Open Marriage: How Taboo!

A couple is tanning on their deck by the pool…

The husband turns to his wife and says, “Darling, I just had an idea! Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could have all the delicious sex we can get with anyone we want and still be peacefully married? Imagine what hidden away fun we could have while we live in the comfort of our mutual love, respect, and understanding, surrounded by our cherished family and the comforts we took so long to build (like keeping the boat we have docked in the Caribbean in one piece instead of losing it in our divorce!). What do you think of that?

… And she would turn back to him with a surprised delight on her face and say, “Oh, darling this sounds great! I can finally stop salivating over our pool boy Hank and quell the longing I have always had for your best friend Pedro! …. Ahhh what a splendid idea! As long as I get to spend time with you as well to feel your love and support and do not wind up lonely and bored while you are OUT. Which of course I should not, because only boring people are ever bored!”

“Yes, darling, we would still keep our Saturday date-cultural-excursion-night, and the Sunday with the family. Except for, perhaps, an occasional get away… and let’s keep my friend Pedro out of it too.”

“Of course darling, as long as you stay away from my cute cousin Kate, other family members, and any of the kids’ friends’ parents!”

“Sure sweetheart, and you would please keep off any of my business associates, golf club members and other connections who might not understand our arrangement, and will simply think I am being disrespected by my charming wife!”

“Sure darling it will be our best kept secret!”

At this point they both smile, take a deep breath, ease in to their lounge chairs, take a sip of their drinks, close their eyes, and keep on smiling with their eyes closed, imagining all the future possibilities they just unleashed.”

How idyllic …

… Or would she be thinking: “Is he out of his mind? Why is he asking me for that? Does he not love me? Is he really bored with our sex? Am I bored with our sex? What is in it for me? What will the Richards think of us? Have we lost touch? Is this the end of our marriage? Will he get bored and leave me after he has all that delicious sex somewhere else? Will it save our marriage, because he will still come back to me? Why should I let him? What will he do if I tell him NO F**KING WAY?!”

Wow… with all those questions it does not look so carefree anymore. After all, if she says NFW, would he proceed with his end of the bargain without her consent? Or will he stay put like a good boy, if mommy says NO?

Consider this scenario:

A man comes up to his friend with a proposition to have a sizzling threesome.

The man to whom it was offered, inquires with curiosity, “Really? Who is going to be in our threesome?”

The first man replies, “Well, for now it is just you, your wife and myself. Is it not HOT?”

The husband replies in dismay, “NO way! I am out!” The first man shrugged his shoulders and says, “Ok Bill, we are crossing you out, then!” 🙂

One lady who told me, that she and her husband had a very simple arrangement. Every time he had sex with another woman, evident by being gone for the night, he had to give her an expensive gift or $500.00 in cash (which ever greater). I was surprised to hear such a DEAL, and shocked even more to hear that the husband would honor this arrangement! Wow, I thought, they are really open minded. I could not resist asking, “Do you not get upset at him for sleeping with other women?” She said with a wicked smile, “Well the gift or the cash offsets it nicely!”

Another arrangement I hear often, “I like girls and my husband lets me have my lesbian affairs on the side, and he does not feel threatened by them.” Another WOW from me, “He really is a good husband! He really trusts you! And who is he sleeping with in exchange for such a perk?

………

One glorious example of an open marriage I have seen, was with a couple who were married for over 20 years. Will call them, Sara and Jerry.

They decided that they did not wish to divorce, and opted for an open marriage instead. They really loved, cared and enjoyed each others company, their children and family. The only thing they could not do with any enthusiasm was to get excited with each other in the bedroom.

So they decided to try an open marriage. Since there was no animosity, they arranged it with the same loving care and consideration they had for all the family business. They were mindful of the children and gentle on the family. They were convinced, their arrangement was both sensible and practical. Sara converted one of their close friends and a common face around the house and on family vacations, a recent divorcee himself, Carlos, to the role of a lover-guest. Her husband needed more variety so he would simply “travel on business.”

They would go on vacations around the world together, like a group of chummy friends/family. Perfect? Was there friction? Should there be? Carlos actually enjoyed being immersed in the middle of such a “surrogate family.” Perhaps the children thought he was just a nice uncle.

Was it perfectly easy and fun for all? Was it adventuresome and exciting? Sure sounds like it was.

I got this story from the perspective of Carlos. He, being the close friend of the family, really loved them. It almost sounded that he went into the arrangement “to help them out” sort of. It seemed that they, Sara especially, were giving him much needed support in his divorce as well. This, naturally has gotten them so close that sleeping together seemed like just a natural next step. He almost cried telling me about how the love he felt from them towards each other would overwhelm him.

He described a moment they were together on a vacation and he and Sara would be in bed in their room, hearing how Jerry would stumble in their shared suite in the middle of the night with a couple of tipsy and giggling girls. Sounds so taboo… Did they just lay there and listen to those three enjoy themselves? Would they join in? I mean, once you are that open minded, where do you draw the line?

I drew the line when I got freaked out when Carlos invited me to join them on one of their “get-a-ways.”

“Will you be bringing me as your friend? What will Sara think of that? Will I have to sleep with the two of you?” Needless to say he withdrew the invite. I guess, I was not open minded enough. 🙂

Is the concept of an OPEN MARRIAGE an oxymoron like the possibility of having “fat-free-bacon”? Or is it like having your cake and eating it too? 🙂

MARRIAGE is an agreement – so people can make it anything.

It would require both partners to have TOTALLY open minds, BLIND trust, and UNCONDITIONAL love that goes BEYOND jealousy, it seems. Otherwise, jealousy will eat them alive!

What are the rules or the etiquette of an open marriage agreement? (It would be funny if marriage vows included check-box options: [  ] Traditional, or [  ] Open). However, I will not surprise you if I tell you it is not a standard form.

Will this OPENNESS make the marriage more exciting, more bearable or just another name entry in the book? Check your answer: A, B, C or all of the above.

Could the open marriage be a miracle cure to keep a marriage, without being forced to cheat and lie?

Oh goody, goody… Here, the possibilities are endless if husband and wife agree to have their own separate sexual experiences. Will they talk about them to infuse their sex with the new excitement? Or will they keep it all to themselves? Will they get in bed with each other with a refreshed desire or it will seem dull in comparison to the juicy philandering they had on their own? Will their relationship get stronger or weaker?

The proof would be in the pudding; if this arrangement does not work, it will surely put them on the fast track to divorce or years of self-validated cheating; or if they can make it work, they must have accepted the terms of the agreement!

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Why Do People Cheat: Part 3, Tiger Woods’ Story

CHEATING is an age old tradition. It is a common side effect of marriage itself. However, in the olden days, we lived in a world where many matches were dictated by factors other than the free will of the spouses-to-be.

We now spend half of our life looking for that perfect someone, find them, win them over into marrying us and then… Then, look for someone else to F**K….??!!??

Well, we are very demanding these days, expecting the world to cater to all to our desires. In our technologically advanced, sex-crazed and cynical time of little self-restraint, CHEATING has reincarnated itself in a new glory, in numbers unseen.

I think the cheaters of the olden days would die from envy looking at the glorious Cheaters Heaven we have cultivated these days. All you have to do is get on a dating site in the privacy of your password-protected IPhone screen … and voilà. (No one but our government, of course, will ever have to know.)

Is cheating good, bad or NECESSARY?

So here we have it: the institution of marriage is as fragile as ever, and cheaters are thriving in numbers unseen. Is it good for the modern marriage? Or bad? Does the behind-the-scenes freedom make the trials of marriage easier to endure, or does it destroy it? I am even afraid to ask what is it doing to our morals and our society standards.

“Wait a second,” you say. “In contrast to our private behavior standards, everything is intact when it comes to our public standards! We are as vigilant as ever!” Lets look at an example of how raging passions and our high moral stance clash when the veil of cheating does come down:

Why did we tear into poor Tiger Woods’ throat with such vengeance: nearly cut his jugular, destroyed his image and his family, and painted the walls of the news casting booth with his blood? Is the amount of sex he wants, gets and needs not his own business? Should his wife not have been the one to decide if she could forgive him, or grant him an open marriage big enough for his persona (another sign of our times) or still decide to leave him, but on her own terms?

Of course, you will say, “His wife was the victim, she did not know what a monster he was.” But was it not the media that made her the victim, when they were publicly torturing them both by relishing the juicy details of his gallivanting, painstakingly turning them over and over, savoring every dirty piece of his laundry for all to smell?

I would not hesitate to compare the pain the media was trying to inflict with the pain of having Mr. and Mrs. Woods sit with their tender behinds on sharp thorny stakes, so they would both slowly slide down, piercing all their internal organs, in the public execution-style of barbarian times.

It appeared so scandalous and so shocking to society when each new revelation was brought to light. They exclaimed, “How could he have been so dirty, so gluttonous, so licentious, so utterly despicable?”

But lets look at this from his perspective: his sexual needs, desires and capacity, as shocking as they may appear to us, are clearly illustrated by his own endeavors. He feels them, he has them, potent as they are, and he wants to gratify them with all the blood in his veins. On top of it he is constantly offered all the sex he wants by countless adoring women everywhere, while he is on the road so far from home and his wife.

After all, who could resist such a temptation? Well clearly he could not! He knew the risks, but he got caught up! May be he just figured he was entitled to it, it was his for the taking for being a sports hero – he was living his life and glory to the fullest! Like in the olden day, the true conquistadores would got all the gold and all the women (they must have had the wives somewhere back home as well).

“Well,” we say, “yes he may have his sex needs, desires, and infinite opportunities, but he had a reputation to uphold, by which he is supposed to be an example to us all and to contain the beast in him with all his moral might. And he has made bad choices and he needs to be crucified, to make an example to all the other husbands!”

But hold on a second guys, did we not just conclude that these “other husbands” are also CHEATERS, almost in their entirety? Are the other men supposed to cheer him, or pity that the poor bastard got caught as they marvel at what a run he had? Is this discouraging them or only urging them on? Are you not seeing the irony of this?

 

Why Do People Cheat: Part 2, Mario’s Story

We lie to ourselves all the time. We are the best cheaters of ourselves, sometimes preferring to be in denial than knowing the truth. I actually was in deep denial myself. I was afraid to look the truth in the face for years and admit that besides the nice role-play we had of a perfect married couple, my husband and I were not LOVING each other. I needed love of the romantic and passionate kind, while he was obsessed with his work only. Love to him meant that he expected me to take on and complete every mundane life-task, so he could ONLY do his IMPORTANT JOB! We do get so ingrained into these roles, over the years, that we become drones. Drone moms, drone dads, drone bosses, drone coworkers, drone friends… going through the motions… feeling how life and passion get wasted everyday. Until, eventually we wake up and say, enough is enough, we need to live or passions out. We have the children, we have the career, we have a family, we do not have LOVE. We LOVE our family and we do not want to hurt them… SO WE CHEAT?

Well either that or try to force some real change to call for our partner to rekindle our fire. Will our spouses gladly accept or fight us or say we are being frivolous and too demanding? We will try… but chances are we are only going to hear the same lines. For example, the one I always got was, “I am on the verge, I work all the time what do you want from me?!” Then give up and … move on to find love.. secretly, carefully, feeling guilty, perhaps. Or perhaps not… Lets stop frame here for a moment and let me tell you another story … I met one twenty-nine year old Italian man (lets call him Mario), who loved his hot young wife and had all the sex he could get with her. He was creative and passionate using all the wildest positions he could try or imagine as many times as he could get his hands on her. This, however, did not prevent him from wanting more. For example, on his night shift as a doorman in a fancy Manhattan apartment building, he would not mind to generously satisfy a number of lonely ladies in need of company. These mostly forty plus ripe beauties, as he described, would drift by slightly drunk around midnight looking to literally get FIXED! Mario is a hot blooded Sicilian, he is very traditional in a lot of ways and swears that he loves his wife! He would swim an ocean for her, he works two jobs to support the family, yet he also loves to have just SEX! Any sex – as much as he can get it! If SEX is offered by an attractive to him lady (or even a halfway decent one), heck, he will take it! If it can be arranged and gotten online or from a friendly neighbor, he will get it! If it takes a bit of clever deception of his nice wife – that just makes it all the more exciting. Because now on top of just getting it, he is being a clever mastermind as well. His philosophy is simple, as he shared it with me: he is in the prime of his sex might, equipped with a fine specimen of a rather large penis and having only one life to live – therefore, he it is his god given right to use it to the fullest! Every opportunity he can get and get the most pleasure out of it, before he gets old and his magnificent penis stops being happy. That is his vision of the world. Does this make him sick, immoral, or bad?

Is he a complete DOG? Well he actually, and self admittedly, is! But this is the way he is. What can be done? While I am hard pressed to name what proportion of our fine husbands minds are wired this way, I assure you ladies, a lot more then we would dare to suspect. I think a lot of wives would actually be shocked to find out. Not to say that a good proportion of women are not wired in the same way, but due to the societal restrains may express it less overtly. This primal sort of “fuck everything I can” instinct is ages old and is probably programed into the human brains for some good procreation measure, yet we are supposed to never talk about it. We are supposed to hide it and be ashamed about it. We are all playing up this romantic fantasy of NEVER, for the sanctity of marriage, sleeping with anyone other then the once chosen sacred spouse. Well, the very question in my mind is not whether one philosophy is right and the other one is unacceptably wrong. The question is whether the 100% fidelity for life is even realistic considering the raging passions, urges and opportunities the real men and women are facing today? Should they explore them or should they bottle them up?

The answer for our friend Mario, or the more glorious example of Tiger Woods, – is a definitive NO WAY. Where as, I, in my sixteen year marital contract, endured this commitment with compete dedication, subscribing to just such a romantic version. I can’t claim a success story, though, since my marriage has fallen apart anyway. After he finished his manifesto – I took a deep look into Mario’s twinkling eyes, I asked myself, “How would one control a beast like that?” And the real answer, you CAN’T! Love him or hate him, throw him away or put up with him, that is what you got! You can only accept him for what he is. The next question I asked myself, what if he were my husband? What would I do?

Plan A: Run around trying to tame the beast in crazy paranoia policing his every move: text messages, receipts, phone calls? Impossible, plus that would only get him more slithering and determined. He likes a challenge.

Plan B: Get rid of him. But what is the guarantee that another man will not be just as deceitful? Plus this one I love, he loves me, I have his children!

Plan C: Just throw in the towel and turn a blind eye. Be in an innocent bliss of thinking he is only yours. And enjoy him when he is with you and the family.

Plan D: Cheat on him yourself to get even.

Plan E: Decide that you like threesomes with girls or become an open minded swinger and get wicked dirty with him. (Will not work for all people.)

In actuality his wife, as many wives would, executes the trusted plan A: They think they can control him. They become obsessed at watching the clock to time their not-to-be-trusted husband’s every move. This knife cuts both ways the more the wives uncover and suspect, the more angry, resentful, vengeful and miserable they become. But they have to keep digging, they devise elaborate and clever plans at finding out where the husband has left a trail of crumbs, to slap his wrist with the most pain and surprise at just the right moment as he is reaching for the cookie from the forbidden jar. After catching him, the wives perform a self righteous scene of shame, humiliation and even public crucifixion, often involving friends or relatives, aimed at killing any possible future inclination of the husband to repeat his plight. This might be a sound technique for disciplining silly cats, or children, but can have a reverse effect on a man. He might become conceited, seething and the wave of resentment will only grow. Eventually he might rebel and say, “Look, what have I got here? A loving wife or a cruel Nazi? Who does she think she is? This woman does not love me, she is out to get me and ridicule me to the world, and I cannot let her do this. I do not even want SEX with her anymore, she has become a real witch. I am out of here!” A very real scenario girls! I have actually seen it happen right in from of my very eyes.

What does this leave us? Since the real question is how to stay married to him and not how to get rid of him, Plan B is out. So is the only safe choice we are left with THE PLAN C? Well, ignorance is bliss, as they say! Lets for a second assume that not all men are as promiscuous or sex-obsessed as Mario. Or even if they were, to a large degree, they might be able to restrain themselves better due to either societal or moral stances. What is clear from this discussion is that, at the end of the day, the way a person manages, contains, or expresses their passions is their own personal and very individual choice. And the real PROBLEM then is the CLASH with the traditional view of the way the marriage itself prohibits such choices. In the sanctimonious traditional view, you become the 100% dedicated property of your partner. They are supposed to own, serve and control all of your urges, desires and needs. You have no choice, at least when it comes to sex.

The reality is that we must admit that no one can really own anyone else. In relationships and in love, any agreement has got to come from the standpoint of free will, not by order or a mandate. If the attitude of one spouse is “Well if he said ‘I do’ then it is my way or highway,” the other spouse might succumb to this dictatorship, and thus maroon themselves in a lifelong self-sacrifice, which will leave him/her deeply unsatisfied and unhappy. Is it fair or selfish of the first partner to make such demands? In either case, it is impractical– no one of strong enough character and healthy enough self-esteem could be expected to play such a role. We can only accept them and love them for who they are, if they make you happy while they are with you.

Why Do People Cheat? The Bitter Truth Revealed!

Why do men, and for that matter women, cheat?

Lets first define the term CHEATING as engaging in sexual play and love affairs behind the other spouse’s back.

The very purpose of marital commitment is to be romantically and sexually dedicated to only ONE person – your spouse. The contract clearly states: 100% fidelity on both sides, for the duration of the marriage, which is supposed to last a lifetime. Therefore, tolerance for infidelity, or CHEATING, is a 0%, clear and simple. Why would anyone agree to get married if they wanted to sleep around in the first place?

Well, either the terms or the principle of the contract have changed, if we consider the latest statistics, from FOX news:

The percent of self-admitted cheaters among men in the United States is 70%, with our women trailing no so far behind at 50% – 60%.

These people have “admitted to cheating at some time over the course of their marriage.” What does that mean?

They all cheated at least once, but some could have cheated 100 times (with the same person or with different people) – we do not know. Most likely, they would do it more than once, since the hardest thing in any good-feeling-mischief is getting started.

Apparently, an overwhelming majority find the temptation to explore sexual encounters or even long term affairs outside of marriage, at one time or another, irresistible. Should we, in the name of political correctness (where we support all weakness), rename these people? Instead of cheaters, should they now be “monogamy challenged” or “secret sexoholics”?

OR, do we rename marriage itself, as “an official long term affair we can call family, with the potential of creating children, and the intent to acquire the mortgage for the house with a white picket fence, and possibly a dog, or a cat”?

Before we take any drastic measures…

WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW WHY PEOPLE CHEAT.

Maybe they are not all “dogs” and “sluts.” Maybe they have a good reason. We must hear them out!

The simple answer would appear to be: they need more lovin’, better, and more exciting sex then what they are getting. So the question then begs itself, why are they not having more sex with their chosen spouses? Why are they, 70% of the husbands and 60% of the wives, looking outside the marriage for sex? Are they not supposed to LOVE each other? Even if the overlap of these numbers at the far ends, at least 30% of the cheaters are each others spouses! Is sex with a stranger more interesting than with your LOVED one? Is this still not a huge risk and a logistical bomb ready to explode their marriage? Why do they take such a risk? Is it worth it?

At least the women here have some excuse because their husbands are either the 20% with the erectile dysfunction (as the latest stats claim), or are cheaters themselves.

Ideally, spouses should give and get a 100% satisfying sexual experience to and from each other! After all this is the ONE person they chose to LOVE and to HOLD in the state of marital bliss till death do they part!

This assumes they love and adore each other, their sexual appetites and interests match, and that they have great communication and trust in the bedroom.

One would think so, but unfortunately, while shopping for a perfect husband or a wife, so many factors blur our vision: their stability, income, image, commitment, romance and so many other pieces, have to fall in place to support your happily-ever-after plan. Sometimes banal or taboo details such the exact sex preferences fall off the cart and get lost in the euphoria of the moment where happiness seems inherent in the union itself.

When it comes to cheating, the stance is unequivocal, – the CHEATER is the devil incarnated and the CHEATED is the holy martyr. But is that really always so black and white?

A lifetime is a LONG time… and once the fairy dust settles and reality sets in, everyday banal necessities take over. Now we find out that he wants HOT creative dress up sex twice a day and she can only really orgasm after an hours of some very creative stimulation and they both get easily frustrated. She asks but don’t you just love me for who I am? Why should I dress up? And he says you cant possibly expect me to lick you for an entire hour? Both questions are selfish and stupid – YES I LOVE you, and yes this is what it takes for you to love me back! That is why they call it a “sex performance”: you must create and orchestrate this experience for full mutual satisfaction! Otherwise, why bother?

They both would say, “but LOVE should come easy, what is wrong with this picture?”

No. Love does not come easy or hard. It takes what it takes! And if you truly love someone and are willing to move mountains for her/him, you better learn to please them no matter what it takes.

Get creative and full heartedly enjoy the game. Put on costumes or learn to work with your tongue for an hour or whatever it takes to make them happy! Because if you will settle for just the superficial wife/husband “duty,” eventually the flame between you will start to fizzle out.

How long will anyone be happy about getting only a halfway satisfying meal, especially since you are already getting bored from eating at the exact same restaurant every time? Therefore don’t be so dismayed or surprised to find out when your partner, eventually, looks for someone else who would be willing to go the distance.

What woman would say, “Well, between my job, the children, the very important PTA meetings and my church… I am not willing to make the effort to stay in shape, to constantly kindle the enthusiastic flirtation, to muster all the getup and then to make the time to perform with my husband the acts that would take him to the state of ecstasy he desires?” A woman who is either somewhat selfish, does not really love her husband, or who is not getting the pleasure she needs out of her husband or sex in general.

The same would be true in reverse. What kind of a man would say, “I am too busy at my important job and I make so much money to make you happy. I am so tired what else do you want from me? I am not willing to make the effort to stay in shape, to constantly kindle the enthusiastic flirtation, to muster all the romance and then… to make the time to perform with my wife the acts that would take her to cloud nine?” A man who is either selfish, does not love his wife or the one who is not getting the pleasure he needs out of his wife or sex in general.

You may retort, “How can you say SELFISH and DOES NOT LOVE…? Of course they do! They take care of so many things for each other and the family – is this not love?” Yes of course it is, but it is secondary to loving her/his body directly and fully. After all, you can reprioritize and get a lot of people to help you do a lot of tasks, but this one is the only one you must do yourself! Put it on your to do list, up there in the top three. Or is this the one you are willing to push off to someone else?

You will say,  “By golly I would NEVER…!” Really? Really? Well, if you are not doing it yourself you are inadvertently giving it to someone else! Your spouse may be a very patient, loving and nice, but you can’t expect them to be a saint! Are they not entitled to live their sexual fantasies? Or are they expected to sacrifice their life to conform to only your desires? Who died and made you the queen or the king?

So the person looking for a sex fix on the side means one of THREE things. That their partner is NOT ABLE, NOT WILLING, or NOT ASKED to give them the sex they desire. Here is the break down of the causes and the effects of each.

1) CAUSE: Their partner is NOT ABLE to perform (entirely or to the right level) due to an illness or a health condition. Or that their spouse is not interested in sex because they are too tired, a workaholic, an alcoholic, a gambler or obsessed with something else.

EFFECT: It would seem that the spouses of the ones who are not ABLE should almost automatically get the license to get their sex on the side. If they do not get it at home they should get it somewhere, they did not sign up for vows of celibacy with their marriage. And they must love their partners and their family a lot, since they do not want to leave them despite their short comings.

2) CAUSE: Their partners are NOT WILLING to give them what they want. It means that either their partner is not a good match for them in their passion, sex tastes or is not willing to go the distance. They could be asked by their partner for that-very-kinky-thing, but they “don’t get it.”

EFFECT: While the unwilling partner can’t be forced to engage in the sex they do not themselves want or need, the other partner is feeling rejected and unsatisfied. The “unwilling” partner might be happy with what they get and assume that what they do in bed is perfection already, or is at least plenty good enough!  This type of response is only a slap in the face to their spouse: a luck of understanding, respect or LOVE. So if the frustrated spouse finally decides to find the willing contributors to partake in his/her sex fantasies are they really to blame?

3) CAUSE: The other partner is NOT WANTED, not desired and not called upon (not at all, or not all the time). This can be either due to the fact that LOVE and attraction are no longer there. Or the spouse just needs to experience OTHER partners for variety and excitement beyond what they can possibly get with their spouse.

EFFECT: In the case that the attraction is no longer felt and the desire is all gone with either of the spouses, the sex ceases completely. In such a sexless marriage everyone seems to be left to fend for themselves or go their separate ways, because no one is getting it.

In the case that the spouse gets all the sex he/she wants from their partner and then needs some more variety on the side – this seems to be the really licentious outbreak giving all cheaters the bad wrap.

So as we can see it really takes TWO to TANGO! Therefore, when they say, “Oh, he cheated on me I am so outraged!” Really?.. NO Really? Have you not seen it coming, or were you deluding yourself in the peaceful bliss of DENIAL?

Mary’s Story IV: Life and Love Have No Guarantees

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Mary’s identification with the role of a victim is only delaying real healing, causing her unnecessary suffering and possibly validating her bad choices, which will only complicate her life in the long run. Just because he, perhaps painfully, realized one day that your body does not excite him anymore or his desire is gone – does not change who you are, does not make you less attractive or make someone at fault. Inversely, the way he has come to feel now does not make him a monster. Even if Mary is right in thinking that she is well deserving of his affection, he can have another opinion and is entitled to his choice, no matter how much this pains her. After all, he can’t be required to sacrifice his life to be marooned in bed with a woman who does not make him happy for whatever quirky reason that might be.

The story, the mistakes, the promises, the “he said, she said” – none of this is important. We will need to let go of our own sob story, eventually, to get rid of it, to just drop it like an unnecessary burden.

“What will I say instead? How will I explain myself to people?” she might say. Well, when she is ready, this will become self evident. She most likely will not even talk about it from the get go; she will have other priorities. But if it comes about she will simply say with ease, “I am divorced.” No need to validate it. No narrative necessary. If the person persists and says “Oh no. What happened?” She may shrug her shoulders smile and say “Life happened” :)! This is real freedom and real victory because you are not ashamed anymore; you are not attached to the negative tag of the “divorcee” taboo. You are allowing yourself to be who you are – there is a real power in that!

Often times, it is really true that there are no guarantees in life, love, and marriage. Instead of “till death do we part” the marital vows should really say “until we are no longer happy and can’t put up with it.” This would be a far more realistic slogan. Why would a woman or a man sacrifice years of their life to raise children and support each other without such a guarantee? The only possible answer is because it meets our current goals at the time,  and we decide that we want to have a family and children with this person, hoping for the most positive outcome: A great and loving partnership for life. But no one can be 100% certain, and no one is entitled to it. What do you think ? If marriage came with this type of warning, would people would do things much differently? Not really, because from how they feel at the time of marriage, they would not be able to foresee any trouble – only their future life together will tell.

Maybe, if no “Happily Ever After” guarantee were so rosily promised in marriage vows, people would be more careful when making huge sacrifices. How often does a  woman sacrifice her career in order to build a family? If she knew that she would be left alone twenty years down the road, would she be so eager to make these sacrifices? 

Making such sacrifices almost never pays off in the long run. The other party is never quite happy enough to justify the sacrifice you have made in the first place.  The cost of giving up the opportunity of a lifetime, or of letting yourself get hopelessly out-of-shape, or losing your self-image entirely in favor of becoming only Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So, is rarely ever worth it.

If someone’s “Happily Ever After” is not guaranteed, and they do not begin their married life expecting absolutely security, perhaps they would have hedged their bets in the first place. Perhaps lived more fully in the moment, and not for some far-off reward. After all, should married couples see themselves as all that different from live-in girlfriends and boyfriends, who are only together to relish in each other and supposedly stay together solely out of pure love and free will? Certainly things get a lot more complicated in marriage, but the main reason for staying together should be the same in both cases. If we recognized the core principle of any relationship as giving and receiving love fully today without any guarantees, and commit to treasuring and treating each other better on daily basis – not taking each other for granted, as a lifelong sold-into-slavery piece of property – this approach would improve our odds in marriage!

Mary’s Story Part III: The Text Files

Another aspect that struck me at the party was that Mary was clutching and checking her phone with a dead serious urgency, as if one of her children was taken hostage and she was waiting for the ransom text. What she was really doing was avoiding being at the party in the environment of other seemingly happy families. She was escaping to somewhere else, constantly looking for some validation from her social networks. Maybe she was thinking, “My husband should not have left me, we should have been here all together like the other ‘normal’ families.”

I have been there myself. She feels embarrassed ashamed and lonely. Interestingly enough, the only ‘complete’ family that was present at the party was that of a birthday boy. The rest of the guests were accompanied by only one parent, a mother or a father, whichever was the case. So why was she the one feeling awkward? Because she was not there alone by her choice! Because she was hurt and was blaming her ex for her discomfort. The remedy she was using to alleviate some of this pain was her precious phone – her outside online connections. They could have been anything from a pleasant and fun distraction, to flirting, to even an on line text/chat date, or, if she really wanted to be a bad girl, a sext for all we know! What she craves and what she gets is a stream of constant attention in the form of the messages, texts, winks, compliments and come-ons from various online dating and social sites.

Going through this stage, one can get addicted to such an escape. An easy way to test if you are already addicted in this fashion or not, is to try to see if you would feel at ease turning your phone off for just an hour on a casual weekend. Try this and you will know.

Eventually, she will distance herself from the pain she feels, and will start to let it go. Once she starts to feel at ease with her single status and freedom, she will be on her way to the adventures of her life. After all, that dull married life she described, with one date a year on their anniversary, does not by any means sound exciting. Then she could let herself feel the seduction of a new romance, lust, the excitement and passion of a first kiss. Get carried away, meet new people, explore new interests. The important thing, I think, (Mary of course might disagree with me) is to not aim or recreate the same boring, abusive, or neglectful relationship she just got out of. There is no way back; we can only go forward.

Regardless of how open-minded or adventuresome Mary is, she is looking for that special someone who will give her what she thinks she needs. She is, ultimately, looking to heal her self image, her hurt ego. She is looking for love and companionship (and perhaps also to add another nail to her ex’s coffin). By the way, never go for an affair or a relationship because you just want revenge – you simply will not enjoy it.

What is important? I hope she understands that the new man or her new circle of friends should love her for who she is and should make her happy. She must be able to choose the real person who will make her happy, and not chase the mirage of a new prince charming, who will be on an even bigger and whiter horse. Is she really ready and in the right state of mind to find her perfect match? Would she recognize him once she meets him?

She impressed me as a smart cookie. I hope she will figure it all out in time.

Mary’s Story, Part II: What Could Have Been, and What’s Next?

In the course of our conversation, I told her that I was in a similar boat. “Yes,” she said, “It seems my whole circle of friends with whom we shared the wave of bridal showers and weddings, are now all going through this turmoil.”

We both shared a sight followed by silence. There was nothing left to say. We connected. We shared. Her story touched something deep in me. It echoed my own story and probably so many others with its open-ended hope and underlying sadness.

It got me thinking, how could it have gone differently? What will the outcome be? Is there a rainbow at the end of this tunnel?

Do we ever know what the other is thinking? How is he/she feeling? Are they honest with us? Are they even honest with themselves? How much are we supposed to or are willing to sacrifice to keep the union together? Is it worth it in the long run?

These questions can have very unique answers for each family. One thing is certain: It is a very hard decision to be carefully weighed out. In real life, though, there are storms of hate, love, passion, regret, jealousy, betrayal, all of which cloud our judgment. We can act impulsively and make numerous mistakes. Yet we also have a huge capacity to forgive and forget, it seems.

I tried to rethink her situation and compare it to other possibilities. For example, as rough as it might have seemed at the time, her husband made a bold move by leaving. He could have just chosen to live a secret double life (like so many others do), with this other woman perhaps, hidden away from Mary. Would Mary, in this scenario, have been just a disconnected wife raising her kids in an empty shell of a relationship? Would her husband be able to play well on both fields? Would she become aware that she was being shortchanged?  If he stayed, would it have been more gentle, less cruel? Would those two statistical years of an affair lifespan pass and would he return to his wife with renewed love and dedication? Or would he only proceeded to have his next affair?

By leaving, he cut off a lot of future possibilities of keeping the family together. He must have been either very unhappy in his marriage or crazy in love at the time, or both. What is done is done. (That is not to say that all could not possibly be forgiven if there ever was a will and enough love to do so.) Well, the story did not turn out this way: Mary did not take him back.

He cut the rope and, ultimately, has freed them both to boldly explore, in the open, other relationships, to find interesting people who might bring them joy! They might also get burned, but alas, this is the nature of freedom. One thing both of them need to do first is to really free themselves from the luggage, the guilt and the shame of a “failed” marriage. They need to become whole happy people again, then a myriad of opportunities will shine through.

As my divorce lawyer ones told me, “What have you got to lose? You will be free, and the world is your oyster.” I was too unhappy back then to appreciate the wisdom of her words. I just thought in the back of my head, “My life is ruined and she is after my money.”

Divorce is not just an end. It is a beginning. This could be a dream come true in a way: Finding a mate for life, working hard at being married, putting up with all kinds of sacrifices while creating a family, not being your own main priority anymore. You have done that, been there.

Now, you can relive your youth, be really wild, enjoy all life has to offer. Why not? You can! The only thing you really need to do is to stop seeing yourself in a negative light! Stop carrying that burden! Throw it away for God’s sake!