Couples Questions: Talking To Your Partner About Infidelity

Last year I bought this book called 1001 questions to ask before you get married. We’ve gone through the whole book a few times now, except for the chapters about marrying a criminal or marrying a celebrity or religious views all of which don’t seem to apply to us anyways. I keep the book tossed behind our bookshelf. It’s hot pink. It calls too much attention to itself and I don’t like that.

Every now and then I look up and ask J if he wants to do some marriage questions. He always says yes – even if it’s in that voice that also kind of means “kill me now” – so I reach my hand back behind the other books and dig it out of it’s secret crevice.

It’s one of those cheaply printed books with the thick, grainy textured paper, the spine worked through from opening and closing, listening and thinking. It’s only caused an argument or two. Most of the time I’ll start to ask a question, stop halfway through, raise an eyebrow, do people actually need to ask this?

Last night we talked about infidelity. It’s one of my favorite subjects. I like to swim in these what-if questions. We talk about some of them. What if you say yes to that cup of coffee. What if you say yes to that cocktail. What if you say yes to that movie. What if you say yes to the prolonged hug. The kiss. What if you lie about where you are just once. The line moves, moves, it moves along and so do you. You make little justifications. You say you’re just friends. You suck up that energy like a vampire. The guilt slips over you like a film you can’t wash off.

We’re a baby relationship, we aren’t at five years yet. And the idea of being unfaithful to him sounds like a bad joke. But that’s what everyone thinks, and what makes us so special that we would be immune to time, temptation, opportunity? Those things present themselves to everyone, wrapped up, smellin’ pretty. Pretending they don’t exist isn’t any better.

Sometimes it’s important to go back to the basics and remember together.

Does just thinking about infidelity make your skin crawl? Anyone in a serious long term committed relationship should be open to discussing the realities of how can we prevent this from happening to us?

Some couples answer that question by being mindful of their boundaries. Some answer that question by changing their boundaries and opening their relationships. Others hide from the question entirely, telling themselves they’d never do that. 

It’s a little scary to write about, talk about, think about. I wrote my thesis on infidelity, I read nothing but relationship politics for almost a year, but it still makes me uncomfortable to say out loud. What would I do in these situations? For me, the solution is to keep talking about it. To be cognizant of every situation you’re in and ask yourself “what decision can I make in this moment that will be the healthiest for my relationship?”

Need relationship advice? Submit anonymously now and I’ll answer it on my blog!


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