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I haven’t written anything recently because, frankly, nothing has happened.  My work has absorbed all of my attention since my last interaction with Pretty Grad Student.  In fact, this is really the first moment of free time I’ve had since then, and I only have it because I wanted to do something other than think about animal movement at different spatial and temporal scales.  I can only keep my mind in movement ecology for so long before I start producing equations for things that don’t need to be solved.  (For example, I once spent two hours writing an algorithm to calculate the most efficient route home, taking into account traffic lights, effort based on landscape characteristics, and my average walking speed.  A fantastic waste of time, to be sure, but I now have the optimized route for my daily commute.)

However, given that nothing has happened recently, and I don’t feel like sharing an old memory at the moment, I checked my e-mail for inspiration.  And it didn’t disappoint.  One reader wrote:

I enjoy reading your blog, and I think your stories are exciting and erotic.  But then I remember the truth of your marriage, and it makes me sad.  I don’t think what you’re doing has to be wrong because everyone has their own reasons for doing what they do, and I can’t judge you any more than anyone can judge me.  But I have to ask, how can you be so comfortable living so dishonestly?

I think this question might have offended me if the sender hadn’t been so polite and/or couched it in what strikes me as genuine concern.  So, firstly, thanks to the reader in question for giving me a certain degree of understanding/sympathy before jumping to conclusions.

Now, as I said, this question might have irritated me, but given the circumstances, it actually gave me pause.  I often consider what I do as a betrayal of trust, and I frequently talk about the guilt that arises from my extramarital activities.  I’ve also talked about being a good conman, on working the long con to make sure you can pursue sex outside of a “monogamous” relationship, and I think I’ve even mentioned that what I do is essentially lie to Ashley to get what I want.  But for some reason, when the question is presented so bluntly—How can you be comfortable living so dishonestly?—it stands out and makes me consider what I do from a perspective not wholly dissimilar from my usual approach, but with enough subtle differences that it changes things.

Am I a dishonest person?

I was prepared to write several paragraphs on this question.  I was going to talk about the continuum of honesty, and how I fall somewhere in the middle, not an honest person but not dishonest either.  But upon consideration, I’ve decided that would be utter bullshit.  There’s no sliding scale.  You’re either honest, or dishonest.  It’s pretty black or white.  I tell the truth here, and to the women I’m seeing, but I lie to Ashley, in words and in practice.  Therefore, yes, I am a dishonest person.

But, I posit the following: Who the hell isn’t?

Certain among my family are highly religious, conservative people.  (Strike that—most of them are.  Hell, I may be the only non-conservative in the lot.)  They strive to live according to a set of morals and values they identify as Biblically mandated, and admittedly, they’re good people.  They don’t participate in the backbiting so common in the church.  They take leading roles in its direction and organization.  They go on mission trips.  Hell, my family owns and operates a free medical clinic back home, where they treat anyone, with the understanding that they will also minister to the sick.  They’re good people.  Honest people.

But I’ve also seen these people do what I’ve come to call “The Hotel Shuffle”, wherein they rent a single room with a maximum occupancy of two people, then take people inside in shifts to make sure all six can share the room for the night.  Would I consider that being dishonest?  Yeah, I think I have to.  They’re effectively taking coin out of the hotel’s pocket, for their benefit.  They don’t want to rent three rooms, so they break the rules and stuff six into one room.  That’s dishonest, but it’s socially acceptable dishonesty, something that most people are likely guilty of doing.  (And it probably can’t help that they can say something like, “Oh, it’s a silly rule, we should be allowed to sleep in whatever manner we choose.  At least we’re still paying them!”)  That’s the distinguishing characteristic: the ubiquitous nature of the behavior.  Everyone does it, and if it’s saving you a few dollars while still giving some away, what’s the harm?

Now I don’t intend this to be a justification of what I do, nor a condemnation of the more harmless dishonesties.  I present that admittedly clumsy comparison to circle back to my point—everyone is dishonest.  No one is ever completely honest and virtuous.  The difference, then, is the level of dishonesty we’re willing to accept from our own behavior, and whether said dishonesty accomplishes some goal for ourselves.  In my case, I love Ashley immensely.  Her support and simple presence are enough to get me through just about anything.  But I’m weak, and I need sexual gratification to be completely happy.  So, to get the things I need to be completely happy in my life, I perpetuate the necessary untruth, that I am a happily monogamous husband.  It’s a level of dishonesty that I’m comfortable with.

That’s not to say I’m proud of it.  I’m not.  Just comfortable.

Alright, that’s enough moral prattle for one day.  Back to the ever growing mountain of GPS data.  I’ll hopefully be back later this week to divulge my latest shenanigans.

16 Comments

  1. Spiritually, lying, no matter how severe, is a sin. Would Ashley be open to an open relationship if you brought it up? Just curious about that.

    • The first part of my comment wasn’t a condemning comment. Just general observation.

      • No worries, I didn’t interpret it as such. :) And no, she would never be open to it. I’ve dropped hints in that direction before, and every one was met at best with a disgusted face, and at worst with crying. So yeah.. that’s out.

        • TheOthers1
        • Posted June 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm
        • Permalink

        Oh, yikes. I’m not much of a sharer so I couldn’t handle an open relationship, but it doesn’t disgust me. Have you talked to her about what you need exactly? It’s obvious you love her, but something is missing.

  2. I’m not sure how to respond to this. I agree with you, totally, but i want to say something about the comfort with the dishonesty, but know how to. I’m not sure what it is I want to say, so I’ll just say, “I get it.” xx Hy

  3. Hmmmmm… this ones a bit tough for me especially as I’ve spent the majority of my life as a fundamentally dishonest person. I believe there is a place for lying … to your enemies or anyone who wants to hurt you. I treat it as a weapon in the arsenal. I do my best to no longer lie to myself or to those whom I love and who love me. I do my best to omit rather than tell even white lies, but it’s more like an alcoholic who wont’ take even one drop or avoids bars all together kind of reaction.

    I guess, in the end, I think we should strive for honesty. The thing that always make me sad when I read you Bi is that you are lying to the person you love best and being completely honest to random fucks and us. It’s backwards. We matter less than she does and I hurt for you because of that.

    Love you dearly … GC

    • Thanks Gillian. Though if I were you, I would hurt more for her than for me. Of the two of us, she is certainly more deserving of it. I’m just some dumb schmuck with insufficient strength of will and character to overcome my baser instincts.

        • Gillian Colbert
        • Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm
        • Permalink

        Oh, I hurt for Ashley, but it’s you who makes me bleed. No one should punish themselves the way you do.

  4. One thing I am curious about is if she would be relieved that your sexual needs are taken care of elsewhere? I’m thinking of the conversation you shared, that when you suggested that she show you her boobs, she responded with “ew, gross.” Also, has the vaginal pain been explored by a doctor yet?

    I have gained a fuller understanding from your posts, that your sexuality has a need to satisfy women. That if you just needed sexual release you’d use porn/phone sex/etc. So even if Ashley pleasured you, you would need more. Do you also need the taboo of a liaison in your life?

    • Sorry for the toe stepping, TheOther.

    • No, she would probably be completely livid and/or emotionally destroyed. She has very traditional values when it comes to relationships and sex, values that absolutely preclude anything extramarital.

      And I’m not sure that it’s a need to satisfy women, per se. More a need to be close to people, to experience intimacy and know a person beyond the things they put forward in public. (And it doesn’t hurt that orgasms are involved. I’m fond of those.) Porn is good for a quick release, but it’s the contact that I crave more than anything, and likely what most people crave, I think.

        • dawninflux
        • Posted June 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm
        • Permalink

        Thank you for the reply and the redirect. Humans are such a mixture of simple and complex. I appreciate the openness you have, and I benefit from understanding.

  5. Bi – I get you more than you know. My own bullshit I’ve chocked up to selfishness and other times a need for attention. Maybe I’ll just send you an email :)

    • Any time, my digital door is always open. Just don’t be surprised if you have to wait a while for a response, I’m horrible about checking it, and I rarely have time to respond anymore!!

  6. I think of it differently. You know is it more honest when I care about someone and their feelings, and so leave parts of the story out? If someone tells me something negative about another and I decline to reveal that, is that dishonest? I think I have seen more problems from TMI.
    People are always shocked to find out monogamy is a myth. We go slack-jawed every time a public figure is caught even though it is biology.


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