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nikipedia's avatar

If your spouse fell in love with someone else, or desperately wanted to have sex with someone else, how would you want him/her to handle it?

Asked by nikipedia (27504points) May 14th, 2011

Two separate hypotheticals, but let assume in both cases:
—the spouse in question hasn’t done anything wrong—hasn’t cheated, hasn’t flirted, hasn’t crossed any lines.
—your lives are very heavily intertwined—kids, property, shared business interests, etc.

Scenario 1: your spouse has fallen head over heels in love with another person. Would you prefer your spouse tell you and promise to get over it, tell you and leave you, or not tell you and try to put it behind him/herself?

Scenario 2: your spouse desperately wants to have sex with another person. Totally meaningless sex, but your spouse craves it. Would you rather your spouse do everything s/he can to suppress the craving and never tell you about it? Tell you what s/he is going through and suppress it? Act on it in secret, as long as it never affects you? Would you ever give permission for your spouse to have a meaningless fling?

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24 Answers

DrBill's avatar

from a poly point of view, we would sit down, and talk about it, and both of us decide together

JLeslie's avatar

Well, if they have gotten to the point that they have fallen love, then they have had a relationship already. I mean love does not happen in a day. If he is just havng some sort of beginning to a relationship, like he realizes he is very attracted to someone, not only their looks but likes to talk to them, be around them, I would want him to just ignore those feelings, or surpress them, and he does not have to tell me anything. He might tell me how awesome the person is, and that is ok too, as long as he is not distracted from our reationship, spending excessive time with this other person, and that he maintains boundaries with the other person.

Same for sex. He just does not get to act on his feelings, he is married to me. He can flirt, but keep a safe distance.

When you are married you still meet people you find attractive. People you know you would want to date if you were not married, but you are married.

ETpro's avatar

That would depend. If she fell deeply in love with someone else, and that meant her affections turned completely away from me, then it would be the end of our marriage. If, on the other hand, it was a physical attraction I’d do my best to make it a threesome. If that wasn’t acceptable to one or both of them, I’;d want to quiz her on what happened when she got home, and make love to her as she expounded on the thrill of it.

Hibernate's avatar

Wouldn’t want her to have sex but if she did there’s always forgiveness.

augustlan's avatar

For the love scenario (I’d call it infatuation, if there is no actual relationship), I think I’d rather not know as long as my spouse was taking appropriate steps to avoid cheating on me. This is assuming he wants to stay married to me, and has no intention of acting on his feelings. If he fell out of love with me, though, that would make our marriage pretty difficult. In that case, I’d rather we split up.

For the meaningless sex scenario, I’d probably give him permission to do it. I know that’s unusual, but I really don’t have a problem separating sex and love. I doubt very highly my husband would feel the same way, though. So, if he was unwilling to allow me the same freedom, I don’t think I’d be able to give it to him in the first place.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Step 1: Tell me about it. Communication is the key to both a good relationship and a smooth ending to a relationship.
Step 2: Together, we can decide what she is to do about it.
Step 3: Act on the decision we have made. Either we stay together, ignore this outside influence, and move on with our lives, or we start to wind up our relationship.
Step 4: At this stage either we are together with no thought of the past difficulty, or I am living out of contact with her, and she is with another guy.

It is very important to me that it happens in this order. If she doesn’t want to be with me, I can deal with it. If she gets with another guy and doesn’t leave me first, I’m not sure I could.
Also ‘spouse’ is an inaccurate term in my situation, since I don’t plan on marrying, but the principle is the same.

downtide's avatar

Scenario 1: I would like for the three of us to sit down and talk about it. Bringing a third person into the relationship wouldn’t be out of the question. If that didn’t work, or if my spouse was desperately unhappy being with me, I would prefer them to tell me and leave me in an amicable separation.

Scenario 2: My partner and I already have “house rules” in place to cover scenarios similar to this. As long as those rules were adhered to, it wouldn’t be a problem.

john65pennington's avatar

Is there a divorce attorney in the house?

Adultry is adultry, no matter how one attempts to cover it up.

gm_pansa1's avatar

Honesty is the best policy.

marinelife's avatar

I would want to know what was going on in my partner’s life.

That way we could work out together what the future was for our relationship before he acted on anything outside our relationship.

dabbler's avatar

“as long as it never affects you” I don’t believe that’s possible. If the spouse is serious about it, show them the door and wish them the best of luck.

john65pennington's avatar

Define “totally, meaningless sex”.

snowberry's avatar

I’d want to know, up front. I know too many people who caught an STD because of a idiot like this. One friend ended up with venereal warts, and the doctors tell her she has cancer because of them. The jerk GAVE HER CANCER!

Coloma's avatar

Too many possible scenarios to contemplate, but, I’d say having an open, honest, discussion is where it begins.

If someone really wants to explore or be with another I wouldn’t hold them back, and, I certainly wouldn’t be the sloppy leftovers either.

Best to set them free with the understanding that the cake at home might be far too stale for a second course should they desire to return home to the original banquet after feasting at anothers table. lol

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Scenario 1: I would prefer that he tell me. Hearing about it from anyone else, including his new love interest, would probably push me beyond the point of being able to forgive. I would much prefer that he work through it and get over it, but if he is no longer in love with me, then no good would come from begging or forcing him to stay in our marriage.

Scenario 2: It would shock the daylights out of me if I found out that he desired to have meaningless sex with someone else, as I hope it would for him if the roles were reversed. I hope that he would be willing to talk about this desire, as much as I wouldn’t enjoy the message. If he asked for permission, I’d let him know that I would prefer that he didn’t, but if it was something that he felt he needed to do, I wouldn’t stop him. And then I would cry. A lot.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Both scenarios are okay by me except number 1 wouldn’t just randomly happen – no one just randomly falls madly in love, that takes interaction past the level of interest and he’d have told me prior to this madly falling in love. Number 2 is more likely to happen and be spontaneous. Both cases would be discussed and since number 1 is more serious, emotionally, we’d have to figure how if that other person would be willing to join us in our relationship. If my partner was more in love with that other person than with me, we’d have to have a much more serious conversation. Generally speaking, if there is a person he loves more than me, he needs to be primarily with that person and perhaps not with me.

dabbler's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir “no one just randomly falls madly in love” true fact there. This is about a general breakdown of intention. Or what were the reasons to marry in the first place?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dabbler Uhh, because you love each other – there are more ways to be together forever than monogamy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Scenario 1 wouldn’t happen if things are as you’ve written. My spouse wouldn’t bond with someone else emotionally to the point of falling head over heels in love if our relationship was a bonded, involved and fulfilling one.

Scenario 2 wouldn’t happen if my spouse were as you’ve written. There would have to be some breach between us, emotionally or physically for my spouse to want to focus on someone else.

wundayatta's avatar

She should do what she wants, so long as I don’t find out. This is assuming she doesn’t want out of the marriage. It’s the same for a relationship or just sex. I don’t want to know about it, except if she wants out of the marriage.

If she wants out, then we have to figure out how to do it right—take care of the kids and be fair to each of us. I’ll be feeling a lot of hurt, so I’m not sure how reasonable I’m going to want to be. But I do think there are things more important than our marriage—that which we have built during a long time together. We should not destroy those things in the dissolution of our marriage.

Of course, this hypothetical hardly represents the actual complexity of such an event. There would be so many other factors entering into it, than answering a question like this doesn’t really shed any light on the topic. None of us knows how we will react to any kind of infidelity—sexual or not—until we are in that situation.

I’ve totally lost it when I’ve been cheated on. I’ve been cared for when I cheated—cared for by the person I cheated on. It’s amazing what people will do to maintain a marriage. It takes a lot of hell before people get to the point of separation.

Most of the time, I think, if she were never to tell me about it, it would end on it’s own. If she were to tell me about it, it might be a sign of some issues between us and we could work on them. It might also be sign that the marriage is over. Telling the difference between the two can take years.

Don’t ask. Don’t tell. I don’t want to know. I won’t ask you, and you don’t volunteer anything.This could keep us going for a long time.

Coloma's avatar


Would you really be comfortable living a lie?

Secrets destroy intimacy. If you’re okay with that, well..each to his own.

I wouldn’t want to come home from my lovers and stir the spaghetti sauce all the while pretending that I just had a ‘regular’ day, when, in reality, I was 30 minutes of the sack with my not husband!

No thanks.

I couldn’t ‘live’ like that!

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah. If she can carry it off, then I don’t want to know. You’ve felt the pain of being cheated on, haven’t you, @Coloma? Wouldn’t you rather have avoided it? If you didn’t notice any difference in your husband, how could you say it affected your life?

I really don’t want to know. I’ve felt the pain of that kind of threat, and I don’t want to know any more. I don’t want to be lied to, either. If I ask, I want the truth. But if I don’t ask, don’t volunteer anything. That’s your guilt. Don’t assuage your guilt to give me pain.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I have. But..I don’t think we should ever fear the truth.
The truth will set you free!
I just don’t believe there is bliss in ignorance. There will be an undercurrent of duplicitious vibes, maybe I am too much of an empath to ignore my instincts and have never ‘played dumb’ well at all.
But…everyone marches to the beat of their own drummer. ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma A lot people ignore things they don’t like and hope they will go away. Sometimes they do go away.

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