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I am more honest with my lover than I am with my wife.

That’s a strange thing to realize, but it’s not altogether surprising. I have long said that I am not honest with the people who are closest to me. There are lots of reasons for it, but mostly, I suspect it’s a product of growing up in a family with a… let’s say, temperamental patriarch. In my family, it was generally understood but rarely spoken that you did everything you could to avoid making him mad. To my mother, that usually meant keeping things back, hidden, and only sharing unpleasant things if it were necessary. She passed that along to me. But somewhere along the line, I figured out that lying about something, and getting away with it, would keep him from flying off the deep end, and if you were caught, well, it was no worse than it would have been otherwise. So really, there was no downside to lying. It kept peace in the house.

Over the years I got very good at lying. Not just about things I don’t want you to know, but about anything. Pretending to think and feel things that I don’t so as to minimize conflict, or maximize social interactions. (There’s some awkward wording for you.) I felt bad about it, from time to time.

Then I learned that, in intellectual circles, pretending to agree with something you don’t isn’t considered lying.  It’s considered debate.

It helps that I am by nature an academic, and am genuinely interested in learning as much as I can about most things. It lends an aire of authenticity to things when I launch into a discussion in support of a topic or position that I may not truly agree with. I think of it as being similar to the Socratic method, always questioning, always pushing, because I learn who I am and what I think by engaging in informed discussion with other informed people. But it’s probably better represented as a ‘devil’s advocate’ kind of thing. I do it with everyone–my students, colleagues, friends. Ashley, and Tina. I use it as a defense mechanism. A suit of armor, piece mail comprised of plates of intellectuality held together with bands of bold-faced but well-practiced lies. It helps me seem sharper, harder. Stops others from realizing just how weak I really am, while simultaneously preventing unpleasant interactions and hurt feelings.

Thanks for sticking with me through that, dear reader. On to the point.

I recently spent an extended period of time with my lover, Tina, in a foreign city. (She was the subject of my previous two posts. At some point I may finish that story. But for now, this is on my mind.) Ours is a relationship born certainly out of mutual physical attraction, but also intellectual and academic respect. We spend much of our time engaging in discussion of recent developments in the world stage, particularly in light of progressive politics, feminism, the notion of privilege, and dietary morality. For the record, I consider myself an ally to most progressive causes, particularly anything dealing with sexual and body rights. But that doesn’t mean I won’t criticize or scrutinize those same movements, because I find that such scrutiny can only improve one’s position, and refusing to see the opposition’s side clouds your judgement and limits your ability to debate them.

It seems I may have pushed it a bit too hard, though. Tina often seemed withdrawn during our visit, save for when we were fucking ourselves into a sweaty stupor. When we parted ways, she shared with me that she felt like she didn’t know who I am. That I present two very different images of myself in almost any issue. I tried to explain what I wrote above, but she said it was more than that. She had caught me in a lie at one point–a minor thing, something I once confessed to her and had forgotten, and didn’t want to admit to in the moment in question. She had called me out on it, I explained, I moved on, but she didn’t.

We are having an affair, she reminded me. Trust is the only thing we have. And you violated that. It was such a little thing. How can I believe you on the major things?

I considered that, and came to the almost immediate conclusion that she was right. I promised to make a conscious effort to avoid such behavior in the future, and it’s a promise I genuinely think I will keep. Ours truly is a relationship built on trust and honesty. She was my friend long before we became lovers, and she knows more about my true feelings and opinions than most people. If I can cloud that for her, then I need to change my behavior.

Yet I don’t feel that way about Ashley. Many things have improved between us, particularly in terms of sexuality and intimacy, but my relationship with my wife is still inherently based on deception and lies. She is my best friend and partner, and once again my lover. I should be honest with her, and loyal. Yet I will sit beside Ashley on the couch at night, talking about our days and our plans for the future while I simultaneously chat digitally with Tina about how badly I want to fuck her. And not the slightest hint of guilt do I feel.

Someone once told me I might be slightly sociopathic. I sometimes wonder if they were right.



  1. Can one be “slightly” sociopathic? If so, that’s actually a nice thought. Along the lines of, “I’m not really and truly crazy… only just a little crazy.” And really… if looking at things on a sliding scale, it’s the truly sane ones you have to watch out for. At least in my world.

    • Surely there must be some kind of sliding scale for it, yeah? I know true psychopathy falls somewhere within said spectrum so it stands to reason….

      I can agree with watching out for the sane ones. Also, the truly honest ones. In my experience, they tend to cause the greatest problems in my life. Plus I know how to handle an openly dishonest person.

      • I bet you do. Next time it’s scheduled will you let me know? I’d like to hide and watch.

      • I’d advise caution when using me as a learning aid. Mine are not always the best decisions. 😉

  2. Your last line really resonates with me, and is something I often asked myself during my last relationship, when I was constantly stepping out on him, while at the same time, reassuring him that I was for him alone.

    Like you, lying comes second nature to me, even, in part, due to the same childhood source. I lie about plenty, sometimes even when there is no real need to lie. Every person in my life sees someone different.

    Do you find that it lends to some paranoia in you at all? I only ask because on occasion I have a deep seated paranoia about the people that I lie to, not that they’ll find out I’m not who they think, more that I’ll find out they’re not who they say.

    I blame a lot of that on my manic depression, but I suspect it has a little to do with the way I live my life also.

    Another lovely, introspective post.


    • I used to feel that way often. I got over it for the most part shortly after my undergraduate experience ended, but it seems to be returning, at least to some degree, with Tina. I don’t think it’s merely a product of my generally dishonest approach to life, as I can typically get a good bead on people, but combined to distance and genuine emotion, and yeah, it gets difficult for me to trust anyone at face value, because everyone has something to hide.

      But that usually means I just hold back more of who and what I am. Which hasn’t been a winning strategy with Tina. Hell, Ashley has also started commenting that I seem to be more reserved than usual. Maybe I’m just off my game?

  3. Oh you are back! I’ve missed you and been out of the game. Welcome back my friend!

    • Why thank you! It’s good to finally have time to get back to writing and updating this thing. Hope all is well on your end?

  4. Your post has brought to light something I am currently battling and I was doing a great job of living in denial of it until now. Thanks a lot!!! 😉

    • I’m happy I could help in some small way, though I wish I could do more. Thanks for the words. 🙂

  5. Yes, there are scales of sociopathy; the characteristics themselves are part of a healthy psyche. I’d say you’re extra good at compartmentalizing — at least that’s the picture you draw for us, though at this points it’s heresy since I’ve never shared a space with you (such a shame, that!).

    I can’t say enough how happy I am you’re back… xx Hy

    • That’s reassuring! And I would be happy to share a space with you any time.

      I’m happy to be back as well. It feels good to be writing again, and to interact with this community. 🙂

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Shameless Plugs | Creative Noodling on 11 Jun 2014 at 10:36 pm

    […] Bimodal at Only Partly Erotic He was gone… like FOREVER. And now he is back and I am hooked again. If ever I get a chance to meet this man… well… wish me luck keeping my panties on. Ladies… you will love him. Men… you will shake your head in wonder. […]

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