“Happy Endings” — Cheating or Not?

By E.J. Gordon

Everyone loves a happy ending. The movie industry knows this. The publishing industry knows this. And, of course, the massage parlor industry knows this.

We hear our husbands all the time making jokes about getting “Happy Endings”. Maybe he’s at a restaurant with friends, his meal comes, and as soon as the hot server leaves, he makes a comment: “Does this meal come with a Happy Ending?” Everyone laughs. Maybe you’re rubbing his back, and he turns, winks, and says: “Does this rub come with a Happy Ending?” (“You wish!” we jokingly reply.)

But strip away the jokes, and let’s think about this: Is there anything wrong with a Happy Ending?

Years ago, I was sitting around with my baby in our play group (remember those?), and one of the Moms asked, “Would you be mad if your husband got a Happy Ending after his massage?”

I remember feeling very strongly that YES, I would mind.

I remember saying: “Happy Endings cross a line. If I say it’s okay for him to do that, then what about an oral Happy Ending? Is that okay? Is it okay for him to hire a prostitute? Where is the boundary?”

One of the other women looked at me and said, “I would never tell my husband this, but I really don’t care. It’s just a HJ. What difference does it make?”

I maintained that it was cheating. That was when I had only been married for a couple of years. Now that we have over a decade under our belts, I think my view on this has changed.

There’s two sides of Happy Endings:
Side One – If It’s NOT Cheating

I asked a friend of mine yesterday about it, one who has been with her husband for 15 years, and she said, “It is cheating because it’s sexual. Once it crosses the line into sexual, it’s not okay.”

I countered, “But if there is a pretty woman massaging my husband and he gets turned on, and she’s just doing a regular massage, isn’t that sexual — because of what’s going on in his head?”

She said, “I don’t find regular massages sexual.”

Hmm, I thought to myself, I do.

I must say that over the years, with all of the different masseuses of both genders and all over the spectrum of attractiveness, there have been at least one or two times that I wouldn’t have minded a Happy Ending myself.

I mean, you’re lying there completely naked, and you have a good-looking person rubbing his/her hands all over you, pressing those sore spots in a way that hurts so good … it’s sort of natural to have some dirty thoughts go through your head.

The betrayal of an affair, to me, would be less about the sex and more about the constant lying, the second life he is having that is totally hidden from me. It would be about telling his lover that I, his wife, am not enough for him, maybe even bitching about me to her; the disloyalty of it would be the betrayal. It would be about telling me he’s out with friends or at work, but then really being somewhere with another woman. If he told me, though, that he was getting a massage, and I didn’t ask or care about the extent of it, and he knew I didn’t care, there really would be no betrayal.

If there’s one thing that’s abundantly clear, it’s that sexual boundaries vary.

I have friends whose husbands would be jealous if they even mildly flirted with another man. I also have friends who have three-ways with their husbands and other men or women. The people in these relationships are honest with one another about what they want and what they can tolerate. As long as both parties are on the same page and following the same rules, then trust is intact.

Side Two – It IS Cheating
If a woman says to her husband, “Don’t get a Happy Ending. To me, it’s cheating,” then she’s setting a clear boundary.

I asked that same friend who said it crosses the line, “Okay, so if you found out your husband finished his massage with a Happy Ending, would you throw him out of the house?”

“Throw him out? No, I wouldn’t throw him out. We have all of these kids together, we have a life together — I’m not going to throw it all out because of an HJ.” She laughed.

So clearly for her, while it might be cheating, it’s not that big of a deal.

Another friend of mine said something similar: “I wouldn’t end my marriage over it, but I would be very angry and hurt …The issue I have is that you don’t just go to a massage parlor and get offered these things. You have to find these places; you have to ask around, do research, seek one out. It’s premeditated. It’s almost worse than ‘I was drunk and messed up when I ran into an ex at the bar.’ Now, that’s a fuck-up. This, however, is something he is actually planning. And in that month while he is seeking out the right parlor, he is lying to me. That’s why I would be so hurt. And really, if he just wanted an HJ, why wouldn’t he just ask me?”

That’s a fair point: IF a guy has a willing wife, why is he risking his marriage on something so stupid and not even that satisfying?

For me, I like to tell my husband that it’s cheating, even though I truly don’t care that much. Then, if he does go do this, at least I might get some guilty affection and attention from him. And if I find out, he can act all contrite — which is something I’m sure I could get a lot of mileage from — without having all of the pain that a bigger affair would afflict.

Hmm, maybe I could get him to do the dishes and put the kids to bed a bit more often …

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: E.J. Gordon is a freelance writer, a regular contributor to GIRLillaWarfare,  and “Sexpert”. Have any questions or topics that you would like her to address? Remember: No subject is taboo, and Anonymity is accepted. Contact E.J. at: EJGordon529@gmail.com.

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