Is My Husband a Cylon?
Dear Dr. Matt,
I’m married, and a girlfriend of mine asked me one day what I did when my husband gets attracted to other women. I told her that it was impossible, that we’re happily married, and people who are happily married don’t get attracted to other people. The thing is, when I said this, she looked at me like I was crazy. I love my husband and I know he loves me. But she always has good things to say, so I’m wondering, Dr. Matt, am I crazy to believe I can trust him?
-Happily Married in Toledo
Well, HAMIT, as I’ll call you now, let me put your mind at ease to tell you that you are not crazy. However, you are—and I say this with the greatest amount of respect—a dummy.
Here’s the problem. What you’re doing is bundling attraction, love, commitment, and trust into one package and treating them as if they’re all the same thing. That’s stupid.
Here’s what I mean. I’m assuming from this that you and your husband are monogamous. Obviously, if he’s lost his ability to be attracted to others, then monogamy is the only possible scenario here. Monogamy is one of many relationship structures that people engage in, one out of many choices that people make when entering into a committed relationship. Monogamy is a choice where both people say, “You’re my only sexual partner.” A lot of people automatically enter into monogamy when they get married, and a lot of people will say, “Let’s open a joint bank account,” and “Let’s live in the same house.” But these are all separate choices. Monogamy is not an automatic consequence of marriage, and opening a joint savings account is not an automatic consequence of monogamy. Each one is a choice, no matter how little its discussed. Many married people are not monogamous, many people who are committed to each other and trust each other go out on dates with other people, and on the flip side, many people who are monogamous do not have joint savings accounts. Incidentally, when I’m talking about non-monogamy, I’m not talking about individuals who are non-monogamous but don’t tell their partner they are non-monogamous, because while that is a choice, it is a stupid one, and those are stupid people.
Monogamy is a choice of relationship structure. It’s an arbitrary agreement about what each partner will do, but it ain’t an agreement on what each person will feel. In fact, you could say that monogamy exists so that people will make choices to bond only to each other in spite of what they may feel. Not that that makes a lot of sense to me. I think if I feel like eating a bag of Hint-Of-Lime Tostitos, I’m going to do it. But some people like to say, “Zesty Taco Doritos are the only chips for me for the rest of my life.” And that’s fine. Monogamy is kind of like a relationship diet, and is a choice like any other diets. Some people stick to strict diets, and some people choose to just eat healthy without drastically narrowing their food choices.
Attraction, on the other hand, is a biological response. We will respond favorably to a beautiful sunset regardless of whether or not we declared our love to the moon the night before. We will fall in love with a touching film, and declare it one of our favorites, and doing so does not eliminate our love for all previous films that happened to be made by the Walt Disney company. Attraction is simply an evolutionary beeper that goes off and says, “Hey, look! Suitable mate! Suitable mate!” It doesn’t matter if you’re not interested in mating or you already have a suitable mate, the beeper just goes off whenever it darn well pleases. And it should, it’s what keeps the human race in existence. It continues to go off so that if our mate is killed by a mastodon, we can look at the numbers on our beeper and figure out a different way to pass on our DNA.
Your question, HAMIT, was basically, “The qualities that allowed a relationship with my husband to occur; that is, that he was ability to feel love for another, to be attracted, and to bond with another human being, despite his previous attachments in this way, I believe all those qualities have now been eliminated entirely, and he exists as a kind of Cylon pseudo-human who can only emulate these qualities with respect to me. Am I crazy to believe that’s true?”
I think the real reason this question is being posed, this quest to have a Cylon husband, is due to the fear that if you allow yourself to acknowledge that yes, he is still quite human and is attracted to other people, then you must acknowledge that it’s possible, entirely possible that he may bond with another person in the same way that he has bonded with you. It’s the terrifying fact that when it comes to relationships, we are not in control, despite that ring on your finger, despite that certificate with a number of signatures on it, despite those words you said to each other, despite how much the two of you love each other in this moment. The future is, for all of us, unknown. I mean, look, the Walt Disney might make another movie, and I may decide that Monsters, Inc. is no longer the animated movie I look upon most fondly. I highly doubt it, but yet I must acknowledge the possibility.
I don’t say that to scare you further. If anything, I think that acknowledging that the man you married is still human is a way to make your choices count for something. Otherwise, you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone who doesn’t exist, and imaginary relationships never seem to end well.
Having said that, since I’m urging you to accept some possibilities outside your comfort zone, I think it’s only fair that I accept the possibility that your husband is a Cylon, and is able to reprogram himself at will, until such point when he joins the other Cylons in a conquest of the human race. If that were true, then yes, it’s possible he is attracted to no one but you, but as a side note, marriages to artificial lifeforms are not considered valid under the law. But as a side side note, if Republicans in the U.S. continue to be in power in the future, then it’s entirely possible that the ability to marry a robot will be made law before gay marriage is, which will be justified by Republicans who will say that robots are only a threat to our lives and not to the institution of marriage… as long as the robots are not gay. Because there’s nothing a Republican fears more on this earth than a gay robot. How can you make that robot feel shame about his gayness? You simply can’t.
Thanks for your question!
Write to Dr. Matt! Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Dr. Matt is not a real doctor.