A wife comes home from work in the middle of the day and finds her husband at home too. He was just leaving. She is surprised to see his car at home and didn't know that he'd be there.
Bounding out of the garage to say hello, he startles her. She jumps out of her daydream. She was deep in thought, wondering what she'd do if she found him sleeping with someone.
Just like in the movies.
"What are you doing here?" he says.
"What are you doing here?" she says.
Maybe it was because she had just seen Silver Lining Playbook, in which there is--shall we say--an "incident" that involved coming home from work in the middle of the day.
Here, in real life, the woman jokes that she is coming home to meet him for a lunch-time tryst. She was unusually explicit. This put the husband on his heels for a moment as he puzzled over if she was serious. He smiles in a way that says, "Naw, you wouldn't do that...would you?"
The tilt of his head and raise of one eyebrow beg the question.
They beg the question for what seems like a long time.
"I forgot something and had to swing by to grab it," she says, snapping him back to reality, but not before he lingers on this thought, "People married 20 years don't do that, do they?"
He stands erect, smile vanishing. "Of course," he says. "I was just working from home before the meeting this afternoon."
They exchange a lighthearted smile. It's a fun and playful connection.
Later that evening, the wife approaches him to go to bed and make love. During pillow talk, she confesses her daytime nightmare about finding him in bed with someone.
She is serious.
She confesses that she planned out how she would be from that day forward, after meeting his mistress.
"I would not accept divorce," she says matter-of-factly, so therefore we would no longer have any sex. You could have sex with whoever you wanted. I wouldn't care."
After a while she cracks a smile.
But the lines on his forehead are creased.
"Wow. I had no idea," he said, eyes widening. "I wouldn't accept divorce either, I guess," he thinks aloud. "Would you really let me..."
She cuts him off. "Oh I can't believe that you..."
"No, no. Let me finish. I had no idea that you would...damn, that's pretty hot."
"I can't believe you!" she says, feeling him completely aroused.
Now she's lost her mojo.
"This little date of ours," she huffs, turning her back to him, "is over."
HOW WOULD THIS MAKE YOU FEEL?
In my post about porn I wrote about what is known as the Coolidge effect. The term gets the name from an old joke told about Calvin Coolidge when he was President.
The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown [separately] around an experimental government farm. When [Mrs. Coolidge] came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” Upon being told, the President asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” President: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”
The Monogamy Myth
Peggy Vaughn was perhaps the first person to talk openly in the wider media about her struggle to stay married to her husband because of his repeated infidelity. When Monica Lewinsky was only seven years old, Vaughn and her husband were on The Phil Donahue Show talking about surviving infidelity in their own marriage.
Vaughn died recently. In fact, she died on the same day that CIA Director David Petraeus sent his resignation letter to President Obama after public reports of his affair with Paula Broadwell.
You could say Peggy Vaughn wrote the book on affairs. One of them is called The Monogamy Myth. In her keynote address to the Smart Marriages Conference (Washington, DC, 1999), she wrote about how the biggest mistake married people make is to assume that an affair shouldn't happen in their marriage.
Here's what else she had to say about monogamy and surviving infidelity:
Is talking about other attractions a radioactive topic for you and your spouse?