A Threat Looms

Men Do Not Want Children


A Threat Looms

Men are more or less all the same: they all want to fuck my wife. It’s the story of my life. When that happened, everything came crumbling down! What becomes of me when an intruder violates my turf? What do I do?

Though fucked right and left myself, an intruder seizing my wife, my possession, drove me nuts! Territory and sex are intrinsically linked and cannot be separated. Though I suspect this pain isn’t the symptom of “true love”, I’m still going through hell. I can’t handle this threat. And it’s that looming threat that strengthens couples. Paule Salomon is in complete agreement with this, “The couple’s unconscious mind constantly feeds a third party, at least in fantasy. That’s how it avoids confinement and routine. The third prowls, constantly kept at bay, and expected. Possible unfaithfulness stirs up couples.”[i]

In fact, each of us can be the third party to a new or dissolving couple. “We are not two but three in a couple,” adds Paule Salomon. “And the third is the shadow, be it real or imaginary, of someone else – a man or a woman. The shadow of treason.”[ii] I agree with the young English philosopher Adam Phillips whose summary of the secret of monogamy I read in Willy Pasini’s Les nouveaux comportements sexuels. To paraphrase, “The couple is a resistance to the intrusion of a third; but in order for it to last, it is indispensable to have enemies. That is why the monogamous can’t live without them. When we are two, we are together. In order to form a couple, we need to be three.”[iii]

It’s while reading Salomon and Pasini that I understood why being in a couple was so exhausting. I never stopped fighting the third party. I needed to resist, to form a united front, to exclude him at all cost, and that took a lot of energy. I made a point of being on the front line, in the hope of being able to judge whether it was possible to keep the enemy out of my couple or not. Jean Cournut followed in Freud’s footsteps and wrote, “Lovers have the characteristic, the tendency to want to ‘save’ the woman they love to save her from the possible hardships of life, but most of all from moral decline.” He claims that the explanation lies in the “attachment of the child to its mother.” That seems quite logical to me. We welcome suffering and resistance! I understand what exactly I rejected. Resistance is the fear of change and of others, and the refusal of what is.

On the other hand, being the third party, the threat to a couple, is an exciting challenge. It’s like forcing someone’s barrier. This manoeuvre isn’t always a conscious one. At first, we simply want to offer the object of our desire the possibility to experience something else. It may be subconscious or deliberate. Men and women lie to themselves in different ways. Males try to circumvent the possible threat that others pose to their safety but they cannot resist the siren call of a female third party. Though they might want to stay in their relationship, they cannot refuse an invitation. Yep, all men are pigs!

It’s different for women. They only abandon themselves to temptation when they know their relationship is done for. When a woman sleeps with another man, it’s because she is ready to move on to something else. Jumping the fence allows her to detach herself from her current partner. Her sexuality is less fragmented than his, it’s solid. Women generally only give themselves to one man. Whereas for me, having sex with others doesn’t mean I’m ready to break up, but only that my sexuality is multifaceted and needs more than what monogamy can provide. The split only occurs if my wife learns I’ve had extramarital affairs; my fate rests in her hands. If I want to stay with her and have good excuses, we might make it. But if I learn that my sweetheart has a lover, then that’s it for her. Thus, I can have as many mistresses as I want while enjoying the stability that my marriage provides. Of course, I won’t scream my extracurricular activities from the rooftops! Silence is key to lead a double life. Few women will accept not being the one and only object of a man’s love.