Leaving Las Vegas

I found three condoms in my husband's luggage that weren't meant for me

Photograph by Getty Images

Last time we went on vacation, I found three condoms in my husband John's luggage. Actually, it was my suitcase that he had borrowed to take on a business trip.

I was unpacking the case when those three shiny packets appeared. I was surprised, intrigued and amused.

"Excuse me," I said to John, placing the packets in his hands. "I think you forgot something."

"Oh, those," he said.

"Yes, those," I said. Are they yours?"

"Yes, I took them to Las Vegas, but didn't use them."

"Did you take only those three?" I asked, now curious.

"Yes, of course," he answered with righteous indignation. "You're the one who said to be prepared. You packed them for Steve."

"That was another husband, twenty years ago, but you're right,” I said and then paused for a moment. “Was there anyone in particular you were interested in?"

"No one special,” he answered. “I was just keeping my options open.”

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So, this is what it has finally come down to. The both of us casually, bloodlessly, openly discussing possible infidelity. Maybe it’s healthier this way. I mean, the current divorce rate affirms that one out of two marriages end in divorce. For second marriages, the rate is even higher. And if you’re lucky enough to be struggling through a third marriage, 73% of you will wind up alone again, naturally.

My husband and I are two individuals who have our own independent dreams, aspirations, friends, interests, hobbies, lives. Where we intersect is at our daughter. We both love the hell out of her and have to see her every day. And the prospect of splitting our time with her (to say nothing of setting up two households in Marin County) just makes divorce inconceivable.

Case in point, the other night. I arrived back home after dropping our daughter Izzy off at a study group. John bounded downstairs and when he saw it was just me, he looked so deflated as if the life was just sucked out of him.

We usually get along fine. I really like him and appreciate his kindness. We’re like roommates with some history. But we are married. I’ve got the document to prove it.

Sixteen years ago, we were flush with love and passion and we made it official in order to have a child. I know it isn’t required, but we wanted Izzy to know that she was planned for and wanted.

Now, our daughter is growing up and we’re stuck. We’ve run out of things to say to one another. We’ve gotten bored with each other. Hence, the possibility of infidelity.

It’s really not such a big deal. We don’t have any illusions about why we stay together. And it’s not as though the sex isn’t good. In fact, it’s very good. Even if we don’t have much to say around the dinner table, we can still moan like the best of them. Even if we’ve heard all those sighs, intakes of breath and cries before, it’s always like new!

But it’s not all about the sex, at least it’s not for me. It’s about having someone see me and value all that I have to give intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a different story for John.

So yeah, I was intrigued by the three condoms and welcomed an honest talk about what they were doing there, and if there were even more of them lying in some plastic pail on the Vegas strip. But John shut down that talk pronto. I know that Vegas is where dreams are made real, at least for a night, and what happens there, stays there. And sometimes I wish he had stayed there, too.


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