Whatís the big deal about Cheating anyways?
Cheating was probably the easiest to reconcile, since I had started working on it when we started down the non-monogamy path. And we had also had previous experience with it from before we became exclusive in the first place. Our rules surrounding cheating even when we were monogamous would be surprisingly permissive to a lot of people...especially considering how many profiles I see on OKC and such places where kissing, hugging, or even just looking at other people is somehow Ďcheatingí. Too much Jerry Springer in some peopleís lives me thinks. I realize this is a personal choice,...it just leaves me mostly shaking my head when I realize how cold and affectionless my life would be if I surrounded myself with people who held such views. I havenít always had friends that I could kiss hello and goodbye ...although I donít care to go back there either...but I canít even imagine a world without hugs. That would truly sucketh.
But I digress. It wasnít too hard to figure that cheating is a matter of trust more than anything. Itís not about a specific act...as thereís so much variance between people about what would be cheating, and what doesnít. Itís the trust in a partner that they will behave themselves in a predictable manner. Of course the mono world has this pretty straight forward...no nailing other people. I think the inclination to further restrict actions to the realm of kissing, hugging, looking at magazines, internet chats, fantasizing, etc. arises where fear takes over from trust, and so extra restrictions appear as an attempt to control the relationship to maintain a status quo...with variable, yet possibly predictable results.
How much did I...how much do I...trust my wife? What do I expect her to do? How do I expect her to behave? What did I fear? What was there to lose?
We had already been together for over 10 years why this time...married at least 7. Two kids...house, careers, friends, family blood and chosen, etc. Everything I had done since I left my parents was tied to my darling wife. So when I looked at what I had to lose...it was only every aspect of my adult life that we had built so far. I donít think I can really explain the magnitude of that properly. About the only thing I might have expected to keep if she left, was my career...and without her...itís not like thatíd have much point either. As much as she doesnít love my work, her and the kids are the primary reason I put up with half the BS that comes with the job. If worrying about home, family, etc. seems shallow, so be it.
The prospect of my wife picking up and leaving for someone else would have been survivable, (we donít find co-dependency very attractive, or even cute, so I donít think sheíll begrudge me for saying that...whether due to a divorce, or a bus, we need to be able to carry on independently one way or another) But it would be a hell of a blow regardless.
Itís still a lot to lose in my world...and itís something I fear more than anything. Loosing her is one of the few things that gives me nightmares.... Have you ever woken up and not be able to tell whether or not you were just remembering a dream, or a memory? Where the only way to be sure would be to talk to the person in your dream, since not finding the papers when you riffle through the desk might just mean you misplaced them? I have...and it sucks even more when email and phones arenít working for 3 days while waiting for a reply. Ok, ok...Iíll stop boring you with my personal neuroses now.
Knowing that I could loose my wife and family, and that the prospect scares me...what could I do about it? How do I control the situation so that opening up the relationship wouldnít result in her running off with someone else? Wait a tick...What right do I have to expect to be given control over those behaviours? How is such control even possible over another individual...itís all an illusion at the core anyways. More importantly...If I trust her...why would I need or want to?
Really...was there anything that was controlling her from leaving me when we were monogamous??? Nope. She was with me from the get go of her own volition. She was very determined to be with me, and to my everlasting shame, I didnít make it easy for her. After 10 years together, and starting the way we had, she had every opportunity anyone has to find greener pastures, a better match, whatever. In terms of loosing home, family, etc, she carried the same risks I did...and I know she values our life together as much as I do.
How much do I trust my wife? Completely, totally, implicitly, with my heart, soul, children, and everything else I could possibly hold dear. She holds herself to a high standard, and even as a teenager when we met, she had an excellent personal philosophy of not doing anything that she would be likely to regret later. How could I not trust a person like that?
Would she go around banging anyone who showed up at the door with a bottle of wine and a smile? Not bloody likely. Would she keep secrets about relationships or activities from me? Weíve had that conversation already...and sheís a far quicker study than I am. She may avoid confrontation on occasion, but I know sheíll never lie to me...or if she has, I havenít discovered it yet. Would she engage in activities that would put herís, or my sexual health at risk? I only had public school sex ed in jr high, and I wouldnít. For her...someone who works in the health care field, not a chance. So what was there to fear from opening up our lives to the possibility of other loves? Really when I looked at the bottom line, there was little to nothing in opening up that wasnít there before. And so much to gain.
At the end of the day, there was only one thing *I* could do, mono or poly, open or closed. Let go. No delusions of control. I had to keep being the man she fell in love with...or some older, more mature, yet still fun-loving (stop laughing dear) version there-of. Sheís been with me this long...I must be doing something right. So really the only tricky part in opening up will be to learn to give love and affection to others, while still being the husband that my wife needs and wants.
Well, that was a longer diatribe than I expected...since I expected to talk more about getting over the guy thing. But reorganizing cheating...or more specifically getting to the root of fear and loss are what enabled me to get past the one penis problem.