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Archive for September 10th, 2015

Once a Client

Though you and your husband are divorced now, your marriage was successful for a long time.  How did you manage to transition from thinking of him as a client to thinking of him as something else?

2-headed girlThe short, pithy and only-somewhat-accurate answer is, “I didn’t”.  It’s very popular to imagine love as an emotion which transforms all relationships into something completely different, but that’s poppycock; the fact that I love Grace never changed the fact that she was my business partner, and it doesn’t change the fact that she is my property manager now.  Her role as my manager is separate and distinct from her role as a person I love, just as an accountant who prepares his wife’s taxes is no less her accountant simply because they love one another.  I honestly believe that the pretense this isn’t so is one of the most important reasons marriages fail so often nowadays.  As I wrote in “Housewife Harlotry“,

Just because a man is another man’s friend doesn’t mean he can’t also be his doctor or business partner, and if he thinks their friendship means he can neglect the economic relationship he will find that neither lasts very long.  Similarly, a woman who thinks that “love” means she can neglect her defining contribution to the marriage, sex, may strain both interactions (the love-relationship and the socioeconomic partnership) to the breaking point.

Even during the most intimate phase of our marriage, I absolutely never lost sight of our respective socioeconomic roles in the relationship: he provided me with income and I provided him with sex, companionship and other wifely contributions.  In other words, because he never actually stopped giving me money for my companionship, I never stopped being a whore and he never stopped being my client.  The fact that I loved him didn’t change that underlying relationship, just as the eventual dissolution of that relationship didn’t change the fact that I love him; they are two distinctly different things.  Likewise, I think it’s absurd and dangerous to conflate sex with love; just because I have sex with someone doesn’t mean I love him in any way, and just because I love someone doesn’t mean I want to have sex with her.  Human relationships which are more than superficial tend to be complex and multi-faceted, with different components and aspects.  And effacing the lines between those aspects, or conflating them with one another, nearly always results in harm to the aspects and usually to the whole relationship.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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