I am a single, bisexual woman in my mid-20s who has spent the last eight years chasing women. Recently, I took a weekend road trip with a male friend whom I've known since college, and we have what I would call a brother-sister relationship. However, during the trip back, we had a really intense discussion of how easily we could see ourselves married because we're so comfortable together. (Some say we already act married.) We let that conversation lapse, but we both can't seem to get it out of our minds. We've mentioned it to close friends and family, and we joke about it. While this would be a major lifestyle change for me, I want this relationship to develop. My concern is this: How do I know if I am not more attracted to the idea of a traditional lifestyle than I am to him? Also, if we do make a commitment, what happens if I meet the "right" woman in the future? Our friendship has always been very strong and open, but how can I convey these fears without hurting or insulting him?
Don't Want To Be Will & Grace
You do not mention if your friend is bi, like you, or straight or gay. You also don't say if you're considering marriage as we understand it, a living arrangement, or a "regular" marriage—but with room for the girl of your dreams, should she materialize. Whatever the situation, it is imperative that you discuss all aspects and concerns in depth. Even making a same-sex romance for you part of the deal, you would both have to think this through carefully. It is certainly not unheard of for people to marry because they wish to have every aspect of married life except the standard sexual one. Prudie sees no reason why discussing such a serious life decision would hurt or insult your friend, and she hopes you won't be anything less than 100 percent honest.
A girlfriend and I recently had a disagreement over what constitutes infidelity in a marriage. I was hoping to get your input on the matter. A short while ago some friends took her to a swingers club of sorts. Hitherto she had no idea what a swinger was. Naturally she was repulsed by the idea. She asked me if I knew what a swinger was (to see if I had ever heard of it). I explained it to her, and she asked the question: Are the couples cheating on each other? Now, I am not down with the swingers thing, but I do find it humorous and have nothing against it/them. I say they aren't cheating on each other because it's a mutual decision and they engage in the activity together. There's certainly no breach of trust. What do you think?
Prudie thinks that married people who get it on with strangers (or even couples known to them) are two-legged alley cats. This freewheeling approach to "togetherness" is nothing more than drive-by sex. The soi-disant "polyamorous" people affect the attitude that this activity is just another sexual choice ... like maybe a new position, but of course it is very distant from integrated, healthy sex. Semantically, you may be right that swingers are not cheating on each other in terms of deception, but they're certainly being unfaithful to their vows. A swinging married couple strikes Prudie as a pair of sluts with matching wedding rings.
This is a lovelorn problem, though not mine. I am quite caught up with New York's Rudy-Judi-Donna drama. It is great fun to read about, but I was wondering what a human-relations counselor made of it all. (I probably am particularly interested because I have, uh, done some time as "the other woman.") Thanks in advance for what I know will be your honest opinion.
—L.P. in Ohio
There are two levels to the drama you refer to. On the one hand, there is acting out of the highest order. In a maturely handled situation such as the one you refer to, when two people fall in love and decide to be together, one or both get a divorce, and then they marry. In a perfect world, this is done as decorously and privately as possible. The people involved do not have a war in the newspapers. On the other hand, the situation the mayor is orchestrating has to be the biggest lift for "the other woman" since Prince Charles went public with Camilla Parker-Bowles. It is almost like a fantasy come true to have a husband (not yours) who announces to the world that you are a wonderful woman to whom he is totally committed. Prudie supposes this whole thing could have been better done, but, to be truthful, it is a lot of fun to read about. One only regrets that the Guiliani children may be among the readers. It was said by F. Scott Fitzgerald that there are no second acts in American life, but there are definitely second husbands ... and Prudie feels certain that Judi Nathan is gonna get herself one.
When I slide past someone to get to my seat at the theater, should I do so with my front or rear facing them? Since they are seated, I am faced with the uncomfortable choice of presenting my groin or rump much too close to their face. My sense is that a "rear presentation" provides some sense of anonymity as cover. Nevertheless, I sometimes face forward so I may politely apologize for bothering them, as is my Midwestern habit. What do you think?
Facing the seated person is preferable ... well, actually necessary if one wishes to say "excuse me." It would be too much of a Japanese tea ceremony to look at someone, beg his pardon, turn around, then scoot to your seat. Bear in mind that you are in motion, not meandering, as you move to a vacant seat, so the moment of "presentation" is literally three seconds.