A breath of fresh affair?
Q: A year ago, I snooped in my boyfriend’s e-mail and discovered he’d tried to get his old girlfriend to agree to a booty call. She said no, but the fact that he tried and would’ve thrown away our relationship for one go at her crushed me. I tried to think of us as temporary, and enjoy the moments. However, we’re about to move into a house we’ve just purchased together. That, along with a need for authentic living, makes me want to air this issue out. He knows fidelity is of high importance to me, has been honest about having major problems in that arena in the past, and talks about how faithful he’s been to us. Still, I spent 30 seconds in his e-mail, and found an indiscretion. I don’t know if I can move on without reassurance from him that other incidents haven’t taken place. Is there any point to having that discussion? —Authentically Upset
A: Home might be where the heart is, but other parts of the guy seem more than willing to make do with by-the-hour motel rooms and other women’s apartments.
You make noises about "authentic living," which sounds like one of those really cheesy regional magazines, but I think you mean living so what you do matches what you say you believe. Yet, here you are, somebody who demands fidelity, then gets together with Mr. Zipper Issues. You worry he’s been unethical — and what’s a girl to do but violate his privacy in hopes of finding out? And then, upon discovering the guy had his hand in the booty jar, you did what any rational, fidelity-favoring girlfriend would: said absolutely nothing — unless you count "Sign here, Honey!" as you went in with him to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house.
Some people are happiest knowing the whole truth — except for any parts that would keep them from being able to live a nice comfortable lie. In France, they have the "cinq à sept" — the five to seven — slang for a time between work and dinner when people sneak off to see their lover. Sure, it goes against the way things are supposed to be, but it works for some — the person gets what they’re not getting at home, but without breaking up their home. Something similar goes on over here when the mob guy’s wife asks, "Hi, Honey, what did you do at the office today?" The last thing she wants is the truth: "Oh, paperwork, some sales calls, then garrotted a guy and stuffed him in an oil drum." If you actually want to live authentically, emulate your boyfriend. He’s a cheater who cheats. A sneaky person who sneaks. You, on the other hand, can’t figure out whether you’re CIA or C No Evil. You can’t be both. While you can probably get him to reassure you that this won’t happen again, his past suggests he’ll be as faithful as the opportunities that don’t present themselves. The fact you’re with him suggests that, even more than a man who doesn’t cheat, what you want is a man, period.
Women in this position try to make peace with it by looking the other way as long as the guy’s giving them what they need in time, attention, and energy. You could try that, but I’m guessing you’ll always be looking at him a little askance — like when there’s a sparkle in his eye. A tear at the sight of your beautiful baby girl? Or is it literally a sparkle ... from that 21-year-old cocktail waitress with all the body glitter?
Q: My friends and I were debating whether it's a good idea to try to cuddle with a guy after a hookup. I always want to, but I worry I'm going to freak the guy out. Is spooning or whatever all night more intimate than sex? Too intimate?
A: What do you mean, "try" to cuddle? Chase after the guy and try to spoon him as he's running for the door? (The more deadbolts you have, the longer the afterglow.) While a snuggle doesn't seem a lot to ask of somebody you've just done unspeakable stuff with for hours, you shouldn't expect relationship-type service from a near-stranger. You can nuzzle up to the guy, or wait till he's asleep and drape his arm around you. But, if you really need to cuddle after sex, and you're not ready for a relationship, your best bet is setting yourself up with a regular booty call. If you get really, really desperate, you could go to this appalling thing called a "cuddle party" (cuddleparty.com) where strangers in pajamas roll around on the floor hugging each other in hopes of "getting their touch needs met." Personally, I'd rather hug a toilet -- while throwing up into it.
© 2009 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.
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