I was at a client’s office recently, and was recognized from driving around the city at some point. The person who recognized me indicated that she saw me with someone, “probably my girlfriend or wife”, and given the time frame… I couldn’t be sure which girlfriend or person-I-was-out-with-who-is-probably-not-a-girlfriend-really she saw me with. I made a noncommittal noise and talked about the area we were seen in by way of changing the subject.
It’s made me realize that I’ll probably have to be “out” as nonmonogamous at some point, even in the workplace. It’s a small city, and I run into clients and coworkers all the time. The latter aren’t really a problen; there’s one guy who will make stupid jokes if he finds out I’m seeing other people, but everyone else is fine. I’m already out to at least one person there.
Clients are more complicated. I’m a consultant, so my “office” is just a central base I spend small amounts of time at. The vast majority of my week is spent at various other offices around southern New England, which have a wide range of cultures and attitudes. The place with the gal who saw me with my “girlfriend or wife” is someplace that it would probably be fine. Other places might go so far as to ask me not to come back, I think. Most are in the middle, where it would be uncomfortable knowledge but probably wouldn’t seriously impact my client relationships.
It won’t serve not to explain, though, I’d imagine. Otherwise, I will just get pegged as a cheater rather than someone who openly sees other people. I’ve mostly avoided casual discussions of my love life, but people make small talk, and it at least comes up that I’m living with a significant other.
None of this is a huge problem. I’m an upper-middle-class white fellow, and I tick off basically every category of privilege out there, so people might look askance but I wouldn’t expect serious consequences. It’s an angle I hadn’t considered, though; given that I’m not going to, say, hide away the non-Carrie folks that I’m seeing, I’m probably going to have to explain myself.
Also, I may have to tell my doctor, because I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m cheating, too.