Could you really be meant for one person for the rest of your life?
I ask this now as an impartial bystander who has to contend with impatient complaints from my friends about their marriages, how routine the sex life has become (if it ever exists at all), how tempting the idea of an illicit affair is, or how earth-shaking it is, if it’s in full steam already.
I hear gnawing disillusionments from my friends who are fed up with being tied down to the home, the kids and a spouse which they think is constricting them than letting them bloom free. “I’ve fallen out of love,” a couple of pals have told me, “but my partner just won’t let go! ” C says “the love died” two years ago and these days, she says ” I only fuck him when I need to.” D still lives with hubby and kids in their house because the former, a devout Christian, doesn’t believe in divorces or separations. In truth, she already has a boyfriend from work who she sometimes visits in the house. Hubby doesn’t know of course.
There is P, who claims to be in love with her hubby Z, but is in truth seeing her old boyfriend who buys her material comforts. And my married male Filipino friends who never fail to tell me colorful stories about their latest conquests. One has even kept an affair going for 10 years without the wifey knowing it.
A week ago, somebody told me that “the best relationship is an open relationship.” And what is that, I query? “It’s when you’re free to see other people but at the end of the day you’re still together.” Well of course this was the same person who told me that the “swinging scene” is well and alive in Manila, in the enclaves of our so-called rich and famous. The New Monogamy is probably something we just don’t read about, it’s a living breathing phenomenon.
All these things make me wonder if marriage is becoming a farce in this day and age, especially in country which seemingly turns a blind eye on infidelity and stubbornly refuses to enforce a definitive law on divorce. In this borderless world, is marriage as an institution facing extinction? Is love that is loyal, lasting and true still possible in this day and age?
I wish I can tell my friends what to do, especially if your lament is a husband who is ‘no good’ in bed. It is true that we can choose our friends but it is hard to dump our husbands once we choose them and make the mistake of not letting them undergo rigid quality control, especially one that can pass the test of time.
Toughest of all, how do you deal with an issue like falling out of love? In our grandparents’ time, you had to stick it out with your partner for better or for worse and do what you can to keep the flame a-burning at all cost. It was easier said than done.
I believe that a woman in an unhappy marriage must weigh all things carefully and set her priorities clear, then learn to live with the consequences of her decision. The situation is no better for a woman who stays because she has no adequate means of income as it is for another who is able to achieve her independence but nonetheless faces all the lonely nights ahead.
We have to come down from our ivory tower and stop aspiring for our ideal love. There is no such thing. Relationships take a lot of hard work, not to mention commitment and acceptance. Sometimes you have no choice but to leave it to prayers and fate. We have to accept that human relationships are dynamic and forever changing. As bestselling author Leo Buscaglia would say, “we have to recognize their temporary quality, but continue to act as if they’re permanent.”
Having said all these, you may ask me if I still believe in love. Of course I do. I had to lose it several times to recognize its real value.