Your partner just suggested that you both be allowed to see other people on the side. Who do you suspect your partner has in mind?
I read the Agony Aunt columns in the newspaper each day. When I was younger, I would be stunned by the women who would write in, giving clues that would be obvious to any soap opera fan that her partner was unfaithful, and ask: “Is he cheating on me?”. Now in my fifties, I understand the aching need for validation–the writers knew the answer, but it was too painful to admit, even to themselves. Business trips to odd places with women from work, late nights at the office or the gym, emails that were hastily deleted when they entered the room, friendships that were intense and suddenly ended without explanation. These women knew the score: their spouses had wandered into a relationship with what a former Italian co-worker called a “side-dish”.
I can only sit back and write about this from an outsider perspective, because after thirty years of being monogamous partners, the thought of my husband having a “side-dish” is devastating. I have more than several friends on their second or third marriages, a good deal of them because one spouse or the other lost interest in their partner or they sought greener fields beyond the marital landscape. It’s too much a reality in my age group, and one that I hope never ever to have to confront in my relationship or beg an Agony Aunt to deny.