Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Marriage and dating advice

A reader sends this intro to a new book on mistresses:
In today's North America, when most marriages are rooted in mutual love and compatibility, mistresses pose a different and often greater threat to marriages. This was not always so. In the days of arranged marriages, when parents selected their children's spouses for economic reasons or to cement family, business or political alliances, romantic love was considered an irrelevant, self-indulgent and even treacherous foundation for marriage. Husbands and wives were expected to cohabit and operate as an economic unit, and to produce and raise children. They were not expected to adore one another or to fulfill each other's emotional needs. Though some spouses developed romantic feelings for each other, usually respect and camaraderie were as much as anyone could hope for, and many marriages were desperately unhappy. This was the context that prompted all but the most puritanical societies to tolerate the tradition of mistresses who enabled men to satisfy their romantic and lustful urges.
Also in the Huffington Post, Juliet Jeske gives dating advice:
Since I left my husband I have been unable to do a number of things -- the most frustrating lost skill is the ability to date. After nine years in a committed relationship, I have extreme difficulty navigating the nuanced dance that is dating. I have learned I can't be too direct, eager, needy, desperate, clingy, emotional, commitment pressuring, or baby daddy seeking. I also have to avoid looking cold, aloof, bitchy, mean, shallow, negative or distant. And of course I can't even talk about my ex, even if the past nine years of my life was living and working with him! ...

I have a myriad of friends who complain all the time:

"I am not slutty enough for New York."

And I can relate. I have made failed attempts of hooking up with partners for something casual, but every time the results have been disastrous.
Yes, the rules for marriage and dating are changing. Maybe Jeske should have asked her friends about the NYC dating scene before leaving her husband. Then maybe she would have stayed married, and cheerfully found a mistress for her husband. A commenter on yesterday's post wants to warn men about marriage so that they know what they are getting into.

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