What is the line of infidelity in a relationship? Has the contract between the two partners been explicitly defined?
This is the question that was on husbandismad’s mind as she took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” after her husband caught her giving a lap dance to her gay best friend and roommate.
“AITA for saying a lap dance doesn’t count as cheating?”
“Trust me I know how this sounds but just hear me out.”
Lap dances were not something our original poster, or OP, was new to.
“When I (F(emale) 30) was in college, I worked at a coed strip club. The money was incredible and helped me pay off my student loans faster than minimum wage ever could, so I have no regrets about it.”
“After I graduated, I got a good job at an accounting firm and that’s how I met my husband (M(ale) 34). We’ve been married for three years.”
OP’s husband was generally okay with this, and all of her friends from that time period.
“My husband knows all about my old job and some of my best friends are people I worked with there who he also gets along with. One of these friends, let’s call him Henry (M29), is probably my closest friend, besides my high school BFF.”
“He moved in our guest room about four months ago because his boyfriend kicked him out of the house, and we agreed to let him stay and save up for his own place. For obvious reasons, he’s been laid off from his job and has been doing online side projects, but he still pays rent and cooks so I’m fine with him.”
“My husband was also fine with him until last weekend.”
One night some alcohol and poor decisions made the evening take a sharp turn for the worse.
“My husband decided to go out back and get some much-needed yard work done, while Henry and I hung out in the basement playing pool and drinking wine.”
“We started getting pretty tipsy, so we put on some of our favorite songs from our old work and started reminiscing old times. We were both getting back into our groove, laughing and dancing, and that’s when I thought it would be fun to give Henry a lap dance to see if I still got it.”
When OP’s husband caught sight of what was happening, things got hairy.
“Apparently, my husband went to knock on the basement window to tell us to turn down the music and saw the lap dance, and he went completely berserk. He tried to kick Henry out, but I told him both our names are on the house and so I get a say, too.”
OP’s husband is now refusing to talk to her.
“He told me he’s never felt so betrayed in our whole relationship and now he’ll barely speak to me. He’s been locking himself in our office with an air mattress and the dog 24/7 since, only coming out for food, the bathroom, or walks.”
“I keep telling him he’s being ridiculous because Henry is GAY for crying out loud, but he says he won’t stop until Henry leaves, and there’s something wrong with me if I can’t understand why he’s angry.”
So now OP is unsure whether or not she was wrong.
“I was pretty confident I was in the right but he’s still fuming so now I’m second-guessing myself. Am I the a**hole here?”
Redditors were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Unfortunately, most of Reddit was not on OP’s side.
“YTA – just because it’s ‘not cheating’ doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable for him to be upset, and your response to his distress is pretty awful.”
“Try to get in his mindset: he leaves the house, looks in the window, and sees his drunk wife giving a lap dance to her old friend who he’s letting stay in his house. He absolutely has a right to not be comfortable with that.”
“You responded to his discomfort by saying that you aren’t going to allow him to kick out the guy you just gave a lap dance to from his own home. You’re not on his side you’re on your friends side, and you’re not respecting his feeling of betrayal.”~V0mitBucket
“YTA. Look, I’m poly. In my relationships straight-up f***ing another person isn’t ‘cheating’ so long as it happens within the bounds of the rules and expectations me and my partner/s have agreed upon.”
“And that right there is the critical point. It’s down to the agreement and feelings of both partners in the relationship and, personally, I always err on the side that the limit gets set by the partner with the least desire for openess.”
“Example: Me and my primary have an agreement that neither of us pursues anyone in the artistic industry he’s in, as it’s a close-knit community that already heavily blurs the lines between friends and business partners, and throwing sex into the mix is just a recipe for disaster.”
“So I could have sex with one of my DnD buddies and that would be fine, but if I were to sleep with one of the people he gigs with that would be cheating.”
“To the vast majority of people, lap dancing is sexual. To you it was a job and an art form. But to your patrons it was absolutely sexual – that’s the whole reason for them to go to it, to be sexually titillated.”
“Now. To you, personally, dancing on Henry’s lap was not sexual because he’s gay and you’re not attracted to him. But you don’t get to decide your husband’s comfort levels there, and in his mind you have betrayed his trust and you’re refusing to respect his feelings on the matter.”
“If your husband considers lapdances a form of cheating, then lapdances aren’t something you get to do for people other than your husband without it being cheating. Not with the husband you married, at least.”~UristMcD
“YTA I don’t think it’s just the lap dance, but I’m sure he (your husband) also saw the wine, and saw you were both tipsy and that contributed to his reaction. No, lap dances are not necessarily ‘cheating,’ but you were not painting the prettiest picture to your husband.”~supertaquito
“YTA because hanging out alone and drinking, dancing with another guy, giving that guy a lap dance, and then telling your husband it wasn’t cheating is a jerk move.”~Free_Hat_McCullough
“YTA. A lap dance may not fit the classic definition of cheating but it’s still a sexually charged act and it’s incredibly disrespectful to give/ receive one while in a relationship. (Yes, there are outliers in this circumstance like bachelor/ bachelorette parties when your spouse to be is okay with it, but that’s not what this was.)”
“From your husband’s point of view you were drunk and alone with your friend and he literally caught you giving the other man a lap dance. It doesn’t matter who’s gay and who’s not in this situation, it’s incredibly demeaning to your spouse and to the relationship as a whole that you’d essentially perform a sexual dance for someone who is not your husband.”~fxckingconfused
“YTA. I can see why you thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, you’re not the a**hole for the drunken lapdance (but maybe a touch more forethought wouldn’t have gone amiss).”
“I can see why your husband would see it as a huge deal and react how he did.”
“The reason you’re TA is because you refuse to acknowledge his feelings as valid. You’re basically gaslighting him and telling him he doesn’t have the right to be upset at seeing his wife in an intimate position with another man.”~AmeriMeg
OP, after receiving this feedback, didn’t seem to learn anything.
“Edit – hey guys I appreciate the feedback but I’d like to kindly ask that you please stop upvoting this because my husband uses reddit and I really don’t want him to see this. He doesn’t go on this specific subReddit as far as I know and I fudged some of the minor details for anonymity, but I just don’t want to risk it. Thank you.”
“Edit 2 – no, guys, I was not naked and neither was Henry for those who are asking. We didn’t even touch. I did NOT cheat on my husband; this thread is incredibly sexist and homophobic. And again, please stop upvoting, you’re just doing it out of cruelty at this point.”
Redditors were nonplussed with her deflection and refusal to take responsibility for any of her actions, including posting her question on Reddit.
Marriage is a contract between spouses.
If at any point that contract is broken, the conversation to redraw boundaries has to happen respectfully.
Hopefully OP and her husband can come to some sort of understanding.
The book I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships is available here.