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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sempre Fidelis

One weekend a few years ago I went away with my partner for a weekend at a local resort. My plan was to get laid. It was sad that, after five or six years together, I could count the number of times we had sex in a year on one hand. There was always a distraction or a reason for his complete lack of interest in sex. I knew that, by going away with CT, I could eliminate the countless excuses. The dogs were at the kennel, the household chores were far away, and we'd both get plenty of rest and have lots of time for intimacy.

After two nights of falling asleep without sex, I knew that Sunday morning was my last chance. As much as I hate to be the only person initiating sex, I did what I had to do. The response from my partner was disappointing, to say the least. If I had wanted to sleep with a completely passive partner, I would have purchased a blow-up doll.

Frustrated, I rolled out of bed and said, "Let's just go to breakfast."

As we ate our meal, I stared down at my plate. I was frustrated that my partner, the one who once told me I made him tremble, had turned into nothing more than a roommate. Suddenly, I looked up at him and asked a question that popped into my mind with no warning whatsoever.

"Have you ever cheated on me in all the years we've been together?"

He made no effort to skirt the question. "Okay, YES!" he answered abruptly. It was as if he had been waiting for a chance to confess. He then told me that his infidelity had occurred only three weeks earlier while I was at a conference in Washington, DC. Some guy from his yoga class had asked him to come over to his place. CT countered with the suggestion that they meet for coffee. But the yoga guy said he didn't see the point of having coffee when both of them knew the real reason they were getting together.

Well, at least the yoga guy was honest. Which is more than I can say for my ex.

There was a point in my life where I was involved in an affair with someone who was partnered. In order to enjoy sex with someone I craved, I entered into a secret sexual relationship with this man, and we kept it from his partner. I always told myself that I was doing nothing wrong since I wasn't the one who had a boyfriend. I was single and having sex with someone who wanted me, and I didn't see the harm in that. Actually, I think I knew damn good and well that I was doing harm to someone, but I was selfish and didn't care.

With each new relationship, I grow and change. I have a different view of infidelity than I had a year ago. I once believed that sleeping with a "married man" wasn't cheating as long as I wasn't in a committed relationship. But now I know that, for me, that doesn't work. If someone is cheating on a partner in order to satisfy me sexually, I'm not showing much respect for myself, and I have no right to demand fidelity someday from my own partner.

Personally, I don't want to be involved with someone who isn't at a point in his life where he can commit to the same type of relationship I want. What I want is a relationship where I know that I will be honored and respected. I want to know that my relationship with a man is special. If possible, I would like it to be sacred. Set apart. I want to give my man a part of myself that nobody else has access to, and I feel like reserving sexual intimacy for my boyfriend is one way to show my commitment to him.

That said, I have a confession of my own. My own sex drive sometimes causes me to act in direct opposition to what I claim to believe. This weekend I almost crossed a line. The event itself may seem small or insignificant, but I am feeling guilty about it. While Thor visited his family for the holiday weekend, I went on a road trip to Seattle with Auburn Pisces, which I'll write more about later. On the last night of our trip, we were sitting in a bar and a really great looking guy sat directly across from me. I thought he was beautiful, and Auburn Pisces mentioned that she saw him sneaking glances at me as well. I pulled out a match book and wrote a short message to the beautiful man. I also jotted down my phone number.

As I contemplated getting up to introduce myself, I thought of Thor and how much I love him. I gave the matchbook to Auburn Pisces and said, "What the hell am I doing?" She put it away in her purse, and I tried to forget about the whole thing. As I fell asleep that night I remember worrying about that matchbook, and I feared that somehow Thor would find it. The guilt I felt about this seemingly small incident caused me to do some hard thinking about what I want in a relationship.

Tonight when I talk about this to Thor, I will do so with clarity. This weekend helped me grasp my own feelings about him, and I know without a doubt where he stands in my heart. I want him to know and understand that I want to honor him above anyone else. I want to be faithful, and if the lines of fidelity ever become blurred for either of us, I want us to speak honestly and openly about it. I hope I'm being realistic about this.

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