Forsaking All Others

03/13/2006

Monday

Another update post is below this one

This could just be a backlash from stuff that the chastity cage suppressed, which is part of the risk with this. However, considering the tone and content of my last post before release, it was leaking out, anyway. What I'm doing here is extending that post and venting. I need to vent, sometimes. This is a good place to vent, but I'll apologize ahead to any readers I might offend with this screed. It's just eating at me, and I'm not going to be free of it until it gets out.

The topic is "Forsaking All Others." A favorite pet of LL apologists is pointing out that there is nothing within the marriage vows that guarantees or mandates sex. They go on to say that no one ever dies from not having sex, and it is not a requirement of life, like food, water and air. Withholding sex is not the same as withholding food.

But what does "forsaking all others" really mean? Does it mean you can't be friends with others? Does it mean you can't give food, aid and comfort to the homeless? Does it mean you can't have other relationships? Just exactly what is being forsaken in those marriage vows? Just one thing: sex. Only in the sexual context does the vow "Forsaking all others" make any sense at all.

So if I'm forsaking "all others" this necessarily means "all others except…" Except whom? If I'm a spokesperson for a particular cereal company, say Captain Crunch, and promise to "Forsake All Others" does that mean I quit eating Captain Crunch, too? If I work for a law firm that promises to "Forsake All Other" clients, does that mean I can ethically quit serving the client I made the promise to and for? I suppose the argument could be made in both instances that I could retire, and forsake everyone altogether. But then, what about those who I made the agreement with? If I promise to represent one client and forsake all others, and then retire from serving ANY clients, does that mean the one I made the promise with is stuck without representation until I die? Because this is essentially the case that Arwyn and her cohorts (both male and female) are making. She can argue that she is forsaking all others, but she is forsaking me, too. She isn't forsaking all others, she is forsaking ALL. Marriage is a contract of exclusivity. Each person promises exclusive rights to one another. Exclusive rights to what? Money? Time? Attention? Because surely there are other demands on us for all of these things. Again, it only makes sense within the context of sexual intimacy. I suppose one could make an argument about emotional intimacy, but what exactly does THAT mean? Parsing out sex is difficult enough in a post-Bill Clinton era. Something like "emotional intimacy" would be even harder to define, since you can not even see it.

The reason this comes to mind, is because lately I'm feeling forsaken. Left alone. Abandoned. Especially when it comes to physical intimacy. The remedy for feeling sexually alone would be hooking up with someone. But of course, hooking up with someone besides my wife is adultery and a violation of that "Forsaking All Others" vow. So my choice seems to be crossing the line and violating that vow, or remaining forsaken, myself. I could guilt my wife into putting out, like Dewdrop's husband does, but then I feel like a rapist.

I suppose one remedy might be to put those feelings aside and get to the point where I don't care how Arwyn feels about it. This doesn't seem like a very healthy course of action, to me. Certainly, not very loving.

I'm in the process of developing some potential objectives and goals that I might work on with a therapist if/when the time comes. I'm not even banking on Arwyn going at all. Better if she does, but I'm setting up my own personal benchmarks.

But I'll post those in a later post. Of course, suggestions are welcome.

D.

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25 Responses to Forsaking All Others

  1. I’m not sure that sex is optional…at least, intimacy is definitely *not* optional. So in my opinion, if the LL partner is not at least trying to give you that, it is similar to depriving you of food or water or air.

    I feel forsaken too, if it helps at all to know that you are not alone.

    You’ll get a ton of really thoughtful responses on this one, I’m betting.

  2. aphron says:

    Being forsaken or being taken for granted? I guess both apply.

    Good post. I plan to post an epiphany I had this weekend that kind of goes along with your post.

  3. Summer Rose says:

    My first {{huggs}} to you, on your long road of wanting just enough love from the one you married.

    There are no right or wrong words to discribe what you are going through…. I’ve read enough to say you’ve been ingored long enough and need more than what you getting at this point in time.
    S.R.

  4. JeN says:

    I don’t think that ignoring Arwyn’s feelings is a good idea.

    I thought this post was a good one even if no answers came of it. It just helps to get it out sometimes.

    Since vows appear to be such a problem, if I ever get married, I’ll be writing my own with no “forsaking” involved!
    : p

    P.S. glad you liked the pictures and that you were out of the cage when you saw them. hee hee

  5. Leela Lamore says:

    I have always wondered if Arwen would be any different with another man.

    She is obviously no longer in love with you so technically speaking she has defiantly abandoned you and defiantly FORSAKEN you in this marriage. Probably not what you wanted to hear but when you listen to other LL women talk of their husbands, they never talk lovingly or endearingly about them.

    Think about it Digger what part of life does Arwen include you in? Your children and the bills, seems she stepped out of the relationship a long time ago. You should consider separation where she becomes a house mate and you can continue with your life and find companionship.

    You know how I feel about this and I do believe you are a masochist for remaining in your present situation, nothing is going to change except your age.

  6. FTN says:

    You’re preaching to the choir here, Digger. Sex (and I would include close emotional intimacy, as hard as that is to define) are really the only things that, once we are married, we “forsake” others for. Two other things though:

    You wrote “…that you might work on with a therapist if/when the time comes.” Does that mean you are considering seeing a therapist? What exactly would be the right “time?” Are you waiting for things to get worse?

    Also for Leela, who wrote, “when you listen to other LL women talk of their husbands, they never talk lovingly or endearingly about them.” I’ll disagree on that one. I don’t know Digger’s whole situation, but my Wife would probably fit in the LL (sexually anorexic, or whatever) category, but she is very loving to me. For some women, sex is more than just a “being in love” issue. There are plenty of other factors, as have been discussed — mental, chemical, historical issues, kid-related, depression-related, and who-knows-what.

    Granted, Digger might agree that Arwyn is not acting “in love” at all.

  7. So Gone says:

    I think that, as a whole, Arywn has abandoned this marriage in more ways than just “forsaking all others”. This is someone who doesn’t include you in most normal marital activities, like dinner, speaking about daily events, sex, etc. I think she sees you as a provider for her financial needs and the parenting needs of your children. The problem is that you obviously want more from this relationship than she is ever going to give you (and there is nothing wrong with that if you come to terms with it and do something productive about it.) Your resentment is only going to continue to build, along with your feelings of dispair about the situation. Sorry.

    I agree with FTN’s views on this comment: “when you listen to other LL women talk of their husbands, they never talk lovingly or endearingly about them.” It’s probably true of some LL’s, but I think that’s too general of a statement. There are people who have sex everyday who can’t talk nicely about each other, and people who never have sex who are completely in love.

  8. Cinnamon says:

    Hey, you know my vote. Next time you want out of the cage, you’re going to be digging up that list I had you make before.

  9. Synergy says:

    It kind of gets me the whole mentality that marriage does not mandate sex. I understand that a sense of entitlement to gain something from someone else is wrong, and that a relationship is about GIVE and TAKE… and hopefully the two are balanced on each side. In some areas the scales may tip in one’s favor and in others the opposite. But I wonder for these people who gripe and complain about the men (specifically) who are griping about their sex lives, would respond when asked, “Did you get married expecting to never have sex again? WOULD YOU HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED if you expected that it meant you would never have sex again?”

    I rest my case.

  10. John says:

    Digger – Your wife has definitely checked out of your marriage, and you have to decide what to do. Therapy may help; it has with my wife and I. And it may even help if you go without Arwyn, if she is unwilling to go. But sex is a part of intimacy. A VERY big part. And if we can’t be intimate with our spouse, then its not a marriage. Its called being a room mate. Speaking from painful personal experience.

  11. C-Marie says:

    I like Aphron’s comment: “being forsaken or being taken for granted?” Both truly do apply with the implication that sexual intimacy isn’t required but hey, isn’t it your turn to take out the trash? Oh and where’s my part of the check this week? Why aren’t those dishes done? Did you get all the laundry finished?
    It’s pretty obvious. I’m going to have his dinner ready for when he gets home, I’ll lean in and listen to all that he says and then put away all of his laundry. I’ll work my 10 hrs today but still manage to wait up past midnight to see him….
    And yet.. sexual intimacy is never to be part of the equation. It’s called being taken advantage of…
    I feel your pain.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would argue that in a “forsaking all others marriage contract” it would also include emotional intimacy and reliance on others – basically putting others needs and desires over the spouse. Then again, I also think that physical sex isn’t the only way to commit adultry – emotional adultry is sometimes even more damaging to a relationship than “just sex.” IMHO of course.

    • Blondie says:

      Learn HOW to pray the Holy Spirit enter into yr marriage and your wife’s heart. Pray and never give up. God wants yr marriage to be amazing and loving.mthe devil hates you both….he wants you to fail.

  13. FTN is right. You can be LL and still love your spouse and still want and engage in *intimacy*.

    My LL phases have mostly been hormonally mediated – results of things being out of whack. But even at my most indifferent about sex, my husband was still my best friend, we spent a lot of free time together, we touched, we slept spooned together at night. Same during his LL phases (which were stress and depression based).

    But maybe it was the fact that we maintained that connection even as the frequency of sexual activity dropped that meant we desired to reconnect and get the spark back? That’s probably a big factor in getting our groove back.

  14. forsaken1975 says:

    Why is it that when i read these sites from therepists (mostly women) that there is such a double standard regarding emotional and physical intimacy? It seems to me that some people (mostly women) give physical intimacy in order to get emotional intimacy,and other people (mostly men) give emotional intimacy in order to get physical intimacy. Why is it that when a woman withholds sex from her partner, it is “empowering”, but when a man withholds his feelings it is “abuse”?

  15. truseeker says:

    Forsaking all others

    The first question I would like to examine is why take a vow before your God maybe, your family and friends etc. one that entitles you to all sorts of legal supported rights, when you neither understand the vow nor feel somehow obligated to stand by it. If that is the case then I feel that the hurt and complications which can arise are too great emotionally. That’s the first thing to consider.

    Secondly, in my mind, there is a degree of intimacy which can be formed through bonding with an individual that the statement seeks to guard against. It does not say that one should not be kind to another human outside of the bond of marriage, but it seeks to ensure that true intimacy which lead to intimate contact is reserved for your marriage partner. Now that said, I would think that both parties should examine the meaning of marriage as defined by a mutually understood and accepted definition prior to taking these vows. I would further think that individuals should take more time in assessing the proposed mate and be reassured that this is someone that you can and want to commit to.

    Sex is a byproduct of true intimacy and therefore if it is withheld for any length of time it might be that the two are no longer intimate signally problems which may be deep-seated. Problems which should be keenly examined for possible repairs or in the effort to make a decision to part before anything that transpires between the two can be defined or described as rape. Sex between married partners in whatever form that is mutually accepted should be a beautiful experience for both persons and as such should be as a result of true intimacy. It should never be used as a tool or weapon for that matter especially if we are talking about the context of forsaking all others for the purpose of maintaining a healthy marriage if that was the intent of the vows to begin with. It is possible however to have sex without being attached emotionally to the other person and this type of sex is possible within a marriage but not one where “Forsaking all others” is a part of it.

    Just things I believe we need to consider when examining this question. Cool topic though.

  16. majedama says:

    Hmmm … this is one of those subjects that really is a no brainer, yet rests on many factors.

    Perhaps a lot of the confusion rests on what “Forsaking all others” really means. It might be a very good idea BEFORE couples tie the knot to define what each one understands these three words to mean. My female mind understands it to mean that WHATEVER needs my man requires from a woman, he will come to me for. Of course, I understand also that whatever needs I require from a man, that I will go to my man to have those needs met.

    So, for example, if my man has needs that are sexual, he will come to me to meet those needs ~ and I am bound to my own commitment to him to ensure that his sexual needs are fulfilled. Likewise, if I have emotional needs that I need to be met, for example, needing my husband to communicate with me on an emotional level, I will expect him to meet those needs so I don’t feel a void in that area of my life.

    The problem that happens when partners don’t legitimately meet each others needs ~ regardless of what those needs are ~ is that there is a feeling of being ripped off. It’s like you signed up for something that you thought would bring you fulfillment, but as it turns out, you’re left feeling unfulfilled. These feelings leave us with voids in our lives and make us vulnerable to seeking out filling in these voids.

    Partners who withhold from their partners the emotional needs or sexual needs are equally responsible for creating the voids that occur as a result of needs not being met. Although no one is responsible for someone else actions, if for example a partner strays from the marital relationship to have their sexual needs met, they are responsible in part for their partners vulnerability in this area if they aren’t willing to uphold their end of the marital vow. It’s true that no one ever died from not having sex, but sex is a need that is part of a LOVING relationship ~ and is meant to be an expression of the love between two people committed to one another.

    In my opinion, marriage is meant to be a give and take relationship that fosters a deep and lasting friendship and love between two people who have made the decision to walk through this life together. It isn’t meant to be a “take and take” relationship or a “give and give” relationship. Women who with hold what they know their men need are engaging in “abusive” behaviors. And likewise, men who with hold what they know their woman needs, are engaging in “abusive’ behaviors. When such behaviors are present in a marriage, the couple is on a downward spin and there is danger that the love that originally brought them together will begin to erode and be replaced with resentment. I am convinced, and have seen it happen all too often, that once partners begin to harbor resentment and do not communicate their needs to one another, disaster awaits them around the corner.

    So make love not war folks! We’re here for a good time, not a long time!

    🙂
    majedama

  17. wiki7176 says:

    forsaking all others … or feeling forsaken? who is your competitor?
    her or your job/career? money? children? parents? friends/family/relatives? culture? Govt/ideologies? (God can’t be a competitor bcos He gave men wives to love, so more love, and loving Him!)
    Look! How can TWO people[a man and a woman] make ONE decision? How???
    hint: surrendered wife

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  23. faithfulhusband says:

    I somehow landed on your blog while doing some research regarding what I want to write to my wife in an anniversary card. I am truly amazed at how many people have no idea what the term “Forsaking All Others” really means when it comes to wedding vows. It’s not surprising in today’s society that the immediate conclusion would relate to sexual matters and stop right there…I mean how could it mean anything else, right? Wrong. I wonder how many people who steer themselves to this conclusion have elderly grandparents who they have watched show their love for each other for 50 years or more, how many of them have ever been to a nursing home and seen a Godly man once filled with vim and vigor take the hand of his lovely wife as they sat tied upright in their wheelchairs. Do the words “Forsaking All Others” or any other words of the marriage vow they spoke to one another so along ago somehow not apply now? My wife and I are by no means one of these elderly married couples yet, but I will tell you this, without any fear or hesitation of what the world today might think of it – If God allows me the fortune, it is the goal of my entire life to sit in that wheelchair next to my wife, knowing that I’m still her man – as we both continue to Forsake All Others – (never allowing anyone or anything to come between us) until death do us part. Though you probably won’t want me to, I’ll be praying for your situation and your “struggle for freedom.” You’ll think I’m judging you, but I’m not. I understand where you are at and it took me nearly losing everything that was important to me before I began to understand things that I couldn’t before. But, please don’t be upset with those who may judge you though, citing your blog category list alone as a sign of the struggle you are trying to free yourself from. In the end, I truly hope someday that you will find yourself searching the internet for the perfect words to include in an anniversary card for a woman you simply can’t live without because she really did become part of everything you are.

  24. I had a dream last night wherever my boyfriend proposes to me and gives me a silver ring with a coronary heart on
    it. How can I interpret this dream? My boyfriend and
    that i have not been discussing marriage and i
    do not expect a marriage proposal any time soon.
    .

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