How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘marital satisfaction’

The Indifferent Husband

When a girl marries, she exchanges the attention of many men for the attention of one.
—Helen Roland

As many women know, the physical presence of a husband (partner, boyfriend) does not necessarily guarantee the absence of loneliness. In the world of cartoons, one stock comic situation involves a wife trying to talk to her husband who is hidden behind a newspaper.  There are endless variations on this theme which continues to be funny because every woman instantly identifies with it.

English: Tyko Reinikka reading the newspaper.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The problem isn’t that husbands read or that they endlessly read the sports page. The problem is that a wife is more dependent on her husband for affection and companionship, then a husband is dependent on her. If she has spent her day at home by herself or with only the children, then she has been waiting for her husband to come home to provide a little adult stimulation. Unfortunately, the time available for focused interaction is greatly limited by the many constraints of the daily round; but she is, out of necessity, patient. When, finally, there is time for the two of them to be together – but his attention is focused elsewhere – then he is physically with her but not psychologically with her.

A wife’s frustration with an inattentive husband is made even more acute when the object of his attention—for which she is, in a sense, competing—is something trivial and insignificant. If he is doing something important, then it is still unfortunate to be ignored, but it is more tolerable. However, if he is reading the funnies or watching television, there is no particular time urgency involved.

A preference for reading the paper instead of conversing with her makes it plain that conversing with her is a very low-level priority indeed.  And it shouldn’t be a surprise if she eventually decides to seek the attention of other men.

“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.

Married Women Will Seek Lovers Too

There is a proverb, “As you have made your bed, so you must lie in it,” which is simply a lie. If I have made my bed uncomfortably, please God. I will make it again.
—G. K. Chesterton

What is it that motivates a wife to take a lover? Those acts, which in retrospect come to be recognized as decisions, have a multiplicity of roots. Some wives are pushed toward an affair by an unsatisfactory marriage. The really unlucky ones are those who were unhappy with their husbands from the start, either because they picked a man with whom they could never be compatible or because they discovered too late that they were not really the marrying kind.

Marriage Day

Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

Other wives have had a period of marital happiness, but later find their marriages stultifying and unrewarding. Sometimes, the women have changed; sometimes, their husbands have. A girl who married very young may have found exactly the kind of husband she wanted, only to later change her mind. She may have selected exactly the kind of nice boy who seemed ideal when she was seventeen and then found at twenty-seven that nice boys are boring. Alternatively, the man may have himself changed with time.

In Fear of Flying, Erica Jong has her heroine lament, “I longed for him as he was when I first met him. The man he had become was disappointing.” In conventional wedlock, the emphasis was on the “lock.” Once a husband had won his wife, she was, in effect, his chattel and she had, virtually, no other options but to remain his wife. He could rest on his laurels until they rusted and still be assured of her presence.

In modern marriage, the relationship is more one of a voluntary partnership. Neither husband nor wife is obligated to stay married—and so neither can become totally secure and complacent that once a mate has been won, that individual will remain his or her possession for life. A husband or wife must not only convince a mate to want to marry but must also continually convince him or her to want to stay married.

Waiting for a husband to change and for a deteriorated relationship to rehabilitate itself is indeed an exercise of faith. In many cases, it is a lot like Waiting for Godot who, in the Samuel Beckett play, never shows up even though the watchful and undeterred Valdimir and Estragon wait and wait and wait for him to come.

In pharmacology, there is a category of drugs called palliatives. They do not cure what is wrong with you, but they mitigate some of the symptoms and make you feel better. They are anodynes which relieve distress or pain and soothe the mind and feelings.

In a marriage, there may come a point where a wife has accumulated a whole bale of last straws. Taking a lover may be a desperate palliative before chucking the whole unfulfilling enterprise.

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