more plausible that one will at least be able to keep violations to manageable proportions. I think that's also implicit in (b) type attitudes: not all infidelities will be forgivable, but there are a range of infidelities that would be.


Posted by: François Hollande | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:58 AM
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The problem with affairs when there's been no advance understanding about it between partners is per 123: In my wife's (and my) opinion, my greater transgression was not sexual infidelity but emotional infidelity.

ACI goes on to say, in 123, that the emotional infidelity has to do with falling in love, but in my own experience, it's about the lying. That's a kick in the gut which brings with it literal nausea, both in my own experience being on the receiving end of revelations about a long-term partner who'd slept with my best friend a year previous, and at a later time, my own lying liar affair on my partner.*

The (b) type of relationship is essential, to my mind. The (a) type, with promise of utter fidelity always, is a promise I can't make. Megan's right to be concerned about a vow like that.

* To ACI and others who've been the cheater to very ill effect: in my own experience, it stays with you forever. I learned to take the effects of my behavior on others very seriously. No more lying.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 11:25 AM
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As long as I'm pontificating, perhaps obnoxiously, I'd view entrance into any long-term arrangement to involve a view of the thing as a partnership. In a vows like way: I become your partner. I will always have your back. I will never knowingly and intentionally hurt you. I will always talk to you and hear you. Our endeavors will be ours, and I embrace them. etc.

Those are hard enough promises to make, but it leaves out sexual fidelity 'til death do us part in favor of something in a way much more serious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 12:00 PM
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262: Yeah, it's the lying. It's non-consensually altering another adult's reality for one's own benefit. Not much different, really, than punching them in the nose and taking their wallet.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 1:08 PM
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253.1 is, in fact, correct. Part of the reason we are currently physically separated is to allow me some time to get over the end of the affair without my wife feeling like she has to be supportive (or watching me mope around) but it is a really unpleasant combination.

To 262, you may be right. I have recently discovered that my (now ex-)girlfriend lied to me about something extremely important to me, and it did feel like a literal kick in the gut. (I don't know for sure; I've never been kicked in the gut.) And the falling in love wouldn't have been possible without the deception, so... I don't know. My sins are many.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 1:34 PM
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("Kicked in the gut" means literal nausea, feeling like you're going to throw up. Which is a thing that can happen.)

Sorry, ACI. I don't know -- try to breathe. For what it's worth, after my own affair debacle, I went to grief counseling, on my own initiative. I thought maybe I was in a grieving process, as in: oh my god, something just died, and I'm in shock. It did, but there can be a rebuilding, and nobody literally died, of course.

Take your time, you know? If you can, given kids in the picture.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 1:58 PM
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Just to clarify, is 266.1 attempting to explain the concept of simile? Or nausea?

But, yeah, I am in therapy, and my therapist agrees that I need to go through a grief process for it. (Of course, I'm the cheater, and I'm the one who's nearly incapacitated by depression while my wife says she's feeling stronger than ever. This is a very strange time in our lives.)

I'm trying my best not to give up on anyone, including myself. I would like to be less of an idiot in the future.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:02 PM
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267.1: It was to say that you don't have to have been kicked in the gut at some point in the past in order to understand what literal nausea is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:06 PM
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For the people who think that the lying is a bigger offense than the infidelity, I'm having a hard time seeing it as a separate, distinct offense, for anything beyond a one night stand. How would infidelity work if you weren't lying about it? "I had sex with another man, and I'm planning to do it again, despite the fact that we agreed to be monogamous." That seems (for people in the type of marriage where there isn't already a tacit understanding that non-monogamy might be acceptable) like the sort of thing that would be a pretty clear statement that you considered the affair more important to you than staying in the marriage: staking out a position that you were willing to walk away from your spouse rather than stay faithful.

Obviously, it's more forthright, and I suppose more the sort of thing something with integrity would do. I just can't see it as likely at all for a cheater who wasn't emotionally finished with the marriage, and for that reason I can't really see cheating but not lying about it as a lesser offense against the spouse.

If the idea is just "If you couldn't commit adultery and tell the truth about it, you shouldn't commit adultery," I suppose that works but I don't think it adds much to "You shouldn't commit adultery."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:25 PM
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"I had sex with another man, and I'm planning to do it again, despite the fact that we agreed to be monogamous."

Texting IHSWAMAIMPTDOADTFTWATBM might be better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:43 PM
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If only people still communicated by telegraph. What could be cheaper?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:44 PM
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269: they could be distinguishable in terms of emotional reaction without being separable in terms of action.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:45 PM
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How would infidelity work if you weren't lying about it?

Didn't some people say above that their spouse approached them, affair not yet realized, and asked permission? If I were the cheated on person, that would be the not-lied-to comparison point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:57 PM
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I think, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 2:58 PM
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Hm. If you didn't give permission, but they did it anyway, I guess that might be better than having been lied to? It would be different, anyway...


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:01 PM
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Well, yeah. Requesting permission is either not cheating (I could see it being an extraordinarily lousy thing to do, depending on the relationship, but negotiated non-monogamy is still a different thing from cheating), or cheating with the "Fuck you, I can walk away from this marriage" attitude I was thinking about above. I take Sifu's point that the lying might feel like the worst part of it without being separable, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:05 PM
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It seems to me that, if you are going to be non-monogamous, and you are not being dishonest, then, de facto, you have an open relationship of some kind. Whether it is a happy or ethical open relationship is another matter entirely.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:22 PM
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Is it an open relationship is only one party wants non-monogamy? An affair can be open regardless of the state of the relationship.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:28 PM
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Doesn't the 'honesty' thing concern relatively prompt after the fact disclosure? Whether that's better or worse than finding out some other way will depend on the person.

275 Considerably worse rather than better, I think. At best you can say it's a statement saying either the relationship goes open or it's over. If you're the person saying that I think you should only stay in the relationship if your partner seems like they could be ok with it, otherwise just end it yourself.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:29 PM
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278: Well, yes, that is my contention. If there is sex/intimacy outside the relationship, and it is openly acknowledged by the people in the relationship, then it is an open relationship, whether or not everyone in the relationship is happy about the state of things.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:30 PM
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Anne is very well, thank you.


Posted by: George Smiley | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 3:51 PM
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279.1: Exactly. Sometimes shit happens. Hiding the shit while accumulating it in the back of the closet makes the smell worse.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:12 PM
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Sometimes shit happens. Hiding the shit while accumulating it in the back of the closet makes the smell worse.

Is that true for a truly isolated fling? If you sleep with someone and feel like shit afterwards and will never do it again and blah blah blah, and it happens anonymously/drunkly/out-of-townly so that your secret is assured, shouldn't you maybe keep your mouth shut and not burden your partner with the news?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:30 PM
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I'm playing devil's advocate here - I actually don't know how I'd feel. I tend to say I wouldn't want to know, but who knows.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:31 PM
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Jesus knows.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:39 PM
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shouldn't you maybe keep your mouth shut and not burden your partner with the news?

More often than not.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:42 PM
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283: I'm not an absolutist, your hypothetical might fall into the same class as an I Love Lucy dented car fender episode.

On the other hand, if some blood test turns up positive in a few months, then what?

I dunno. Most of the arguments for keeping the secret seem like at most very thinly disguised piles of bullshit rationalization. I'll make an exception for one drunken one-night stand just so everyone can experience that.

(And none of the above means I'd shun someone for not following my prescription. I didn't follow it for quite some time, which is why I feel the way I do.)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:48 PM
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On the other hand, if some blood test turns up positive in a few months, then what?

Go on the offensive and accuse your partner?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 4:59 PM
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Look, I thought I was protecting you by not telling you, but obviously I can't lie about it any longer. [deep breath] I have hemophilia.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:03 PM
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288: I've never bought into proportional response, if things are adversarial then anything goes.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:04 PM
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I have a rare condition that turns STD tests positive. It's like a broken check-engine light.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:05 PM
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Herpes isn't that rare, heebie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:14 PM
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I still think I got it from you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:34 PM
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||

Anyone else watching the president speak?

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:41 PM
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So it's like the password to the front page, you have to sleep with Neb to get it?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 5:58 PM
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In 263.1, I deeply and knee-jerkishly dislike "I will never knowingly and intentionally hurt you." That seems like a much more difficult hurdle than simile fidelity, though it may be another sign that I suck at relationships. I can't pin down what I hate, but Lee says stuff like that to Mara ("Mommy and I never want to hurt you!" and I get all mad because I'm going to have to pull out splinters that will hurt and that doesn't meanI'm breaking my promises or being unloving. And in my adult relationship, yes, I'll sometimes be hurtful because I'm a broken and unpleasant person sometimes. And sorry, but if you love me, just know you're not getting perfection. But maybe I'm not being fair.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:05 PM
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How about, "I will never intentionally hurt you unless you piss me off or somebody else pissed me off and I happen to see you before getting over it." I would have done that if we were writing our own votes and if "or worse" didn't cover it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:21 PM
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273: Indeed, and the honesty part of asking ahead of time is also, I guess, likely to be a symptom of the marriage being generally relatively healthy. Not that there isn't a coercive element to it; at least the implication is that "if you aren't ok with an open marriage, it's hard to see how we can go on." But it does provide some assurance that the partner isn't just looking for an exit strategy, and of course being treated courteously is always much better than not. So it really is much better than just presenting a fait accompli.


Posted by: François Hollande | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:31 PM
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297: Your "disdaining all others" is still making me deeply happy.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:33 PM
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I'm going to have to call bullshit on passive constructions. This kind of shit doesn't "happen." People make choices, and sometimes they make a choice that is potentially hurtful to someone they loved, love, and/or might love again.

I'm not saying it's the business of anyone but the wronged person -- though I'm probably going to feel differently towards someone who hurts a friend of mine -- but there's no need to tell ourselves that sexual relationships just sort of happen, and there's nothing you can do to stop them from happening.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:33 PM
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happens anonymously/drunkly/out-of-townly so that your secret is assured, shouldn't you maybe keep your mouth shut and not burden your partner with the news

Totally. And in fact, we had an explicit agreement to that effect. (That's why I say the transgression was falling in love, not the dishonesty. Although the fact that it was a recurring relationship rather than a one-time fling was also transgressing.)

LB makes a lot of sense in 269.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:34 PM
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An explicit agreement to not be explicit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:40 PM
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296: In 263.1, I deeply and knee-jerkishly dislike "I will never knowingly and intentionally hurt you."

That was code for something. It came up in my next long-term relationship after the one in which the cheating occurred. With the next relationship, we'd both been through the wringer on the lying front, and we'd talked about it, and made an agreement: I will not knowingly hurt you, to the best of my ability.

It was our only agreement, really. It worked for us. I realize it sounds precious and impossible, but was kind of important to pledge. I'd still want the same from a future long-term partner.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:43 PM
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Making a promise publicly helps you (societal pressure, meaning of promise) keep that promise. In other words, it helps shape the kind of person one will become, and that is perhaps worth thinking about, though probably not decisive.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:43 PM
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Thanks so much, Mineshaft, for a thread that allows me to simultaneously split moral hairs and pick the scabs on my conscience. I can now see how I cheated yet somehow didn't exactly cheat, thereby maintaining balance in the universe.


Posted by: James Madison | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:44 PM
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Oh, universal balance is what we're all about.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:46 PM
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I'm on pint three so sympathy from me will be intermittent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:47 PM
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305: Casuistry FTW! Any Jesuits out there?


Posted by: François Hollande | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:49 PM
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In other words, it helps shape the kind of person one will become, and that is perhaps worth thinking about, though probably not decisive.

Does it still work if you know that you only made the promise for Elsterian reasons?

I guess it probably does.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:50 PM
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Parsi, I know I'm not being fair to you in quibbling with it, and yet I had to throw that out there. I have probably hurt Lee in saying some of the things I've said here, and yet it would have hurt the relationship more if I hadn't had a release valve. Parenting adds another dimention to this, though I'm not trying to play that card exactly. I have a foster parent friend whose rule is that nothing she or her husband say after 8 pm "counts" and I think we're working under a version of that now. "I am going to fail you and hope for your forgiveness and I'm going to forgive you and I know you will fail me" is not a very good vow. Thank goodness people us aren't allowed to take them anyway!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:51 PM
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308: Not in this bar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:51 PM
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311: Drinking with Jesuits is a thing I have done (which probably should mandate presidential anonymity all by itself). It's surprisingly fun.


Posted by: François Hollande | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:55 PM
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I've not done it, but I'm the only person in my family not to attend a Jesuit school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 6:58 PM
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310: At 8:01, phone sex with college girlfriends.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:01 PM
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314: They more meant things said in frustration, but maybe I need to pin Lee down on a rule like that and then get in touch with my inner sexy Jesuit.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:03 PM
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310: "I am going to fail you and hope for your forgiveness and I'm going to forgive you and I know you will fail me" is not a very good vow. Thank goodness people us aren't allowed to take them anyway!

I'm going to treat that last as a throwaway remark. People like .. gay people? Don't be silly.

As for how good a vow that is, I don't know what to say. I wouldn't have rendered it that way. It would be more like "I will be honest with you, even when I've failed." It's a matter of making someone a member of your true family. I don't see how that's pathetic at all.

The publicity of such a vow no doubt lends it gravitas.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:13 PM
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"I will be honest with you. The woman at the end of the bar with the cleavage all there gave me her number and I'm going to call it tomorrow as soon as I leave the house."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:24 PM
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That's good, Moby. You have to give your partner a heads up about these things, so s/he can decide what to do and say.

((You know why I cheated on that boyfriend back then? He had girls stuffing their numbers down his pants and in his pockets when he performed. I'd find them here and there, on the bedroom dresser and bureau. It was annoying, and started to bother me after a year or two of it. The sexification was part of his performance, though. But what am I saying, it was not that; I just blew the relationship up because I needed some space and couldn't figure out how to get that. Because I was stupid.))


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:42 PM
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I don't think anybody has ever given me their number unrequested except sales people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 7:59 PM
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In my experience, I agree with 300, but I do feel like there are just a lot of things I don't understand about relationships. If I'm in a monogamous one, which I haven't been for a long time (and then only topped out at 2.5 years), I've never felt tempted to cheat on anyone. I've felt tempted to break up, but not to cheat. If I want to fuck around, I make it clear that I plan to fuck around from the outset.

But I am not someone for whom having sex is some easy thing that just whoops happens. Even when I have had several partners at the same time, none of them were accidents. The only sex I've had that I regret has been when I have been really starved for sex--like unhappily celibate for months--and made poor choices.

As a single person of a certain age, I tend to find that most offers of sex come from married people who want to introduce me to a special situation they find themselves in in which--hear them out--they're like really in a tough spot in their marriage? And it's a unique situation in which cheating isn't really cheating?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 8:02 PM
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2.5 years wasn't even long enough for my wife to figure out how disgusting I am with the skin parts after a bad sunburn.

Also, based on 318.2, I'm assume parsimon dated Neil Diamond.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 8:12 PM
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300 makes sense for me now, as a grown up, mature (hopefully) human being. Back in my 20s, not so much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 8:17 PM
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+forced or +going to or + something that makes 321.2 an actual sentence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 8:29 PM
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This thread has become hilarious to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 8:34 PM
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This thread has become depressing to me.


Posted by: James Madison | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:14 PM
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I saw a dead mouse on the sidewalk and it made me a bit sad despite the number of times I've murdered mice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:17 PM
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You bastard. It's not the same thing!


Posted by: James Madison | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:19 PM
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I discussed this thread with my wife, which led us to decide that we're between an a) and b) marriage- most likely would work things out. She has made ACI's point in the past about the difference between a fling and an emotional attachment.
We also discussed any current crushes and I pointed out that I just don't interact regularly with that many women I find attractive. I did show her the picture of one member of this community that I would consider more of my type, and wife said, "Well, yeah, she looks like me," so I guess that's a good sign?


Posted by: Woodrow Wilson | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:28 PM
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Just don't hurt any mice, I guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:29 PM
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This has been a really fascinating thread, if, as with the Slatepitch one, one laced with everyday tragedy.

To Megan, as a child of divorced parents I have exactly the same feelings that you do about "forever" and in my mid-twenties, when my wife and I were first dating, felt very strongly about not being able to make til-death-do-us-part-type promises. Per teraz, Junie really struggled with how not to hear this as keeping one foot out the door. What resolved the issue for both of us over time was coming to an understanding that, whatever the vows (and by all means, tailor them so that they feel meaningful to you), the commitment we make to eachother is not to stick around forever or to be the same person always, but to ride out the dull/bad times and to work to make them better.

I've fucked up in my marriage (not infidelity, but other forms of dishonesty) and we had to work really hard to come back from that. It worked because we both really wanted to stay together and were willing to keep facing the dificult stuff in order to heal. Painful as that was, it was a good reminder not to get complacent and that relationships require work (which is coming in handy with the whole marriage and baby combo).

So you can't controly entirely how you'll change over the course of your life, but you can make choices about how you'll try to deal with it together. Yeah, you get to make choices about what you do and how you allow yourself to change but you also get to make choices about trying to maintain connection through that.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 9:30 PM
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I wonder if it was really frustrating to the First Mrs. Yks-K that my response to her moving out and sleeping with other people wasn't to just end the marriage straightaway, the classic "I'll get you to break up with me by being terrible." Instead, I started sleeping with other people while dragging her to couples counseling.

I hope it was.


Posted by: yks-k | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 10:55 PM
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331 is exactly the right response, I think. If it was frustrating for her, good.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 11:01 PM
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But I am not someone for whom having sex is some easy thing that just whoops happens

I want to just say that, yeah, me neither... But that's why the affair was so tempting. "Holy shit, someone incredibly hot wants to have sex with me!"

But, 320.3, ouch.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-22-12 11:46 PM
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I want to post - and I will - but I'm sad to push this thread off the front page.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 5:53 AM
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333: Maybe a good way to get over the affair, when you're ready, is to read the local Craigslist M4W section. There are four kinds of posts: (1) I want to punish you or be punished by you. (2) I want to pay you or be paid by you. (3) Why are women so mean to me when all I want is love? and, the most common, (4) I'm in a unique situation in my marriage.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:04 AM
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335: Don't forget "I want to be fucked senseless!" Lots of those!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SHARON OLDS | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:21 AM
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335: So, I'm sorry, is your point, "You are a horrible person just like all the creeps on Craigslist"? Or did you have something else in mind?


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 7:58 AM
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I think she's suggesting you to find somebody to punish you. Write an ad starting with "I've been a bad, bad boy."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:07 AM
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I think it's "You are a horrible perosn just like all the horrible people who are the only people attracted to me".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:08 AM
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"Seeking SF or MF to punish me for cheating on my wife. Must not be too self-aware."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:11 AM
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It could be like the pina colada song, where the MF who punishes him for cheating is his wife.
I think the point of 333 was that there are an awful lot of people who claim to be in a "unique" situation, so you need to realize your situation wasn't really so unique and not rationalize it as such.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:13 AM
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Has ACI claimed to be unique or justified? I only heard him claiming to be an idiot and very sad about the whole thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:17 AM
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If that was the point of 333, it assumes an uncharitable lack of self-awareness on my part. I don't think I've rationalized my affair on that basis or any basis in this thread. Have I? I know that my situation is nothing if not cliche. That doesn't make it any less painful.

I'll acknowledge that I have no ground to object to being called a horrible person qua cheater, but that just seems like pretty mean-spirited advice.

I guess I shouldn't be defensive about it.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:18 AM
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YOU ARE A CLICHE

DISCUSSING YOU IS BORING

KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, ROMEO VOID


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:25 AM
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It could be like the pina colada song, where the MF who punishes him for cheating is his wife.

Is this the 70s "If you like pina-colada..." song? I had no idea that it had an actual narrative to it.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:38 AM
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He and his beautiful lady are both trying to cheat on other and screw it up so badly they each try to have an illicit affair with the other.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:43 AM
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Somehow I don't think "keep it to yourself, asshole" is the guiding principle of Unfogged.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:52 AM
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Would cut down on thread length, that's for sure.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:57 AM
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Wow, I walk to work and suddenly I'm mean!

No, I just thought you were trying to get over something. Nevermind!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 8:59 AM
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346 is the negative interpretation, the other alternative is that it turned out he had exactly what he wanted right under his nose and didn't realize it until he got a new perspective.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:03 AM
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What he really wanted all along is a woman who secretly sent out personal ads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:04 AM
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339: I didn't say horrible. I just said its very common for married people looking to cheat to think they're in a unique situation. As a usually non-monogamous person, I don't put any premium on fidelity. When people have cheated on me in monogamous relationships, the only thing that has really bothered me is the lying.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:07 AM
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I do apologize for being insensitive. Based on some of the above, it sounded like ACI was in the phase of trying to take the situation less seriously, but that's really impossible to judge without knowing someone. The still-having-feelings part always takes longer than we want it to.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:16 AM
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I think the only reason it came mean is that it's a little hard to follow how comparing himself to the horde of wannabe cheaters on Craigslist was supposed to help ACI get over his ended affair. I'm sure you had a thought process that made it seem helpful, but I didn't manage to follow you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:16 AM
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354 crossed with 353, and now I follow you. Yeah, I could see that maybe being helpful a while later on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:17 AM
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In the 90's, somebody should have updated the Piña Colada song to include the inevitable Maury Povich appearance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:17 AM
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I thought AWB was being light-hearted - "When you feel a little less down, you can mock these chumps with me, who I find myself surrounded by."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:18 AM
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The person seeking out adultery on an internet dating site, and the person who spontaneously encounters an opportunity for adultery and considers that it might be the only such opportunity ever to spontaneously occur, seem like quite different situations to me.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:24 AM
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The part I'm trying to get over is the woman herself, not the fact of the affair, if that makes sense. I intend to process the larger situation in couples therapy.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:28 AM
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If it helps, I'm almost 100% certain that the woman in question was hiding information about the Lindbergh baby.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:33 AM
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I have often gotten over sexual/romantic obsessions that I would find unethical in others but justify in myself because it's such a special situation or whatever by imagining myself as a creep I'd hate if I heard about it. If I imagine it's someone else's mess, it doesn't matter how incredibly special the person/relationship is. I am clearly projecting my own methods of emotional control here though.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:33 AM
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I just said its very common for married people looking to cheat to think they're in a unique situation

EACH UNHAPPY FAMILY IS UNHAPPY IN ITS OWN WAY. WILL YOU HAVE SEX WITH ME?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ADULTEROUS LEO TOLSTOY | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 9:38 AM
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ACI, I read Shirley Glass's Not Just Friends when I was talking to my friends about these things. IIRC it had a fairly compassionate chapter about the cheating spouse's grief.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 10:08 AM
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No hard feelings, AWB.

I guess I'm intrigued by the idea that you can talk/think yourself out of romantic/sexual attraction based on the creepiness or inappropriateness of the situation. I mean, I knew the situation was inappropriate. I still do. But the fact is I fell in love with this person despite that, and reflecting on how inappropriate the situation is helped me decide to get out of it, but doesn't really help with the grief over the loss of her. (Does that make sense? It's over. I made the right choice. But I still miss her like crazy, and that'll just take time, I think.)

Thanks for the recommendation, Megan.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 10:47 AM
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Thank God I can, or I'd be fucked. I have unbelievably bad judgment.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 10:49 AM
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I could see that working for me beforehand -- "Don't go down that road or you'll be just like those other creeps." Once I'd actually acted on inappropriate feelings, though, I think I'd just feel wrecked about being a creep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:04 AM
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ACI: Obviously I know nothing whatsoever about the two relationships in question, and I'm not a believer in one-size-fits-all solutions, so I'm not posing this rhetorically but rather as a serious question: is it really possible to reconcile with your wife while you're still going through the breakup-grieving process? For me, at least, those would be really, really difficult tasks to co-manage. Along the lines of don't get involved with anybody while you're going through a divorce (which is advice I always give but wasn't able to follow myself, so, y'know...), each one seems very likely to make it difficult to do a good job with the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:08 AM
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What the hell am I doing Here? I don't belong here...


Posted by: OPINIONATED RADIOHEAD | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:08 AM
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367: No, of course it's not possible. In practice, I think it will just mean that the reconciliation process, through counseling, will take longer than it would otherwise.

Our therapist, who is awesome, put it this way: "We have to deal with who you are right now, and who you are right now is someone who is in love with [other woman]."


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:26 AM
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That sounds like a brutal therapy session.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:27 AM
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Oh, I should clarify she said that in a one-on-one session, not with my wife in the room.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:29 AM
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Thank god.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:30 AM
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Have you considered finding a discredited aversion therapist to give you electric shocks while you look at pictures of your ex?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:32 AM
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364: I guess I'm intrigued by the idea that you can talk/think yourself out of romantic/sexual attraction based on the creepiness or inappropriateness of the situation.

One can for sure avoid acting on such an attraction in such a situation. That's restraint is what to a great extent makes for being a grown-up and all.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:34 AM
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374: Yeah, there's a real tension between recognizing that cheating and the lying that goes with it are very common sorts of bad behavior, and also recognizing that common or not, people are responsible for the choices they make to do things or refrain from doing things that they recognize as wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:41 AM
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I will be signing all my comments "Captain Obvious" from here on out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:42 AM
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So what's the difference between grieving over the loss of a really good friend and the loss of an affairee who you loved? Is it just the sex? If you were really good friends with a woman without the sex part, and you had a breakup fight/she died/left the country, you'd be bummed too but your wife would be supportive. Is it possible to separate the sex from the friendship?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:48 AM
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From the wife's point of view, I'm guessing not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:52 AM
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But she's indicated previously that it is, and that the sex is the lesser transgression, it was the emotional attachment that was the bigger problem. But if he'd had such an emotional attachment to a good friend it wouldn't have been an affair at all. Or maybe there's just no equivalence between love and friendship. Maybe you should have stuck it out with the girlfriend until you got to be an old nagging couple and bored with each other, then it would have been just sex without emotional attachment. All my life's a circle...


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:55 AM
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375: I will note that I'm just as prone to special snowflakeism as the next guy. I will also note that it really pays to learn how to recognize that sort of thinking.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:55 AM
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I think SP is trying to say, "I'm a conehead and trying to understand these curious emotional 'attachments' and 'jealousies' you humans experience."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:56 AM
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Exactly- how can one word have all the vowels in it?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 11:59 AM
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If your spouse had a really intense and meaningful friendship but kept it a secret from you, wouldn't that be kind of a big deal, even if they weren't having sex?

Also, yes, I think it's impossible to separate sex from anything.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:01 PM
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it's impossible to separate sex from anything

I've used half a gallon of Resolve on my car seats so far, and I still can't get the stains out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:06 PM
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The trick is to hide a bag of potatoes under the seat. After a few weeks, the car will smell so bad, you'll never want to drive it, and that way you never notice the stains anymore.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:08 PM
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It's unclear to me if ACI is interested in continuing the marriage only because he was broken up with and now might as well, or because he was always interesting in continuing the marriage and the affair was understood to be an affair. Or did the affair reveal that ACI is not very invested in the marriage? Perhaps ACI is himself not sure about these questions. Perhaps I have not read carefully enough.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:09 PM
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Perhaps ACI is himself not sure about these questions.

This, I think.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:11 PM
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Does a whole bag of potatoes really make for me stink than a single potato? We're talking about a confined space. Potatoes aren't free.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:12 PM
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387 gets it exactly right.

Sigh.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:14 PM
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377/379: Interestingly, I've been in ACI's position, but without the sex. (Meaning: I fell head-over-heels for someone who was not my spouse, although the relationship never became physical.) I'm not really sure the lack of sex made it much easier for my spouse to be supportive of my grief over the loss of the relationship, or for her to deal with her own emotions about all of it. She knew there was another woman's company that I greatly preferred to hers, and she knew I was on the verge of leaving her over it; I honestly don't think the fact that there hadn't been sex mattered all that much to her. It mattered some, sure. But I guarantee she'd have been much less hurt if I'd confessed a one-night stand.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:14 PM
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Does a whole bag of potatoes really make for me stink than a single potato?

FOR YOU STINK OF POTATO IS NOT PROBLEM, FOR YOU STINK YOU MAKE FOR YOURSELF IS PROBLEM! AH HA HA HA HA! AH HA HA! (dies)


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:17 PM
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387/389: Having kids in the equation makes it very much more difficult to pin down the answers to those.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:21 PM
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Also, it makes it harder to give a shit about how your car smells.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:22 PM
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(Meaning: I fell head-over-heels for someone who was not my spouse, although the relationship never became physical.)

Isn't that basically the inspiration for all European poetry for a several hundred year period?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:25 PM
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If you include religious poetry, then yes.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:28 PM
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My main takeaway was that, if you're going to go through all the relationship turmoil and grief either way, you should definitely not skip the hot sex.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:41 PM
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396: Especially since you're already on the hook for it regardless.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:43 PM
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Thanks for making that explicit.


Posted by: Jimmy Carter | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:50 PM
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You're welcome!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 12:51 PM
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JC, do you think that refraining from a physical relationship made it at least somewhat easier to detach yourself at the end? You say you were head-over-heels for the other woman, but wouldn't it have been even more difficult to extricate yourself emotionally if there had been a physical component to your relationship? I'm curious.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:01 PM
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Follow-up to 400: was it mutual love, or unrequited?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:02 PM
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wouldn't it have been even more difficult to extricate yourself emotionally if there had been a physicalmad scientist component to your relationship?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:05 PM
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388: Potatoes aren't free.

THEY WILL BE SOON IF WE HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT!


Posted by: FLYING JUSTICE SQUADS OF THE POTATO LIBERATION FRONT | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:16 PM
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Perhaps ACI is himself not sure about these questions.

Hmm, I had been under the impression that ACI was committed to his wife but, re-reading 223, I see that there's just been advice from multiple friends that the relationship is a good one and worth saving.

It's hard to judge anything at this remove but, I would still think that judgement, from mutual friends, carries some weight.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:22 PM
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It's hard to judge anything at this remove but, I would still think that judgement, from mutual friends, carries some weight.

It does! Although it's hardly surprising that none of my friends said, "Yes, it is definitely a good idea for you to leave your wife for someone in her early twenties who is currently unemployed and engaged to someone else." But more to the point, the friends validated that our relationship is a good one that is worth saving.

I am committed to making an effort to reconcile, but far from certain about the eventual outcome. I hope it works out, based on past history and the judgment of mutual friends, but there's clearly been a serious break here.

I imagine, knowing myself as I do, that the farther I get from this exciting illicit passionate affair, the easier it will be to imagine settling back into the very comfortable relationship I at one point clearly enjoyed. Although I expect it will not be exactly the same as it was before.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:42 PM
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404: Friends don't read minds. What should carry weight is how one feels about things at 3am, alone, and in the dark. That's where truth hangs out.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:44 PM
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Early twenties? The painfully sincere, new-to-feminism-and-environmentalism early twenties? Oh man. I love college kids, but heaven save me from having to talk to them. (I was as bad as any, of course.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:45 PM
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Early twenties, fifteen years younger... huh. You're not even having a midlife crisis yet. I'd been guessing you mid-forties/fifty involved with a thirtysomething, rather than ten years younger than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:47 PM
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What should carry weight is how one feels about things at 3am, alone, and in the dark. That's where truth hangs out.

Oh my god, I certainly fucking hope not.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:47 PM
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408: I'm precocious.


Posted by: A Complete Idiot | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:48 PM
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409: Same here. When I'm worried or stressed over anything, I can get stuck in a half-awake state where everything is much much worse than it actually is: I'm half-dreaming additional layers of trouble on top of the real trouble. It's awful, but it's not realistic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:48 PM
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410: Not so much that, but it does seem to change the dynamic somehow -- I'm not exactly sure how.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:51 PM
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at 3am, alone, and in the dark. That's where truth hangs out.

So the truth is being unable to decide whether to get up and go to the bathroom or try to fall back asleep?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:51 PM
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Agreed with 409. I have some profoundly horrible ideas at 3am alone in the dark, which is why I have to wake up and imagine myself as someone else who needs to be shaken.

When I was 23 I started dating a man 19 years my senior. As a 32-year-old, the thought of being in a serious relationship with a 23-year-old is pretty appalling, but maybe it gets less so as you get older. I've never had sex with a much-younger person, either, though it's easier to imagine than "love."


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:54 PM
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413: It's not binary, there's the .45 option, the continue on option, the fuck it all, join the Foreign Legion option, and so on. I went to California; that worked for quite some time.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:56 PM
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409, 411: Oh my heavens, yes. I routinely wake up thinking something along the lines of, "That? That's the thing that was making me crave death?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 1:57 PM
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409: My sentiments exactly. I was getting ready to type pretty much the same words.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:17 PM
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Heh. Tastes like chicken.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:20 PM
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3am, alone, and in the dark. That's where truth hangs out.

Apparently, my truth is that I should quit playing Civilization 4 and go to bed already.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:34 PM
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I've been playing FreeCiv but mostly I'm just running up the score because I disallowed spaceship victory. I've got 400 military units but it is a big map with many small land masses and it isn't easy to get in position.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-12 2:52 PM
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