It Isn’t Cheating If You Just Change the Rules

by VeryClarkKent

Gender: Male
Age: 30s
Race/ethnicity: South Asian

Location: Pacific Northwest
Highest education received: Post-graduate degree (eg., MA, MS, PhD, JD, MD)
Occupation: Engineer
Religious affiliation: Agnostic
How religious are you? Not at all
Sexual orientation: Mostly heterosexual
Any other term(s) that describe your sexual orientation/sexuality better/best? I prefer and enjoy monogamy, but in the same way that one likes and prefers chocolate ice cream and is sometimes in the mood for cherry.
How many hookup stories have you here posted before? One — ironically involving another married person

It Isn’t Cheating If You Just Change the Rules

How long ago did this hookup happen? Four years ago

How would you best classify this hookup (e.g., one-night stand, fuck-buddies, friends-with-benefits, booty call, sex with an ex, short fling; paid sex…)? Short fling

Tell us about your PARTNER(S). What did they look like? How well did you know them, had you hooked up before? How/Where did you meet them? How did you feel about them before the hookup? At the time of the hookup, G. was the wife of my friend V. I’ve known V. for years, and he’s sort of a textbook playboy — tall, blonde, looks like an Abercrombie model, but also charming, witty, and genuinely caring for his friends. As you may imagine, he has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake, but that changed w/ G. She is the archetypal Cool Chick. Feminine and girly when it’s appropriate, but can swear, smoke and drink whiskey with the best of them. She’s hot, funny, and had the most beautiful smile that anyone’s ever seen. We went on one sort-of-date together, but this was in the period when I was still Not Dating, and wasn’t ready for a relationship. So we just remained friends, but G. got V.’s attention and the rest was history.

They dated for three years before he proposed to her.The dating period was somewhat tumultuous as they were not monogamous or exclusive, but they were sort of made for each other, and so getting married was a bit of a surprise but one we celebrated. I was a groomsman and was really happy to call both of them my friends.

About a year into their marriage, V. started showing up at parties and events with a new girl, D., and that raised some eyebrows among us. I talked to G. about it, and she told me that they were opening their marriage. They had some rules that they had established around suggesting and approving potential hookup candidates, and making sure that any of their screwing around wouldn’t impact the marriage, but it sounded like this was something that they both wanted.

I didn’t propose myself as an actual candidate, but I found that we started talking to each other one-on-one more often. At the time, I was also looking to go into grad school, and likely moving away from my old city at the end of summer, so I wasn’t involved in a relationship and not looking to start a new one. But this? This was interesting. It started with email or texts about funny things we’d see on the internet. Cat pictures, memes, that sort of thing. But some of the jokes started getting bawdy and dirty and teasing, and eventually both of us knew that something was up.

How/where did the hookup BEGIN? What led to it? Was planning involved? Who instigated it? In the middle of spring, three or so months before I was planning to move, I was getting dinner with V. and he casually mentioned that he and D. were planning on leaving town for the weekend. We had not talked about his open marriage then, but I asked what his wife was planning on doing while he was gone, and he said that I should ask her.

“You know, V.” I said, “G. and I have been kind of flirting for the past few weeks.”

“I do, and I’m glad you guys are getting into each other. She’s a fantastic person and you’re a fantastic person, and both of us trust you a lot.”

“So, if we hung out together this weekend…”

“Anything you do this weekend, so long as it makes her happy, is ok with me.”

So, I emailed G, and suggested going on a bike ride out of the city, to a nearby state park with a small pond that we liked going to in the past. The park was sort of a standard summer cookout getaway spot for a bunch of us, but this was just for the two of us. We had a really nice, easy ride together, and went swimming in our bike shorts (mmm… bike shorts). Swimming led to splash fighting, which led to wrestling which led to me kissing her. And kissing her. And kissing her.

What happened DURING the hookup? What sexual behaviors took place (e.g., oral, vaginal, anal, kinky stuff)? How did you feel during it? Did you have an orgasm? Did your partner(s)? How did they behave toward you? Were they a good lover? What did you talk about? How did it end? We want back to my apartment after the swim, ordered takeout lunch and started making out in my living room. At first, as I started unzipping her bike jersey  she asked me, “Is it ok if we just take it easy and don’t get too carried away? I don’t want us doing anything that we feel guilty about later.” And I said, “Well, here’s the deal. You’re the one who’s married. You get to call the shots. Is this cheating what you’re doing here?”

“No,” she said, “it isn’t cheating if we’re just using different rules.  V. and I. came up with a couple of conditions, like both getting to veto who we hook up with, and always being safe. I’m more worried about screwing up our friendships.”

“Well then, I’m just having fun kissing you here, and here, and here. If you like doing just this, then I’m ok with that. If you want me to do more tell me. Or show me. You’re in control. I’ll follow your lead.”

This wasn’t something that I did/said explicitly for sex. It’s just what I always did when getting someone to expand their comfort zone — leave them in control, but give them ways to push their boundaries gradually and comfortably, and never push them further than they want to go.

Somewhere in the middle of this, we interrupted our kissing to turn on the TV and loaded up Netflix, and watched the Channing Tatum dance movie, Step Up, which was surprisingly hot and great makeout material. At some point, in the middle of the movie, I already had my fingers in her and had brought her off once. Then by the end of the film, we dragged ourselves into my bedroom for an afternoon of some of the most fantastic sex that I’ve had.

G. woke me up at some point in the early evening and asked me to head home with her. She picked up some extra clothes and toiletries, then we got a pizza, went home and kept having sex. It basically turned into a 36 hour first date.

We’d see each other about once a week for the next three months. Usually it was just sex, though maybe we’d meet for lunch or dinner somewhere beforehand. During our rendezvous’ we talked about a bunch of stuff, sharing past histories and memories while snuggling and ignoring the time. I got to know her really well, and we became really good, true friends. But it was usually just a short few hours squeezed in a Wednesday night or a Sunday afternoon. That 36 hour first date was such a luxury.

Even though V. and D. tended to be a bit brazen about their dating, G. and I preferred to be discreet. We’d see each other at a friend’s summer cookout, or someone’s birthday party, and might be a little extra touchy or flirty with each other, but no kissing or other PDA. V. kept his distance from us, but he was always happy to hangout and talk with me whenever I saw him in public.

Eventually, though, I was going to move. So, a couple of weeks before my last day, I convinced G. to come out with me to a vacation cabin that I rented for a weekend on the beach. It was nice. Really, really nice. Then at the end of that weekend, we just agreed to end it, and let it go.

What precautions did you take to prevent STIs and pregnancy? Did you discuss STI history? V. and G. were not planning on having kids yet, so she was on a couple of different birth control regimens to prevent pregnancy, and she initially encouraged me to use condoms because of V.’s promiscuity. She hinted that D. may have been sleeping with other men besides V., so she was a risk factor. Eventually, though, by the end of the first month, we had stopped using condoms altogether.

What were your REASONS for having this hookup? Those last few months of leaving the place where I spent my young adult years were filled with a bunch of mixed emotions. I was giddy for a new start, but also sad to be leaving friends behind. This situation seemed to be really well suited for soothing that sort of ambivalence. It was a chance to explore a curiosity that I had with a friend, and satisfy a desire that we both had for each other, but with a built-in timer to keep this from ever getting too complicated.

Were alcohol or drugs involved? If so, how much? G. and I would drink sometimes on our dates, but never did drugs.

What happened AFTER the hookup? How did you feel about it? What are your expectations/hopes for the future with this person? How do you feel about them now? Despite all of the boundaries, I did develop feelings for her, and I was a bit crushed and lonely after I moved. We kept emailing each other for a while after that, and I felt like that kept me from moving on earlier than I should have. Eventually, a year or so later, she and V. separated and split up. It was for other reasons besides the open relationship, but I think they both realized that they were getting to a point in their lives where they wanted to stop fucking around, but couldn’t actually stand to just be around each other.

I’ve been back to visit a couple of times since I moved away, and in one of those times, neither of us happened to be dating anyone, so G. came over to my hotel and we had one more night together. That was lovely, but we both realize, at this point, that we can’t move to be with each other, and neither of us want a long-term relationship, so this is likely all that it will ever be.

To whom did you talk about the hookup? How did they react? V. and D. knew, of course. A couple of G.’s closest friends knew, and they were both really supportive of us. One person that I dated in my new city has known about this part of my past, and I think that they were more amused than anything else.

Was this a consensual and/or wanted experience for you? For your partner? Very consensual for both of us.

Do you regret this hookup? If so, why? Not at all. I mean, I may regret that it was a hookup. There was a dark thought in my mind from the days shortly after I moved away, when I was grieving, of the what-if’s of “what if I actually dated G. before V. moved in on her?” But I realize now that it isn’t something that will bring me any peace, and I should at least be grateful of having had the chance to be with her before I moved away and that door got permanently shut.

In the end, it improved the friendship that I had with V. and G. They both turned to me separately when going through their divorce, and I tried my best to be fair to both of them. But, again, I hated being so far away. We’re still good friends now, even though we’re separated by distance.

What was the BEST thing about this hookup? How about the WORST? Has this hookup changed the way you think about casual sex, sexuality, or yourself in general? It was great sex, great companionship, and a great eye-opener to the simple pleasure of uncomplicated affection. I appreciated the way this arrangement allowed all of us to become better, closer friends with each other, without letting jealousy or pettiness ruin anything.

The worst thing was getting attached despite my original intentions, and having that haunt me in my first year away. Though, I still don’t know if I would’ve traded all of that grief for one more month together.

All things considered, how POSITIVE was this experience? Very positive
All things considered, how NEGATIVE was this experience? Not at all negative

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