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Old 10-07-2011, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MichelleZed View Post
We officially opened up our relationship, but even then, many months later, when my husband first slept with someone else, he didn't tell me right away, either, even though he knew he had full permission. He came home the next morning after staying overnight at a friend's place, and said that nothing had happened. Later on that day, he managed to blurt it out. I asked, "Did you not tell me earlier because you were afraid to?" He nodded, and I gave him a hug. "I know what that feels like," I said.
Wow, even after your cheating, he had a hard time telling you. That gives me a lot to think about!

Veganchick was obviously afraid of your reaction to her news, because she couldn't bring herself to tell you the truth. A lot of that is her issue, but we're not focusing on her right now, we're focusing on you. Are there things about the ways you relate to each other that would make it extra hard for her to tell? Or can you perhaps forgive her for being afraid, if she can find it in herself to come clean now?
I'm still having a hard time believing anything she says right now, but if she really is being honest, this makes some sense although it is more complex than just being afraid to tell me.

She may have been afraid of how you'd react if she told the truth. I'm not saying that excuses her lying, but it's Something To Understand.
While I'm sure that was part of it, from what she has told me so far it wasn't a big part. My understanding of what was going on in her mind.

1. The sex was over by the third day and she hadn't made any emotional connection with Paul. Even though they remained friends, she basically rationalized the lack of connection to the point of it becoming in her mind that "nothing had happened".

2. She felt like she was cheating even though she had full permission and was not.

3. She had made that emotional connection she was craving, with someone else on the last day of her visit. There was no sex, but this connection had diminished her connection to Paul to the point where it was insignificant outside of the interesting friend level.

You imply that you'd have been mainly fine with her actions if only she'd told them to you straight-up, but I don't think that's true. There are some things you've written that... give me pause. Some things that sort of smell very faintly of slut-shaming.
I am honest (with you and with myself) when I say that her actions would have been fine. She could have done anything sexual really. Sadly this whole mess seems to have happened over some really bad sex! I think she would have had an easier time telling me if it had been something good and meaningful or at least hot and steamy!

I'm not saying there wouldn't have been emotions, or difficulty or process. This was our first solo venture, our first venture with the possibility of an outside commitment or long-term relation. I so wish we'd had a chance to do that work without this extra baggage added on.

Woah, cheap shot alert! Do you exude that attitude when you talk to her usually, buddy? Take a deep look inside and ask yourself if you're the easiest person to be honest with.
I may have heard that before. But this was a particularly cheap shot and I was well aware it would be transparent as such. Remember this was my rant and it came from a very dark and lonely place.

I also hear just a little patronizing language in how you talk about Veganchick. You constantly refer to her "youthfulness" and portray her as a naive. You cast yourself as someone who can guide her into her true potential or maturity. If there's a little bit of that dynamic in your relationship, that could also be making it difficult for her to "confess" to you, because she doesn't quite feel equal.
I think you're reading more in here than there is. We're very much equals in almost every way. The helping her find/live her passions is more in context of this specific venture. We share a passion for intentional community and living close to the land. I have had many years of experience in that and up until now she had none.

In other ways we are very equal. We tend to earn close to the same income. We have the same level of education. We were both single parents when we met. We are both from the bottom end of the middle class. Both vegan activists... I could go on and on about the ways we are equal. I don't think there is any general feeling of inequality.

Reconsider your rule about unprotected oral sex. The studies are pretty good that it's low-risk behaviour.
We don't have a rule about unprotected oral sex. Stopping short of ejaculation and swallowing has been our norm. I don't know if that has any scientific basis or justification. It just is where we are or I should say were.

She actually can't remember now if this happened. She has gone so far as to email Paul to see if he remembers. I think that's a pretty sad statement about her actions. If she is to believed, there were now only two sexual encounters. And she can't remember? Maybe that would be the norm if we had multiple or casual partners, but this is a first and it was one person. How do you not remember that?

I'm glad she's having an STI screen now, but that shouldn't be something that she does just if she "cheats". She--and you--should have updated STI screens done every 6 months or so if you're planning to continue sleeping around.
We have not had a sleeping around component to our relationship up until now. Some swinging, but the last time was almost 3 years ago.

Also, moving forward: maybe it might take some pressure off if you took a break from negotiating this for a day or two?
We have a children's birthday party/outing/sleepover today, so it's break time like it or not. Our weekend is going to be kidtacular!

PS I was unsure if I would ever share this thread with veganchick. After reading your post I think that I will soon.
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