He was married. Oh well, I thought. At least there would be some eye candy to look at throughout the day. And still, a silent note of thanks, because it could have been much worse.
He was personable. And intelligent. And he smelled nice. All fantastic, wonderful, amazing things when taking into consideration that these conferences usually made me want to gouge out my eyes with my ball-point pen.
But then it happened.
"So, what's your story anyway? Are you married, engaged, divorced . . . ?"
I waggled my ring-less hand a few inches from his face.
"Ah, so unmarried and unengaged." He lifted his ring encircled finger. "Not me. I will have been married two years in February, but we've been together for 10 years."
"Ten years?? I hope you don't take offense to this, but I pegged you at 24-25 tops. You've been with your wife since you were 14?"
He laughed and shook his head. "Close. I'm 26. We've been together since we were 16."
"Wow. I don't think I've kept anything for 10 years, let alone a person."
He laughed again. "So there's no long-term boyfriend or anything in your life?"
"Nope. I ended a relationship back in January and since then . . . I guess you could say I've dated around."
I thought I'd misheard. Surely he hadn't said "Me, too." He must have said something like "Too bad" or "The shoe." Not, "Me, too"?
"I'm so sorry, I must have misheard you. What was it you said?"
"Me, too. I said 'Me, too'."
"Me, too? As in . . . ? What do you mean Me, too?"
"Me, too. As in I'm dating around."
"But I thought you just said you're married?"
"I am. And I love her more than anything. But I like to have a little sex on the side. It keeps me from getting bored. And I think it actually spices up our sex life, too."
I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that; or if I even wanted to. Truth be told, I was ready for the conversation to be finished. And ready to change seats. "Soooo . . . your wife knows all of this?"
"Oh no! She'd leave me if she ever found out. She doesn't and can't know any of this."
I was even more confused now. Not to mention disgusted. "But if you love her . . . and you know she'd leave you . . . and you don't want her to leave . . . why do you cheat?"
"Because it's fun and it feels good. Plus it gives me ideas of things to do with my wife. After ten years the sex can get a little boring but I learn things from other women that help me spice things up in the bedroom with my wife."
I felt myself physically gag. The thought of any man believing that sleeping with someone other than his wife was to his wife's benefit was too much for me to stomach. "If you found out your wife was doing the same things you're doing, would you be amenable to it?"
"Hell, no. She better never cheat on me."
Ugh. And this is why I'm not certain I'll ever be able to be married. This is why two engagements have ended and a three year relationship went no-where fast. Because every time I start to think "Marriage can be good" I meet one of these guys. The Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do guys. The I'm-married-but-who-does-it-hurt-if-I-have-a-little-on-the-side guys. The It's-just-sex guys.
What if I inadvertently married one of those guys?