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The Mind of the Married Man

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K: I’m friends with all my ex-girlfriends and wives. In fact, they all say that I’m great for them after they leave me.

M: It showed me how not right any of them were for me by comparison. I’ve realized what a good thing truly is, and I can look back on the other people I dated and realize, “Wow, I was being such an idiot.”

How did you relate to your first wife when you were with your second?

K: Actually, my first wife visited us when we first started dating and she stayed at our apartment and we went to dinner and all hung out together.

What’s your impression of your friends’ marriages?

B: There are some I envy, some I see on the divorce track. My wife has friends who recently got married, and within six months, the wife caught the husband kissing some girl in their house. She was a friend of theirs who was staying over and he ended up making out with this girl in the guest bedroom. And I guess I just wonder what people who do that kind of thing are thinking. I mean, my wife could trust me to have a girl stay at our house without having to worry about me tiptoeing into the other room to try and poke her.

CJC: Most of my friends are single or serial monogamists. And I’ll see friends go from fucking around to dating to serious to broken up to fucking around to dating, but me and my wife are always together, always solid. We’re perennial. You think of people in open relationships being sporadic, and people think, That’s not gonna last long. But we’ve been together the longest and we are the most stable.

“Having those fantasies out in the open is like a pressure valve.”

K: I see troubles. Everyone’s in trouble. Deep, deep trouble. But I’ve learned that you just can’t see what’s going on inside any relationship. Couples have a public side—the things they say—and a private side, which is what’s really going on. I guess I look over to the other side of the fence to people who are satisfied with one person, and, boy, it really looks so cozy over there, so wonderful and warm and I wish I could have that. And they are looking over at me and thinking, Damn, he’s having so much fun, like there’s a finite amount of sexual fun to be had in this world and I’m hogging it all. So I rub it in their faces when at all possible, but really I’m just upset that I can’t seem to carry on a lot of the traditional stuff.

K: There were times in my marriages when I just didn’t realize quite how badly things were going. You’re like this lab rat running around, and you don’t even know what’s going on.

Are you tempted by other women?

B: The blackmail question.

P: You know what helps me is—well, look, first off, it’s every day. It’s not a question of “Are you?” it’s “How many times?’”

JC: Especially in this city.

P: There are just so many beautiful people. But what helps me is that my wife and I are really realistic with each other. I mean, I’ve dated girls who didn’t even want to hear, “Wow, man, Beyoncé’s really beautiful, huh?” But my wife and I actually talk about people that we fantasize about when we’re having sex. I know she’s not a robot and she knows I’m not and she’s just really cool. Oh, Jesus, listen to me: My wife’s really cool. But really, when I have trouble coming, I think about a past girlfriend, and she told me that she thinks about her first boyfriend. And what, am I supposed to get jealous about something that happened twenty years ago? Having those fantasies out in the open is like a pressure valve.

JC: I think that we have similar marriages. She knows that I think about other women from time to time.


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