Although mainstream society so desperately tries to convince us otherwise, there are really a huge number of ways to have a relationship of any variety.
Here’s a quote from a great personal account, albeit a few years old, by a woman who has been in what she describes as a traditional marriage for the past 14 years. She and her husband are in love with one another, monogamous, sexual, and have two twins whom they both actively parent. But they’ve never lived together, and they like it that way! Read the whole story.
So far, the children don’t seem to think much about it, especially because Dad is always around for dinner and to tuck them in. They talk happily about their uptown and downtown houses. Once, Henry told a friend that his mom and dad didn’t live together. Soon after, I got the Alarmed Call from a mom: “Judith, is everything … all right?” You could hear the anxiety, tinged with interest, in her voice: Those people are divorcing; he already has his own apartment! How soon before she’ll be blowing her kids’ college savings on liposuction and a face-lift?I was bugged, yet amused. Clearly, she was making the same assumption that everyone does, which is that a married couple who do not cohabitate must not be happy or ever have sex. Another fun interpretation is that we must have lots of sex, only not with each other. The notion that two people can live apart and still be in a traditional marriage, neither celibate nor throwing key parties, seems to make folks’ head explode. To which I can only reply, in my own head, “That’s logical. We have separate places, so we must never have sex. Because as everyone knows, the thing that makes for a hot sex life is proximity.”
On the opposite side of things, there is no reason a person can’t engage in a domestic partnership with someone that resembles marriage, yet look elsewhere for sex. Another possibility: maybe your best friend is your primary relationship and sexual or romantic relationship are always secondary. Or what about becoming a mother to your sister’s child, entering into a parenting relationship with her, but not the romantic or sexual or even domestic aspects that sometimes accompany that. There’s endless combinations possible and, chances are, your desires and needs will be met better with alterations, big or small, to the ‘normal’ way of doing things.
If you have your own stories to tell about altering relationships to fit your needs, add it with a comment.