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I'm very confused and I hope you can set me straight. I married my wife several months ago after dating her for three years. Things are generally excellent except for one problem: when my wife gets drunk, she gets crazy flirtatious with everyone. She'll get very close to people, repeatedly touch them or hold hands, dance closely, etc. She'll do this whether I'm present or not. A couple of times I thought it went too far, and I told her while of course she can talk to other people without me, there is a line that makes me uncomfortable. I say it could lead to something that she will regret later. She claims that this is just harmless friendliness/flirtation, and she would never let anything happened. Well, as it turns out, something did happen. After another party where she was dancing, hugging, and getting kissed on the cheek by a woman I think was a lesbian, after slow dancing with a different woman, we discussed the issue again. During the ensuing argument it came out that in year two of our relationship she was high and dancing at a club with several gay men, some of whom have been her close friends for several years, and she French kissed at least one of the friends for several seconds.

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She swears this was an isolated incident and that she had never kissed these friends before. She says that she did not and still does not have any sexual feelings for these men (or the women from the party). She says that while she acknowledges a line was crossed (which is why she didn't tell me when it happened), she says it was just a very intense but regrettable "friendship moment" between close friends who were high on drugs. She says this gay man is not bi.

So, now I'm grappling with three issues: 1. Did she cheat? Although we've never talked about the rules concerning kissing gay friends, I think we both know she crossed a line (there was tongue). 2. How much did she betray me by not telling me until after we were married when she knew it would be an issue? 3. Am I being a selfish prude by caring about either her aggressive flirting or this kiss? She is very contrite about everything and wishes none of it had happened, and swears she will calm down the flirtation. Should I forgive her and move on, or should I run the hell away before its too late?

Seriously Troubled Here

1. No.

2. Your wife's failure to disclose a single drugged-up, blissed-out, pre-marriage-ceremony kiss shared with a gay dude on a dance floor—even a kiss with tongue—does not constitute a "betrayal." It may constitute an omission.

3. Yes, ATH, you are being a selfish prude and, yes, you should forgive her.

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The aggressive flirting could be a problem—I mean, if she really is flirting all that aggressively. I'm wary of taking your characterization of her behavior at face value, STH, as a man who regards tongue kissing a gay friend a year before the wedding as grounds for divorce is obviously incapable of being rational about his wife's interactions with other people. Where you see getting too near, dancing too closely, and being too friendly, a slightly less paranoid/controlling spouse might see normal human interaction and innocently flirtatious behavior. But if she admits to the flirting and agrees that it's a problem—if for no other reason than it bothers you—and she's willing to tamp it down for your sake, you should absolutely "forgive her and move on," by which I mean, "YOU SHOULD CEASE BEING SUCH A FUCKING DOUCHEBAG" about 1. the kiss and 2. the flirting and 3. the fucking kiss already.

All that said, ATH, I'm not sure your wife should forgive you. It sounds like you've been an insufferable prick about that stupid kiss and the flirting. I wouldn't want to be married to man who claimed to love me but couldn't forgive me for something so trifling as a meaningless kiss and I'm not sure I'm doing your wife any favors here by talking you off the ledge. Someone who can't forgive is hardly husband material. A successful marriage is basically an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, and forgivenesses granted, ATH, all leavened by the occasional orgasm. If you can't forgive her for this, ATH, then you're not cut out for marriage. She's the one who might want to run away before it's too late.

Originally published December 15, 2009.



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