On Adultery as a Cunning Plan

Coming up to seven years ago, I broke up with my ‘husband’ of 13 years, through the age-old device of adultery. So effective is adultery as a strategy, I didn’t even have to have sexual intercourse with anyone for it to work. Unfortunately I did not have the intelligence to stop and assess how much damage would be done to all parties involved (regardless of non-intercourse), an error which has caused much direct and referred pain, as dentists like to call it. In retrospect, a different approach, like his approach: “I think we are moving in different directions,” may have been less like a nail bomb.

The plan I thought I had, was that when my partner saw how much in love I was with my gorgeous, platonic friend, that I had finally succumbed to the overwhelming romance in our friendship, he would immediately see that polyamory was the only way forward for us. And behold! My platonic friend was already in a polyamorous relationship – the coincidence! The opportunity for radical life-experimentation!

This plan failed because a large part of the charge that fell me into love with my friend was his intense attention to my hurting from the ebbing loss of my partner’s love to another woman. Yes, with our radical hats firmly on, he helped me to theorise the options available (while being massively, unbelievably gorgeous). Was polyamory one of them? Alas… his real-life sexually open relationship was one in which, not only were intimately-loving extra partners not factored in at all, even (mere) sexual partners that lived in the same geographical locality were enthusiastically discouraged. Polly-don’t-bump-into-me.

Besides my crazy plan, it turns out that I had another, unconscious plan going on: When my partner sees that my love for my friend has grown so unmanageable that I cannot hold back my passion for him any longer, he will immediately understand that I have become completely and utterly distraught at the loss of his true love for me, and be shocked into action. “How could I have overlooked what you are going through,” he will say, “fool that I am! Come to me now and let us be reborn.”

This plan really never stood a chance. When I told him I had not held back my passion, he immediately saw that I was a selfish, sexually untrustworthy Bitch From Hell with absolutely no thoughts or feelings for Anyone But Myself. Naturally this included being a Homewrecker. No points at all were awarded for holding back from penetrative intercourse.

Apparently my final, fall back plan, so deeply unconscious that I wouldn’t have acted on it in a month of Sundays, was to shock my partner by being romantically unfaithful, so that then when he chose to pile all his bad karma onto me the scales would fall from my eyes and I would be freed from the tyranny of loving him – to see, as one friend put it, that he was a dick.

Or was my plan in fact to grant him his freedom? Was it so hard to accept the loss of his love that the only way I could let him go was to make it impossible for him to love me? It is true that I believed the other woman to be better suited to him than I was. Or did I want my own freedom so badly that I had to repel him utterly, in a way that made me irredeemably untouchable, lest he find it in his heart to forgive me and Try Again? I can tell you one of the most terrible stages in the break-up was waiting for him to articulate that it was over. Did I create his outrage to violently silence my own voice, because I had no courage to say I wanted it to end?

So many plans.