morality, ethics and self-worth

I had a lovely little IM exchange with a gent I know the other day…this is the man who has a crush on me, but is married. Apparently, “the fam” left him alone in town while they took a little summer vacation. Meanwhile, my family is also away. And I think he was trying to feel me out or make a play to see if I might venture into forbidden territory with him…

We chatted (all while accomplishing scads of other tasks, I’m sure, being it was during the work day and all!) about morality, ethics and the very slight nuance of meaning that distinguishes them (please feel free to consult your unabridged dictionary here, as I shall not pursue a deep dive into this portion of the discussion).

Having had some experience with decidedly immoral behaviors in my past, I am not one to judge too harshly others’ behavior or situations. However, I do have a pretty firm view of what I believe to be right and wrong based on my own experience (as much as any moral code). That said, I’m friends with many married guys with whom I share chemistry or attraction, and we still continue to behave as friends — i.e. go out for lunch or drinks, or chat on the phone once in a while, etc. So this fellow and I flirted around with the idea of catching up for a drink…with me thinking this would be a great time to get really clear with him about what I think is in bounds and what is clearly out-of-bounds as it relates to me, the divorcee, and him, the married dude.

Based on the flavor of his text messages, however, it was becoming clear that he was thinking catching up for a drink would be a great time to cross one or more of those lines I’d drawn, or was planning to draw, in the sand. And so I told him we could have a drink if he could behave…to which he respectfully declined, offering me instead (once more) the opportunity for all of the pleasure with none of the commitment.

“That always sounds so good to a man,” I replied. And there are ways in which I can see why they’d think this would also sound good to a woman…particularly given all the research suggesting women get the short end of the stick in marriage. (Egad, I do always talk in clichés!)  Yet I wonder if his wife knows that she’s in an open marriage?

Our conversation concluded with him asking me whether my stance was a moral or ethical decision. My reply? Neither. Even if it’s only about pleasure, even if I’m not at this moment seeking commitment, I still have no desire to engage in any sort of relationship-like arrangement with a fellow I can’t call when I want to, who can’t jet off with me to New York for the weekend or who can’t/won’t introduce me to his friends. It goes right back to the issue of availability. It just doesn’t interest me…no matter how horny I am. That’s why I’ve got Doc Johnson, after all…

My position has nothing to do with morals or ethics…it has to do with what I wrote about a couple of weeks ago:  keeping my eyes on the prize — and about self-worth. I now simply value myself too much to become entangled in something that leaves me emotionally empty and bereft, a situation that puts me at risk for no emotional up side. And it feels good to own it and to value myself enough to stand firm…no matter how tempting the thought might be…because I can get my pleasure without commitment elsewhere, should I decide to.

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