Dating in Secret

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

by Dr Timaree Leigh

“I’m a lesbian who having an affair with a married woman. She says she loves her husband as a friend but she’s never been really attracted to him. We’ve only been involved a short amount of time and she’s only ever been known as a heterosexual, so she’s not ready to throw everything away for me yet. And that’s fine with me too: I don’t need a serious relationship now either. But I do want to keep seeing her and I want to keep it quiet. I know you don’t approve of deceit, but you have to have some knowledge about dating in secret. What do I do and not do to keep this under wraps until we have a solid plan about what we want?”

You’re Fucking A right I don’t approve of deceit. And thank you for bringing it up for me so I don’t have to look like Ole Prudey McBuzzkill who calls the cops about keg parties and tattles to the whole class that it was you who farted.

For reals, though: deception (including omitting and misdirecting from the truth), RUINS relationships. It chips away at trust, which is the foundation of any relationship, no matter how casual. It creates physically dangerous situations- you think sexually transmitted infections get passed from people who have this conversation?:

Person 1: What is this bump here?
Person 2: I suspect it’s my HPV. Oh, and I totes have herpes. But that looks more like a wart.
Person 1: Ahh, you don’t say. Carry on!

And, to top it off, deception ruins sex. Without it, BDSM can turn into assault. And anything and everything you do is tainted by the knowledge that you could get seriously blackmailed later. Even at its most casual, sex requires vulnerability and the faith that your partner won’t randomly opt to cut your dick off.

And now with that PSA out of the way, let’s facilitate people hooking up on the DL.


  1. RESPECT HER BOUNDARIES. She doesn’t want anybody to know- that means forfeiting your right to blab about it and putting aside your wants and needs to keep things under wraps, no matter how much you wish you could see her right now. If you start changing your mind about things and want to get more serious, it doesn’t mean it’s ok to start getting lazy on the secretiveness. No pushing the envelope. If she’s not ready to be out, then you need to respect that or move on to another lady.
  2. LEAVE NO TRACES. No activity on her Facebook page, no hickies, no claw marks, no leaving articles of clothing behind. For her it means no keeping texts on her phone or emails in her inbox. Communication should be done face to face as much as possible. Pay in cash for everything and toss receipts so there’s no paper trail.
  3. BE VIGILANT. Best be on your game at all times to make sure there are no clues left for her cuckolded hubby. Think ahead, have a plan and don’t get lazy or cocky if some time passes without incident.
  4. MEET SMART. Don’t go to places where you can be seen by anyone either one of you knows or by anyone who knows her husband. Don’t go to places where you can be seen in general. Going to another town is a good idea if you have an adequate excuse. If you drive to meet up, park your car a good distance away from the hangout and ideally some place that it won’t be viewed by traffic.
  5. COVER ALL CONTINGENIES. Have smart excuses prepared in advance. She needs to establish with her partner that she has some place to be ahead of time and, if applicable, have allies who can act as alibis. Come up with activities that are as un-traceable to her husband as possible. God, I hate writing this. I feel dirty.
  6. ACT COOL. Don’t change your routines in obvious ways- people will notice. Make sure your rosy new romance attitude adjustment isn’t visible. And don’t think you’re smarter than everyone else. People notice stuff they don’t necessarily tell you about.
  7. MINIMIZE THE RISK. Don’t blab to people. Don’t stay on dates longer than planned no matter how much you want to. Don’t take pictures or have PDA in public. Be smart.
  8. HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY. Maybe this affair will be what your girl needs to leave her life of stymieing compulsory heterosexuality and the two of you will end up together, holding hands and prancing into the rainbow-colored sunset where you’ll live happily ever after with your three cats and matching haircuts. Or maybe she’ll realize this was just an experiment and she’s too chickenshit to break out of the shell of a life she’s created for herself, leaving you high and dry after an unreasonable amount of time and investment. Who knows? Any relationship can end suddenly and badly, but this one has a higher than normal potential for that. So be prepared. Consider dating other, more appropriate candidates and know that if this interaction causes you more stress than it brings you joy, it’s time to throw in the towel.

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