Saturday, November 18, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Are your efforts at fidelity honest?

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is your fidelity honest or obligatory?

Q: Whenever I am at a party with my wife's girlfriend, she flirts with me. Not flirt; groping and teasing is a better description. When I went to kiss her goodnight (on the cheek), she grabbed my face, said, "On the lips," then kissed me. First time it happened was when I showed up at a party without my wife, and she said, "I am so glad you are here alone!" I got caught cheating on my wife two years ago. I am in "recovery," as I really have a problem being faithful. This will not end well if I don't do something, but I don't want to stir the pot, so I put up with it.

Anonymous

A: Are you in recovery, or in "recovery"? Meaning, do you admit to an emotional problem and intend to get better? Or do you accept the way you are, merely nodding as people say you have a problem, and secretly hope you won't get seriously tempted, or seriously caught, again?

If it's recovery, the real deal, then you already know the only chance your marriage has is the truth — that and a redoubling of your effort at whatever treatment you've sought since two years ago. You tell your wife immediately what's going on with her "friend," because said friend is already stirring the pot and your passivity equates to permission.

If, instead, you're in "recovery" — if your marriage isn't a commitment so much as prowlus interruptus — then that's what you need to admit, first to yourself and then to your wife.

Make this not about monogamy for the sake of it, but about living honestly as who you really are. That means admitting the fidelity you've maintained lately is purely an act of will. But first: You suggested that this will end badly, yet I'm not sure you're even sure how you would define ending well. Your chances go from slim to . . . less slim if you know that going in.

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