Thursday, 28 February 2013

Cheating: Third Party Part II

 I often hear the advice that if you catch someone cheating you should run and quickly tell the person who has been cheated on.  But honestly, how does that help anyone?  All you have done is shared your burden of knowledge and possibly broken up a family.  What if that extra on the side was just what was needed in order for guy to get his head on straight and realize what really matters to him?  Or what if the couple is in an open relationship that they wanted to keep private?  Now the onus is on the cheated on partner to out their relationship agreements, which in many cases could have very damaging effects.  Also if you have just found out that you took a 50 percent role in the cheating, you will most likely do no good by finding the spouse and letting him/her know, it is not like you are going to gain a friendship or any brownie points, in fact you could be putting yourself directly in the line of fire so to speak.

But back to the topic at hand, it is always portrayed in mainstream media that the third party is a one dimensional person who has no voice or say in what just happened.  It almost seems that the media is angry at them for opening up their mouths and coming forward with an indiscretion, and I believe the reasons are two-fold.  The first being people are emotional when they find out a celebrity idol has been unfaithful to their spouse, and secondly, it sheds light on a dirty little secret in our society, that people do in fact cheat.  The majority of us do not like being reminded of that, and thus we take away the humanity and three dimensions of this cheating co-conspirator.  There is media shame and backlash for coming forward, and they try and suppress the truth or completeness of the situation.  All the focus is on what a slut this person is, or what occupation they had in their past.  The media sensationalizes the fact that this person was of a lesser moral character and the partnered person was merely caught in the web of deceit.  That somehow the cheating was some grand elaborate scheme of an unethical mind, making an almost "criminalization" of the affair. 

I was just on a forum whereby a lady was asking how to rebuild her self-confidence and if it was possible to regain trust with her husband after she found out he had been flirting with a much younger woman for a few months.  Every single response without fail bashed the husband, told her to leave him, to hate him and move out immediately with her two young children.  People were outraged at this affair of the mind and were very judgemental and critical.  Not one person tried to deal with her actual question (except for myself and I am being harshly criticized at the moment for it), just sensationalized outcries of ‘how could he cheat’.  And this is what the media re-enforces daily.  There are no questions for the younger woman, and why she is making advancements towards him.  There is no questioning why the husband is flirting with this other woman, all of this is meaningless to the point that this wife is better off alone, raising two children than to work on anything.  It takes three people to cheat.  Let that sink in, every single one of those three people involved have a role to play in how, why, and what the result will be.

I was trying to book a hotel for a conference through work and had picked a fancy one downtown.  When my boss told his wife of the possible venue, she just upturned her nose at the thought of giving them money.  Apparently she read that a few years back during Stampede the hotel had advertised a ring service, in which you could safely store away your wedding ring and have a spray tan applied to cover any possible tan lines that might remain.  Basically this hotel was perpetuating a very well known fact about the common place cheating practices in Calgary during our 10 days of Stampede.  On the surface everyone despises a cheater, but if it was not occurring regularly this particular hotel would not have been able to make a profit off of the practice.  Cheating is occurring, and we are only fed a portion of any given story.  Full blame goes to the cheating party, and nothing is said of the spouse or the third party.  So with only one third of the story getting publicity and attention it is no wonder that this problem is not going away.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cheating: Third Party Part I

There are quite a few bloggers right now who are discussing the ever present subject of cheating so I figured I would add my two cents, but about the conversation that is not taking place.  The discussion I find lacking is not so much as to whether cheating is acceptable or not acceptable, but rather taking a look at the individual who is not a part of the two person commitment.  What role, and responsibility do these people have to sanctity of the relationship when they find out that the person they have had sexual activity with is not single.  I find this subject fascinating, and there are so many variables that come into play.  This third party is clearly a big factor in the cheating equation, so where does their responsibility lie.

I believe in theory we should avoid cheating at all costs.  Cheating can be a painful experience for all three parties involved.  There can be guilt, shame, and feelings of worthlessness.  But I have to confess that I am not positive that every man I have slept with has been single or more to the point that I even care.  The men I have slept with since being with my partner are merely fun on the side.  There was chemistry, or curiosity, a challenge and sometimes just fun.  Before anyone jumps to conclusions here, know that I am honestly admitting to this because I feel I am not a threat and that I do not wish to take on the role of anyone else s moral compass.  I take responsibility for my own actions and expect nothing less than the same from anyone else.  I anticipate the angry onslaught of e-mails here and yes I have been cheated on before and I know how it feels.  I also know that there are two sides to every story, and the girl/boy on the sides has a story and reason of their own if that is how they choose to act.  In my viewpoint, my fun on the side, are flings only and I get full disclosure on their physical health including sexual health but I do not make a habit of asking about their relationship status.  My flings are mainly comprised of a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy, protecting both my relationship status and theirs.

If however the relationship status gets discussed I believe in full disclosure.  I think that if you find out that the guy you have just slept with or are planning to sleep with has a girlfriend/boyfriend it is best to just walk away.  And more often than not you will never see that guy again anyways.  The reality is you do not know why the guy was flirting back and you may have just saved his relationship, or in some cases been the catalyst that finally forces him to end things.  Either way, your responsibility is to keep your mouth shut, and walk away.  I think it is unkind in most cases to continue to flirt with a person once you have found out that they are in a relationship.  Again, cheating is bad for your own morality and the emotions of the person who will find out down the road that they have been cheated on.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Nope to Romantic Comedies

I hate romantic comedies.  More to the point, I hate how I feel while watching them, and the empty horrible feeling when they are over.  I am very imaginative and a dreamer by nature so one of the things I love most about movies is just shutting off my brain and getting lost in the fantasy world that is created on the screen.  I get swept up in the music, the action, the dialogue, everything about a good movie, and the occasional bad movie makes me really happy.  With the exception of the so called Rom-com’s that is.  I find these movies almost painful to get lost in because everyone looks so damn happy on screen finding that one perfect someone to get lost with.  The journey of little surprises, followed by a huge fight whereby both people learn they can never be apart, followed by the big romantic gesture where in they live happily ever after.

I watch these movies and almost without fail I either cry, or I get angry.  Angry that this romantic ploy still generates revenue and lets little girls believe this fantasy, and angry that I constantly fall in love with men who will not settle down.  Angry that adventure drives me, and men with goals, hopes and dreams make me happy.  And of course the down side that the men I fall in love with are selfish about meeting their needs, just as I am selfish about meeting my needs which is almost always a great thing.  Except as I said when I feel vulnerable after watching one of these stupid movies.  I would not love the idea of happy ever after, but these movies go through a very concise checklist; do you have breasts? Check! Do you get your period?  Check! Do you sometimes act irrationally and emotional? Check! Well then baby you are a normal woman and you deserve to be swept off your feet as there is some guy out there equally as damaged and crazy as you are who will compliment your every flaw perfectly.

In my mind romantic comedies are a cruel trick on my psyche.  They perpetuate false hopes and then make me feel a guilty empty feeling because this is not happening in my life, and if it was I would probably dump the guy for being a dreamer and not a doer.  I just cannot see my way into getting lost in emotions.  It has never once helped me getting lost there, and I always need someone to help guide me out when I am overwhelmed by emotion so I cannot even fathom how woman can possibly watch these movies when they are single.  I have asked a few of my female friends why they enjoy these movies and the answer is always the same, they enjoy the emotional ride, the laughs, tears and happy endings make them feel really good.  So clearly I am broken because I always feel really, really terrible after watching these films.  So back to my avoidance strategy of avoiding things that make me sad, and seeking out only the things that give me joy and happiness.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Preconceived Notions: Open Relationships

Here are a few misgivings that I have heard since beginning my blog over a year and a half ago.  The first being that there is a preconceived notion out there that being in an open relationship lends a person to be slutty (and not in a sex positive way).  But I find the opposite is actually true.  Because I am quite happy in my current relationship I do not need to settle to get my kicks or spice as I like to call it.  If someone is going to catch my interest they need to be incredibly special.  I am afforded an actual luxury about the whole thing, where I can happily pick and choose whom I want to engage in any sort of relation with, even if only a mild brand of flirting.

How then can you stand being jealous all the time is also something that I am frequently asked. Irrational feelings develop at times, and are quite natural.  I am miles away from where I was in dealing with jealousy at the beginning to where I am now, and yes it does take work. You need to be in a loving and honest relationship so that you can understand and help your partner through natural periods of jealousy while at the same time understanding that jealousy is your own problem.  Jealousy can be a cancer in a relationship if left to fester or if not dealt with head on.  Now in saying that when I have jealousy, I take a step back.   It often drives E crazy, but I almost always walk into the other room and find myself a quiet corner to regain my composure.  I try to rationally evaluate if this is something that will bother me in the future and thus require a conversation with my partner, or if this is just a gut reaction style emotion that will just go away naturally.

There is also a huge stereotype about how horrible and detrimental an open relationships can be and how immoral they are in our society.  I have tried to present a different side to this and be a voice of reason giving an open and honest perspective.    I have mentioned that I am not particularly promiscuous by any means.  As well I am not actively seeking anything on the side.  This is not my method at all for an open relationship.  And I am pretty sure that if you met me in person you would have no idea that E and I are open.  We pose no threat to single or coupled people around us, as well we are both ethical and moral people, of course me more so than him.

How can you say that you are committed if you are always open to something on the side?  Sometimes flirting with somebody else really makes your main relationship so much stronger, not always, but every so often.  The feeling of joy and re-affirmed confidence when your partner tells you how much he/she appreciates you after a little fling or flirtation is amazing.  The bond between the two of you more often gets stronger as a result of it.  Of course the reality presented to society from the media is that the extra on the side will harm and often sever the main relationship, but it is the same risk that monogamous couples run into.  If a little fling or on monogamous interaction is natural human behavior, which is very well explained in “Sex at Dawn” then why fight it?  Instead embrace all the positives that it can bring into your main and healthy relationship, rather than falling prey to the preconceived notions in our society.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Male Identity: A Push for Individuals

Horny, Hungry and Sleepy.  I very regularly typecast the male and his desires into these three categories of fulfillment.  If a partner can acknowledge these three items in all their combinations and extensions then you can keep a man happy.  But in all seriousness, male identity is under fire right now.  And unfortunately as a result of taking the finger pointing off of themselves (men), they point the finger at woman.  It is natural, and in a simplistic way I get it.  But let us take a look at what the problem really is.

Men are losing their identity, and are constantly being challenged in their tried and true roles.  Men are raised to be the breadwinners, to be the strong and rational thinker.  Men are taught that their penis’s are what defines their sexuality thus size and virility are of utmost importance.  Society expects men to excel at math, science and sports.  As much as we typecast woman, we also typecast our men.  We are putting so much focus on giving woman a voice, and yet here we are trying to take the voice away from our men.  Men are berated for a having a woman at home with whom they seek advice and council. 

Gender roles and identities are being challenged, changed and explored at a rate comparable to our technological evolution.  I hate reading about abortion, and access to birth control making the news.  But in the same instance, it hurts to know that if a man has a sex toy his entire identity is challenged by those around him.  Having a butt plug does not determine a man’s orientation.  Watching a man cry when he is overwhelmed emotionally does not make him bisexual.  When a man is not the breadwinner in his family, he is not less virile.  And yet as we have raised our boys with such strong male ideals, woman rising up and challenging these roles is meeting with a lot of resistance.  The stress it puts our men under is huge, and makes them fight back to regain control.  I do not think that is the direction we want to be going. 

I read an article in which baby girls in Saudi are encourage to wear Burkas “to protect baby girls from being sexually exploited”, the Saudi cleric said during an interview in the first week of February 2013.  This is happening now, and right across the ocean from us.  Men in this culture are terrified of being emasculated to such an intense extreme that they fear for the safety of their own female infants.  The fear mongering going on in this culture that they fear a baby can be sexualized is beyond comprehension to me.  And this is an extreme example of how the men fought back when woman started emasculating them.  And in the states, to a much lesser extent but still deplorable, men continue  to challenge woman’s rights to their bodies and right to choose.

I try to challenge the way we view woman, and I hope I planted the seed in how we view men as well.  I was asked the other night what I find sexually attractive, and the only honest response I could give is that I find certain individuals attractive.  I think the only way to to move forward is to stop putting genders into such harsh categories and start to raise our children as individuals with plentiful access to education in as many varieties as possible.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Female Reactions to Porn: Blog Topic Request

Why is it that when your partner says it doesn’t bug her if you watch porn, then you do beside her and it freaks her out? 

I was asked this question recently and I have a few ideas for the rational behind this.  My gut reaction was that she really wants to be OK with the viewing of porn, but is still working through some issues with it.  The idea of having her nose rubbed in the fact that it is being viewed right beside her might be just too much in the here and now.  In the future this may be fine, and perhaps even turn into a turn on, but the gut reaction was to freak out a little.  Being sex positive can be a bit of a battle, and with the variety of porn out there, some just truly irritates me even though I do not have any problem with my boyfriend watching it in the same room as me.

Now my second theory is a little more complicated and really plays into what I experience monthly.  Yes I do mean monthly, and this falls in line with my Shark week post.  For the majority of my cycle I have a firm control on how I react to things.  I can control, maintain composure and even joke about things that make me a little nervous.  But for a day, or up to a couple in a month I react in a completely out of character way.  I am self conscious and almost weak feeling.  I am not trying to blame my hormones, rather I am just pointing out the patterns that I have noticed.  I work hard to try and recognize these cyclical patterns and adjust the surprising reactions with a little more tact.  But I, like many woman have an incredibly irregular cycle and sometimes I am days off where I think my hormone levels may be sitting.  It is admittedly a pain in my ass, so I always try to empathize with just how exponentially more of a pain this must be for my partner.  Rational, level headed girlfriend 98%  of the time, then just irrational, and self conscious for a few days.  Get the timing really wrong and this can be a recipe for a massive disagreement.  But back to the original query.

The third option is that she was outright lying about being OK with it just to please you.  It is not going to be the most popular answer, and one that most likely will never be admitted.  But the reality is, that sometimes people say things to a partner that just are not true.  And often they come back to bite us in the tushie.  Men and woman sometimes embellish the truth just enough to heighten attraction between partners.  I have most definitely done it, and had some serious soul searching to do with fixing the untruth that was told.  The unfortunate part though, is you may never know the truth about why she freaked out.  But you can learn a lot about her reactions, and the way you two work to resolve or communicate the issue and that is what really counts.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Open Musings: Dating and Relationships

Accepting what is, and what is not.  I do not typically date, not by conscious choice but by design.  I can have fuck buddies and I can have relationships, but I have not once just dated someone for the sake of getting to know them.  Perhaps a few guys felt like they were dating me, but in my mind, if they were getting primary access to my time we were in a relationship, and otherwise they were a fuck buddy.  I am not saying this is good or bad thing, more puzzled by the concept of dating.  E and I went out on a great first date, it was fun, but then we just fell into a routine extremely quickly and found ourselves in a relationship without ever hashing any details out.  He had mentioned what he wanted in a girlfriend, and I had fought any urge to speak my mind and think about the future.  It’s odd how a relationship can sneak up on you like that. 

And I felt the same this summer, whereby I called it my summer of fun to any and all who would ask.  But the majority of my time was occupied by just one guy and BOOM it felt like we are in a relationship yet again.  And still without discussion of any of the terms or conditions about being with each other. Or maybe these last 2 and half years have been what dating is all about.  Testing the waters, and not really making any sort of commitment or future discussion.  Are the lines between dating and a relationship really that blurry?

The mentality, things are good so why change them, is so easy to get swept up in.  Life is good, life is really good, so why change a good thing.  The difference between change and natural progression is also a bit complicated.  I have yet to have a fuck buddy turn into a relationship because it has been situations of opportunity and not ones where long term was even an option.  This has lead to a more natural ease of keeping things simple.  One can almost be freer in that sort of situation, if that makes any sense at all.  You can play out your fantasies and do so without ever having to consider long term ramifications on your relationship.  But it is possible to merge these two, to incorporate the freedom and fantasy of a fuck buddy into relationship territory?  Also is it possible or even fair to do this when you have an open commitment to somebody else?  On what level would that friend with benefits feel love, support and security being a second?  Perhaps then a more realistic approach would be a monogamish lifestyle in this scenario, where if feelings were developed between somebody additional, there would be discussions and a plan to either invite them into the equation or graciously end things before any further complications arose.  Also learning to incorporate that free feeling with your primary partner, by being able to bring those fantasies into a relationship where there is quite a bit more on the line.

These are just musing as I look into my future, and try to decide what paths are worth it in the long term.  What direction would lead to the most fulfilment and overall joy with the least amount of heartache.  Is dating really worth the effort, especially when I am so inexperienced at it?  Is it more realistic to have some spice on the side, but keep my primary attention focused on just one?  Time will tell, and as always I am open to whatever life decides to through my way.