Today I have a letter from Delia Fortuno about relationship issues.
First of all, thanks for writing this column- everyone I know reads it with relish, and unlike other advice columnists, you’re not afraid to tell it like it is. I hope it becomes a daily thing for you and gets picked up by a newspaper because you just rock, girl. You should get paid to write this baby.
I’m writing you today is because I am living a horrible lie. I have to dress ultra-conservative for my work, but I am so not conservative in my lifestyle habits. I guess you could say I’m a “swinger”. I married a filthy rich man and his family would never have me if I didn’t pretend to be like them.
I enjoy intimate relationships with more than just my husband. In fact, I’ve slept with every man in his family and make a regular habit of sharing a bed with him and his brother. I have also slept with every male in his family, and my family too, come to mention it.
Let’s just say I keep very busy when I’m not on the job. (I’ve slept with my boss too, but that’s not really the issue here.) Thank God I can afford a cleaning lady because I would never have the energy to worry about that stuff or any other menial tasks, what with my private calendar. All these demanding men in my life keep me very, very busy.
I am sorry if this is starting to come off like a Harlequin Romance novel- I am very conscious about what other women think of me because I live in a very uptight neighborhood full of homely old biddies who have absolutely no clue how promiscuous I am. I can’t dress the way I’d like to because I would be tarred and feathered if all those wives found out about their husbands. (It’s funny- you know, I told all of them I own a string of brothels in another town, but they still don’t make the connection.)
My question is, how do I maintain this charade while I am falling apart at the seams because I am forced to put on airs every day with the people around me? I’ve been married to my husband for 5 years now and I still get nervous at the dinner table with his mother. I feel like she can see right through me. Those suits she makes me wear are suffocating my spirit.
I can’t see a therapist, because he or she might out me as a promiscuous woman. It’s a small town and people talk; they’re very judgy. However, I feel an overwhelming desire to talk to someone about my secret trampoline act because it’s so stressful living a double life. Where can I go to find reprieve from the pressure on my psyche without breaking a scandal that will hurt my husband and his family?
Here is my answer:
Dear Mrs. Fortuno,
I have to tell you I am the wrong woman to turn to in matters of promiscuity because I’ve always had weird hangups about other people’s body fluids and that sort of thing. I do weird things like use abstinence for birth control. However, I’ll try for diversity’s sake to put myself in your shoes because your way is quite common these days among married women. It’s been almost a century since society actively upheld chastity as a virtue.
Truthfully, it’s nobody’s business what you do in your private moments so long as it does not affect your work. Unless you find yourself bursting into tears in public, or trying to compensate for bad decisions by offering people sexual favors, you should be able to live as you see fit without too much angst.
If, however, as you say, the lines are increasingly blurred and you find yourself surrounded by those with divergent values, you might need to accept the fact that most women are somewhat possessive of their husbands. You’re not hiding who you are because you want to- you do it because you would otherwise fear for your safety, am I correct?
I can understand the incentive in this behavior- you let the men do as they please and you are materially rewarded, they take your side in every conflict and permit you to totally disregard other people’s feelings. The flip-side of this is that you risk alienating all the women in their lives if the truth were to come out. Honestly? I would try to move to a more swinging city with other people more like you so you can find people who will let you be yourself without judgment. Somewhere like Paris or Seattle, for example.
You might find you are happier if you leave your husband and take up work as a call girl or escort because then you can dress the way you like and you no longer have to wear those stuffy outfits. Just a suggestion- married life is not for everyone and chances are you can get your hands on a comfortable divorce settlement or even child support payments if there are children involved. These days, nobody bats an eyelid at women who work in the sex trade. Why live a lie when you can be true to yourself? There’s no insurance policy on happiness and nobody can tell you how to fix what ain’t broken, as they say.
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[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]