More readers responded to my call for examples from their own lives. They include Frank, who in 1993 bought a used Harley Davidson. He did not inform his wife of this purchase. He kept the motorcycle at work so he could ride it on Saturdays. If the missis happened to show up at his place of employment while he was cruising on his secret bike, Frank’s employees would text him the code “666.”
This went on for three years.
“Then at a Christmas party, a friend spilled the beans and I was left backstroking,” wrote Frank, who lives in Annapolis.
Several years later, Frank submitted this tale to a Washington radio station and won its contest for the best “Why I Don’t Deserve My Loved One” story.
Last June, Frank and his wife celebrated their 42nd anniversary — “but she still hasn’t totally forgiven me,” he wrote.
Shari lives in Washington. Her POSSLQ — that’s “person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters” — is very particular about the way he sleeps: The top sheet and blanket must be untucked. Shari, on the other hand, likes the bedclothes tucked in at the end of the bed.
“We’ve compromised over the years with his half untucked, and my half tucked in,” she wrote.
The problem is, with nothing to tether her boyfriend’s half of the covers, they migrate to Shari’s side of the bed.
“The top sheet hangs all the way to the floor on my side, and he says I steal the covers,” she wrote.
So about six months ago, Shari started putting the corner of his half of the top sheet underneath the leg of the platform bed frame.
“It’s just enough material to hold onto the sheet and keep it and the covers in place,” she wrote. “The rest of his half is untucked, billowy, free.”
The last person out of bed makes the bed, which is almost always Shari, allowing her to keep up the subterfuge.
Wrote Shari: “I think if he knew the sheet were held in place, just the thought of it would inhibit his sleep, and I rue the day that he discovers my deep dark secret.”
In 1993, Rich and his wife were both sent to the north of England for their jobs.
“We rented a lovely house with beautiful views of the rolling hills, with their patch-work quilt of brilliant green pasture land,” wrote Rich, who now lives in Edgewater, Md.
The views may have been sublime, but the kitchen was somewhat spartan. Most annoying of all was the tiny and troublesome refrigerator.
“It had a lock-tight seal that was tighter than any Egyptian king’s tomb,” he wrote. Opening it involved holding the frame of the refrigerator while prying the door open.
One day, Rich tried to just open the door normally. In an instant, the door handle broke off completely.
Rich was left staring in disbelief at the severed handle in his hand. He glued it back on and returned to the tedious, careful, fail-safe method of opening the fridge.
Several weeks later, his wife went to open the fridge and wound up ripping off the door handle.
“Now,” Rich wrote, “I could have said, ‘Don’t worry about it, because I broke it off a while ago and used super glue to re-attach it.’ ”
Instead, he kept his mouth shut and said, “Don’t worry about it. We will get it repaired.”
Wrote Rich: “It’s been 27 years since then and it’s still my little secret.”
When recycling was introduced in Fairfax County, Sallie had a tough time getting her husband to buy into it. She was constantly pulling his cans and bottles out of the trash to recycle them properly.
Then Sallie heard that fines were going to be levied against households that didn’t recycle. She crafted a letter from the waste removal company to their household saying it had come to their attention that the family had not been recycling. If they continued to mix recycling in with the trash, they would have to pay a $50 fine.
“I slipped it into our mail and my husband read it,” wrote Sallie, of Vienna.
He was outraged — convinced that one of their neighbors had ratted him out — but he stopped throwing away the bottles, newspapers and cans.
“Mission accomplished!” wrote Sallie.
About five years later, the couple was at a dinner with neighbors when the issue of recycling came up. Sallie’s husband bitterly recounted how one of the other neighbors had turned him in for mixing recycling in with the trash.
“They looked at him like he was crazy,” Sallie wrote. “I could not keep a straight face and started laughing. The lightbulb went off in his head and he looked at me with amazement and said, ‘You wrote that letter, didn’t you?!’
“I fessed up and we all had a good laugh at my trickery and still do to this day.”
Tomorrow: More tales of deceit.
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.