Thursday, May 17, 2007


Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

Over the years, many people have called me "selfish" for choosing to live a promiscuous life with many casual lovers, rather than to settle down with one woman in a conventional marriage. Most often, this sentiment is expressed by those women who wish to have a long-term committed relationship with me. I also heard it quite often from a variety of people when my son was young; they believed that my son needed to have a conventional family life like "everybody else". Many people suggested that I remarry and settle down so that he could have a mother figure in his life.

Regarding my son's childhood, I suppose that I was, at some level, essentially selfish. There just wasn't any way that I was going to make the sacrifice to remarry, for the sole purpose of giving my son a mother. As far as that goes, I came first, and that was non-negotiable.

But, then again, a marriage is supposed to be couple-centered, not child-centered. Not all people who marry have children, and, in those that do, there are presumably many years together after the children have grown and started their own lives. I'm guessing an adult child wouldn't feel a whole lot better when they discover that their parents didn't want to be married for their own sake, but only to provide the child with a family. Nor would it have been fair for me to marry a woman just for my son's benefit, and not because I wanted to spend the rest of my life loving her only -- that would have been simply been a selfishness of another kind.

I also saw to my son's needs with the help of my father and stepmother. So, my son didn't lack for caring adults in his life. And I didn't rub my life in his face, though I made no special pains to hide it from him as he grew older. He's taken it all in stride, though he's not chosen to live as I have. Though he has yet to be married, he's not anywhere near being a libertine, either. I think I managed pretty well raising him to adulthood, despite my less than conventional life.

As far as my own sex/love life goes, I don't lead women on to expect anything more than what I'm willing to give. Those who get involved with me for however short or long a time know what they're getting into, and if they go into it thinking they can change me somewhere down the line, they are soon disabused of this foolish notion.

Because I know I could never be faithful to one woman, I stay unmarried, rather than get married only to do what the hell I want anyway. Admittedly, there are some perks to being married: someone to help earn a living, manage a household, tax breaks, and the like, but knowing my essential nature, I've always thought it would be selfish if I did get married, rather than remain in a status more in line with my natural inclinations. And it would be selfish of a woman who loves me to expect me to live in a state that goes against my basic nature.


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