It’s terrible to use other people’s marital problems for entertainment. But it’s such guilty pleasure for me.
As a kid I religiously read my mom’s Ladies’ Home Journal for the “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” column. While people were shocked and disapproving that I married so young at 23, I knew I had acquired the necessary skills for longevity since I had seen it all: Marriages in turmoil over illicit affairs, spouses distraught over money woes, partners tackling low self-esteem and bereft of communication skills.
I’d also read about dating disasters in Seventeen even though I had no serious boyfriend in high school. Ditto with my eating up the advice in the “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” columns.
Now, that addiction has followed me to the Berkeley Parents Network threads. Here’s a juicy letter I recently caught about a lesbian mom who wants to “switch teams:”
I have debated for months whether to write about this but have decided it might help me feel a little less crazy to hear from other moms. So here’s the deal…ever since my partner and I have had our kids I’ve found myself wanting to be with a man. Two friends have done just that recently…and apparently that’s what Melissa Etheridge’s marriage ended over. So it got me wondering is this common? And, more specifically what have other lesbian moms (assuming there are any other moms) who are committed to staying with their partners done with those feelings? What’s been hard for me is that the feelings have only gotten stronger over the last few years (rather than dying down with time) but I am well aware of the amount of grief this would bring my kids (not to mention my partner) if I left. And, it definitely not something I feel like I can share with my partner without hurting her terribly (and making her insecure forever.) Any advice would be greatly welcome.
“Anon” received seven responses ranging from (paraphrased) “sex after childbirth is pretty much nonexistent for everyone” to other moms claiming that Julie Cypher was not a full-fledged lesbian and simply fell in love with Melissa Etheridge — not women, in general. Here is one letter that raised some interesting questions that can be applied to all marriages, not just same-sex unions:
…When you say that you want to be with a man, what is it exactly that you want — the social acceptance, the sex, the daily life together? Is it the external approval you’d get, or the private relationship? Figuring that out might help you see where the feelings are coming from. I’ve made my peace with these feelings by remembering that sexuality is fluid and broad. Most of us can find ourselves attracted to both men and women, and experience different desires at different points in our lives. I can acknowledge these feelings and accept the full range of my desires without having to act on them…
Did I tell you I love living in Berkeley? I admire the openness of these letter writers.