Thursday, February 07, 2008

Case Study III - Can A Married Woman Have A Fling Outside Marriage?

Kashmira is 55. She has been married to Rob for the last 30 years. They have two daughters and both are married and happy. Rob, her husband is heading the Marketing Department of a major Corporation, while Kash, as she is fondly called, is engaged with Social Service. They have what one might call a fairly successful marriage and by now they have both become good as old wine. Or have they?

Recently, with the blog-cult explosion on the net, Kash has opened a blog on Sulekha.com, the world’s second largest Dotcom. Kash prefers to write on issues around bringing up children in an age of Cyberspace. A frequent visitor to her blog, one Adam’s Apple has been frequently commenting on her posts. Of late he has even started to send her private notes. In what happened to be a non-serious exchange of notes, it has dawned to Kash, that Adam’s Apple and she have a lot in common and having exchanged notes now for a week, they have each disclosed their private email addresses and now are exchanging emails and chat at the frequency of light! Adam’s Apple, whose real name is John stays in a different state from hers and is a divorcee who has been living alone for some time. As it turns out to be, Kash and John find themselves, hopelessly in love with each other after this exchange. They are soul mates they think. But, although Kash, is burning and distracted in this love, she has neither opened this story up to her husband or her daughters. In fact, she is a bit reticent about this and in fact, this is exactly why she finds that this new love overwhelming. John flew down on one weekday and they met at a Restaurant and although they were happy to see each other, their meeting did not end in the bedroom. But now, Kash, is unable to make love to her husband. John is the man her body and mind wants and although the failure to make love to her husband has not become an issue yet, Kash is worried stiff. What should she do? In fact, she is speaking to her friends. Some say she must give this new love away and continue with her life with her husband and some say she needs to move on and give herself the permission to rejuvenate her love life once again with someone else. But Kash is not ready to do that, because she has got used to the luxury of this life with her husband. She is in a fix – what should she do? She can’t give up either.

Analysis

Kash has reached a level of contentment in her life. She has everything. A “good” marriage, wealth and comfort. She also has two daughters who too are married happily. But, in fact, this is exactly what is making Kash restless. Her life seems to be too perfect, nothing to look forward to as all things are in place. Hence, an innocent blog with Sulekha has landed her life into a regular emotional mess as she struggles with her feelings, needs and desires which have all shown up with the coming in of this new man in her life – John. So now, she has something to “do” albeit it is almost driving her mind into a chamber of chaos.

On the other hand, is it possible her long marriage of 30 years has become too long and there is a sense of boredom which has set in? Is it possible that although she is happy with her wealth and position in life, there are areas in her marriage, which need to be addressed. Is it possible she and her husband need to take a year off perhaps and have a second honeymoon, do different things and just be with each other, outside their normal environment? What is ailing the marriage that has made her respond to new stimuli from outside?

But, is it not possible for a woman, wife and mother to have an affair outside her marriage? Does she not deserve it? Is she not human enough to give vent to her desires sometimes? Does it mean that if one has been with someone for a number of years, s/he must spend the rest of their lives with this person only? Can monogamy never be challenged? Are humans not intrinsically polygamous? Must women always be custodians of their family, keeping the institution going, even if her heart wants to move out?

My Interpretation
As the case presents itself, it is apparent that there is an emotional gap in Kash’s marriage, which has prompted her to respond to John in the way she has. It is also apparent that she probably is giving her “everything is alright and good” status a little bit of a shake up. By creating (read happening) a situation in her life which is making her use all her creative, analytical and emotional faculties at one and the same time, she is giving her brain a good infusion of the much needed adrenalin. Since, even when she met John after all this erotic communication on email, where both have confessed love for each other and yet, have not gone ahead to seal the deal so to say, it can be said that the relationship is still under observation by both. Both? Yes both! While Kash has a stable marriage and a good life to fall back on, John has been divorced for a long time and has not committed himself to another woman/man in the years that followed. Hence, is he a once-bitten-twice-shy kind of person who might be hot in words more than action? Is it possible that both of them are engaged in a game to test how deep is the water or how hot the fire? Whatever, is the case, in the meantime, Kash stands on soft sand as her “not tonight darling” may set the signal for the curtain to rise and expose her to her husband. Will it be worth it?

Conclusion
Kash needs to take a hard look at herself. Perhaps she needs to get away from her environment and both her lovers – her husband and John and take a break. Just be with herself without really having to compulsorily keep in touch with either. Perhaps all she wants is a good friend and someone who understands that she has human emotional needs as well. She has been the emotional anchor to her husband and her daughters for a long time, maybe she requires to feel the same sense of commitment coming from elsewhere.

Further, instead of looking at her relationship with John only erotically, she can begin to look at it more maturely by negotiating a friendship with him where each of them becomes a support and help to each other. Instead of making a choice for John up against her husband, she can make him inclusive in their relationship. That is not to say, go polygamous with a husband and a lover together, but introduce him to her husband, her daughters and other important people in her family, thereby expanding her relationship with John, and changing its position as private to public.

If this is not possible, then slowly she must release John from her emotional mind. Or else it will destroy her marriage. It will do so because, in trying to keep on with a secret engagement, she will destroy herself first, as she becomes a total nervous wreck. And if she loves herself dearly, this is not what she wants to do to herself or her marriage. In fact, she has put in too many years of hard work into this marriage to let it go for a fling.

I am not saying though that a woman cannot fall in love with someone outside her marriage. She can provided she knows how to negotiate her stand vis-à-vis all who are concerned. I believe in inclusion as against exclusion of one for the other.

What’s your take on this?
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