mercredi, avril 14, 2010

His cheatin' heart

One of the first things I messaged him was: I don't do the wild thing with married guys.

We'd stumbled across one another in that weird way people can when trolling online dating sites. This one, OKCupid, uses a robotic software app called Quickmatch to have you rate potential dates before you get their user name.

It was only when I saw his nomme de plume (the pen being mightier than the sword?) that I realized he was looking for a little side action. He's over here in school for a couple of years getting a degree so that he can teach. His wife is a native of another country, where he has spent most of the past 15 years. Maybe he is lonely -- or sex-starved -- or both.

Let me admit right now that I'm a total sucker for a fascinating life story. And his is most definitely intriguing. Plus, maybe most important, he seems like a very nice guy.

So we started emailing. Then calling each other. And then we met. Cute guy. Instant chemistry. Good conversation -- really good conversation about all sorts of political and spiritual and crosscultural topics.

He says his marriage is strong. He says he sees extramarital sex as "supplementing" what he's got going on already.

I suggested we get together for a hike and a picnic. Nothing romantic. Just time to talk and hang out and enjoy the beauty of a spring day. He told me that he'd like to do anything with me. I smacked him, of course.

But when I made it clear to my pal a week or so later that, as tempting as he was, I still wasn't a potential affair partner...he backed out.

It was naive of me to think that he would settle for anything less, or more, than a roll in the hay (which we have a lot of out here, in case you are ever looking).

Yet I am still stuck on the question: how do you do it? How do you have sex with someone not your partner, return to the marriage, and feel like yourself? Haven't you been changed? Haven't you lost something in the process -- or found out something else?

Of course, guys and women who have affairs don't like to have somebody ask these kinds of questions.

As curious as I am, I wonder if anyone can really provide a road map for the devious human heart.

And for those who seek to stray, the question is probably best left unasked -- and unanswered.

12 commentaires:

dadshouse a dit…

I'm intrigued by you going ahead and emailing him and meeting him, even though you knew he wanted to cheat on his wife. Were you trying to change him? Or just trying to explore what he's all about?

When I meet a woman who wants an affair, I head for the hills without her. She can ruin her own marriage without me. And I don't need an angry husband with a shotgun coming around looking for me.

As for why people have affairs? There are probably a million reasons for that. They don't feel loved. They need attention. They want to feel in control. They need a release. Marriage has many good things, but it's not the end-all be-all. A husband and wife won't always meet every single need. Better to look within, but many aren't capable of that. Self awareness is not easily sought, let alone found.

Offcenter a dit…

David, a good question.

First of all, I thought I'd been clear that I wasn't interested in being a supplement. But more than that, and I am a little odd this way, I wanted to know why someone who seemed pretty cool in other ways would act out in this way.

And I still don't know. He says he's got a good marriage, and he's returning to it.

I agree with you about looking within -- and I guess I wonder, au fond, if many of us prefer to live the life unexamined.

Sabrina Vourvoulias a dit…

If any of us knew what really drives the human heart to want what it wants (or do what it does) we'd be worshipped (and reviled).

I'm with dadhouse on being intrigued by you wanting to meet him anyway.


Offcenter a dit…

Sounds like you guys are skeptical of my explanation that I have a deep streak of curiosity about human nature and what drives us to do what we do.

But if you want some other good stories as proof, I can pretty much witness to the truth of this.

Offcenter a dit…
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Offcenter a dit…

I was just pondering your skepticism, and thinking that most likely neither of you would make the same choice.

But I've discussed swinging with swingers and polyamory with polyamorists. I've had lunch with someone who is definitely into a more alternate threesome-themed lifestyle.

Does that make me a potential swinger or sex party animal? Those who know me well would know the answer to that -- but I'm realizing that to be so open carries its own risks. However, that's part of the writing biz, ain't it?

Sabrina Vourvoulias a dit…

Not skeptical of your motives -- I know you to be a person interested in what makes people tick. It's just that you are much less cynical than I am. Knowing what the dude had already expressed via his online name (I'm curious, but I'll hold off asking) and what he told you in his emails, I'm just surprised you wouldn't have automatically assumed he'd take the invitation to a hike and picnic as shorthand.

BigLittleWolf a dit…

This will probably be a surprising or unpopular view, but...

If this man is European, I think it's more gray than it is in the States. There are cultural differences and of course, individual differences among partners, that make allowances other than what we see as black and white in our culture.

I have known men and women both who have had dalliances - infrequent and not explicitly sought after - and the marriage was strong. You may say that's not possible; I'll disagree.

I am not convinced that men and women are meant to be with a single partner for 30 or 40 or 50 years. I think it is idealistic, romantic, and lovely to think so. Perhaps my view has been altered by all the years I've lived between two cultures, and the men and women both whom I've known, in strong family units, who occasionally stray.

Would I do it? A different matter entirely. But I understand it, and I don't judge it. (Most of the time.)

Offcenter a dit…

Eh, it wasn't Europe, and he's not European. It's a Latino culture. I don't want to be more specific than that.

But what troubles me more isn't the dalliance, it's the lying. That's what I'm curious about -- how can you lie to a partner who expects you to be faithful?

Offcenter a dit…

Sabrina, we had a number of conversations on the phone, and I asked him some searching questions. In addition, I told him over and over again that I wasn't hopping into bed with him. But, in spite of all this, he still seems like a basically kind and generally benevolent person.

Maybe my mistake was figuring I'd get an answer to a question he wasn't asking.

dadshouse a dit…

I'm not skeptical of your curiosity. I do things just to find out. But there are two parties involved. You seem to think he should have acted differently. The guy wanted to get laid, he didn't want a picnic.

Offcenter a dit…

Wow. Can't say it more effectively than that.