I bought a couch the other day off Craigslist. I went to see it, and I liked it. But I didn’t have a truck with me. So, I talked with the guy a while until I was sure I trusted him enough to leave him a down payment (so he wouldn’t sell it to someone else) while I went and got myself a way to move it.
When we talked, he told me about his wife and daughter of seven, and how his job as a pilot often took him away from them. As a military spouse, I empathized. He seemed to genuinely love his family.
A few hours later I came back to pick up the couch. I had my friend with me. She immediately recognized the guy, and then an awkward silence followed. She told me as soon as we were alone that she used to place Craigslist ads for kinky meetups, and had dated this guy for a while earlier in the year after he answered one of her ads.
So this guy spent 20 minutes earlier in the day talking about how much he missed his wife and daughter and how much he loved his family. But then I found out that he was lying to his wife and cheating on her with my friend.
I know that studies show cheating is rampant in “monogamous” relationships, but I just can’t believe how often it comes up in my life.
My husband is a sailor and most of his shipmates are married. Yet when they get to a port that isn’t their home port, most of them make a beeline for the brothels. And who knows? If I didn’t get tested every 6 months because we are in a poly relationship, maybe my husband would too. He knows he can’t- because the chance of getting an STD are so high from a prostitute, and since I get STD tests from all my partners I would know anything we got would be from him.
But if he was with a woman who was less conscious of sex and sexuality, maybe he would join his “happily married” co-workers at the brothels.
My guess is this: I think talking about sex is scary for people. I also think society forces the idea of monogamy as an ideal onto us, even though it is not our biological instinct. And I think the combination of those factors make people feel like they have to lie rather than simply admitting that one partner isn’t always enough.
This is probably why I write about polyamory so much. I want people to know that it’s okay. Having sex with people other than your partner is totally possible in a consensual way. But you have to be honest with each other. You can’t lie about it. You have to talk about it and set limits and boundaries and find your comfort zones.
I guess I hope that if I just keep writing about it, more people will be exposed to the idea and eventually it won’t be so taboo. Because right now, people are sneaking around and this is helping STDs spread, and fostering a battle of the sexes and a lot of negativity and divorce. It’s out of hand.
I hope the pilot who sold me the couch tells his wife some day that he is cheating with women off Craigslist and they work it out. I hope all the military husbands stop sleeping with hookers when they are away some day. I hope people figure out how to have sex responsibly without putting their relationships in jeopardy some day.
But today does not seem to be that day.