I never expected you, never saw you coming, not at all,
but there you were, wearing all the wrong clothing:
horizontal striped collared button down shirt, like
colored bands ringing a thick, redwood tree trunk.
Middle aged folk fallen prey to time and gravity
don’t wear bold-colorful advertisements to widening
perimeters, especially for one with no boundaries,
sexually speaking, of course, not morally or politically.
And logo’d button down polos reek conservative bean
counter, occupation-ally bound to count kisses, time and
orgasms, sans deductions for the unholy of holies among the
fiscally, vaginally vigilant.
And there I was, a raven, coated and shiny like wet ink newly
splotched on your parchment paper computer screen, dark
and waiting to be lit, turned and transformed beyond the
shadowy picture created in your imagination, confessions
and slick-wicked liquid words sliding thick viscous
through your keyboard fingers, just like we wrote, painted
pictures in sentences spelling out, enumerating, if you
will, voracious mimicry, want and want some more, only not
wanting all that just can’t have, not then, not now, but
something else arose, grew from our impossibility, your
straight laces strung tightly, fronting the devilry in your
daydreams, drooly lasciviousness set free, not freely given.
Yeah, we really did it for each other, whatever it was that
needed doing, and still do to both no one’s and yet everyone’s
surprise, including us who love so much so little of the
time, no time all the time, we who live separate lives
lived in broad daylight secrecy, while we storybook
pieces and patches of once upon a time we were other
people than we are and were then who could be us now.
You often ask, “Who knew you’d still be around?” And
“How could I have known? I didn’t see you coming.”
No, we didn’t see each other coming but we sure do now.
Commenting in Salon last month on Beyoncé’s Lemonade video that grapples, in part, with her cheating partner (“I know you’re cheating on me.”), Esther Perel in the article titled “Grief sedated by orgasm, orgasm heightened by grief”: Beyoncé, “Lemonade” and the new reality of infidelity“, applauds the singer’s frankness and platform used to plunge the public into the taboo infidelity, a conversation which Perel believes should be opened repeatedly. In fact, she believes that’s her job as a therapist and author–to help couples find themselves and their options past the ravine that betrayal opens between partners.
After noting the European and American moralistic difference in how couples suffer infidelity, she suggests Americans need to lose the strictures on discussion and judgment of both perpetrator and victim (think Hillary Clinton for staying when she could have left), which shames and thereby stifles examination of and learning from infidelity to repair, renew or reject relationships shattered by infidelity.
After profiling American attitudes about the subject, she exhorts:
Given this reality, it’s time for American culture to change the conversation we’re having about infidelity—why it happens, what it means and what should or should not happen after it is revealed. The subject of affairs has a lot to teach us about relationships—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. It forces us to grapple with some of the most unsettling questions: How do we negotiate the elusive balance between our emotional and our erotic needs? Is possessiveness intrinsic to love or an arcane vestige of patriarchy? Are the adulterous motives of men and women really as different as we’ve been led to believe? How do we learn to trust again? Can love ever be plural?
These are important questions to begin the healing and ensuing path in any relationship that is pierced with this not always fatal rending. As Perel states, infidelity has existed longer than marriage, though she does not justify it as right for having lasted. She merely points to the reality of its persistence.
And just as Beyoncé is fire and ache, Perel is compassionate logic and measured reason, which is her (both) allure.
I’m sure this is true.
She told me so herself.
She said, “I get the best of you. The rest your wife gets.”
I cannot deny it.
That I love our secret love,
safe like the internet.
Everyone hides in the safety of their slippers and screen
to enact who they believe they are
and do their best selves because no one really checks,
no one wants to call bullshit,
end the game so
just go with the make believe.
For us too when we are together,
we two for a few,
a cherished time between us to live high just a while.
I mean, who does not want to be loved like crazy?
To meet up in the imagination’s room and lie for a while.
I am not hers,
and she is not mine,
but I can be sure she keeps me
close in her dreams,
so that upon awakening in warmth and quiet
soft pillows under her head
and silken comfort between her thighs
she feels me beneath the sheets as good as there
from so much practiced production
the fantasy we inhabit
every time we meet.
Oh yes, but she is mine.
How many relationship “experts”, writers and doctors preach honesty and openness? How many times in 20 years have I opened my heart to her, told her my hopes and dreams, listened to hers, answered her most probing questions about what turned me on or off, what she needed in bed…I tried. It was so hard to be honest, despite her insisting. I didn’t want to hurt her. I knew my words would hurt her. The truth hurts.
What she didn’t tell me, probably didn’t know herself was that she couldn’t handle hearing what she wanted to know. Early in our marriage she would ask me about my fantasies, first like it was a game, like she was being cute about it. And when I refused to tell her, she got irritated and moody.
But I was embarrassed and it was hard to talk about. It was extremely uncomfortable and felt a little dangerous, like exposing my weaknesses. After a while I think she was driven by this thing, this idea of something I was holding back from her, and demanded to know what I fantasized about–she wanted it in the name of honesty. While it was important to be honest, I also knew some things just needed to be kept to myself. I resisted hard.
But she was clearly disturbed about me keeping something from her, so I gave in. When I told her some of the things I got off on masturbating in my younger days…and occasionally afterward, she got quiet, then distant and then hurt. I watched it happen, the changes cross over her face like a quick moving time-lapsed eclipse.
She wouldn’t talk about it for a long time. And when she did, she tearfully confessed she couldn’t do what I wanted. She didn’t like anything that might be painful and then it got so messy because I told her I didn’t actually want these things from her, which was the right thing to say but she took it wrong like I wanted it from someone else or didn’t think her capable; it broke down from there into silence and brooding anger.
Just one of the many breakdowns and resentments that collect and heap up over time.
Be open and honest. Right. How much is too much honesty? Not enough? This is the person I chose to share everything with, who I counted on to build me up not tear me down for what I think or say. I always felt she was on my side and wanted what was best for me. I still do. But there is a slow but steady growing crack widening in us we can’t seem to repair.
There were other misunderstandings that ended in injured feelings, both of us shut down and protective of our own. She casually mentioned one too many times that the company should give me more time off, more pay, more respect, just more of… what? What SHE wanted? Was she defending me or looking out for her own interest?
It’s degrading to be reminded you don’t make as much as you should or have as much as you deserve. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t work there. There’s a sense of how things operate, something she couldn’t know. And for someone so sensitive, it’s downright insensitive not to know how that burns.
Now I sound like her with the mindreading. She should know…I should know…No, I should have told her how that humiliated me. Not angrily but calmly. But then…I’d been burned so many times by that whole honesty thing before.
My head just spins with this shit. No wonder so many of my college buddies weren’t too keen on getting married any time soon, preferring sex, partying and freedom. Funny, how I judged them then as shallow. Maybe they in their blind denial intuited the danger, all the pitfalls of relationships going long, going stale, expecting too much, tolerating too little…I just chalked them up to chickenshits. But maybe they were right.
And yet I couldn’t imagine life without her. Too painful. The struggles you suffer and overcome, my dad described as the ups and downs of marriage: “it ain’t easy but it ain’t that hard either.” Yeah? Seems pretty damned difficult sometimes. It’s fucking hard!
Then again, it’s harder to give up…until there’s nothing to give up, like knowing when you’re bested or outdone, checkmated. There’s no point in trying. Until then, you just keep figuring it out.
Salon’s Betty Andrews confessional about being an Ashley Madison girl may be disregarded as a disguised public documenting of her infidelity, her exploits, the Ashley Madison world, and the failure of monogamy for those who are wired for insatiable sensation-seeking, but I believe it is more a testament to a new style for an old theme—so many themes, actually: cake and eat it, self-sabatoging, avoidance, brazen dishonesty and crass conformity, to name just a few.
In reflecting on my proclivity for infidelity, I can only describe it as a kind of sensation seeking — the addictive quality of falling for someone new — and a propensity for self-destruction — reinforcing pathological defense mechanisms. Sure, there’s the sex. And that part is great, sometimes even amazing. But for me, it’s not about a secret kink, an insatiable sexual appetite. or not getting enough attention at home. It’s the novelty of someone else. The intensity. The escape. The possibility. The falling …
I used to call those serial daters, the thrill-seekers aka commitment-phobes. But add in the desire to have it all–the comfort and safety of marriage peppered with the spice of the new–and you have a dream life, right? Or you have someone who likes complications that appeal to the brains who love teasers, puzzles and risk, juggling all those balls to keep them in the air–husband, kids, lover(s), job, secrets, etc.. And ultimately to be alone, not so much without a partner or choices due to burned bridges, though that is a risk, but more so due to dancing yourself into a corner.
My insatiable appetite, not just for the sex, but for the whole confusing mix of physical and emotional feelings, persists. Maybe it’s the escape from real life. The exploration of something new. The thrill of falling for someone else. But ironically, there’s also a very isolating quality to infidelity. There is no one to talk to about it all, to reflect on my actions, to process the big picture. I can’t talk to my lover about my husband. I can’t seek advice for marital spats or discuss fertility woes. And I can’t talk to my husband about my lover. I can’t brag to him about the amazing sex, or cry to him with the heartbreak that is being involved with a man who loves someone else. None of it makes any sense to me yet, and the secrecy draws me further, not closer, from the people in my life. In my search for excitement, romance, connection and intimacy, I’m as alone as I’ve ever been. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the point.
In a perfect world, we would all know ourselves enough each to say, “I am thus and so should be true to myself, choose someone who can accept me for who I am” and be brave enough to act in accordance with the statement. But the question arises: Would Andrews seek the others if her husband accepted her dalliances? Or would that take away some of the lure of seeking lovers in the first place? The deep-seated need to be alone, as Andrews remarks, may be the motivation for maintaining infidelity practices, and she suspects or knows it. So long as the cost-benefit analysis weighs in favor of the benefits, she will continue to feed her need to be conflicted and between worlds–or someone finds out and gets really hurt.
I believe the lure is more insidious; it’s about being someone other than who you are. That is what cheating allows, the fantasy of being someone’s “all I ever dreamed of or all that I don’t have” It’s easy when there is really not all of your skin in the game, so to speak–for either. Affairs allow you to be what you are not in your main relationship–and that is the fun, just like Halloween or costume parties. Pretend. And much needed release for being so much of what you are not for someone else.
In day-drifts I spend them in lengthy morning sheets,
woven threads striping maypole my legs with yours.
You have them: attentive, unwavering, intent.
Your strong gentleness fills our bed with symphonic hum, a vibrational fugue.
Some tenderness tears at lost time, flaked off bits of skinned cycles round,
a heart with no hands.
Touch: soft swept fingers warm atop cupped palms, like namaste hands, loose prayers.
The edges brush by bristled cheek, full flesh and heated like sun-baked summer squash.
Promises: unsaid, steady and willed.
Ties from September past,
a dozen dozen or more in months melded to seamless years of you and you and you.
Until: always when, yet, but still, then again, for now, someday, and forgive me.
“I feel that the biggest benefit to having a relationship that allows for others is that you never have to worry about being everything for someone,” said Skye. “We get to love each other and be with each other, and we get to love other people who are special and important to us in other ways.”
Salon’s article “How Open Marriages Really Work” is refreshingly candid about choice and the nature of relationships–that monogamy is not for everyone. Though polyamory is tossed about quite a bit, I think that label imposes a false sheen over the article that aims to shatter the accepted notion that people who do not do monogamy fall into another label, namely polyamory.
Always one to shun labels, I felt a little compartmentalized by that term, even while the article indulged many scenarios where open marriages were either fallen into after initial monogamy or chosen at the outset. In all cases, the catchwords are honesty, openness and love. However, brave is the overall impression I get.
Yes, it takes honesty and ability to articulate jealousies, desires and needs. Some couples felt jealous of the outsiders but later located the source as something missing in the primary relationship that caused the jealousy. If they spent quality time together, either or both were okay to go off on a date with others. But speaking up and facing fears–of loss, jealousy–takes guts.
I was pleased about the mention of some open marriages that are not acknowledged but known by both parties as well as all shades in between complete openness and shadowy closeted. Having enjoyed monogamy for many years before my relationship opened up, I appreciated the nod to necessity as well as choice. Some couples cannot complete one another intimately and so rely on others to do so. And if both agree to any given arrangement, it works, for however long it works. I suspect child rearing years are different from before and after those times. Once again, fluidity.
Monogamy is tough. It is what most of us believe we want, but in truth, most of us do not, not always. I love the options open to the mature who can agree on their relationships from phase to phase, time to time. We are not static beings and neither are our relationships. But more importantly, it is rare to find someone who can be all things at all times for another. Not even the Stepford Wives worked out so well.
Now, if people could just stop being threatened by others doing it differently than they do…what a wonderful world.
I certainly enjoyed the following Urban Dictionary definitions of the term “Mistress:”
***Something between a mister and his mattress.
***Spare pussy to have when your wife or girlfriend is either on the rag or just not in the mood to straddle the cock. Traditionally a popular stress reliever in France, which might explain why they rarely wage wars these days.
***The woman who is dominant to you and will gladly punish you at any time for any thing.
You missed a spot on the window…
Bend over to be spanked!
***<ORIGIN> from the Old French maistresse, from maistre ‘master’
1) – a woman in a position of authority or control.
<special usage> a woman who is skilled in a particular subject or activity. (possibly sexually)
2) – a woman having an extramarital sexual relationship, especially with a married man.
<special usage> a woman loved and courted by a man
3) – a woman that is the dominating role in a dominate/submissive relationship or arrangement.
a women who has a foot slave and allows him to worship her feet, ie kissing each toe, licking her soles, eating her toejam
mistress gemma wanted to punish her foot slave so took off her boots and smothered his with her sweaty soles, the slave was in heaven, she even then made him masturbate over her smelly socks
***1.) a lonely female with no self-respect who willingly subjects herself to the marginal attention of married men
2.) enemy to the institution of marriage
3.) an example of female energy used for evil
4.) a married man’s co-conspirator
5.) the puppet a married man keeps in his closet and pulls out only at night and only when no one else is around to witness its existance
6.) one who will never experience real romantic love, and seemingly has no desire for it
7.) a woman with no value other than that of sexual gratification
So help me out here because I don’t get it. The hackers of the Ashley Madison site and other Avid LIfe Media subsidiaries, CougarLife and Established Men, purportedly declared that they attacked the site not for moral grounds, not for sheer mischief, not for extortion, not for revenge nor for a specific social or political cause. No, the hack, along with the threat to reveal member names, fantasies and nude photos as well as company bank account information, resulted in protest of the sites’ unfulfilled “full delete guarantee.”
The Impact Team, as they call themselves (nothing like themed criminal activity), appear to be disgruntled ex-users. Why else take such extreme action in protest to a failed guarantee that has no relevance to them? Did they think they were the Edward Snowden‘s of the dating site world? I mean, the charges for this crime must come with lengthy prison terms, so the risk must be worth the outcome.
Or maybe they merely join the ranks of dumb criminals, assuming a public stunt on such a grand scale will go unpunished and undiscovered. Perhaps they count on the public’s disdain for cheaters to get them a pass on the full efforts of the law enforcement agencies called in to investigate this cyber crime.
They must be stupid. Money and reputations stand to be lost, and who knows who risks exposure? Perhaps monied folk, who will not take too kindly for the exposure, a sure generator of pressure to make arrests.
But the puzzler for me is the lack of logic. Exposing the site’s participants for the site owner’s failed “full delete guarantee” seems like beating the prisoners to expose the abuse of the jailers.
The hackers complain, according to the Inqisitr write up the other day, that Ashley Madison, et al., charge $19.00 to members for deleting information from the site, but do not actually do so, leaving credit card information with real names attached to them as well as other incriminating information to the cheating spouse.
Ashley Madison, advertised as a discrete dating site for married adults, with the slogan, “Life is Short. Have an Affair, boasts over 37 million members. According to krebsonsecurity.com, this hack follows an earlier hack on AdultFriendFinder, though the connection has not been established to date. Krebs also reports that the hackers worked from inside, not as employees but people who had access to information working on site.
The hackers demand Ashley Madison shut down, unconcerned about the “dirt bags” who risk exposure:
“Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails. The other websites may stay online.”
So tell me again why the hackers risked their lives as free citizens to protest the breach of promised privacy by which this site profited?
I hate incoherent crimes.