Choosing Between Sin Or Misery

TrophyWife: I’m curious: Is this the type of marriage in which an affair is permissible/appropriate? If you’re living in a loveless, miserable marriage in which you stay because of your children, shouldn’t you at least find a few moments of adult happiness/joy with someone, even if that someone is a partner outside of your marriage?
Athol: If you’re asking this as a moral question, I’m not really the right person to ask. I don’t start from a moral position and try and determine what advice to give on that basis. I simply try and determine what is effective in getting the results you want and advise how to do that. There are frequent overlaps between traditional morality and what I advise, but that’s as far as it goes. I typically advise for the self-interest of my reader as a priority – just with the understanding that with sexual relationships you need a win-win scenario to maintain the relationship for longer than the short term.
So if the goal is simply to deaden the pain of a miserable marriage and tolerate it better, then yeah sure have an affair. There’s a lot of easy distraction to be had with sex on the side and an intense emotional connection to an outside person. You can also try being an alcoholic, a prescription drug abuser, a crackhead or Twilight fan to have the same effect. Just about anything fun done to excess can fill the void nicely. World of Warcraft or gardening give you an endless list of things to do for example.
But if the goal is to have a happy marriage, then having some sort of major sideline drama isn’t going to help you proceed toward your goal. In fact it’s going to curtail progression a great deal. Many psychologists and therapists take the “enlightened and modern” view that an affair can help stabilize a marriage and allow it to continue. I agree that can happen, I just think that the relationship that has been stabilized is typically a bad one. I think it’s better to ultimately push your marriage toward being a good relationship or end it, rather than suffer on into the future.
Which obviously comes to the question of…
“So what if you can’t leave the marriage? I have [reason X] that I simply can’t leave.”
You always have a choice. You may not like the options available, but you always have other options to choose. You just don’t want to leave the marriage because “X” is more important to you than what you would gain by leaving the marriage.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m advising divorce here, but the practical reality is that if you aren’t willing to hold yourself to standards of good treatment, you simply run the risk of being taken advantage of on a permanent basis. I love Jennifer deeply, but there are things she could do that would make me end things between us. She knows that I would not tolerate our marriage going bad for very long, so she pays attention to making it a good marriage. The opposite also holds true as well and I hold up my end of the bargain.
Importantly, those standards we hold each other to aren’t trivial things, they are simply the core agreements of being married to each other – we will hold a job, we won’t sleep with other people, we’ll have regular sex, we’ll be good to the kids and each other, we won’t lie to each other, we’ll keep the house generally clean, we’ll stay as healthy as we can. Beyond those basics, neither Jennifer or I really care too much what the other does as long as it’s legal.
Most of my readers who write me, have gotten themselves into a world of misery by trying too hard to be moral and removing divorce as an option completely. In these cases, their morality plays a major part in being the cause of their misery. Or put more plainly, if you find yourself married to a person that is an utterly horrible spouse, and your God commands that divorce is a terrible sin, the righteous decision is to stay and remain miserable. Personally I think being forced to choose between between sin or misery is cruel.
Adding insult to injury, is that very frequently the advice given to those faced between choosing sin or misery, is that they should pray harder for a change in their spouse, and find a way to be thankful for the situation in order to grow from it. Their belief is thus posed to them as not the cause of their situation, but as the solution for their dilemma. This works about as well as giving a kid choking on a hotdog a second hotdog.
Which leads us obviously to the question of “What about the children?”
My feeling is that someone who is a terrible spouse, is very frequently a terrible parent.
An alcoholic husband, is an alcoholic father.
A Batshit Crazy wife, is a Batshit Crazy mother.
A chronically unemployed husband, is a chronically unemployed father.
An absent cheating wife, is an absent neglecting mother.
A criminally involved husband, is a criminally involved father.
A slovenly hoarding wife, is a slovenly hoarding mother.
And I’m sure you get the idea….
So yeah… what about the children? Shouldn’t you be doing something?
 

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    So if a man were to divorce his not very absent but still cheating wife, realistically how much time would he get to spend with his young children?

  2. Dick says:

    Well stated Athol!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Athol, this is one of your best (and most moral!) posts; very well-done indeed.

    You know, I believe people should do everything they can to save a marriage; everything. But I do believe there are limits. And it can be hard to express this to certain people without them thinking you're a "divorce advocate".

    Jennifer 6

  4. Strong Man says:

    Some good points here. My morality or religion doesn't suggest no divorce no matter what, in fact it suggests abuse is one possible reason. However, the definition of abuse in popular culture rarely includes withholding sex.
    I'm working on a post about this issue where I give similar suggestions but with a more religious perspective. But I still like your general suggestions about changing yourself, not your spouse, and the concept of holding higher standards for your marriage.

    Good points about the kids. But from a man's perspective it's very difficult because in family law the mother almost always gets the kids. If your wife is selfish and verbally abusive, she'll still end up with the kids.

    How do you deal with that?

  5. Anonymous says:

    "…But from a man's perspective it's very difficult because in family law the mother almost always gets the kids. If your wife is selfish and verbally abusive, she'll still end up with the kids.

    How do you deal with that?…"

    One day you will have to tell them that what you needed as a man was more important than being with them. They'll get the message, one way or another.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "One day you will have to tell them that what you needed as a man was more important than being with them. They'll get the message, one way or another."

    Oh, you're funny.

  7. Looking Glass says:

    If it is just the sex, it's not just the sex. There are plenty of other issues, it just comes out there. You haven't dealt with them if sex is just the problem. One of the attractions isn't working, for some reason, and what you're seeing is the result. But, to address that issue is to be actually honest with yourself about the problem. Most people can't do that. So, if you're contemplating an affair, the issue isn't the sex, it's something else and you're just trying to hide from the problem.

    On the specific morality aspect: if you're a Religious, it's immoral. If you're not Religious, it's stupid and unethical. :)

    On the kids issue, it's simply this: 1) they won't want the divorce and 2) you simply have to spend a lot more energy and time with them. With 2 parents, time & energy can be split. This isn't true after a divorce and they actually need *more* specific time invested into them. (But you should still have a damn good reason for a divorce; a divorce is a *major* life change for the child, the other parent better be a complete disaster for them before the trigger is pulled)

    On men at least seeing their children: you have to plan the divorce. We're not talking a few weeks, but a few months. Yes, it's incredibly cruel, but that's simply what you have to do. If she's unfit to be a mother, you better have solid evidence you can get into court. (And be sure you can, first, don't assume; like I said, takes months of planning)

  8. The MacNut says:

    "But from a man's perspective it's very difficult because in family law the mother almost always gets the kids. If your wife is selfish and verbally abusive, she'll still end up with the kids. "

    Sadly all too true. But staying with an abusive spouse can teach kids some seriously twisted lessons, that could lead to them either being abusers or abuse victims themselves.

    Let's take the example of the couple where the wife is verbally, and maybe even physically abusive. Say they have a son and daughter. If the father stays and takes the abuse, this is what he may be teaching each child by his example:

    - the daughter may learn that she can be nasty and abusive to future boyfriends and/or husbands, and at least one of them will stick around anyway. As for the rest, well, they just couldn't deal with a Real Woman anyway, what losers. She potentially becomes an abuser.

    - the son may learn that living with mean, nasty, bitchy behavior from future girlfriends and/or wives is just part of dating and romantic relationships. He may even find himself "bored" with women that DON'T act that way as a matter of course. He may become a future abuse victim.

    And of course, vice versa applies to the mother married to an abusive husband. In that case, the lessons the son learns may lead him to become an abuser while the lessons the daughter learns could make her a future abuse victim.

    So yeah, living with an abusive spouse "for the sake of the kids" may mess up their future relationships. So one needs to think carefully about the life lessons one wants their kids to learn if they're in a bad marriage. And let's not forget per Athol's examples above, that an abusive spouse is almost certainly an abusive parent as well.

  9. TrophyWife says:

    I'm torn on this topic.

    On one hand, I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I also believe that divorce is devastating for children, and often devastating financially for both partners.

    On the other hand, I also believe in the pursuit of individual happiness. And I don't think anyone should be doomed to a lifetime of misery simply because they chose the wrong spouse.

    I think there are very obvious cases in which divorce is warranted (abuse, alcoholism, criminal activity, etc.). But what about the marriages that are simply chronically unhappy? Perhaps one of the partners refuses to work to make things better. Maybe they never loved each other in the first place (they got married too young, too soon, or whatever). So the two people just move throughout their lives, together but separate, living as roommates (at best) in a single dwelling? There's no affection, no love, no connection, no teamwork. If they stay together for the kids, they're doomed to a life of silent and constant misery. But if they divorce, it brings along a huge set of other problems that will, in fact, probably make them miserable, too.

    I have a friend in the exact scenario above: the loveless marriage with kids. Unfortunately, I have had no good advice for her. All I've been able to suggest is try to work on the marriage from her side, and hope that her husband finds a desire to work on his part. Maybe you guys will have a better suggestion for her…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Job well done Athol!

    Sometimes marriage is a compromise at best, but don’t diminish yourself or your core values because of it. I did not consider having an affair despite my unhappy marriage because I would not have wanted to earn my children’s disrespect. It also sets a horrible example. If you are a person who really believes in having a relationship of special meaning, one man one woman. What do you really have to offer someone else? Would it be fair to offer someone else only a very limited commitment and what would you expect in return?

    I whole heartedly agree with Athol about a “batshit crazy wife will be a batshit crazy Mother”, but divorcing her won’t change that. My x-brother-in-law has an alcoholic wife, who doesn’t work. I think they had sex once 5 years ago. It is a horrible marriage but he has been told by numerous attorneys that he is basically screwed financially, and she would probably get the kids. Like me, he believes staying in the situation is the best option, in that he can minimize the damage done.

    I do not think my marriage served as a good example for my children. When my daughter said something about coming down for dinner, how she thought my x treated me so horribly. It was like he wanted you to just serve dinner and leave until it was time to do dishes. It is sad to hear her say “I am sorry you stayed because of us kids.” Make no mistake I correct her and tell her it was always my choice and she is not to blame.

    In the original post of the woman dragging her husband through life it is I think much better to divorce while the kids are young ages 2-5, than 10-18. They can then get in an established pattern of my parents are divorced and are not so apt to hold one parent accountable or to blame, or play the games of divorced children. They are not so apt to look for a replacement family, get pregnant & married at 16 and divorced at 18.

    My Mother was a horrible step parent, the emotional scars she left on my half brother and sister are terrible. What kind of control do you have over the next person your x gets involved with and how will they treat your kids? There are so many factors in divorce that are even more beyond the control of trying to stay and mitigate the damage.

    I do not know what the answers are. My sister got divorced because her husband fooled around on her numerous times. This is unacceptable; the risks are just too great to remain in a marriage like this. It is not worth dying for. Her second husband is a peach and then some. I know my children have always, like I do set my sister and her husband marriage as the example to live for.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It's true that a batshit crazy wife is a batshit crazy mother. Unfortunately, a man divorcing one just means he's leaving the kids behind to deal with her full time because of the way family courts work.
    I think most advice ignores this aspect.

    SW-AL

  12. Anonymous says:

    "Sometimes marriage is a compromise at best, but don’t diminish yourself or your core values because of it. I did not consider having an affair despite my unhappy marriage because I would not have wanted to earn my children’s disrespect. It also sets a horrible example"

    THANK you. The marriage is not a sanctified union if cheating is occuring, and it only sours things.

    Well-said, Macnut.

    Jennifer 6

  13. TrophyWife says:

    Speaking of morality…

    I have friends who have been married 14 years. They have two kids. And they've been swinging their entire marriage. They regularly trade partners with other couples or watch each other have sex with other people.

    Is this MY idea of moral? No. But it seems to work for them. And I would never suggest that their marriage is somehow immoral, even though it's what I think. It's their choice and they're both happy with it. It's not my place to impose my version of morality on a marriage that is not mine.

    And they always have lots of fun stories… ;)

  14. Lainey says:

    Excellent post! I think the demise of a marriage should always hinge on the kids. If there is abuse it definitely affects the kids.

    I would never leave an abusive or horrible marriage if I had to leave my kids in the situation.

    Marriage is hard. It's even harder with kids. So many people to think about and consider outside ourselves. That is what being a spouse and parent is about, otherwise why ever commit to another person or have kids?

    Putting the marriage first is imperative and good for the kids, too. Nearly every marriage will have unsatisfactory phases at some point. I do think that too many people today expect a perfectly, happy marriage at all times with a doting spouse and if it isn't they will bail.

    I have friends that expect their husband's to read their minds. Then they are disappointed when they don't and pout. Ugh.

    I read about men that have no tolerance for an exhausted wife with lots of little children. Babies and little kids are a lot of work. Her body may need more sleep than sex.

    These things can be worked out lovingly by talking and helping each other. I really dislike how selfish people can become. By proclaiming they aren't loved properly when they aren't meeting the other person halfway.

    All these scenarios are normal marital issues that people divorce over. They aren't even the hard stuff like addiction, cheating, mental illness, abuse, etc.

    I believe I would have left in this woman's scenario. Life is hard, relationships of all kinds are hard, marriage is hard. But life is divine, relationships are essential to happiness, and marriages joyous more often than not if we make the right choices and really work at them.

    Yeah, I'm a Polly Anna, and I'm also the happiest I have been in a 21-year marriage. It hasn't always been smooth sailing, but it has been worth ever struggle and communication issue we've had to bang our heads against to see this marriage and family through.

    Sorry, this is disjointed. I'm trying to get kids fed and off to school. Honey and I are taking off for a romantic weekend away. I am beside myself with excitement!

    Be happy. :)

  15. Lainey says:

    "I have friends who have been married 14 years. They have two kids. And they've been swinging their entire marriage. They regularly trade partners with other couples or watch each other have sex with other people."

    I hope they are being careful with their kids. Having been raised in a very sexually promiscuous household like this I will say that kids can sometimes inadvertently be put in harms way.

    I have one sister that was molested, and another that had many abortions even though she had access to birth control at a very young age. Both ended up divorced and have issues.

    I'm not sure that being raised in such an openly sexual household is much better than being raised in a sexually repressed household. Anyway, just something to consider. :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    Trophy wife the swing scene is a pretty sad state of affairs.

    Religion does not set the standards of my moral codes. It is more what I think is the appropriate way to live and raise children and have a happy life style. I do not think that God created us to live monogamously and therefore it should be so. More or less history has proved that a one man one woman, one father one mother relationship is the best building block a society can have. It promotes a healthy functioning society that can grow. It also promotes a healthy safe environment in which to raise children.

    People that swing, people that go outside the marriage to find sexual satisfaction are basically people unable to make a real commitment. Our society is incredibly sexualized, the ultimate goal is to have the best sex ever and if you can’t get it in side the marriage you are entitled to go elsewhere? I don’t think so. A lot of having the best sex life ever is about open communication between man and woman.

    What may work for some people may not work for others? The rough stuff? My fiancé is a wonderful lover. He is a caring and concerned man in bed, not so with my X as the years progressed the worse he became. He was a very self focused man in bed and out of bed. Porn I think gave him the idea that sex is all about they guy and of course the girl enjoys it because she is pleasing the guy. In essence it made him terribly Alpha.

    Porn also promotes the idea that monogamy is not satisfactory and to have a good sex-life you need variety and … the list goes on. I am not against nudity. I love to go to a nice little nudey place in the mountains that has the most awesome pool and sauna in the world. I usually wear a thong and spend most of my time in the pool. I’m a lap swimmer.

    One of the most beautiful videos I have watched is the Seal/ Hedi Klum “Secret” video. It is so reaffirming. When I first saw it I was so awed by the way they seemed to be so in love, and I was disappointed that it was just acting. When I found out they were husband and wife I was just tickled pink. Would that this video would be the standard we hold ourselves to instead of the hard core porn fXXk anything with tits any way you can, maybe as a society we would be far more satisfied sexually.

  17. Stephenie Rowling says:

    "Twilight fan to have the same effect. Just about anything fun done to excess can fill the void nicely. World of Warcraft or gardening give you an endless list of things to do for example."

    Hey as a Twilight fan and WoW player I resent this paragraph… ;)

  18. Anonymous says:

    I will take a different tangent on this in order to see commentary of a different note.

    “Many psychologists and therapists take the "enlightened and modern" view that an affair can help stabilize a marriage and allow it to continue. I agree that can happen, I just think that the relationship that has been stabilized is typically a bad one.”

    In my opinion this is so contrary to the notion of stabilizing a marriage. I think it would introduce so many other dissatisfiers as well. For instance if the man has a lower libido than the woman, do you add another man to the equation? Like wise if the wife is not a good cook do you add another woman to the equation? What about things like Jealousy, lack of communication…

    I was told by a friend of mine how early on in his marriage, his x wife lost sexual desire. Her therapist suggested they view porn. It was against his religion but for the betterment of his wife he endured.

    Hard core porn just doesn’t appeal to me. My x watched it and sometimes I would watch it with him. Maybe 9 or 10 times we watched hard core porn together over a ten year period. It was always the same old same old.

    I never could understand why the men always jack off, and to me it always seemed like those women were maybe not so hot if they just couldn’t get the guy excited enough to have orgasm without the intervention of his hand. On a primeval level it seemed the men were using the women and did even think they had enough value to share the gift of their seed. To me watching a man jack off on a woman almost looks like he is peeing on her, just relieving himself on her not cherishing her. In fact one of my friends a former prostitute said that is what it feels like.

    Okay to make a long story short I thought he was talking maybe over a course of 2-3 months they tried the porn thing 5 or 6 times. NO! For 2+ year’s every time they wanted to have sex 2-3 times a week, they would watch hard core porn. After two and a half years the woman in this equation had absolutely no libido what so ever, and instead of being 70 lbs over weight she was 150 lbs over weight.

    When a therapist suggests things to stabilize a marriage at what point do you say this isn’t working? If a man truly loves his wife and her therapist suggest if the wife has an extramarital affair, all will be well, what happens when it doesn’t work out? Do you blame the therapist or yourself? There was a big communication lack here, and I almost suspect the woman did enjoy porn but it did not make her want to have sex with her spouse. In fact she probably still watches porn but her sex partner is the dog. The perfect lover, he is well trained and she doesn’t have to worry about how fat she is. Horrible but sadly true.

    Man or woman would you take this advise or have you? Hard core porn?

    Tackle another question anyone. There is nothing on this planet that would ever entice me to have sex with my x again. Okay I’m not that proud a million dollars maybe. There is nothing that I could watch, listen to or feel that would make me feel inclined to ever have sex with my x again. Can a movie, pictures whatever entice you to have sex with someone you just don’t find that attractive? Is this a good thing?

  19. Anonymous says:

    "I would never suggest that their marriage is somehow immoral, even though it's what I think. It's their choice and they're both happy with it. It's not my place to impose my version of morality on a marriage that is not mine.

    And they always have lots of fun stories… ;) "

    That's one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard. You said you believe in the sanctity of marriage; what do you call that?

    Jennifer 6

  20. GC says:

    "Most of my readers who write me, have gotten themselves into a world of misery by trying too hard to be moral and removing divorce as an option completely."

    For the Christian husbands in unhappy marriages who don't believe in divorce, many of you need to stop being so "nice" and "understanding." Over the past 18 months I have watched the marriage of a very close family member fall apart and end in divorce. Both spouses are Christians, involved in leadership positions in the church. The failure of their marriage shocked everyone who knows them. It turns out that there was no sex for a very long time (most of the marriage). And the husband, being a very nice Christian guy, did very little to stop the downward spiral. Instead he waited until things were just too far gone, then initiated a divorce. I truly believe that if he had followed some of Athol's advice (I don't agree with all of it, and neither would he, but a lot of it is very good), increased his alpha qualities, and forced the issue years ago (not physical force, of course, but rather – "this can't go on, we must address it, if you won't I'm moving out"), the marriage could have been saved. I'm not suggesting that he should have threatened divorce 10 years ago, but rather that he should have, after a series of escalated attemps to address the problem, threatened separation if she did not agree to work with him on their marriage problems. I think that for many Christian wives, that in and of itself would be the wake-up call they need. Honestly, I think that just being a little more alpha and a little less beta and trying a few of the steps outlined on this site would be a wake-up call for many.

    (Still fascinated and appalled, but increasing just fascinated, by this site.)

  21. Anonymous says:

    "Fun stories" ???

    Morality is an issue here guys. I hold marriage to higher standards than that. It is an afront to my moral standards.

    How fun will their stories be when one of them comes down with full blown aids? I would not listen to their stories, that kind of thing is pure pollution.

  22. TrophyWife says:

    Ok… I was actually just trying to lighten the mood a bit with my "fun stories" remark. Life and marriage are both serious businesses, but I tend to think a little humor makes life a little more fun. I guess it didn't come across well in my comment, but it was just a joke.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for comfirming, Trophy. Fact is, those two are playing with fire.

    Jennifer 6

  24. Shane says:

    Hey Athol, I just wanted to address something that is a personal pet peeve of mine – assumptions with "religious" approaches to marriage and divorce.
    Yes there are dipsticks who stick to this hard and fast "no divorce" rule and inflict misery on people, but the truth is the Bible doesn't support that position at all.

    The first failure of most Christian marriages is assuming that despite the marriage being conducted in front of a community or a church, with in most cases, the enlistment (implied or not) of the people attending to take responsibility for the marriage and support it, people assume when it starts going south that it's "none of their business". This is a cop out. It is their business. When they sat through that wedding it became their business.

    Secondly, marriage involves two parties. If one is causing a problem in the marriage to the point the other wants out, and they both claim to follow Jesus, then the one causing the problem should come under church discipline – in other words, they should be challenged in private about their issue, and if they don't change then get challenged by several people, and if they don't change then they get challenged and held accountable before the whole church (Matthew 18). If they still don't change, then the Bible says to treat them as an unbeliever. And what happens when people are unequally yoked? The Bible says that divorce is then permissible. So if a whole church full of people who care for you don't have enough to change your mind about treating your spouse wrong, then yeah, it's over.

    I just hate it when people read one part of the Bible and don't take the whole thing together. 99% of the time people who think Christianity is wrong haven't actually put it all together. (Present company excepted)

  25. Athol Kay says:

    Shane – the minute you tell "the whole church" you marriage problem, you will highly likely end your marriage. Or if you happen to survive the exposure, I don't see the embrassed spouse ever wanting to attend that church again.

    Once it's public it always devolves into character assassination and accusations. People pick sides.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Athol, I agree with you totally here. It's good for others to offer support and counsel, esp. if a spouse is really bad. But by involving the whole frakin' church, that sours things.

    Jennifer 6

  27. The MacNut says:

    I would think that by the time it came to the point of involving the whole church, the marriage is pretty much over anyways. It's like exposing an affair-an extreme step to be taken when all other less extreme steps to save the marriage have failed. At the point the "exposed" spouse is most likely to run off and try to vanish with their lover anyway, but the betrayed spouse no longer has anything to lose since all other steps taken to end the affair have failed.

  28. Athol Kay says:

    Church Split! Church Split! Church Split!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Damn. On year of second guessing, agonizing, kicking myself in the nuts, beating myself up over my decision to divorce an unfaithful wife, – SOLVED.

    Thanks.

    Much.

  30. Looking Glass says:

    On the "swinging" thing. That's one of those things where, if you look close, the relationship is probably a mess. I'd be surprised if the kids don't have serious commitment issues as adults. It's really no different than families where one of the parents has been having an affair for ages. Children learn emotional language before verbal language. They know something is wrong, and they've learned to mimic it. It. causes. disaster.

    On the "man keeping kids" thing. It's not nice to say, but the word you need is "entrapment". If you're dealing with an abusive spouse, you simply have to construct the legal setup for their unfitness to be a parent. Given the statement about the alcoholic wife, I'm guessing they live in the great state of Massachusetts. He might think of moving/finding a job somewhere else (with better evidence rules and a more friendly Family Court environment). If you know the person well enough, you just have to lay the ground work to provide evidence in a divorce case of their unfitness. Then have a good lawyer. It's doable, you just have to be willing to do it. It's hard to be that cold, but if you're dealing with an alcoholic that won't get help, you don't have a lot of options.

    On dealing with marriages in crisis in a Church. The point isn't to talk about it to the entire body. The point is to have a small group of people that you can go to for help and counseling. There's a difference. Athol is right about what will happen if you just air it in public.

    @ TrophyWife: You don't go from a happy wedding day (assuming it was so) to a loveless state by accident. It just doesn't "happen". It's the result of choices by each party over the 14 years. If nothing unforgivable has occurred, it can actually be fixed, but both parties have to be willing to *honestly* work the issue. Most people aren't capable of that because it requires them to admit their part of the situation and be brutally honest with the choices *they* made to get to that point. Most would rather get a divorce than do that type of work. Sad, but a reality.

    @GC: heard those stories before as well. The ministries came before the marriage. It's no different than putting any other pursuit before the marriage. Yes, Athol's work would have helped him a lot. As for approaching Athol's work from a religious point of view, take it like a mechanic talking about a car. He's not here to discuss the "zoom" feeling you get in a tight corner, he's only concerned about making sure the wheels stay on so you can go and enjoy those tight corners. (Puns intended) And you'd be rather hard pressed to find anything actually Biblically objectionable in his work (in a denomination independent viewpoint). Aesthetically, sure, but Athol isn't one to be subtle about what he's writing.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I do, Looking Glass, find some things objectionable in how people even around some gaming sites advise speaking to their spouses (commentaters as well as bloggers). Some also advise light or moderate dishonesty; if you look long enough in a secular area, you'll find a risky flaw. But mostly, and esp. compared to many gaming sites, Athol's got good stuff. Biggest points for me is how he doesn't go overboard about how all women want to be pulled along in everything and should always play the submissive roles because otherwise the guy will lose his frame.

    Jennifer 6

  32. Athol Kay says:

    Plenty of swingers have strong marriages. Many people try it and find they don't actually want the reality of swinging though.

    My caution with swinging, poly, cucking, is that if you are the man involved, you absolutely must be the most attractive man your wife sleeps with. Otherwise you risk her activating emoitonally on someone else.

    The same can happen with husbands and women more attractive than their wife of course too. But I'm advising for men. :-)

    The STD element is not to be overlooked as well. Caution and yucky condoms for all.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I don't see that as possible (swingers having a strong marriage). It's not really a marriage at all because there are not two people devoted.

    Jennifer 6

  34. Athol Kay says:

    If they say they are happy and strong, why not believe them?

  35. GC says:

    In my mind, swinging is an anti-alpha behavior. In marriage, no alpha behavior is more important than a man protecting and caring for his wife and family. A husband who involves his wife in swinging is basically "throwing her under the bus" in terms of physical and emotional protection and care, in order to fulfill his fantasies and meet his perceived sexual needs.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Because it goes against all logic. Even if they are "happy", theirs simply ain't a marriage; it's two people legally living together and screwing others and occasionally each other.

    Jennifer 6

  37. Anonymous says:

    Exactly GC. Actually it's both anti-alpha and anti-beta; what emotional security is he offering? It's anti-alpha and beta on HER part too.

    Jennifer 6

  38. Athol Kay says:

    GC – women run the show in swinging marriages. It's about her sexual needs, not his. That's how most men in swinging relationships start to regret it.

    Jennifer 6 – you're just predjudiced.

  39. Anonymous says:

    About marital requirements? Yes I am. I'm not sure why swingers would always be begun by women.

    Jennifer 6

  40. GC says:

    "GC – women run the show in swinging marriages. It's about her sexual needs, not his. That's how most men in swinging relationships start to regret it."

    Really? That surprises me. It seems counter to what is generally true about men and women and sex.

  41. Athol Kay says:

    Swinging = female sexual hypergamy unleashed

    Women get to be married and ride the cock carousel without consecqences. Once they get a taste of that, they almost never want to stop doing it.

    Men often have to beg and plead their wives to start swinging, thinking they will get lots of extra pussy. But once it starts up, the women all prefer the best available swinging men… which may not be the husband. So she can get laid easily to hotter guys, but he may really struggle to connect to other women.

    Generally if you have to trade your wife to get sex with other women, you have minimal game.

  42. Anonymous says:

    And zero love.

  43. Looking Glass says:

    Good point, Athol. The big issue on the singles side of things is the girls who play the field and suddenly want to "settle down" at 32, in the hope of having a kid. In a swinging situation, the woman gets to ride the carousel and keep the beta husband/wealth, at the same time with no guilt. Go figure. Always thought swinging was a stupid idea, turns out it's probably in a guy's worst interest.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Looks like. Starts off as male's polygamous instinct, then takes a mad dervish on women's hypergamy.

    Until somebody gets too attached, of course, on one side or the other.

    Jennifer 6

  45. elhaf says:

    One point surprisingly not mentioned, is that ok, so if your church says getting divorced is a sin, isn't having an affair also a sin? It's also the almost universal reason a divorce is allowed. So "religion won't let me get divorced" being used as an excuse to cheat is just so much cake-eating, again.

    And if you really, really believe it's ok, why are you asking on a website instead of discussing it with your husband. ANYTHING you do in marriage that would not be ok with your spouse standing right there, is not ok.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I know two poly/open marriages that seem to work very well, at least to an outsider.

    In one, the woman does call the shots. Her legal husband had a mental breakdown and lost all his alpha. Wife brought another man into the household, and it seems to have worked. But Wife is definitely in charge.

    In the other, Husband has more Alpha than just about anyone I've met. [Though he doesn't do it for me.] I don't know his wife well, but she is quite low in sex rank. They both take lovers, it's all very open, and the marriage continues.

    From the outside, both families look happy. Of course I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but these are people who have nothing against divorce. They have kids who seem pretty well-adjusted, too.

    I know these relationships can work, but it seems to take almost superhuman levels of communication and understanding.

    Z

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