Cheaters cheat. Liars Lie.

Cheaters will cheat.  They lie and are self serving and selfish people. Spouses who cheat in a marriage are cheating themselves and their spouse of a loving, trusting relationship and the joy of being intimate. Can cheating really just be a symptom of a larger problem in the relationship and you can fix that problem and redeem your relationship? What if cheating is the “cry for help” and is the catalyst to redeem a broken and failed marriage. OR is the propensity to lie and cheat a fundamental personality disorder that regardless of the health of a marriage will always occur with certain individuals. I know there are thousands of self help books written on this subject and the topic is debated, but I just want an answer. I want to google it or shake my magic 8 ball and have a definitive answer that says, “People are good. They don’t mean to cheat and lie, but they do. Yes, they can be healed and never cheat again.”  But, if it were that simple, the self help industry would atrophy.

I found that my husband was active on a hookup site and posting for partners on Craig’s list.  He offered to “host” meaning he offered to have his hookups at our house or some other location that he could control. He had several profiles on several sites with a couple fake emails. He had been doing this for 11 years. He was not a “oops, it was just that one time and it will never happen again” type of cheater. He was intentional and duplicitous. Our whole marriage was a lie. He was active on Adam 4 Adam, a gay man’s hookup site. My husband was too much of a coward to be honest so he found he could easily lead a double life where he could maintain the façade of a dutiful husband and father and then also enjoy his sexual exploits with male lovers.

After I opened the door to his closet, he came out and owned up to the cheating and lying, he told me that being a husband /father is “ideal” on these sites because you can find someone who will keep your secret. Apparently this is a pretty common occurrence, gay husbands & gay dads protect each other – it is in every ones best interest to maintain the lie. The rules of the game are based on deception, so there is not any pretext of an honest, committed future when people meet on hookup sties.

Now I am faced with a dilemma. I can’t trust that my ability to judge men is any good. My gadar was apparently broken and my bullshit detector was malfunctioning. All I know for sure is that my sex drive is high but has been in park for years. Sex with a closeted gay man is about as adventurous and exciting as driving in the carpool lane. I want to race around a track at full speed – bank around the turns and careen down the straight away. I want to zig and zag and have an unobstructed view in front of me. Who will be my driving partner?

GI Joe is my man of choice. I don’t want to presume I can have a sane, honest and emotional attachment to someone who is physically and emotionally unavailable.  But he occupies my mind and I have an emotional connection to him, so would it be cheating on him if I pursue this desire to be connected with someone else? Am I diluting the significance of my emotional connection to him by wanting to have a physical connection with someone? Would he care? Should I care? Also I realize that I am possibly psychotic to wonder if my imaginary boyfriend would care if I considered cheating on him. Since we don’t have an official declaration of monogamy or even so much as a plan to reunite, it does seem a bit silly to think I am cheating on him.

As fate would have it, my relationship with GH was from an affair. I was married and found GH attractive and instead of being honest with myself and admitting to BlandMan that I wasn’t interested in being married to him anymore, I threw him into a tailspin. Don’t think the irony doesn’t escape me now. I am much more empathetic to the pain I caused him. Hearing, “Honey I am pregnant and you are not the dad” was probably just as devastating as it was for me finding out my husband had misled me during our whole marriage.

So I am a cheater too. I’ve read for every role in this play and I want to take my final bow and bow out. I have received and inflicted pain but I have learned that the pain of the truth is less hurtful than the pain of the lies that are told in perpetuity from an affair. Now that I have had every vantage point of an affair, I am inclined to say that wholly understanding the pain is the only way to no longer inflict or receive it. The Karmic cycle is complete, I hope. And from here a new beginning awaits.

 

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Silly Love Song

Why can’t I love a man that is available both emotionally and physically? The men I have loved over my lifetime are simply not available, why could I not take a step back, see that and just not get involved. They have loved their careers or have some other impediment to attachment. I seem to pick men who are just unavailable.

RodgerDodger – my first ‘serious’ guy – we lived in sin and expected to marry after college. I wanted to get married and he seemed like a good catch. He wanted to be a pilot or aerospace engineer. He liked adventures and hiking and was great in bed. However, he couldn’t maintain an acceptable grade point average so that any employer would find him attractive as a new hire. When it came to hiking, he couldn’t read a map and we got lost for days along the Blue Ridge parkway. We hiked in Ocala Park during Horse fly season and left with giant welts all over us. He was nice, but I wanted more. I had transitioned from college to a 9-5 job and he went from college straight to the couch where he consumed pints of ice cream and watch cartoons. I wanted somebody who was gainfully employed and crossed the threshold into the land of the working responsible adults.

Grooney – He was gainfully employed. A superstar Clemson grad and software engineer. Every bit as arrogant as he was good looking. He though didn’t like the outdoors, unless it was the beach with a cooler of beer. He was also the guy who told me he was in love with his mom and would sleep with his sister because she was just the most beautiful woman on the planet. Clearly lots of emotional issues that Freud would love to explore. He was also a big spender; he spent all his money as soon as he got it. Perhaps it was a phase but it frightened me. I could not spend my life with a man who was more attracted to his family members than me and who would drive us to the poor house. I wanted someone who had a distant, yet functional relationship with his mom and who was financially conservative.

BlandMan – he was pretty sporty – he ran races, played tennis, loved to hike, he had a job. He had a mortgage but otherwise was not in debt. He was five years older than me and a true grown up by my standards. Gainfully employed and he had investments. Both were new concepts to me and he shared his knowledge with me, demystifying the process of being financially solvent. On the surface he was perfect. But he was so boring. The night I went to break up with him, he told me he was in love with me and saw us getting married someday. “Okay.” I thought. I could do worse. I will marry him. Marry him I did and while we were compatible in the sense that we didn’t fight, I just didn’t loose my breath or feel excited by him. Our sex life was boring. Our conversations were boring. He was so nice and I treated him like trash. I am regretful but needed more excitement.

GayHusband – the gay husband was exciting. He liked to drink, dance & party. I left BlandMan for GayHusband. GH had funny stories and commanded the attention of others. His laugh was infectious. He was perfectly exciting. We biked, we played racquetball, he owned a home and had a respectable job. There was nothing wrong with him. Except unbeknownst to me he liked men. We had sex, albeit not frequently or with such miserable performance that I would even question his sexuality. We even had two children so the sex ‘worked.’ How was I to know he was gay? But everyone has secrets and one day I learned his and my world fell apart. The next guy would be straight and love having sex frequently, as I had a lot of making up to do.

Ashton- Ashton was 15 years younger than me. He was straight. Very straight and was sexually available; he rocked my world and did all I asked him to do and more. He was adventurous and funny. He was good with my kids and very patient. He began to satisfy more than just my need for sex and I started to get emotionally attached. I found myself wanting him next to me when I woke up and wanting to have meals with him. I could imagine him in my life, but he was too young. He needed to have his heart broken a few times; he needed a job because for all I could tell, he was unemployed. He didn’t need me or the complications that divorcing moms bring to the table. He needed someone who he could bring around with his friends and not be embarrassed. He didn’t need a grown up with grown up problems. I had to end it for him and for my sanity. I could not allow myself to have deeper feelings for him than I did and I saw it going that way. Perhaps after all these years, I was learning something? My next guy would be around my age and will have had a lot of life experience.

GI Joe – I fell head over heels for him and loved him in a way that was larger than I have loved all the other men in my life. GI Joe and I got reacquainted while I was seeing Ashton, so it made separating from Ashton easier. I trust GI Joe with my heart and didn’t want him to think less of me by seeing Ashton too, so ending it with Ashton also because a self-imposed exercise of fidelity for a man who was physically unavailable. Yet I love that GI Joe is committed, passionate and successful in his job. He’s exciting and funny. He doesn’t carry loads of debt and remains gainfully employed. He’s straight, without a doubt. He’s my age and has lived more in his life than many people have lived in twice the amount of time. I can tell him anything and be myself. But he is simply not capable of giving fully of himself and committing to being physically present. The fact that he’s been honest and forthright about it gives me a pass to pursue other men, but I just don’t want to. The hurt I have from him is manageable because I inflict it upon myself.  My love for him protects me in that I refuse to get to close to anyone who may make me question how I feel about him. I just want him physically here, but if he were, I question whether I would be acceptable to him and if I really were someone he would want. In the current scenario, I will never know and I am more comfortable being rejected because of physical circumstance than by his conscious choice. Should there be a next guy, he will be all that GI Joe is, but physically by my side.

So the progression goes: sporty and adventurous, gainfully employed, financially conservative, exciting, straight, near my age range, and physically available. The final guy will be all that GI Joe is but will actually articulate that he wants me in his life physically and emotionally. He will want to lie down next to me and kiss me good night; he wake up next to me and when he can’t he’ll wish he could. We will have a connection that distance and separation can’t break; when we are apart there will be no trust broken from either an emotional or physically connection to someone else. We will be each other’s best friends and grow old together and look back with wonder and humor on the crazy path that led us to each other. We will hold each other tight and breath each other in. All that was broken in both of us will be healed and we will be one. We will be each other’s silly love song.

Cheese pizza is not enough

Plain and simple: I love having sex. Not one night stand kind of sex, but I enjoy habitual and recreational sex with a partner. Prior to marrying GH, I had an active and satisfying sex life. Being a serial monogamist, I had the opportunity to explore and get to know my partners desires and together we had hours of entertainment creating and living out fantasies. I’ve had my share of taxicab confessions, public romps, and intimate moments that were nothing short of spiritual connections. I am capable of giving as well as receiving. But there comes a time in a woman’s life when she wonders, “do I still have it? Do I turn him on and does he want me like he used to?”

We’d gone out for drinks. One drink led to ten more and we’d have some version of sloppy drunk sex. After a few weeks of doing this, we found out we would be parents.  Immediately, I quit drinking and soon my body changed and morphed into that of a woman who was carrying a child and was eating for 2 linebackers.

Our sex life ceased to exist and we focused on pregnancy and all the life changes that were occurring. After our son was born, my body returned to its prior state. Our sex life was monotonous. When we would have sex we were always in our bed, we’d kiss, then fondle each other, get undressed, he’d get on top of me, then a few minutes of thrusting he’d be done. He’d go to the bathroom, find a washrag, and wipe himself off and put his sleeping clothes back on. Often I would roll over and look out the window and think, “is this it, I could have done a better job on my own. I have got to fix this.”

What had I done to make this man, the father of our child not want to have passionate porn star sex with me? We had a child and I was committed to resolving our differences so that our son could grow up with two parents, so I wanted to reanimate our sex life and take it to a place that I had been before with others. I knew I had it, so I just had to fix myself and get it back! I studied self-help books, relationship books, and sex books. I subscribed to blogs and looked forward to every Saturday when I would get an email from WebMD. The topic, “sex and relationships” seemed to hold me captivated for hours. I read every article that was published, looking deep within to find the trait that I had to fix. I obsessed over the articles that were published. Titles ranged from, “10 mistakes married couples make,” “Relationship mistakes and how to avoid them,” “how to improve your sex life by having more sex,” “what men want but are afraid to ask,” “when enough is enough,” “Communication styles,” the list goes on and on. For years, I read obsessively about sex and relationships. I bought books with titles like, “We love each other, but…” and watch Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. I read Cosmopolitan and discovered, “men’s secret g-spot.” I listened to Oprah as she profiled couples that weathered tough times. I would listen attentively and think, at least my husband doesn’t beat me or rape our children. Thoughts of, “it could be worse” dominated my consciousness.

Somehow, I would use all my new found knowledge on how to make a relationship work in combination with some new exciting locales and sexual fantasies that we would play out. I believed I could catapult our relationship to the place where it would not only be fulfilling but that we couldn’t imagine any other way of life.

Truly, my idea of marriage was to have first and foremost a best friend. Where at the end of the day, we’d share our stories of the mundane and dream and scheme toward a grandiose future. We would make love intimately, passionately, and at times in a dirty, raw and uninhibited manner.

All the articles I read discussed that for a productive discussion you should, ‘tell your partner what you need but don’t nag, beg or blame.” So I needed to rephrase my rant from, “Our sex life sucks, you treat sex with me like a chore and speed through it with the enthusiasm of a child being forced to eat brussel  sprouts. I am lonely and alone and I want you here with me, physically and emotionally. I want you to love me, cherish me and I want a more frequent and adventurous sex life.” After consideration, I decided to dumb it down and go the route of analogies. “You know, I love pizza. Sex is like pizza – even a not so good pizza is still better than no pizza” He looked at me expectantly and a long, uncomfortable pause hung in the air. Clearly he wasn’t taking the bait to have a talk about sex.  I carried on, taking my analogy further. “Some times a cheese pizza is great. It is simple and gets the job done. But other times, you want to jazz it up and add a few toppings that you are pretty familiar with. But did you ever think, maybe, ‘tonight I want to try the things in the column that we never order.”  He says to me, “what else would you want on your pizza other than pepperoni and mushroom.” I think to myself, “he’s really talking about pizza, and He likes Pepperoni and mushroom. I hate pepperoni but get it to not argue with him.”  I ignore his comment and think that possibly, he understands I want to talk about sex, but just will not participate.

“So, when we have sex, we are always in our bed. It is always at night. You kiss me, I kiss you, we face each other and stroke each other, then one of us gets on top and then shortly it’s over.” His blank stare indicates he doesn’t care or is shocked that I care. I continue, “our sex life is like cheese pizza from Pizza Hut – it’s generic and unexciting. It’s predictable. Don’t you ever want to order a “supreme” pizza from a locally owned joint that was made to order, just for us? I want artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. I want exotic mushrooms and truffle oil. What do you want to try?” The silence hangs, so for clarity’s sake, I add, “sexually. What do you want to try sexually that would be something new and exciting.”

Confusion sets in because all of my reading didn’t prepare me for a conversation that was met with any response other than some variation of and enthusiastic affirmation. His line was supposed to be, “that is awesome. I am glad you want more sex! Lets stop talking now and go do it!”  I am shocked that I had to drag this analogy to a painful climax and spelled out, specifically what toppings I wanted.

In retrospect I understand why GH didn’t think the frequency and quality of sex with me was important. He thought attendance points in the bedroom was sufficient. He showed up and he performed. But he also really, really enjoyed Pizza Hut pizza with just pepperoni and mushrooms.

Made with love and no complaints

I admit that I think I am a coffee snob. I need to go and get coffee from a real coffee shop. Truth be told, in a blind test, I probably could not tell you the difference between a McDonalds or Starbucks, or for that matter the fabulous coffee that is sold at boutique, trendy hip coffee bars.

After moving to small dot USA, I decided that it is not the Coffee that I am addicted to, but the experience and ambiance of getting coffee.  I didn’t realize how important such a mundane task like this could be or how much I took it for granted. After living in a city for years and having a variety coffee chains and independently owned coffee shops, all within walking distance of my home, I assumed that this was how the world operated. We moved to the Midwest, to a town whose mentioning is overlooked on major maps (because it is hardly big enough to exist?) On regional maps, it is just a small dot. The actual town had, when we moved here, a couple of stop signs, a pizza joint, a few bars and a couple gas stations.  There was one café that I was most excited about, but then I realized it didn’t cater to working people with ‘traditional’ office jobs; it opened after I needed to be parked at my desk working.  There were many other culture shocks that I experienced, but realizing that I couldn’t walk to get coffee and if I did drive to get it, it would have to be between the hours of 10 and 2, but only on the days they were open.  I couldn’t keep track of my own scheduled, so trying to remember when the café was open was simply not going to happen. So I asked my husband, “Where do people go to get coffee?” In my mind there is a distinct differentiation between getting coffee and buying a cup of coffee to go. Clearly he didn’t see it that way as he answered, “You can make it in the kitchen.”  That was not the answer I wanted because I wanted to GET coffee and my heart sunk with the realization that I had moved to an area so isolated that getting coffee was not on the agenda of the community.  So I responded in my most friendly-yet still sounding spoiled tone, “But I don’t want to make coffee. I want it made for me.”

I like getting coffee: placing an order and having someone make my coffee, exactly to my specifications (that would be a triple grande soy latte, no foam extra hot). I don’t have too many people waiting on me ever, so when I can place a fancy, complicated coffee order and someone makes it for me – just for me, I love it.  It is almost like an act of love, that I can ask for something so ridiculous sounding and without hesitation, I get a “yes, my pleasure.” I like being taken care of and waited on.

The other part of the experience is that I adore walking into a coffee shop and smelling the aromas; I get light headed with each deep inhalation. I imagine that I am inhaling microscopic, air-borne coffee bean powder that directly infuses my body with caffeine. I breathe in deep, full breaths. It makes me feel like I am floating and leaving my earthbound troubles behind. More likely this feeling is a just a result of deep inhalation and I am the fact that I am getting more oxygen in my system.  But I prefer to think I can get high off of coffee inhaling coffee shop aromas.

Hearing the symphony of sounds of the grinders, foamers, baristas shouting orders, and patrons all yammering away is like the sweetest music to my ears.  I envy the fancy equipment that is way too expensive to be stocked in my home kitchen. So even if I did try and make coffee it would be the equivalent of me trying to play a Foo Fighters song on my son’s crappy First Act Guitar. I’m no trained barista, I have the wrong equipment, and I have no back up.

But, secretly, I also like seeing all the smart people who tend to flock to coffee shops; in coffee shops across the country there is a predictable crowd of smart people – the people who read the paper-papers and turn their reading activity into a physical activity. They audibly flip, fold and shake the paper to turn the pages, almost to say, “LOOK, see I am reading the financials. I have money.” Or “LOOK at me, I am reading the Arts section. I am very sophisticated.” The loud flip and shakers of the Wall Street Journal/New York times are in stark contrast to the insolent hipster who is reading the local entertainment rag announcing where the latest band is playing. Hipster can barely muster the energy to turn the page, so his reading activity is mostly silent. And in slow motion. There are the other readers who have electronic gizmos. They could just as easily be playing angry birds, but I like to think they are reading something so relevant, and current that it can’t be read in a paper-paper because by the time it would be printed, it would be out-dated. With every page-flick, they are updated with news, politics, or style. Or sadly, maybe, they just killed a few pigs with flying birds.

The other industrious crowd is the ‘home office’ crowd. These workers appear in a couple distinctive forms. My favorite though is the worker who types and occasionally stares off into the distance (Mac or PC? I could write a whole post on those differences!).  Maybe she is a student writing a term paper, a professional writing a proposal for selling software to a high tech company or simply updating FaceBook. I can’t see her screen, but as she sits there in the latest LuluLemon and sipping an iced venti Chi Latte, I would like to think she’s about to close a million-dollar deal.

The coffee experience isn’t so much about the coffee, it is about the human connection.  Getting coffee for me is about getting out of my surroundings and being transported to an environment that is filled with people who represent what I want to be. If I am closer to them, I could just possibly become the smart gal in snappy clothes who is closing a big money deal and killing a few pigs all while reading the most current wiki leak. I will do this as I bask in the feeling of gratitude that my extra hot, triple grande soy latte with no foam, was made especially for me with love and no complaints.