Message modified by board administrator July 7, 2009, 4:25 am
Continued from previous reply.
The best example of what I am talking about is the story of one manís experience with hiding his SF from his nonsmoking wife for 30 years, and what happened when she found out about it. He shared his story at the SF Ethics Forum that I used to moderate several years ago, and Iíve never forgotten it.
When his wife discovered SF media on his computer, she felt profoundly betrayed and was furious, divorced him and sued him successfully for emotional damages, told their grown children and entire extended family about his Fetish, and did everything she could to smear him and make sure that he was emotionally cut off from all of the people he cared about.
Despite all of his emotional turmoil, there was eventually a happy ending for him, although obviously at a great emotional cost. After he picked up the pieces and decided that he wouldnít let these events completely destroy him, he eventually found a very nice smoking woman about his age, came clean about all of his motivations for wanting to be with her, and found more pleasure in a year with her than he did in all of his years of marriage.
Being so publicly outed pushed him to finally and fully accept the reality of his SF for the first time in his life, and this gave him a sense of relief and freedom that he found thrilling and nothing short of completely transformative. The only regret he had was that he had wasted so much time being unhappy, and that he didnít have the courage to just tell his wife what was really going on with him years before. He believed that they would have probably ended up getting divorced anyway, but he also believed that she wouldnít have been nearly as angry or felt nearly as betrayed had the revelation come earlier in their relationship.
I think that there are two important lessons here, worth careful consideration. The first is that it obviously makes sense to find a partner who possesses whatever qualities you know are essential to your arousal. Anything less will never satisfy you, and there is absolutely no point in wasting your time or your partnerís time by deluding yourself otherwise. The second is that a lie of omission is still a lie, and any relationship where one partner lies to the other about her or his sexuality will never be completely intimate, will never be completely satisfying to either, and can eventually end in disastrous consequences for everyone touched by the relationship.
When you weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks of coming out to a serious partner, especially when considering the long-term implications, I believe that the potential benefits ultimately far outweigh the potential risks. Could there be intense short-term turmoil if your current relationship dissolves, or if your partner needs time to adjust to the revelation? Certainly. But there can also be many wonderful possibilities following such a difficult transition, as the example of our friend above illustrates.
Beyond all considerations of acceptance and integration of a SF into a relationship, there is another very significant risk involved with coming out. And I believe that it is this risk, at least as much as anything else, that prevents many of us from coming out to our committed partners.
The presence of a SF in a relationship will undoubtedly influence and encourage the other partner to smoke, and to keep smoking, in subtle and not so subtle ways. And there will always be at least some health consequences, even if only light, occasional smoking is involved. I think that we all recognize this on some level, and the reflexive reaction for many of us is to want to protect our partners from ourselves and from our potential influence on them, so we remain silent about our attraction to smoking.
But personal responsibility is entirely dependent on having all of the relevant information to making any given decision, and I believe that once we come out to a partner about our SF, we have provided all of the relevant information that she needs to make personally responsible decisions about her smoking, and about the future of the relationship. I believe that being completely honest is the only fair thing for both partners, and that being open about the significance of smoking in the relationship can remove much of the potential for guilt and shame on the part of the partner with the SF. The influence is still there, but since it is known and understood by the partner being influenced, she can choose to either accept or reject that influence, in the same way that she can choose to either accept or reject the personal health risks of smoking.
The real world implications of introducing a SF into a relationship are obviously very complicated, and for many, are very frightening. But there is no better indication of how comfortable we are with ourselves and with the reality of our Unusual Desires than how we think about and behave in our intimate relationships.
Life is so very short, and the more honest and comfortable you are with yourself and with those who have a real stake in your life and your sexuality, the more opportunities you will create to be happy.
Responses are not allowed!