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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We Get Letters About Scratching an Itch

After an entry on this blog inviting people to tell the stories of their "forbidden" relationships (by  writing me a fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com), this comment was left by Anonymous...
I'm 51 years old married mom. I'm sexually involved with my 27 years old son. My husband is still alive, but he doesn't know. 

Keith, you say you don't support cheating. But I don't know what to do. I love my husband very much and I don't want to be separated from him. At the same time I love my son too and the physical satisfaction he gives me makes our bond stronger. And to be honest me and husband not sexually active for over 20 years or so. But that didn't make me love him less. I never cheated on him before and I know he would never cheat on me. But now I have fallen into a quicksand and I can't find a way to get up. I don't know what should we do.
 
Relax. You’ll find I am not about to throw stones.


How many people are in similar situations? More than most people think.

Getting Into a Predicament

In an ongoing relationship, the sex or even all physical affection and/or romance ends or is reduced to the point someone feels deprived. Discussing it doesn’t resolve the problem. Counseling or therapy doesn’t resolve the problem (or the spouse refuses to discuss it or get counseling or therapy).

Perhaps health is an issue. There are people married to people who don’t even know who they are anymore, due to memory problems, and it won’t get better. The choice then becomes: leave or stay. In some cases, leaving would be detrimental to the spouse being left. Someone who stays might be able to ask for an arrangement or agreement, if the other spouse is lucid and able to communicate. Ideally, this is what would be done when someone stays but feels deprived. Life, however, isn’t always that easy and clean. Some people have too much of what some might call pride and others might call jealousy or even selfishness or bitterness and could never bring themselves to explicitly grant their spouse “permission” to seek fulfillment with someone else, but secretly are fine, or even happy, with their spouse getting what they need.

Sometimes it isn’t a physical or mental issue, but rather an identity issue.  Due to prejudices and pressures, people entered into heterosexual, monogamous, closed marriages with someone to whom they were not sexually attracted, or even though they are polyamorous, or consanguinamorous. This has been very common when and where LGBT and Asexual people have been basically forced into marriages with someone to whom they weren’t attracted. It can take a long time for someone to come to terms with who they really are, especially if family or cultural pressures are against them.

In addition to external pressures, people get married and stay married for many different reasons, including, but not limited to, wanting to share: a bed, a home, dates, friendship, sex, physical affection, finances, a business, conceiving children, raising children, and leisure and recreation. Some spouses rarely actually sleep together and like to take separate vacations, but do have an active sex life together and enjoy hiking together every weekend. It’s great when spouses enjoy each other for general companionship and are romantically and sexually attracted to each other throughout their marriage, but that isn’t reality for most couples. You can find married couples who literally spend about 23 of 24 hours together on a daily basis. Others would murder each other if they had to do that, but are very much in love and look after each other affectionately and devotedly.

When something very important to a spouse gets taken away from a marriage, it’s easy for everyone else to say “get a divorce,” but what if that would leave the person being left worse off? And while divorce is acceptable in many cultures, there are some where it is very difficult, legally and/or culturally, to get a divorce, and in some of those cultures affairs are tacitly approved. It’s also easy for everyone else to say “Stay and deal with it.”

Sex is a normal, natural, and for some people, an essential part of life. It isn’t just about orgasms (most people can give themselves orgasms), but that physical, primal connection with other people.

On Cheating

Yes, this blog does not endorse cheating. As a reminder, I’m polyamorous and I fully support all forms of ethical nonmonogamy. Cheating means breaking existing agreements or vows and not informing the other person or people so that they think the agreement is still intact. If the agreement is that they can both have up two other lovers, it wouldn’t be cheating to have two other lovers. It would be cheating to take on a third additional lover while retaining the other two, unless this was something negotiated.

Anonymous apparently had an explicit or implied agreement with her husband that they’d have no other lovers. Usually, though, part of that agreement is that they would not deprive each other, but would rather be available to each other as sexual partners. For whatever reason, he hasn’t been available for over 20 years.

Now let’s look at what problems cheating can cause:

1. Spreading sexually transmitted infections. Even if Anonymous were to contract such an infection from her son, she would not be passing it along to her husband (at least not sexually).

2. Paternity fraud/paternity claims on the joint estate. She’s not going to get pregnant. He’s not going to get pregnant, so this isn’t a risk, either.

3. Depriving a partner of time and/or energy. It’s a definite problem if someone is cheating, has sex with their cheating partner, then goes home to an official partner and the official partner, who wants to make love, is rejected because the cheater just had sex with someone else. That’s not a risk in this case.

4. Dividing loyalties. She’s actually staying loyal to her husband. It is unlikely that, in trying to please her son, she’s going to do something detrimental to her husband. It’s not likely the son will grow resentful of his father and confront him or attack him.

5. Luring away a partner. We’ve all seen this, right? Someone cheats on their spouse or partner and leaves their official partner or spouse for their cheating partner. Even when that’s how it appears, it might not always be so. It is possible the departing partner was going to leave even with no affair (and in some of those cases, for good reason). Regardless, it doesn’t apply in this case. She’s not leaving her husband.

6. Public embarrassment or ridicule. This is often tied into some or all of 1-5, but also happens when a lot of other people know what’s going on, but the official partner doesn’t. It can be humiliating and traumatizing. However, it doesn’t really apply to this case.

7. Violation of trust/lack of trust going forward. Most of this is tied to some or all of the above. In this case, however, how does the husband lose trust? It doesn’t really apply.

So Where Does That Leave Things?

Ideally, Anonymous could have gone to her husband and asked for their agreement to be modified, promising him that she would discreetly take on one lover and it wasn’t going to be something that would bring public embarrassment to him and he wouldn’t have to see or hear about it, and she wouldn't leave him for the new lover. Her husband would then have agreed to the modification. Some husbands would even encourage this sort of thing.

That's not what happened, though.

Even so, she is not depriving her husband of anything.

There is a good chance her husband knows, or has a strong suspicion, whether he is in denial or quietly resigned to it. The double love bond between a mother and son can create a sense in both the mother and the son that others can see, even if they don't know exactly what's causing it. Since he's her husband and, especially if he's the boy's father, he's very near to this connection, so on some level he probably knows.

While this blog does not endorse cheating, I can't think of a better way for her to get her needs met while staying with her husband. Her son loves her and will protect her privacy and that of her husband. She knows him well. They are sharing an experience unlike any other.

I'm very interested in hearing more from Anonymous (especially how this started) and anyone, parent, adult child, partner/spouse, or sibling of the adult child who is in a similar situation. I never share what anyone tells me without their permission. You can email fullmarriageequality at protonmail dot com (preferably) or comment after this entry. Anyone else is also welcome to comment, provided you follow the rules, or write to me.
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2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Keith - and anonymous! Keith, you couldn't have said it better, and both of you together couldn't have brought a more vital set of points about human living and love into the spotlight if you tried! Anonymous, don't blame yourself because your son replaced your husband as your lover for life - at least so far. As Keith said, you're far from the only married mom who found herself in this situation. You and your son have done what was good for both of you without burdening your husband with un-needed pain and suffering. Considering your husband's both assumed and practical unavailability for you as a love partner, what were you supposed to do? Just suffer and rot to death psyscho-socially unfulfilled? Your own common sense tells you you know better than that. Don't add needless suffering to your husband's life by telling him what he can't hope to remedy. Instead, keep your truly honorable secret, along with your son, and treasure the bond you and your son have which enables you both to take care of each other the way you most need! Continued Best of Good Fortune to both of you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also feel an arrangement where the father has been taken into confidence about the physical relationship between the mother and son, would bring them more joy and satisfaction. Father, if he is broad minded may also feel happy that the wife gets physical needs fulfilled by her own son and this is better then straying.
    But I am proud of her for the fact that she and the son took courage to act on their desires, unlike most who only fantasize. Good luck for a long and happy polyamorous relationship.

    ReplyDelete

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

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