here is the link to the Happily Ever After Project
What counts as cheating?
A couple years ago, I came across a website that advocated something that, at the time, seemed just crazy. It was this: complete and forthcoming marital honesty and transparency. The site author suggested that I imagine that a private detective or hidden camera were with me at all times, that everything I did or said would be reported back to my husband. He challenged me to become a wife who kept zero secrets.
At first, I thought it sounded easy. After all, it wasn’t as if I was having an affair or doing anything that I felt guilty about. Me? I didn’t have any secrets. My husband could stash Wifey Cams all over the place and he’d come up with zilch-o.
Or so I thought.
I began imagining that I was being filmed and ratted on at every turn. You know what? I realized that I did a lot of things that I would never want to get back to my husband. For instance:
■Making fun of him behind his back
■Occasionally buying something that was not in our budget and neglecting to tell him about the purchase
■Making an investment decision without consulting him
■Realizing as I was loading groceries into my car that I’d forgotten his favorite frozen strawberry bars and thinking, “I’ll just tell him I couldn’t find them if he asks about it.”
■Occasionally blogging about something that I was hoping he would never get around to reading
So I pledged to become a completely honest and transparent wife. You want to know what happened as soon as I made that pledge? I stopped saying negative things about my husband to other people. Instead, I only said those things to him. I stopped making unilateral decisions. I began opening up more, too. I told him more about me, what I was working on, what I was thinking about, and how I was feeling.
We grew closer—a lot closer. And I feel freer and more authentic as a result.
I thought of this when a reader emailed me the following questions:
Is it okay to foster friendships with members of the opposite sex even if you are married?
Is it okay to hang out with members of the opposite sex? When does this become a flag for concern?
Is it wrong to have a little office flirting?
Is it okay to flirt a little on Facebook and Twitter?
Initially, my first thought was, “If you have to ask, it’s probably not okay.” That sounds more flip that I intend. What I mean by it is this: by asking, you are assuming that your partner might have a problem with it. And if your partner might have a problem with it, there’s a good chance that you are right.