How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘emotional involvement’

Flirtation: Attention without Intention

A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Why bother to have a lover who is not really a lover? Many reasons. There are, after all, a number of historical precedents.

Consider, for example, the good Queen Victoria, who was surely the epitome of all that is moral and proper. After the death of her beloved Prince Albert, she was distraught and sought consolation from one John Brown, who had been an attendant to her late husband. John Brown was made her personal servant; but as depicted in the movie Mrs. Brown, featuring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, Brown obviously far exceeded that modest role. Their relationship was extremely close emotionally, and his privileges at Windsor Castle certainly reflected a great deal of trust and intimacy. Were they lovers? No one knows. There was speculation. There were rumors. If you can’t trust Queen Victoria, who can you trust?

In prior posts, I’ve talked as if  the new sexual freedoms women now have, magically transformed them into completely sexual creatures. Often, this is simply not the case. It may not be a case of moral guilt or psychological hang-ups as much as simply an absence of desire. Certainly, there can be an absence of desire for a particular man, someone whose body does not seem erotic even though he is lovable in many other ways. A woman may prefer not to have to bother with sex. If she doesn’t want to bother, such a turn of phrase reveals so much of her attitude that it’s probably just as well that she doesn’t.

The lover who is not reallya lover may be willing to be emotionally involved with a woman, yet unwilling to be physically involved with her, especially if she is married. To love her emotionally is acceptable, but to make love to her isn’t because that would be adultery. According to the Bible, a man who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. There can be, however, a curious kind of doublethink wherein having an affair of the heart, which technically is not consummated, does not count. It is not really adultery and is therefore acceptable. Some women committed to the ideal of premarital chastity may use much the same reasoning so that they may be sexually experienced while technically remaining virgins.

Cover of "Emotional Infidelity: How to Av...

Such an affair may evoke the same jealousy that a betrayed spouse feels when his mate is physically unfaithful. In actuality, such emotional infidelity may be harder for the spouse to accept than would a casual affair, which could be dismissed as an impulsive roll in the hay or a one-night stand.

Be that as it may, as long as the lovers can maintain that it didn’t happen, they have what seems to them an impeccable moral position. When confronted, they will even manage a little sanctimony and lament the kind of world in which simple platonic friendship is disallowed. They will even muster some righteous indignation at what from the outside seem to be perfectly well-founded suspicions.

Should you take a eunuch lover (see previous post), you need a husband of considerable trust and/or credulity in order to carry off what seems to be a flagrant disregard for convention. You then have the freedom to be quite open about your comings and goings with him. What is the husband to think? What are the neighbors to think? One obvious explanation is that the man in question is less than a real man and is a eunuch in his heart, if not in actuality.

A woman I know came home late to an angry husband who demanded to know where she had been. She confessed that she had been drinking at the Purple Cow, a local tavern.
“I don’t want you hanging out with men in bars,” he said.
“But I was with Freddy,” she said.
“Oh,” he said, “well, at least you could have called to tell me that you’d
be late.”

Being with Freddy didn’t count. Freddy was not a real man and so could not be threatening. Once Freddy knows how he is regarded, and he is not gay, then one wonders how it will make him feel. He is the kind of man with whom one’s wife is absolutely safe, not because he or she are so honorable, but because he is so—safe.

The decadent East has a treasury of erotic literature in which the roles of the potentate, harem girl, and the eunuch figure prominently. One theme of these tales is the delights which await the man who pretends to be a eunuch in order to get into the harem, but who is not, and is instead a fox among the chickens.

Another theme is the eunuch who is not totally a eunuch in that he is still capable of an erection and of some sexual feeling. Sexologists allow that this is possible if unlikely. The eunuch lover who is presented as such to the world in general and to the husband in particular has an especially provident game plan in that he can have all of the enjoyments with none of the penalties. He must learn two maxims which both he and his ladylove must say repeatedly, “Deny, deny, deny,” followed by “That’s my story, and I am sticking to it.”

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The Importance of Being Understood: The Lover as Therapist

A woman loves the man who tends her wounds almost as much as the man who inflicts them on her.
—Richard J. Needham, A Friend in Needham

Another kind of loneliness is the common feeling that nobody understands us as we really are. We go around singing to ourselves, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” There are many kinds of unhappiness, and at the time that we’re experiencing them, each one seems a unique burden invented just for you. If you get desperate enough, then you finally get to a physician, or are taken to one, and some official person provides some kind of intervention. The tranquilizers, which are so often prescribed, are not a long-range solution: they are merely a kind of saltpeter for the mind.

Before you get to that stage, there is an alternative and better intervention in the form of sympathy from someone who loves you. Friends can be supportive; but they are not intimate enough, or committed enough, to provide pervasive comfort.

Collier Magazine - 1951 ... Why doesn't my hus...

Collier Magazine – 1951 … Why doesn’t my husband understand me?  (Photo credit: marsmet541)

One important role the lover may provide is that of therapist. He listens, he consoles, he advises. It’s no wonder that just as the lover acts as therapist, the official therapist is not infrequently also a lover, giving what is disparagingly known in the trade as penis therapy. It may be unethical, but it often does work. Independent of its benefits, however, it’s a serious abuse of power for a therapist to enter into any type of intimate relationship with a patient.

The cliché “my wife doesn’t understand me” often used by husbands is just a cliché, but it is just as valid of a cliché when it becomes “my husband doesn’t understand me.” A lover who is understanding and who provides comfort and insight may be the best kind of therapist for minor depressions and anxieties.

For a number of wives, the role of the lover isn’t so much as a sexual partner who is incidentally also comforting but more as a therapist who is incidentally also a lover in the physical sense.

“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”

I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me,
Used to hate to leave me,
Now after loving me, late at night,
Well, you just roll over, and turn out the light.
And you don’t bring me flowers, any more.
—Neil Diamond,  Alan Bergman, and Marilyn Bergman

Women are indoctrinated in the myth of romance much more so than are men. That is Romance with a capital R. They are programmed to want not only sexuality and high-power orgasms but also the specific kinds of trappings which are supposed to signal emotional involvement. They want—and expect—verbal declarations, little love gifts, flowers, perfume, soulful glances, and the holding of hands.

Like A Flower

Photo credit: Cayusa

For many women, no matter how modern they are in other ways, an important part of their existence is the feeling of being loved; and that feeling is conveyed in words and touches and gestures. It is not enough to know, cognitively, that a man loves you. It is also important to feel it. The younger you are, the more romantic you are, and the more you yearn for starlight and roses. If your husband does not bring you flowers or their equivalent, it is only a matter of time until you find someone who will.

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