I was flipping through my latest issue of Women’s Health and came across an intriguing article called, “What He’s Hiding from You”. With a title like that, who wouldn’t keep reading?

Basically, the article shared the findings of a poll they conducted of almost 2,000 men. Here are some of the results:

23% of men have cheated on their current partner (and another 31 % said they’d cheat if they could get away with it).

45% think about other women during sex.

55% watch porn at least every week.

17% of men have faked on orgasm. (Okay, someone is going to have to explain this one to me.)

41% have snooped through their partner’s email or phone.

47% say they masturbate weekly (and 17% do it daily).

77% of guys say it is perfectly fine to keep secrets in a relationship.

Ummmm, great. Way to make a girl feel good about herself, Women’s Health! Thanks a million.

In the article, after each statistic they posted, there was a little paragraph advising women on whether they should be alarmed by this particular behavior or not. Mostly it was just fluff masquerading as advice such as “Every guy masturbates”. Personally, I found it to be a tad condescending, because everyone has different tolerance levels for these types of private behavior, right?

Well, here’s where this seemingly innocuous article suddenly hit close to home.

Before bed one night, I was teasing L about the article. I jokingly called him out on one of the behaviors listed above assuming that he didn’t do it. I’m not going to say which one, because that is just awkward for L. To my surprise, L ended up admitting to it.

Pardon?

I’m not naive enough to think that L has never done any of the things listed above while we’ve been together. I guess I just assumed (read: hoped) he wasn’t doing anything, because I never caught him in a compromising position, I never felt something was amiss, and I never asked him point blank…until now.

Right after he came clean, I was really shocked, and then I was hurt. The reason for the shock is because L and I have always prided ourselves off of knowing mostly everything about each other. We tend to have bathroom humor and can be frighteningly honest about a lot. I didn’t think there were many uncomfortable conversations we hadn’t had.

But apparently someone dropped the ball somewhere, because I was left standing in my PJ’s at the stroke of midnight with my jaw on the floor.

Then to add insult to injury, L got all defensive and told me, “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to.”

Those words really stung. In retrospect, he had a semi-reasonable point, but bad timing, buddy. He has since apologized for his little gem of a comment.

As I took some time to gather my feelings, I realized I was upset for a couple of reasons. First, I was mad at him for doing this behind my back. Second, I was pissed at myself, because I felt like an idiot who had failed as a wife.

Yes, I felt like a failure. Why would my husband need to resort to certain behaviors if he was getting everything he needed from me? Ahhhh, I feel weird even writing that, because it sounds so cliche. I think self-blame is pretty natural in a situation like this, unless you can seriously convince yourself it only takes one to tango. But ultimately, it wasn’t my fault. We desperately needed to have a heart-to-heart.

Anyway, L and I have since talked things over. We have come to an understanding that we are both comfortable with, and we are back to joking around with each other again. Thank goodness.

It’s weird though. Right after our spat, I cursed the fact that I ever read that article. Then I pondered whether I should have taken L’s harsh advice of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t. Today I’m actually thankful for that article. It got us communicating about things we hadn’t talked about in a long time. We realized we don’t need to divulge everything to one another, but certain things do need to be discussed from time to time.

Issues like this are tough to talk about. Sometimes it is super embarrassing for one person or both. Ultimately though, you will feel better if you bring it out in the open.

Deep, dark secrets can ruin relationships. That’s for sure.

Thoughts? I’d love to read comments from my readers on this one.

November 11, 2010

thelessthandomesticgoddess

10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Becca

    November 3, 2010

    This is why I don't read women's magazines. There's always some poisonous, self-loathing pseudo-journalist seeking to tell you how your life is imperfect, and how you just don't measure up to the ridiculous ideal.

    I guess that all that really matters in relationships is that you're both on the same page. If you both have your own stuff, then fair enough. The issue lies when one person shares everything, expecting reciprocation, but the other keeps secrets.

    I think the "don't ask, don't tell" response depends enormously on the subject. If it's the porn, masturbation or the fantasy thing, then yeah – it's going to happen, so if you don't like to hear it, then you're probably best off not bringing it up. I don't like to hear it, so I live in a pretty pretend world where it doesn't happen πŸ™‚

    The "I'd do it if I wouldn't get caught" statistic sickens me. The very idea that that's the only reason people don't cheat is so depressing.

    I work from home – I could easily conduct an affair while my husband is out all day, but do you know why I don't? I love him. The idea of another man touching me makes me feel a bit unwell. Even if he'd never find out, I'd still think of his face if he did, and I want to cry!

    People need to man up and get the heck out of their relationship if they just don't feel that way about their partner. What's the point in being with someone if you don't care about them?

  2. Reply

    Katie

    November 3, 2010

    We have talked about a few of those things on the list and figured out what we are and are not comfortable with. I guess I just assume the rest of them are off the table.

    Maybe not all couples are like this, but its really important to me that we're on the same page as far as any intimacy goes–we really need to know those things.
    I hope that the answers continue to be ones I'm comfortable with, but if they're ever not, we would need to discuss it.

  3. Reply

    -J.Darling

    November 3, 2010

    Hey there! Great to read your blog. I learned this one the hard way a long time ago and have since put it into practice. I am very honest, and I expect the same of my man (and he has always been very honest with me). But there are some topics where I believe honesty has been over-rated and would just result in hurt feelings.

    Example:
    I found out during the course of a relationship that my then boyfriend had had a one night stand with a friend of his YEARS ago.I found out because I had asked. (He mentioned he wasn't interested in black women, so I joked that he shouldn't tell his friend, who happened to be a black woman, that. He made some comment that struck me as odd, so I asked if they'd ever slept together and he answered me honestly.) That immediately changed how I viewed their friendship and I got very uncomfortable around her all of a sudden. Was she after him? No. Was he after her? No. It was over a decade ago. But because I knew the gorey details of one crazy night, it was really hard for me to view her in the same light. AND it made it hard on him, because I jumped to the conclusion "Are there any OTHER female friends you have that you've done that with?!" It was like a posion that ate away at me, even though he was clearly devoted to me.

    My first instinct was to let the odd comment go, but I went against my better judgement and asked anyway. Doh! I learned not to ask questions I don't want the answer to. That doesn't mean I stick my head in the sand, but if I know I'm not ready for the answer, I do my best not to ask the question.

  4. Reply

    Cathleya

    November 3, 2010

    I could never talk about any of the statistics listed above. I am much too jealous to even think about them bring them up! I'm okay with a few of them, but I still would prefer not to know about them if they're happening. πŸ™‚ I don't consider a lot of them (infidelity, of course, is DEFINITELY a no no, but some of the others…) "dark secrets"… I think a lot of them are along the lines of I wont ask about them and we won't talk about them kinds of issues…and I'm ok with that. πŸ™‚

  5. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    November 3, 2010

    @Cathy: I agree. I think deep, dark secrets is a little dramatic of me to say. Unless there is an addiction or some kind of grave wrongdoing going on, they are more like awkward discussions. I'm mostly in the don't ask, don't tell camp. I ended up mistakingly breaking my little rule and getting bitten in the ass badly. But, strangely, I think we needed to have the talk that we had. We needed to get back on the same page. I think as long as couples can reach an understanding to talk or not talk about certain things, then they'll be just fine.

  6. Reply

    thelessthandomesticgoddess

    November 3, 2010

    P.S. I'm a jealous person too. Imagine my rage when L dropped his little bit of info on my lap? What started out as a joke quickly became a firestorm!! πŸ™‚

  7. Reply

    ruthy ann

    November 4, 2010

    I think you had every right to be upset and hurt. These things are topics that couples really should be talking about….these are things couples go through counseling over.

  8. Reply

    A Long Far View

    November 4, 2010

    I've been there. I try really hard not to act like a jealous person, but there are some things that I'm not ok with. We've had some of these discussions before, but there are definitely a couple of things (on both sides) where we're just ok with not asking right now. Not that I advocate secrets necessarily, but I do think that there are some things that it's ok not to talk about every day. In any event – I'm glad that you guys talked this one out, even though it sounds like it took you by surprise.

  9. Reply

    Creature Gorgeous

    November 4, 2010

    Oyyyyyy. I wish I hadn't read the statistics in this post!!!! I was blissfully not caring (read: to lazy to care) about anything other than sleeping and eating. What does one do with this information, and do I want to know? I don't think I do. I'm no spring chicken, as you very well know. And suffice it to say that I know that both men and women can misbehave in relationships to varying degrees. Maybe misbehave isn't the right word…but they keep things from each other to keep the peace. I hope that in this marriage of mine, it is way different than my past relationships (where I and my partner were both culpable). I'm just going to go with trust here, and not open up that can of worms/Pandora's box.

  10. Reply

    M and C

    November 9, 2010

    I don't want to know as long as it isn't the first two or the last one.

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