I’m curious, Peadar, did you ever consider the moral implications of what you were doing?
The implications of what?
Cheating on your wife, Haruka. Cuckolding Kei’s husband.
Oh, that . . .
Well, back when I first started sleeping with Xiuying, I felt nervous more than anything—nervous that Haruka might find out. I didn’t know how I would explain myself. But then, Haruka never did find out . . .
At least you don’t think she did.
Are you implying that she knew about the affairs?
I’m not implying anything, Peadar. It’s just that many women turn a blind eye to their husband’s infidelities, knowing that divorce would be far more disruptive to their lives than the occasional fling.
True. You know, before we married, Haruka surprised me by saying that she would be able to tolerate her husband visiting a soapland . . .
Soaplands are a uniquely Japanese kind of brothel. Customers pay to take a bath with a woman who washes the man, massages him, and then depending on the customer’s needs and budget, either has sex with, or performs some kind of act on the man resulting in the man’s “pipes” also getting “cleaned”. Or so they say; I have never been to one myself.
Those enigmatic Japanese.
Yes, well anyways, Haruka said she could forgive “an affair of the body”, but not “an affair of the heart”, the latter being the bigger threat.
How would you have felt if Haruka had also sleeping around?
A German friend once asked me the very same question and it gave me some pause. How would I feel, I wondered. Would I be upset? Would I be angry? Or, would I be relieved? I had been with Haruka for more than four or five years, married for over two of those years, and I was now quietly longing for a way out of the marriage. If Haruka were also engaging in an extramarital affair, I concluded, why, there was the exit! All I needed to do was walk through it.
And don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
Knowing Haruka, though, I don’t think she would have overlooked the opportunity to lay into me with her usual extortionist demands, so I doubt she ever knew.
So, you didn’t think about the morality of . . .
Knowing what the right thing to do is, and when to do it.
Was it morally wrong to sleep around while I was married to Haruka? That’s what you want to ask, right?
This isn’t about my wanting to ask you anything, Peadar. That isn’t my place. All I can do is help you reflect upon your actions, and hope you ask those questions yourself.
Alright, then! I’ll ask myself: was it morally wrong for me to have slept around? Before I answer that, let me say that I think the morality of any action depends on the circumstances.
Moral reality. Listen: I have a friend who sleeps around a lot and isn’t very good at keeping it from his wife. I’m sure he tries to be discreet, but he makes bonehead mistakes. It wouldn’t surprise me if his wife knew much more about his infidelities than he realizes. The interesting thing about it, though, is his wife has, as far as I know, never ever confronted him about the philandering. Her own father was a randy old sod who actually livedin a love hotel of all places, so I doubt she has any illusions about the trouble men’s dicks can get them into. The bar she has set for my friend to be “a good husband” is so low that he is able to skip over it. It seems that if he is able to bring home a steady paycheck and be a halfway decent father, she’s more than content. Is it, then, immoral for my friend to cheat on his wife? Probably, but then his wife might actually be disappointed if he didn’t, perverse as that may sound. So long as my friend is able to keep his extramarital relationships on the physical level, not the emotional one; so long as he doesn’t shove his wife’s face into the affairs, there doesn’t seem to be any overtly negative consequence to his infidelity. Expectations are important, too.
Yes. If you enter into a relationship where there is no expectation of the partners being faithful, then it probably isn’t immoral if either of them seeks sexual encounters outside of the relationship.
What do you think Haruka’s expectations were?
What about mine? I didn’t go into the marriage thinking that I would end up sleeping around. If she had been more cooperative, I doubt I would have ever . . .
So, you’re saying it was Haruka’s fault?
No . . . It was both of our fault. We were both in our own way uncompromising and selfish.