This past weekend’s New York Times Modern Love column, “You May Call It Cheating, but We Don’t,” veered into controversial territory, as author Ada Calhoun discussed the arrangement she has with her husband: It’s okay if she kisses other men.
My husband and I are monogamous. There has just always been a small asterisk where I am concerned: under certain circumstances, he is not disappointed if I don’t follow the letter of the law.
Maybe it would be different if I had taken advantage of this freedom by going further than kissing a couple of other people in the past decade, or if I had ever lied to anyone, or if I tended to develop overwhelming feelings for other men. (That did happen once before we were married; my crush on a co-worker ended up being miserable for all of us.) But as a rule, being honest about this has made us feel like more of a team, and even improved our sex life.
In the essay, she eventually reveals that her husband fell in love with someone that he worked with, but he ended the dalliance.
The main thing that helped me get over the affair was realizing that attraction to other people isn’t necessarily a sign your marriage is bankrupt. In the course of being together forever, especially if you’re out in the world meeting new people, it happens. One of the challenges in a marriage, in addition to deciding whose job it is to do the dishes and how to balance the budget, is to figure out how to deal with lust or love for other people.
The concept of an “open marriage” in which sex with other people is a trendy topic these days. But Calhoun’s situation seems to be something different altogether. Read her entire essay here and come back and tell us what you think in the poll below.
Would you be okay with an arrangement in which you or your spouse were allowed to make out with people outside the relationship? Would your spouse be?
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