DEAR LADY A: I’m in a long-term, committed relationship. I have my fair share of kinks that my significant other has expressed no desire to explore. My significant other is open to exploring some of them, but nothing too kinky and on most of those, we really only scratch the surface. I’m positive I’ll never be with someone that gets me as well as my significant other does. I have no desire to end our relationship. But these kinks that were part of my life are completely closed off now, and I’ve been having a hard time ignoring them.
I’ve started to go elsewhere to get my fill, so to speak, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. If it’s something my partner is absolutely not willing to do, I don’t particularly feel guilty about doing it elsewhere. I’d be lying if I said that the fact that I’m doing it behind my significant other’s back doesn’t make it more fun.
I couldn’t bear to live with myself if my significant other found out. But at the same time, I’m smart about it and know I can keep it under wraps, as can my partner in crime. I guess what I’m asking is, am I bad for not feeling bad about what I’m doing?
– Jack Imhoff
DEAR JACK: The short answer to your question is, yes. You probably are at least a little bad for, well, not feeling worse. Or at least you would be, if you actually believed what you were trying to sell me. But you do feel a certain amount of guilt about the situation, Jack. And do you know how I know? Because most people with no conscience whatsoever are unlikely to include the words, “I couldn’t bear to live with myself” in a question about their own infidelity.
Don’t get me wrong, Jack. I’m not making a moral judgement about your indifference to monogamy. The thing about monogamy is, it’s not nearly as common as most people think. Some duos are really trios, some husbands have “an agreement” with their spouse to go elsewhere for their more unsavory perversions, some women have shower buddies at the gym and some polygamists even have reality television shows. And yes, there are some long-term, committed couples who can manage to stay long-term and committed with extra-curricular activities, the occasional outsider (or as you put it, partner in crime) included in their long-term and committed lifestyles.
Here’s the problem, Jack: Those well-adjusted couples who live very happily without the confines of conventional monogamistic rules … don’t tend to lie to each other about it. You need to tell your partner the truth. If not the whole truth and every kinky indiscretion, at least the part where you’ve realized you’re not ready for just one sexual partner for the rest of your life. That’s the important part, and the thing you can’t lie about forever. Because you do have a conscience, Jack. And it’s not too late to set things straight. But you already knew that, didn’t you? That’s why you’re here.