Q: Set me straight. I married my wife several months ago after dating for three years. Things are generally excellent, except for one problem: When my wife gets drunk, she gets crazy flirtatious. She'll dance close to people, touch them, hold hands. A couple of times, I thought it went too far and I told her she was making me uncomfortable. She claims it is just harmless friendliness and flirtation, and she would never let anything happen.
Well, as it turns out, something did happen. After she was dancing, hugging and getting kissed on the cheek by a woman I think was a lesbian at a recent party, it came out during the subsequent argument that in the second year of our relationship, she was high and dancing at a club with several gay men and she French-kissed one of the friends. While she acknowledges that a line was crossed (which is why she didn't tell me when it happened), she says it was just a very intense but regrettable "friendship moment" and nothing more. She says this gay man is not bi.
I'm grappling with three issues: 1) Did she cheat? Although we've never talked about the rules concerning kissing gay friends, we both know she crossed a line (there was tongue). 2) How much did she betray me by not telling me until after we were married? 3) Am I being a selfish prude by caring about either her aggressive flirting or this kiss? She is very contrite and swears she will calm down the flirtation. Should I forgive her and move on? Or should I run the hell away before it's too late? —Seriously Troubled Here
A: 1) No.
2) Your wife's failure to disclose a single drugged-up, blissed-out, pre-exchange-of-vows kiss shared with a gay dude on a dance floor — even with tongue — does not constitute a "betrayal." It constitutes an omission.
3) Yes, STH, you are being a selfish prude, and yes, you should forgive her.
The aggressive flirting could be a problem — if your wife is flirting at all aggressively. I'm wary of accepting your characterization of her behavior at face value, STH, as your overreaction to the kiss leads me to believe that you might not be rational about your wife's behavior generally. Where you see getting too near, dancing too close, and being too friendly, a slightly less paranoid or controlling spouse might see innocent flirtatiousness. But if she agrees that her flirting is indeed a problem — if for no other reason than it bothers her husband — and she's willing to tamp it down for your sake, you should "forgive her and move on," by which I mean "You should cease being such a fucking douche bag about 1) the kiss and 2) the flirting and 3) the fucking kiss already."
That said, STH, I wouldn't want to be married to a man who claimed to love me but couldn't forgive me for something so trifling as a meaningless kiss. So I'm not sure I'm doing your wife any favors by talking you off the ledge. Honestly, STH, someone who is hesitant to forgive is hardly husband material. A successful marriage is basically an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, and forgiveness granted, STH, all leavened by the occasional orgasm. If you're having such a hard time forgiving her for this piddling "betrayal," STH, you're not cut out for marriage and your wife may want to run away before it's too late.
Q: My husband and I have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when we're apart. A few months ago, I hooked up with a guy on a business trip who said he and his wife have the same arrangement. He was lying. His wife found out and started harassing me on Facebook. I truly feel horrible. How can I know if someone is really in an open relationship when they say they are? I am so done. —Fucking Asshole Idiot Losers
A: The only way to verify that someone is in an open relationship is to speak to that person's partner — and that would constitute "telling," FAIL, and a violation of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But even a couple with a "please ask, do tell" policy probably has a rule against 2 a.m. calls from drunken hotel-bar pickups. So you'll just have to trust your gut, FAIL, which failed you here. Just remember this on your next business trip: The further a married person is from home and the drunker that married person is, the likelier it is that that married person is lying to you.
Q: I'm a 17-year-old gay male. I'm into farts. It took me a while to come to terms with that. I attend a moderate-sized high school where there are very few out gay guys, so I'm desperately looking forward to meeting new people in college. The thing is, I've gleaned from your column that my fetish is a handicap. It was hard enough accepting that I'm gay and harder still to accept that I have a fart fetish. Do I now have to accept that I will never be able to go through the cycle of human sexual bonding in a normal way, since you suggest that fetishists like me should stick to sex workers and online-organized hookups with fellow fetishists?
I don't mean to be combative. I'm just wondering what lies in store for me and whether there's any hope. I'm not a sick bastard in any way but this, and it would be devastating for me to hear that I should skip dating altogether and head to the chat rooms. I would be really grateful if you could offer me some candid — but sensitive — insight on this. —Help Out Pubescent Eproctophiliac
A: Here's what lies in store for you, HOPE: You're going to meet guys online who share your fetish. There aren't tons of you out there, I'm sorry-ish to say, so that means the odds are slim that you'll meet a fellow eproctophiliac living on or near your campus. And if you do find someone online who lives on or near your campus who shares your kink, the odds that you'll be both physically and romantically attracted to him — the odds that he'll be boyfriend material — are slimmer still.
But rest assured: People meet online every day — straight people, queer people, vanillas, kinksters — and fall in love. If you do find someone online who shares your kink and whom you click with, HOPE, don't make the mistake of ruling him out as a boyfriend just because you met him in a kinky chat room. You were in that chat room and you're relationship material, right? And if you meet a fellow fetishist whom you're really into who lives on the other side of the country, well, that totally blows. But the rarer a fetish, the greater the lengths a fetishist sometimes has to go to find a partner. If you're into him and he's into you and he's relationship material, get your ass on an airplane and go see the boy. (Take all the usual precautions — get his real name and real phone number, have your first meeting in a public place, make sure someone knows where you're going, have someplace to stay, etc.).
You'll also be able to meet guys the normal way, HOPE — in your classes, in bars, at parties, and via non-kink hookup websites popular with gay college boys. You may wind up partnered with a guy who finds you so attractive that he's willing to indulge you. Or, like a lot of people with unusual or challenging fetishes, you may wind up in a long-term relationship with a loving partner with whom you enjoy vanilla sex while indulging your fetish via online porn, chats, webcam sessions and, yes, an understanding sex worker whom you treat with respect and overtip.
So there's hope for you, HOPE.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
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