A lot of folks were annoyed by one of the letters that appeared in this week's column. Here's the letter:
So I had a four-year affair without getting caught. Here's how I pulled it off: I never told anyone about it ever, I chose a partner who wanted exactly what I wanted, we didn't film ourselves (as hot as that sounded), we used condoms, I kept my computer clear of any evidence, and we never called or texted each other.
Readers are crying foul: this isn't a letter from someone in a successful monogamish relationship, it's a letter from someone who had an affair—and the CPOS got away with it!
First, here's what I wrote my original column calling for letters from the monogamish:
ARE YOU MARRIED? Have you had successful flings, affairs, swinging experiences, and three-ways that your friends and family members will never know about? Send me an e-mail, share your story, and I'll publish it.
Including a letter from someone who had a successful affair didn't violate the spirit of the monogamish column. The point is that there are more people out there in non-monogamous relationships than many-to-most people realize. Included in the numbers of non-realizers, sadly, are people who are in monogamish relationships and don't know/realize it.
And not everyone who cheats on his/her spouse is a CPOS ("cheating piece of shit"). As I've said on many occasions: there are times when having an affair represents the least worst option. In some cases it's better for all involved if the sexually denied/deprived/rejected/resentful partner cheats, stays sane, and stays married than it is for the sexually denied/deprived/rejected/resentful partner to "do the right thing" and divorce his low-to-no libido spouse. It was my opinion—my column, my opinion—that the particular circumstances the LW found himself in constituted one of those times.
And, um, those circumstances were entirely left out of his letter. I cut the letter down to get it into the column and then, after I turned the column in, it was edited again for space considerations. As a result of all that editing, all of the detail and nuance—all of the exonerating evidence—was omitted. That was unfortunate. So the entire and complete letter is after the jump. Judge for yourselves whether this was one of those times when a person could cheat without being CPOS. I think it was.
I've been married for more than 12 years. For the first 6 or so, everything was great. GGG sex on both sides, lots of love, lots of openness. Then my wife's libido failed. At first I suspected an affair on her side, but as smart as she is, her Catholic upbringing made her too guilty a person to ever be a good liar, and her computer skills are questionable, so I quickly figured out that there was nothing to suspect.
We had a lot of discussions about it. Whatever the problem was, she couldn't articulate it. I tried everything in the book—romantic nights out, gifts, thoughtful surprises, not trying to initiate sex for weeks (and months), and hundreds of other things. After a year where we'd had sex just once, I realized I was with a woman who I loved, and who loved me, but whose libido was dead.
Eventually reached out to someone else.
I used Craigslist, and I used it honestly: I said exactly what my situation was, explained that I had no intentions of leaving my wife, and that I was looking for someone in a situation similar to mine. It actually took months to find someone who was not spam, to whom I was attracted, and who had no desire to take a relationship past fuck-buddy status. We struck up a years-long affair, and it was incredible. Some of the best sex of my life. Fantasies fulfilled, honest talk. At the same time, I had a wonderful-yet-sexless marriage going on.
After nearly four years, an interesting thing happened: My wife's libido came back. It came back strong. To this day, she cannot explain why it left her, or why it came back. With the reason for my affair gone, I ended things with my fuck buddy. And you know what? Years of honest talk with my fuck buddy made this easy for both sides. She understood, and we went our separate ways.
So, I had a 4-year affair without getting caught. I pulled this off because:
1. I never told anyone about it. Ever.
2. I chose a partner who wanted exactly what I wanted, and who was not someone I knew socially.
3. I never took stupid risks—we met up when we both had clear time where we weren't jeopardizing our secret.
4. We didn't film ourselves, as hot as it sounded.
5. We used condoms.
6. I kept my computer clear of any evidence.
7. We never called or texted each other.
8. When it ended, we didn't try to keep in touch.