Whoops, I kissed a man!

I'm married and I didn't mean to but it just happened

Published May 27, 2011 12:20AM (EDT)

Dear Reader,

I forgot to say, in yesterday's column, that I think pot should be legal for everyone. Maybe it makes you act dumb and forget stuff, but geez, you can't put people in jail for that! Anyway ...

Hi Cary,

I could really use your help.

I did a terrible thing last weekend -- I kissed another man. I've been married for three years, 31, love my husband very much. Of course we have problems, but I want to be with him for the rest of my life, and any kind of open marriage isn't something that either of us wants. (I'll try not to ramble too much here.)

Knowing that temptations do exist, I generally try to avoid situations that could be trouble. What happened was this: I stayed out a little too late, and had something to drink (not to give the impression that I have a drinking problem -- I maybe go out for drinks once every two weeks, and don't usually drink the rest of the time), met some friends of friends, one of whom I felt an instant and dangerous attraction to. Smart, unconventionally handsome, funny. I talked to him for a little bit, then decided that I'd better get home. He followed me downstairs and told me he wished I could stay. When I said I had to leave, I was married, he asked if he could kiss me. I said no, but then did it anyway.

Goddamn it! Often when I've heard/read about infidelity in a marriage, I've always felt pity and scorn. How could someone be so foolish and cruel to risk the happiness of a good marriage for a flash of romance and lust? But pride goeth, and here I am.

The next day I felt the appropriate amount of guilt -- how could I break my promise to my husband? He trusts me, and he would be devastated. I would be, if he did the same. But as the week has gone on, I've found myself mooning around, thinking about the encounter. It doesn't take a genius to see the appeal: the excitement, the real attraction (other men have hit on me since I've been married, but I've never given it a second thought), having someone want me that way, when my husband is not very demonstrative (not an excuse, just explaining). Fortunately, this man was just in town for a conference, and he lives in another country, unlikely to ever come back. Unfortunately, there are videos and pictures of him online, which I have been looking at. I know I shouldn't contact him.

I know I need to cut it out. I feel like I've knocked myself out of the good, normal track of my life. I feel anxious and worked up all the time, like I'm waiting for something to happen. I've been yelling at myself, and lecturing myself ever since, but I can't make myself stop circling back to this. I love my husband, and I feel terrible for letting him down. Can you help me give the guilt ascendancy, so that I'll stop dreaming, and so that I won't do this again? Or some perspective?

Incidentally, I don't think I should tell my husband, for a number of reasons, one of which is something he said when we were watching a movie featuring infidelity -- he said he wouldn't want to know.

Please don't publish my email address. Thanks.

Kissed a Man

Dear Kissed a Man,

I won't publish your email address. I promise.

Here is what I imagine. In order to understand what happened, I meet you at the scene and we go upstairs where you were sitting with your friends, and then you take me downstairs and show me the spot where it happened. Cameras trail behind us. I say, OK, now show me exactly what happened.


Oops. It happened again. This time it's on camera!

See how these things can happen?

The human heart wants to play. The innocent heart wants to race; the child wants to see what it feels like; eros calls. Things happen to us. It's not moral error. It's life. And we have to learn to trust the impulses that make it happen. We have to make friends with them.

It is so hard to trust another human being in matters of the heart. Every cell in our being wants to do what we're not supposed to. So we make ironclad rules. We try to follow them. But nobody's perfect. Now and then something happens.

The black swan of quick passion wanders into the living room and for a moment we're like children again. Let us try to bring this into our circle of what we understand and accept. Would that we were all a little more French.

You've been awakened by a kiss. Now you must manage the flutters. Nothing to do now but manage with grace and humor. You don't have to tell anyone about it. It can be your delicious secret. You rode your tricycle off the sidewalk but you quickly got it back on the sidewalk. No one saw what happened. You don't need to confess.

Don't tell your husband. Your husband does not want to know. Keep this kiss to yourself. Appreciate it. Marvel at it. Be French about it.

Write your truth

What? You want more advice?


By Cary Tennis

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