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The Affairs of Men

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When I got back from the Kinsey Institute, I told my wife all about the evolutionary data and Erick Janssen’s questionnaire, and she got agitated. “Okay. Let’s have an open marriage. And I have to be out Wednesday night.”

I said, No thanks.

I talked about my failure to grasp the nettle with a couple of other men. “When we were kids, we thought we were going to grow up and be mature; we’re not going to be crazy kids,” Tuten says. “But these questions, they never have an answer or a terminal point in age. We’re crazy all the time, we’re burning all the time … When you’re in love, you’re jealous. I’m in love with a woman, she has an affair, my heart is broken. I become ill. I can’t bear it. When you’re not in love, everything is permitted.”

A gay friend who has “brooded” over his infidelity for a long time, sometimes feeling that he ought to confess, told me it’s a very 17-year-old American view of the world to think that you should tell someone you love everything and somehow the world will be a better place. Instead, he reminds himself, he’s a grown-up, he has secrets.

He’s keeping those secrets to protect himself as much as his mate. “A relationship is a myth you create with each other. It isn’t necessarily true, but it’s meaningful. The key to that myth is that the other person is enough for you. You know in your head that another person isn’t enough for you. But if you don’t honor the myth, then it crumbles.”

How’s that for a happy ending?


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