Sunday, October 4, 2009
the future of nonogamy (sic)
So, I decided to push some boundaries tonight, and started to cuddle her as we watched a movie together. She let me, but didn't encourage or reciprocate. Then we went to bed, and I tried to cuddle her some more. Uh-oh! That was a cuddle too far. My feet were cold, she said. She got her nose out of joint. "No more cuddles!"
"Can we talk about it?"
"Stop interrogating me!" came the reply.
Hmm. That took some digesting.
We couldn't discuss it any further -- talking of any sort felt like interrogation to Sue.
Naturally I disagreed, but that's how she felt, so fair enough. She wanted space and wanted to drop it.
But I also wanted to tell her how I felt: that she never wants to touch me; never wants to be touched by me; never wants to talk about it; and never wants to do anything about it.
She said that was unfair and untrue.
"Fair enough, but that's how I feel," I replied. "Can you tell me how you see it differently, so I can understand where you're coming from on all this?"
"Stop interrogating me!"
That was the end of that. She agreed to tell me at some indeterminate time in the future.
We both stared at the ceiling for some minutes. The she picked her book back up and started reading again, and I went and brushed my teeth.
It wasn't the seamless segue from radio silence to openness that I had hoped for. But then, I didn't wait for just the right moment as I had originally wanted.
I waited for a year already, so there comes a time that perhaps a non-sexual cuddle is just not something you have to wait for the stars to align for.
I don't think anyone would accuse me of being impetuous (!) but perhaps it was not the most politically savvy thing in the world.
Then again, my life is not the high-drama of parliamentary politics. This is my wife, my intimate partner, we're talking about here, not SALT II negotiations nor the Great Game.
I have been celibate now for just over a year. Although celibacy was not part of my original public vow, it was a private one I made to myself. It is the longest I have been celibate since I first became sexually active in my youth. I even had more sex when I was single!
Which reminds me of a radio interview I heard with Noel Biderman, the creator of a cheating-facilitation website, Ashely Madison. Noel contended that his website was a good thing because it could help make marriages last longer. He pointed to France, Japan, Italy and other countries where affairs are more tolerated and more common -- and the divorce rate is lower.
No, rest assured gentle reader, I am not contemplating an affair in any way, shape or form. But his idea makes new sense to me. Sue and I are both in our marriage for life. That's the way our parents were, that's the way we are, and that's what we want to do for our kids.
Hollywood thinks of marriage as being about love, passion, and all kinds of romantic cliches. That's all great, but what do you do after the first few years when s/he loses all interest? What if one or both of you is unfulfilled despite all sorts of good faith efforts to get things back on track again? The D-bomb: divorce.
I wonder about political marriages that were made amongst the families of the aristocracy back in medieval times. A marriage was not a source of personal fulfillment, but a strategic alliance and a source of children.
Personal fulfillment, happiness, self actualization, and perhaps even a satisfying sex life were found elsewhere.
I prefer a society that smiles more readily on a marriage with infidelity, than on a divorce with fidelity. I don't live in a society like that, and I don't want to have an affair regardless. But I can see that it makes sense to have society allow another option besides either being joined at the hip with your spouse for life, or getting divorced.
I hesitate to publish this post, as I can see so many ways that it could be misconstrued as condoning inappropriate, unhealthy behaviour: sex addiction, deceit, betrayal, self-indulgence, even simply infidelity itself.
So be it.
Monogamy without sex, touching, or even going out seems more like non-ogamy.