Hi Jake,

I work in sales which means I travel a lot for work to meet with various clients. I don’t mind that being part of the job, especially because it allows me to experience new parts of the world. More importantly, it gives me time to do my own thing, away from my husband. I think it’s healthy to have alone time in a marriage, since we normally spend so much time together at home (we both work remotely).

Lately, however, I’ve been doing something that I’m not exactly proud of. Whenever I have a business trip, I lie to my husband about the dates, and add a couple extra nights onto the trip. I really just want the extra time for myself that’s not filled with work or home stuff, so I can pamper myself, “disappear”, and do whatever I want, before returning to my real life.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing too crazy! Most of the time I just order a bunch of room service and watch the movies I want to watch that my husband would hate. Occasionally, I’ll get an erotic massage in my hotel room.

I feel bad lying, but it’s just something I like to do. I’m afraid if I tell my secret to my husband, he won’t approve. I’m not ready to give it up, especially because part of the fun is being off the grid. What should I do?

Crafty Commuter

Dear Crafty Commuter,

I can certainly understand the appeal in enjoying some private time. Let’s face it, being married with a house and a full-time job can feel like a lot of obligation–and that’s not even including having pets or children!

When you’re balancing so much, the thing that often falls by the wayside is actually the one thing you need the most: taking care of yourself. By extending your trips and giving yourself some solo-time, what you’re really doing is prioritizing yourself.

We all have things we like to do that make us feel good. If these things are healthy coping mechanisms, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Watching your favorite movies, eating chicken fingers from the hotel restaurant, and yes, even getting an erotic massage, is a lot more benign than going on a drinking binge, doing drugs, or throwing away your life savings in a casino. If self-care time helps you reduce stress, and reconnect with yourself, that’s a good thing!

What isn’t a good thing is anything that involves guilt or shame. Some might not care that they have their little “secrets”, but the fact that you wrote this letter indicates there’s some level of uncertainty about what you’re doing, and concern about whether or not it’s fair to your husband.

If he loves and supports you, he’ll want the best for you, and yes, that might even include allowing you to have an erotic massage from time to time. I would encourage you to talk to him about your needs, and why they are important to you, so that you aren’t tainting your alone-time with a feeling of doing something wrong.

If you were to talk about what you need, and he doesn’t approve, it might bear some further conversations, not only to convey the importance of this for you, but also to understand why it bothers him. Couples therapy can be a great place to have these negotiations, with an objective mediator.

My hope is that eventually you’ll be able to continue doing what you need in a respectful way, without feeling like it’s your “dirty little secret.” Instead of texting your husband that you’re in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation, hopefully you can kick back on that Westin Heavenly bed, scroll MasseurFinder.com, and watch Buffy on repeat.

Just make sure you’re hitting your honesty goals just as much as those sales quotas.

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty editor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.

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Queerty’s licensed mental health professional helps readers navigate questions related to relationship dynamics, sex, gay culture, and more, all through a lens of releasing shame and living authentically.

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