Staying married but moving out

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by Novaseeker on March 15, 2010

One of our most beloved peddlers of female pap, Oprah Winfrey, recently published an article in her magazine (linked by CNN, of course) about women who are deciding to move out of the marital home while remaining married to their husbands.

In the article, Jean Morgan, a woman in her early 50s, wrote that she simply decided that once her sole child reached 21, she was no longer in the mood to make marital compromises:

Must compromise, if it’s no longer necessary or practical to preserve the family unit, be part of the equation in a marriage? Not sure, not sure, not sure, not sure.

So, she simply decided to move out and get her own apartment.  Morgan claims she has no interest in having sex with other men, but simply wants her own “space” (yep, we’ve heard that one before, at least some of us have).

The article goes on to detail other women who live apart from their husbands by choice, so that they can be “independent”.  Frankly they seem to me to be tired of marriage but want to retain the legal and financial benefits of being married.  The author muses:

And marriage—even my sometimes difficult marriage—has in many ways been good for me. My husband’s interests in art and in India have widened my own. Our joint incomes allowed me the gift of a flexible work schedule while raising our son. Most important, he and I have encouraged (or at least tolerated) each other’s emotional growth and enjoy an appreciation of that. But now…

It doesn’t take very long until we get to the real agenda of the article however:

It turns out that among the masters of supple, long-term, enduring attachments are gay men and women. “The successful gay relationships I’ve seen are better than successful heterosexual relationships,” says Judith Stacey, PhD, professor of sociology at New York University and senior scholar at the Council on Contemporary Families. That’s partly because gay couples—without the social scripts, rules, and conventions that bind heterosexuals—can negotiate more honestly and openly about what works for them in a relationship. According to Stacey, a lower percentage of homosexuals have long-term relationships than heterosexuals because there’s little institutional support, but those who do navigate them more creatively. Their relationships are, in a way, custom-made. “Our scripts for marriage are limited and trap people when they don’t have the courage or the creativity or the resources to be able to imagine and implement an alternative,” said Stacey.

And there you have it.  The trouble with straight couples is that they do relationships wrong. In reality, straight couples should learn from gay couples, because gay couples are better at relationships than straight couples are.  We can expect more of this nonsense from the female and gay psychology and therapy communities as gay marriage becomes increasingly accepted in the US:  more insistence that straight relationships become like gay ones so that women can be more free-wheeling and so preciously “independent”.  The kind of independence that comes from leaving a boring suburban home with a husband in his late 50s for an exciting urban apartment where younger, more vibrant people live — all the while still being married and benefiting financially and legally and so on from the marriage and, well, getting around to seeing your husband when you feel like it.  It’s clear whose “flexibility” this arrangement favors, even on its face.  The woman gets her “freedom and independence” while retaining the benefits of marriage and husband … while he gets to put up with it and shut up, otherwise she’ll just rape him in divorce court financially for having been the hard worker that allowed his loving wife the “flexibility” to work from home.

Of course, not a word in the article from the husbands themselves in these arrangements, other than a perfunctory shrug:

“And your husband?” she said. He’s not happy about it, but we’re talking about it, and he’s accepting it, I told her. She shook her head. Then she said, “I’ve seen it all. I’ll write you a move-out letter detailing your agreement.”

Readers of  The Spearhead will, of course, recognize well the situation presented here for the husband.  Of course he doesn’t like it — what man would?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having your wife move out of the house is a *bit* of a problem, even if she claims not to want a divorce or to seek out other men.  Both of those things may, in the end, be true, yet what is essentially happening is that the wife is participating in the financial benefits of the marriage while living alone.  It’s quite telling how the author is appreciative of the fact that her husband’s work and income allowed her the “flexibility” to work from home — something which she is now rewarding by moving out of the house against his wishes so that she can rediscover herself and be independent and all rest of that female empowerment bullshit happily peddled by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Elizabeth Gilbert.

Not that the readers of this site need to be re-warned, but let this article nevertheless stand as yet another warning to all men who are considering marriage in today’s cultural and legal environment.  Even in marriages that are long-lasting, and even where a wife does not for whatever reason want to divorce, you may still find yourself being effectively “left” holding the bag once your usefulness has come and gone.   Despite the grating nature of the sheer narcissism of the article, nevertheless it serves as a useful reminder to men of just what kinds of things can happen, even in seemingly “working well enough” marriages, and what you can expect from today’s women.

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