My wife and I have been married eighteen years, basically since high school. We opened up our marriage two years ago. She quickly attracted an avalanche of attention online, and has had a couple of lovers. It has done her—and us—good. But my own experience has been the opposite of hers: tepid interest online; endless correspondence with sort-of interested parties; a few disastrous dates.

I'm writing to get your opinion on a point of ethics, and also your permission. The few women who have expressed interest so far—other than the two who wanted long-term monogamy from me or nothing—only did so as long as they thought I was cheating on my wife. As soon as they realized that I was hooking up with her approval, they were no longer interested. I find it ironic that I worked so hard to do the ethical thing by opening up my marriage, only to find that the ethical thing itself is a buzzkill, but anyway.

There's a bit more at stake here aside from some kanoodling: both before marriage and now, I never succesfully dated or hooked up (I was a bit of an ugly duckling adolescent), and this endless rejection is starting to affect my libido and my self-worth. I need to get past it. I'm very honest and can't actively deceive anyone, unless I'm convinced it's just part of the game. Do I have your permission to pretend I'm cheating on my wife in order to not cheat on my wife with someone who gets off on the thought of me cheating on my wife? My wife is fine with this.

What The Fuck, Over

First, some theories—yanked out of my ass just now—about the women who bailed on you after they found out you weren't a CPOS:

1. They were looking to do something dirty and wrong, WTFO, and once they found out you were proposing something clean and correct, they were no longer interested.

2. They were cheating on their husbands and were looking for a "mutual assured destruction" pact—you couldn't expose her as a CPOS because she would be able to expose you as a CPOS.

3. They were after two particular and overlapping ego boosts. They were turned on by the thought that you were willing to "risk everything" to fuck 'em (because they were just that irresistible), WTFO, and they wanted to feel superior to—and more desirable than—whatever the woman you had at home. MomLogic ("What Moms Are Talking About") did a piece on this a few years ago: "52% of women have had sex with a married man: Momlogic contributor Shannon Fox says one of the reasons women will sleep with a married man is because women tend to be very competitive. 'If they can get a man who's committed to someone else, they take it as a win.'"

That said, WTFO, I'm with your wife. I don't see any harm in deceiving women who are aroused by deception about the fact that you're not deceiving your wife. Deceiving people is wrong, ethically speaking, but the deception here is mild and no one is or will be harmed by it. These women you "deceive" get a "win" by sleeping with a married man and you get to enjoy a little libido- and self-worth-enhancing pussy. Don't go on and on about how your life will be destroyed if your wife should ever find out—don't actively deceive anyone (your impulse there is a correct)—but don't feel obligated to set them straight if they assume you're a CPOS.

Permission granted, WTFO.