Monday, August 17, 2015

We Get Letters About Consanguinamory

Anonymous left a comment after "Consensual Incest FAQ": 
When my step-father was diagnosed with cancer my mother and I became very close. It was a very dark, and lonely time for my mother, and we ended up becoming intimate with one another. It started out casually enough, but quickly lead to us becoming lovers. When my step-father lost his battle with cancer we lived together in a monogamous relationship for about five years until some family became suspicious about the nature of our relationship, and we decided to live apart. My mother and I have no regrets about becoming lovers, but as you can well imagine it hasn't been easy since I have younger siblings. We are still together today, and most of my siblings and family live out of state, so although we have decided not to live together for obvious reasons, we frequently alternate staying at each others places during the work week. 

One way consanguinamory is kindled is when someone turns to a trusted person they already love while enduring a difficult time in life. But rather than a desperate, fleeting stop-gap, it turns out to be a great match that lasts. There is no good reason this mother and her adult child should have to hide their relationship.

I will note that this blog does not support cheating. The comment didn't specify what, if any, agreements were in place between this writer's mother and stepfather, so we don't know from the comment alone whether this was cheating or not. In her situation, the mother had these basic options:

1. Stay by her dying husband's side and forgo physical affection.
2. Stay by her dying husband's side and receive physical affection from one or more other people.
3. Leave her dying husband.

These are options many people have had to face when a partner has had a debilitating illness, especially a terminal one. Everything from cancer to dementia can take away physical and emotional intimacy.  Some people would say option 1 was the only right option. But some people are ethically nonmonogamous. It is possible the mother and her husband already had an agreement regarding that, or that they made such an agreement as his health deteriorated. Whatever the case, she went with option 2 and did so very discreetly, not involving someone else in the community along with the gossip that could come with it. She turned to someone she already trusted and loved, and who would love her in return.

Whether there was an agreement in place or not, there is no reason now that these consenting adults shouldn't be free to be together. We have no laws against other people marrying or being together even if their relationship started out as cheating. Cheating is not an ideal way to start a relationship, and again, this blog does not support cheating, but that doesn't mean something that started out in such a way can't become something better.

I know it isn't something a lot of people like to think about, but along with plans for the future in terms of physical care, all of us should discuss with partners, as appropriate, what should happen in terms of sexual and emotional relationships if we are no longer of sound mind or are unable to communicate. There are people with dementia who, while unable to even remember that they're married, are still apparently able to initiate, accept, or decline sexual advances.
There are many varying decisions caused by such realities. You can put a spouse in a home due to their need for around-the-clock professional care, and when you visit, you might find that spouse holding hands with another resident. That spouse doesn't remember they're married. Should you object? Should you refrain from having any romantic or sexual relationships with anyone else while your spouse is alive, living in that care facility, knowing they don't even remember who you are and will not regain that knowledge?

This isn't meant to be a downer. I suppose this is another reminder that life is short and if consenting adults have found happiness with each other and want to be together, no stranger sitting in a prosecutor's office or on a bench should try to stop them.
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