19 October 2008

Morals

My readers know a lot of details—some rather intimate—about me. Obviously I'm OK with that, or I wouldn't write about said details on the World Wide Web.

Like any blogger with a relatively large and loyal fan base, I struggle all the time with what to share. I err towards the uncensored, for a variety of reasons. I know that I benefit from reading about how other bloggers handle tough times; I like to think that some good could come out of me sharing my difficulties. And I know that I benefit greatly from the support I get in comments. I also don't feel a great need to censor because I'm very open about the fact that I blog and what I blog about. My mom and dad read my blog, as do my sister- and brother-in-law. A couple of coworkers read my blog. Lots of my real-life friends read it. My general rule is that I don't blog about things I would not feel comfortable discussing in real life, although from time to time I violate that rule if I'm using the blogging process as a way to work through something I'm not quite ready to talk about yet.

Another reason I tend not to censor is that I'm very comfortable with myself, my beliefs, and my morals. I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinions, decisions, or actions, and I've learned a lot from commenters who don't agree with me on some subjects. Losing a spouse, the grieving process, and parenting—my main topics—are universal. There are widows and widowers among Obama and McCain supporters alike. Right-wing Christian conservatives and athiests all have kids. Sadly, I don't think anyone makes it through life without grieving the loss of something. Likewise, my readers tend to come from all walks of life. I love that. I work hard to be a tolerant and open-minded person, and I think we can learn a lot from each other. (Does anyone else hear the strains of "Kumbaya"?)

When I first started posting about dating—and especially about sex—I wasn't surprised to get comments about my morality, or lack thereof. Some of the comments stung a bit; I hate feeling like I've disappointed anyone. Then is occurred to me that while my actions have clearly implied certain beliefs, I've never laid my beliefs and morals out in black and white. That made me start thinking about exactly what I is I do believe. I found that it's not so easy to define. I don't made decisions without thinking, but nailing down my thought process is not as simple as I thought it would be.

Sexual behavior is of course just one part of a person's moral belief structure, but it's been the one most up for debate here on my blog, and it's also the one I feel is most taboo for people to discuss. Let's open it up for some chat, shall we? Without further ado, here's a random collection of my thoughts on sex, with the caveat that of course everyone should be practicing safe(r) sex, etc.
  • I think sex is great fun, and I don't think people should be embarrassed to enjoy it.
  • I completely respect people who wait until marriage to have sex, but I did not feel any need to do so myself.
  • Sex can be a wonderful part of building an emotional connection with someone, but you can have good sex without having an emotional connection and you can certainly have an emotional connection without having good sex.
  • As long as both parties are clear that the relationship is not destined for the long haul, there is absolutely nothing wrong with two adults having a casual, sex-based relationship.
  • I would not be comfortable seriously dating or having a physical relationship with more than one person at a time.
  • I don't think you need to wait a certain number of dates or establish that a relationship is "serious" or "committed" before you decide to have sex.
  • Single parents should not be barred from having sex, and having sex does not make a single parent worse (or better) at his or her job.
  • Sex is not the more precious gift I have to offer a guy, nor the most important or compelling thing I bring to a relationship.
  • I can't imagine having sex with someone just for the sake of having sex. I have to feel some kind of connection—emotional, physical, both. I've gone a long time (like years and years and years) without having that connection at times, and that's OK. I'm not going to do it just to do it.
  • In some relationships I've had, the sex has happened right away. In others, not. While there's no way to know for sure, my sense is that the timing of the sex has had no impact whatsoever on the ultimate success or failure of relationships I've had.
I feel lucky that I know and like myself well enough to enjoy a relationship on many levels. It's fantastic when all those levels converge and you get a long-term relationship that is fulfilling and gratifying for both people involved. That's a rare and beautiful thing. Along the way, I think it's fine to have relationships that are fulfilling in some ways, but lacking in others. As long as both people involved are on the same page, why not? Some relationships are more about the physical, some more about the emotional. I know I've needed different things as various times in my life. I also know and like myself well enough to choose to not be in a relationship at all if that's what's best at the time.

I'm not laying all this out there in order to justify anything I've done, but rather because the variety of comments on the subject have made me curious about where I fall on the Morality Spectrum. Am I a sexual über-liberal? I never thought I was; I've always felt pretty middle of the road. But perhaps I'm some kind of Free Love Guru and I didn't even know it. Where do you feel like you fall on the spectrum?

EDITED: Of course I do not think it is OK to flaunt my sexuality in front of my kids! They are waaaaay too young to have "The Talk" with (thank goodness, I'm so not ready), but not too young to notice how I interact with people. No one I date is going to be staggering out of my room half-naked in the morning (or evening, or middle of the night, or what have you). No one I date is going to be staggering out of my room fully clothed in the morning (or evening, or middle of the night) for that matter, not of there's a chance that Maddie or Riley would see him and wonder what's going on. But protecting them from adult activity that they are too young to understand is not mutually exclusive to me having an adult relationship.

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As an aside, it's posts like these that are one of the reasons I continue to allow Anonymous comments. This is a sensitive topic. I'd rather deal with a random, crazy hater from time to time than have people feel like they can't share.

76 comments:

goddessinprogress said...

Interesting, it really is a topic that isn't easy to lay out your precise beliefs and thought processes, even when you're someone who does put thought into it.

I don't feel like you're out on the fringe in any way. I suppose maybe you (and I) have a slightly more-liberal-than-average approach, but I don't think it's that far off the middle.

Hey, in my book, it's up to the consenting adults to decide how and when to use their bodies in what ways. Everyone is welcome to make their own choices, whether they're significantly more conservative or all whacked-out and freaky. As long as the parties involved are on the same page, more power to 'em.

As for us... M and I discussed the whole sex-before-marriage thing one time, and he had a classic quote: "I'm going to test-drive a car, and I'll probably have that, what, 5-10 years? You think I'm not going to go for a 'test-drive' with the person I want to spend my life with?" Hahahaha... OK, I guess that's why we work. We both found that funny.

Anyways, I hope this proves to be a civil discussion, and good on you for putting it out there.

Maggie said...

When you have sex with someone you make yourself vulnerable, and being female, part of the vulnerability lies in the fact that despite the best of intentions/precautions otherwise, sex does sometimes result in people! The other issue is of course the little people you have already. What do you want to model for them? If you're comfortable despite the above issues, great. I think most commenters mean to wish you well.

Whitney said...

snick,
amen! I agree whole heartedly, though through my own journey, that has not always been the case. There was a time I believed that sex was "meant" to be in a monogomous marriage. I no longer think that. Sex is adult play. Is it important to be honest and have integrity? Be safe and care about the safety (emotional and physical) of others? Absolutely. That being said, if all of those bases are covered to the best of one's ability, then have a good time :)
I'm so glad you are!

Whitney

Anonymous said...

I'd say this is middle of the road for how people act, but maybe more liberal in what people profess or want to believe - the old preach/practice disconnect. I like that you have the two sides connected in your mind - not everyone may agree with you, but no one can say you haven't thought about your beliefs!

Personally, I'm on your wavelength.

Emily said...

I was logging on to post and to start it with "Amen!" and I see Whitney's post above mine ... hee hee! You are very self-aware, Snick, and if you were my daughter, I would feel that you were making really solid decisions. You are much more open about sex than I am, (for example, I would NEVER talk about sex with my parents! Sad!) but I think it's wonderful. You are making safe decisions that seem to me to be in line with your moral compass. Thank you for sharing.

Kizz said...

I was really pleased to find that I agree with all of your bullet points. Not pleased like, "Oh thank goodness she's not an amoral freak." but more, "Hey! She sounds so grounded and calm about this and I believe all that stuff too. Crap, maybe I'm more grounded than I think I am." Then again maybe not because I haven't found a way to put these morals into practice since my last relationship dissolved years ago. I don't feel brave enough or like it'll ever work out. You're giving me courage, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey, my motto has always been, "if it feels good, do it" as long as i's in a physically and emotionally safe context. Life is short, sex is fun. Let the Puritans have their say, but I'll take la petite mort any day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! Oddly enough, I tend to agree with your points, although I married the first guy I slept with :) Really, it boils down to, "Be true to yourself, be true to where you are in life". Yeah, you're a single mother, but you're more than just a mom - like you were saying about Mr. Coffee you have your work sphere and your personal sphere too. Maybe your spheres intersect a bit more than his, but you can't deny your own needs for adult emotional/physical connection because of your kids. That's just my opinion.

Ali said...

My exact thought was AMEN as well. I agree with all your points and believe in them as well. You are very grounded and seem to know what you want. Sex is fun; Sex is happy. I think with what you have dealt with you deserve a little happy fun with a sexy accent who can cook and has a cozy bed!

Melissa said...

Snick, I could have written this posting myself... regarding sex, we're in complete agreement!
Hugs,
Melissa

~moe~ said...

Delurking here... Thank you for laying out your beliefs. I have enjoyed reading about your exploration into dating again. I've never been very good at dating and especially when it came to the sex part of it all. But reading your moral code, so to speak, I find I'm right in line with what you stated. I just never knew how to put it out there. I'm not as open on my blog as you are, mostly due to the beginnings of my blog and who is reading it, but I totally admire your openness. You are amazing and I wish you all the luck with your relationships and all the happiness you deserve. :)

Neurotic Grad Student said...

I think I'm a bit more on the conservative scale than you are. Because sex does come for me with emotional attachments, I don't think it should be rushed into. Of course when I was younger, I didn't necessarily follow these strictures, but now that I'm older, I think that my younger self was a fool.

Also, I'm all about modeling appropriate behavior for children. Is what you're doing something you would be okay with your daughter doing when she's of consenting age? Okay for your son? Then rock on and do what you're doing. If it's not okay, then maybe you should reexamine what's going on.

Personally, I do find some of your posts a little hard to take, but it's none of my business. You raise your children in a way that you think is appropriate, you do what your body what you think is appropriate, and I'll click away when I think it is appropriate. Ignore the nasty commentators; clearly, they don't know the rule about changing the channel when something they don't like is on tv.

katrina said...

(I think I've commented once before, just to let you know I'm lurking. De-lurking again to get in on this discussion).

Like pretty much everyone else who has commented so far, I think we fall within the same wavelength. I feel pretty liberal sexually- I've done it on the second date, I've done it after a month of dating.

As far as kids go... I don't have any, so I can't comment from the parenting angle. However, when I was a wee one, my parents had split up and I lived with my dad and I don't recall ever having an issue with him dating. I was 5 or 6 and I never questioned anything. Then again, that was 18 years ago. Young kids may be more perceptive that I was ;)

Overall, I'm just adding to the plethora of "amen!"s here!

django's mommy said...

YES, yes, and YES. Especially the part about sex not being the most precious 'gift' I can bring to a relationship. I think that denigrates the rest of my whole person, frankly.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote pretty much. So maybe I'm a sexual uber-liberal, too?

Karen said...

First of all I am not saying that you are doing anything wrong or immoral at all!

That being said, I think being a single parent does effect one's sexuality and should reflect on one's morals. Once the children are old enough to realize a man has a special relationship with mommy, it changes how you can conduct business. For example, having a man wake up in my home and come out of my bedroom would be a huge no-no, unless I was in a very, very committed relationship.

Anonymous said...

I'm posting my thoughts here not for the purpose of disagreeing with you, but just because you asked for a reader poll.
I've been a "wait till marriage" person, but finding myself widowed past 30 means I'm now in the dating world again. My original intention was to stick to how I really want to lead my life and my relationships, but I found myself to be completely out of sync with current culture. I seemed to be a real anomaly. So I "tried it the other way" for a while, but in my heart was really searching for a permanent relationship. Well, honestly, through that experience I think I found out why those values existed in the first place. If a man was "testing compatability" and seeing if we were a match, I was already deeply bonded (some people even feel that's a biological difference between men and women). That meant the person who was hurt was me. I also overlooked some personality traits that I should have paid attention to because I was already feeling like I was in a committed relationship. Not for me, but for some people, children actually come out of these transitory relationships! And, I've been lucky, but I have heard from many people who have unwittingly contracted an STD, which they will have life long.
I very deeply desire to follow my relationships according to my values, but it's really really tough in today's world! Honestly, I'm not sure how I am going to do it without being perceived as a fanatic.
Again, the intent of my posting isn't to disagree with you or oppose your ideas, I'm simply saying that I've had a different experience, and part of my challenge is trying to live a life the way I choose. It's a lot harder this time around.

jenn3 said...

I've made a few comments on your blog (never anonyomous and never cruel), but mostly I lurk. I enjoy reading your blog. I'm a single mom and I'm also a Christian. The reason I'm commenting today is to tell you that the cruel commentors are just being cruel. I'm a Christian, and I believe that sex should be saved for marriage, but I don't believe that I should push that on someone with different beliefs. Why would I expect you to follow my beliefs? It's silly. If I was offended by your blog, which I haven't been yet, I would stop reading. I don't feel the need to bash you because you see things differently than I do. We all have our own perspectives and no one is better or worse because of them. (In my opinion.) And for what it's worth, it sounds like you're also doing a great job with your kids and there is no reason for people to try to guilt you out of a relationship because of your children. I'll shut up now, I just wanted you to hear from someone who doesn't agree, but doesn't think you are bad or wrong because we don't agree.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I so enjoy your blog is because you always sound like a real person. Meaning you are writing about life as it happens, not writing about what you think people would like to hear. It's refreshing and I believe you should not be judged by anybody who hasn't walked in your shoes. You deserve to get out and be a woman not just a mom.
Thank for blogging - Lo

ms. striking said...

Wow - with all the 'amens' I felt like maybe I was in church! :)

So....I am a conservative Christian woman who really really really loves seeing people in happy marriages and fulfilling God's plan for them*.

*Yes...I can sense many eyes rolling right now... :-)

Now, having said that, no matter if someone is Conservative, Liberal, Freaky-Deaky, whatever...we all have value and talents and gifts to share. I'm learning that everybody has a story. And I'm sure each of you - Snick & commenters - are amazing women.

God bless - Tish

Anonymous said...

Interesting... A few commenters here have brought up the question of modeling behavior for your children. I want to riff on that idea, but I want to make it totally clear that I'm not reacting to anything specific that Maggie and Neurotic Grad Student said.

It seems to me that some people who talk about sexual morality and its connection to parenting (and again, here I *don't* mean M. or NGS) are really saying "You shouldn't let your children know that you have a sex life." I think it's a little more complicated than that. Of course we want to introduce our children to the fact of sexuality in age-appropriate ways, which for a little kid probably means more talking about love and relationships and less about sex and its mechanics (here's where the classic euphemism "sleeping together" comes in handy). I mean, the same is true for other Big Human Issues, like death and injustice and poverty and religion.

But it's also possible to take this to an extreme; to hide our sexuality from our children to such an extent that they think (as the popular culture thinks) that only young, single people have sexual feelings or sexual lives. There's a difference between providing age-appropriate information and keeping children ignorant "for their own good."

I think that modeling proper behavior for one's children includes acknowledging things that are difficult and complicated (and FUN), among which is sex. And acknowledging that our children are not the only centers of our lives, that our lives did not cease being complicated and interesting because we became parents.

I'm not sure how coherent this is (end of a long day), but there it is.

WendyB said...

Point out anyone commenting about your morality to me and I will beat the bitch's ass for you.

amber said...

such a well-written and thought out post. i'm stuck by how very self-aware you are and i think that is great.

count me in that "wait til marriage" bunch. for me, it worked. but, that doesn't mean it's up to me to force my beliefs and values on everyone else. i think that so long as you're comfortable in the relationship and you're not doing anything that is hurting you, then rock on!

as far as the parenting thing... i don't have kids, but from everything i've read, you sound like you have things well under control.

L. said...

Once again you sound very reasonable and self-aware to me. I find your positions very moderate. I agree intellectually with all of them. In my personal life, I have found it very hard to separate sex from a committed relationship, so that's the only place where I differ in my practice. Then again I'm married, have been for a while, so it's sort of a moot question. That was just the thinking I had arrived at when I got married, and I never dated around much. If I were thrown back into the dating pool later in life, who knows, maybe I would loosen up a bit!

Anyway, more power to ya. And I think you do an extremely conscientious job of thinking about M & R as you work out your thoughts and practices about/on dating and relationships.

Sadly, I fear the cruel anonymous commenters aren't really interested in your morality; they just want you to adopt theirs--for whatever personal reasons.

Anonymous said...

For me, I've found that my heart gets too wrapped up when I allow physical stuff to come into play in a dating relationship. The guys I dated who I didn't let get intimate with me didn't take me as long to get over, and some even remained friends. But the guys I let have a physical part of me took me a lot to get over, and I'm talking about major counseling and a real interference with my daily activities. I guess my heart just isn't wired to be able to handle sex outside of marriage. Now that I am married, I wish I'd waited to have sex because my husband chose to wait 30-some years to have sex only after a wedding and I know my prior choices impacted him emotionally. But I also have to say that the sex in my marriage is WAY better than the sex I had while dating, and that's because my husband is not only concerned about satisfying his own needs like my ill-chosen dates were.

As for the kid thing, I'll forever regret one situation. I dated a single dad of a three year old. His daughter bonded with me right away, and she asked me if I was going to spend the night. I told her that I would be sleeping in my own house. That impacted her so much that she even told her grandmother at the dinner table when we were over there for a meal one weekend. Awhile later, I ended up spending the night with her dad, and one morning while we were sure she was still sleeping, we were enjoying each other. Of course, she walks in and the first thing she says is, "I thought you were always going to sleep at your house and not with my daddy." I felt like such a heel. I felt like I'd failed not only myself in my commitment to her, but that I'd failed to somehow protect her.

I'm not judging you. I'm just saying that I really regret my own choices, just because of how much they screwed with my head and heart. (pun intended) I guess I'm just too sensitive of a person to be able to let sex have a place outside of marriage.

mames said...

interesting post. i was going to leave a comment on the last post about mr. coffee and his ability to separate his life. but i think it was more about you and what you have been able to tell us (your readers) about your journey.

reading this post made me realize that i have been reading your dating posts from a married woman's point of view, and that is not really fair. it is not that i was thinking bad thoughts about you and your actions, just that i was vaguely uncomfortable with the level of sharing.

but now i see that the way you share, your very honest and practical way of sharing, is very healthy and very cool and very brave. because there are a lot of women reading here that can hear about the steps you are taking to engage and immerse yourself int he great things there are in life, the things that are out there waiting for you.

and i had unmarried sex for a long long time before we made it legal. (uh, with the same guy though..that sounded a little sleazy without clarifying) and now, post twins, we do not have enough. so i will keep reading and maybe ask the husband to make me some dinner and see if we can find our sexy a bit more.

C. said...

No time to read through all the other comments, however I am a free love type. have even been a bit slutty at times. Single, safe, it's my bod, consenting adults, no money exchanged, all legal, no strangers. Judge me, dont judge me, but there are very many times (NOW) that despite a BF, time does not permit for adult related activities.

Jennfactor 10 said...

I agree with you whole heartedly on this. I found love and sex to be two completely different beasts. The combination of the two was lovely, but I could be happy with a little of one and a little of the other.
As my kids get older, I find myself on the moral teeter-totter of do as I say, not as I do. I was a frighteningly logical girl, even as a kid. My kids are both more passionate about things, and I don't see them able to separate things as easily. I have a few years before this becomes an issue, but I worry for them.

Diana said...

Awesome dialogue going on in comments, which illustrates a point I wanted to make, which is that people are different. Some people get very attached once they have sex, others don't. I'm the type that doesn't automatically get attached, but have dated guys who do, so it's not only women who are like this. Whatever type of person you are, you need to do what's right for you.

Being a parent to teenage boys, I think it's very important to talk openly about sex. My 19 year old stepson was in a relationship where the girl was pressuring him to get married if he wanted to have sex with her. I told him I don't think people should get married without having sex first, and that it would be better if they lived together first - he thinks I'm the extreme of liberal on this issue! But really, it's sad that boys feel they have to take a girl out, spend lots of money, profess undying love...all just to get to the sex. I tell my boys and my teen nieces the same thing - sex can cloud your thinking and cause you to make decisions that aren't in your best interest. If having a boyfriend/girlfriend keeps you from doing well in school, or doing the things you want to do with your life, you shouldn't have one. I know people will think it sounds bad, but I'd rather them have occasional casual sex than a serious relationship at 17.

Anonymous said...

I think your approach is definitely on the more liberal side, but perhaps is not the MOST liberal. Well, certainly it is not. As someone who works a lot with high school and college students, I can tell you sex seems to be much, much looser with those kids than what you are saying.

As for me, I fully believe in the Bible's stance on sex. It was an act created for a husband and wife, and should be respected within those confines. I do not condemn people to hell for not following that guideline, but I also do not apologize for sincerely believing that is the truth. My husband has been my sole sexual partner, and I have never regretted having made that decision.


- A

vicdamone911 said...

I think everyone should shut up with their negative comments. Sex is a personal thing that no one should judge (unless its illegal of course).

I have a quick story: the guy that I eventually married was my sisters best friend and she and I were roomates. He would visit and watch movies and hang out at our house. Then we started dating and having sex. My children were completely in the dark. We would make a big production of saying goodbye to him at bedtime, he would leave and drive around the block. He would come back over after they were sleeping. In the morning, just before they woke up He would leave out the back door, wait a bit and then ring the doorbell at the front door. The kids would answer and he would have breakfast with us and then we would all start our day. Now years later they really had no clue.

But I was so careful that they were not affected by my "guilt" about being "immoral" it was really stupid and funny.

Pam said...

I was brought up by VERY conservative parents who told me you wait until you are married and that is that!!!! I have to agree with you that I've had relationships where I had sex on the third date, after a month, after several months and some not at all. I also don't think any of these decisions impacted the length of the relationship. I also have to admit I've had sex with people I was not in a romantic relationship with. I don't regret anything I've done because it's made me who I am today.
I am glad you don't censor your blog and I'm glad lots of other bloggers don't. While I don't agree with everyone all the time (who does?)it is nice to hear other people's viewpoints.
Pam

Susan said...

Hey Snick, well written post. I'm on the conservative side and agree with Jenn3's post. (geez, hopefully that doesn't make me sound negative). I love how people "read" into what your trying to say and again, if it doesn't go along with everybody else's, your all of a sudden being negative. I'm not. Like Jenn3 said, I don't push what I believe on anyone. I do agree with what you said that "sex" isn't the most precious thing you can give your whoever. With all that said, I wish YOU the best. I enjoy reading your posts.

SEC

Me said...

I was pretty annoyed with some of those comments.

You enjoy yourself. Period. Live. Breath. Love. Have sex. Don't love. Have a crush. Get excited about someone.

You deserve it.

Now. Off you go.

kate said...

I agree, I agree, I agree!!! I think you're middle of the road. I think each relationship, serious or not, is different. My current boyfriend and I didn't go there for about a month. For some reason, I wanted to wait. I think it's because I knew he was different and I didn't want him to think I was the kind of girl to run around with anyone. We've been together for 3 years now.

My previous relationship was with an older guy. He was in his early 30's when I was in my early 20's. We had a much more physical relationship. I cared for him a lot. We respected and loved each other, but we both knew that it wasn't going to lead to marriage. We eventually both decided to go our separate ways. I was looking for more. It was probably one of the most mature relationships I've ever been in.

I think you do a great job of understanding the reality of relationships in our time. Thank you for writing this post! It's nice to know that there are people out there with the same beliefs as me!

Anonymous said...

You are remarkable, snick...I have to say, as one for whom sex was always accompanied by a huge emotional connection, I'm rather envious of your approach, which makes really good sense to me and seems absolutely fine on all fronts.
I just wish that I'd ever managed to separate sex from major committment...It meant that I thought myself in love far more than was healthy for me when I was younger.
I'm so glad that you're having fun with Mr Coffee - and that you have such a clear grasp of what is actually going on for you.

What A Card said...

You go, Snick! I tend to be extremely liberal in my views of sex, so I know I'm not a good judge of what "normal" people might think. But my opinion is that as long as you're being careful with both your and his mental health (and it practically goes without say, but physical health as well), sex is fun! Why wouldn't you do it?

Kim said...

I agree and am middle of the road as well. Consenting adults do as you wish, have sex, don't have sex, it's up to you. I could not agree more with your statement regarding sex not being the most precious gift you can give someone. I come from a family with traditional catholic values and was always told that virginity/sex was the most "precious gift". I never understood it. I refuse to believe that offering/gifting my husband the whole person I have become, my hard earned accomplishements and assets, my love and support all pale in comparison to my ability to simply spread my legs.

Roads said...

A commenter just above commented that perhaps she had been too judgmental because she'd been looking at this from the perspective of a married woman, and that Snick is single.

I think what's way too easy to forget here, is just how hard it is for a lone parent to get this right.

There's the logistics, for a start. How do you get out, and when you do, how do you move things forwards. The implication is that having kids at home makes your free time that much more precious, and it tends to lead you forwards where other people might wait.

Then there's the uncomfortable fact that a widowed parent has needs. That is often ignored, and it's not supposed to be true - they're supposed to be loyal to their dead spouse, right? But you can still be loyal, and still have needs. And even more so, maybe.

And then there's this huge one, that no one else in this game is in remotely the same position. All the people you meet are single, or divorced, or (hopefully not) married. Some of them may have kids, and they may have baggage of various kinds to bring with them.

But they are very very unlikely to be in the same position exactly, or to share the same perspectives. Or to have suffered the same experiences and hard lessons in life.

And, above all - they won't feel this huge sense of responsibility that a widowed parent feels for bringing up their children, and dealing with their love life in a way that honours their commitments there.

Other people you date might have children, sure, but none of them are likely to be solely responsible for their children's welfare - because there is nearly always another parent, hidden away somewhere.

None of this makes it impossible to have a love life, or to work through the dating minefield intact. But perhaps it's not quite as easy and uncomplicated as many people might think.

There are risks to be taken, and decisions to be made at just about every step. It's really not trivial.

Best of luck to you, Snick, and best wishes from London.

Mama Nabi said...

(I just had The Talk - well, one of many, I think - with LN by the way... we are so bizarro.)

Perhaps this comes from years of hanging out of hippie-types but I'm pretty much, more or less, along your lines and - ha - I was considered conservative... a little uptight maybe..??

So it's all perspective. And what your view of sex is and whether you can separate sex as a physical activitiy and sex as a statement of undying love... and I won't deny that I do get emotionally tangled in the act of sex, that I couldn't just have a random sex and forget about it... but I do want to be pragmatic about it.

It's something that makes me and I am sure a lot of other women feel good, physically and emotionally. I do respect people who believe in going without for moral or ethical reasons. Or even for safety reasons. But not everyone has the same belief system. For anyone to denounce someone else's moral for the sex they are having, I have a problem with that and don't respect that. Life isn't that long... and if the act of sex brings out something beautiful (yes, even pure lust can be beautiful) in your life, makes you feel alive again, you should go for it. You, of all people, know so much about moments taken away too quickly, life cut short... sex and the good feeling that comes with it is part of what makes life beautiful. As long as you take precautions to make sure you are safe and protected, go - embrace life, have fun - you're too young to NOT to. A friend of mine told me last night that I've had so many years of UN-fun that it's time to indulge. YOU go indulge your gorgeous self.

Shannon said...

I couldn't agree with you more, which is perhaps why I'm focusing not so much on your response to comments but rather on how you responded. I haven't read all the comments from previous posts but am aware that some were insulting, even hateful. This is part of why I get blogger's block all the time and tend to cower in the face of writing about personal topics. You could easily have flipped out at the nasty comments, but instead you chose to use them as an opportunity for introspection. This is what comments SHOULD be for - opening up the discussion rather than starting an argument. I'm just damn impressed that you swallowed what I'm sure was a lot of anger and went for the productive response. Go Snick!

Kim said...

I would say it would depend on the guy and how I felt about the situation. Unless I felt really comfortable with the guy and what was going on between us I wouldn't sleep with him too early on. I would say I'm not as comfortable with my sexuality as you are and don't want some guy I am not serious with knowing all my private sexual stuff and putting myself up for rejection after he had tried the goods so to speak. I don't want some guy thinking of me as easy or the 'town bike' either but if I felt really comfortable about it all then maybe I would go for it early on. I don't really have that a high sex drive anyway so he'd have to be pretty hot or have some strong attraction for me to be interested in having sex with him anyway.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anon 20:14 - most people do what you say.. some may not say it so openly. I think you're right in the middle with a healthy attitude. Also, you're WAYYY past high school and sex really is different when you're an adult.

Listen, people are concerned because we care for you but the fact remains, you cannot live in the bubble if you want a LIFE.

My mantra: as long as it's fun and enjoyable, it's ok to do it. If I no longer like it, I will stop doing it. That's an easy one to live by!!

Thank you for sharing your opinions. They are helpful for everyone!!

moo said...

I totally agree with you.

That whole "sex is a precious gift" bullshit is leftover from a Victorian Era belief system.

You are an adult, you can make your own decisions about your body. Good grief.

Becky said...

I think I agree with all of those bullet points. It doesn't seem like you are uber-liberal to me, but then again, we're in one of the most liberal areas of the country.

Andrea said...

I don't comment often, but LOVE your blog! I wish there were more out there like yours. Thank you so much for being honest enough to keep putting your thoughts out there in spite of some of the comments you have received recently. Your self-confidence and self-awareness are amazing and inspiring. I REALLY hope you feel able to continue being so open and am glad to see that at least so far on this post, the comments have remained respectful. For the record, I completely agree with you, but would have loved this post even if I felt completely differently.

Anonymous said...

I've never commented before, and I was extremely hesitant to share this story as my first comment. However, I don't think I'll be able to make the point I want to make without sharing it.

My views on this topic are seemingly contradictory. I agree 100% with Snick on her views, and completely understand her artuments. I know where she's coming from because, in the past, my worldview was framed the same way. A few years ago, I had an experience that altered my views somewhat.

I've had multiple (although not a disgusting or ridiculous number) partners in my lifetime, and I'm currently married (so, I've got just the one). More than five, less than ten, if that helps. In the past I agreed wholeheartedly that people needed to lighten up about sex. It didn't have to be the meaningful, lovemaking experience that so many insist is the only appropriate type of sexual relationship to have. It could be, but it didn't have to be. I still feel that way, but my new take on sexual liberation is: Enjoy, but do everything you can to minimize your number of partners. Here's why ---

I was always safe (condoms, the pill), but a few years ago I had an abnormal pap smear. After some additional testing, I discovered I had contracted HPV, and needed to have surgery for the potential cancer on my cervix. This surgery may have compromised my ability to carry a fetus. People don't talk about this that much, but an AMAZING number of women have HPV. You can get it with a condom on (living proof here). You can't test for it in men, so there is this completely false belief out there that once you and your partner are tested for STDs, you can have all the sex you want with just the pill, and no babies and no problems. This simply isn't true.

There is no cure for HPV, and there are other very unfun things you can get with condoms on. People don't think they will, but they do. Honestly, I used to think that whole spiel was right-wing abstinence-only rhetoric, but it definitely isn't. I'm disappointed that I learned this the way I did. It was a stressful, emotional, physically painful, and humiliating experience.

In an ideal world, we could have sex with as many people as we wanted. Test drive all those pretty cars, so to speak :) (Although, I am IN NO WAY implying that that is what you are doing here, Snick.) But, a very unfair part of life says that it might not be the best idea.

If I am ever single again (God forbit), it will be my choice to wait a bit longer to decide whether to sleep with someone. In that way, I'd probably sleep with less people and minimize my number of sexual partners.

Just food for thought. I'm not trying to sway anyone on this. Like Snick, I understand why people feel the, often divergent, ways they do on this topic. It is my personal belief, though, that if women talked more openly about the byproducts of their "safe" sex history (abortions, STDs, really really crappy mornings after) we MIGHT all be a little more hesitant in our actions.

But, in most cases, people are not going to tell their girlfriends they have an STD or that they had an abortion. So, we sort of all have a skewed worldview of what the true implications of sex are. My friends don't know my story, and you wouldn't either without the benefit of the anonymous posting (thanks, Snick!).

Good luck in all you do, Snick. I am extremely happy you are having fun out there.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably more liberal than Snick in this area. But, strangely, I want to respond to anon 22:39. Maybe you are right, but I don't assume that the more conservative or even religious comments meant that a single parent's children shouldn't know their parent has sex. I read those comments as reminding us that sex can result in pregnancy, even when we use precautions. And that has different implications when you already have kids.

Then there is the questions, when IS it OK for one's kids to know on soe level that their parent is a sexual being? Is that age different for every child? Different when the parent is a single parent?

Snick has said she and Mr. Coffee don't hold hands in front of her kids, and don't see him exiting her bedroom under any circumstances. Sounds right to me. What about with older children?

Anonymous said...

A lot of the other commenters have already said it... Kudos for knowing more about you and than any one else. You aren't hurting anyone so continue with whatever makes you feel good.

Watercolor said...

Perfect.

You know, just two weeks ago, I turned a guy down. There was a great connection over the few dates we'd had and I thought there was a great possibility of exploring where it would go as a relationship. But in the course of the evening, he made it clear he was just dating around and had no intentions of getting involved in anything serious with anyone. And he knew that I am dating looking for someone. So when push came to shove, so to speak, I told him I couldn't. Not that I didn't want to, lol. But because I knew I would start to get attached to him if we did and he wasn't looking for that and I would just end up hurting myself. And with the track record with men I've had the past two years, heaven knows I don't need to purposefully get hurt. lol. But man I so would have if he hadn't opened his big mouth. ha.

Anonymous said...

Can I get a shout out for the HPV girls in the house??

Snick, I'm 100% with ya. And anon 12:13, you too. After 1 sexual partner I contracted HPV at age 23 and had to do the surgery thing, too. By myself, by the by, as the contagious (condom-wearing!) guy had departed out the nearest door. Everything's been normal since, and I just had a completely healthy and stress free pregnancy (my son is 6 months old), and everything was just fine. But it did give me something a little deeper to think about when deciding whether or not to do the deed, both in terms of future disease contraction, and also in terms of spreading what I already had.

Snick, the thing you said that is true for me is that I could only sleep with 1 man at a time. And this surprised me! I was once dating 3 men at once, 3 men with whom singly I would have happily had a sexual relationship - but I didn't with any, because it didn't feel right. Maybe the disease fear? The baby fear? Residual religious convictions? I don't know.

Anyway, this is a fun conversation, and good lordy your commentors are so POLITE! What a wonderful disussion. (And in case anyone cares to know, my # is 5, and I told each of the subsequent 4 about my health issue and gave them the option to bow out gracefully, and was very protective of all parties until marriage!)

G

Saint Mary's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

Well, I guess I am just an old prude;) I will never sleep with anyone unless I have a deep emotional connection with them (love). I mean seriously - sex is a very intimate act - some guy actually put his PENIS in your VAGINA! That's close stuff! I don't do that with just anyone for fun. I'm in a committed relationship with the best man in the world and it just keeps getting better and better. I'm a lucky woman and I know it.

So my hope for you dear Snick is that you find the real thing with a real man and continue to have the wonderful, wonderful life that you deserve. Continue to do whatever makes you happy:)

Giovanna Diaries said...

Snick,
We talked about this over dinner a bit the other night, remember?
I'm somewhat conflicted about my own views....I would never even think about judging yours.
Shhh, don't tell God!

Lexie said...

I see nothing wrong with anything you wrote. (Not that it matters if I did. You don't need my approval.) Especially the part about sex not being the greatest gift you have to give. Yeh-huh! When someone in your other post actually used the "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free" line, I actually choked. Do people still say that? It implies that you as a woman have nothing more to offer than sex and why on earth would men want to treat you like a whole human being?

Personally, I just can't do casual sex. I need to have the emotional bond and commitment. But, that is just me, I physically can't get comfortable enough without developing the relationship first and having an idea where it is going. I need to be comfortable enough with the guy to talk about anything before I go there. But I totally don't think that means that other women are wrong if they are able to and enjoy a more casual kind of sexual relationship. Hey, I'm sure they are having a lot more fun that I've had in years past! I hope my previous comment about communication and being able to talk to Mr. Coffee if you're having sex with him implied that I thought it was wrong for you to have sex with him. Go forth! Enjoy! Communicate when it feels right, have sex when it feels right.

Anonymous said...

If a person is abiding by Biblical precepts as regards morality that does not make them a hater or crazy. True, we all make our own choices. Be prepared for the short and long term consequences. Those laws were put there for a good reason. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I'm way more conservative than you on this issue -- my belief would be to say that sex in a relationship for me means a vulnerability that requires that the two be bonded together (which I think can happen outside of conventional marriage).

But, I certainly don't care if someone else has a different attitude, as long as it feels OK to them. I worry that women are vulnerable, and that they become involved with sex as a means of getting other intimacies (and I worry about this especially for young girls). For another adult woman, though, I just have to respect that she's looking out for herself.

Snickollet said...

Anon @ 15:03:

I never said that people who abide by Biblical precepts are crazy or haters. Nothing crazy or hateful about that choice. It's not my choice, but it's certainly valid and sane.

The crazy haters I'm talking about are the ones who, with absolutely no grounds, threaten to start legal action to have my children taken away. Crazy! Hateful! Seriously.

That is all :).

-snick

Kori said...

I just think we all have enough on our individual plates for any one of us to tell anyone else what they believe is wrong. While I totally and completely agree with your "edited" bit about exposing your kids to your sexuality, and am right along the same line of thinking as you in many other areas, it would never occur to me to JUDGE you for it. I firmly believe that we each have the right to feel/think/believe/behave in a way that makes US comfortable-that's it. I think this is an excleent, excellent post today; thanks so much!

denise said...

Agree with you 100%. You have, in my opinion, a Very Healthy Outlook, and your children will benefit Greatly from that.

Live * Love * Laugh - Embrace Life!!!

suzi said...

I think it's a fantastic post. I follow your blog because I appreciate your honesty and truly, I've modeled my blog after yours in terms of what I'll share, won't share, etc. My readership is still growing and I haven't had any real negative comments yet, but they are coming I am sure. :) I think you handle them with grace and maturity---not true of all bloggers I might add! :)

Danielle said...

I wish we lived in a world where women could reach out for happiness and joy, whatever that may be to them, without risk of judgment or criticism.

I wish women wouldn't hate on other women, either!

Anonymous said...

You are wonderful to share yourself, all sides of yourself, in parenting and being widowed. You are self aware and honest and I'm beyond impressed. How boring would it be if we were all the same?

Mark said...

Well I think you might lose the McCain/Palin vote with this post but really, who cares? As a young widower-dad myself, I know where you're coming from. Everyone I know has a lot of opinions about proper grieving time and what is appropriate behavior for someone in my position. I have taken the "screw 'em" attitude and haven't looked back. It's your life, they're your kids, and whatever anyone thinks they know about your life, what you're going through and what you're feeling is probably wrong. You know what is best for you.If other people don't agree then who needs them?

Kim said...

Not to sound like a stalker but I wish we didn't live on opposite coasts - I think we would be great friends! I love that you know who you are and that you live your life your way with no regrets, excuses or apologies. I love your blog and read daily.

masteroftheuniverse said...

I've enjoyed your writings as we are in a similar situation and I feel an electronic kinship with you. I have a small blow that also has a very loyal base of readers, and I only mention my late wife every few posts or so....whenever I'm melancholy. However, I've got so many projects that I'm immersed in that I sometimes am too busy to grieve. It has been just 8 months since I lost my life, and I really don't have a clue on how I'll ever turn out.

Your blog has really helped me out, and that's why I link you on my blogroll. Since my blog covers a very specific area, my readers sometimes hit your blog and get back to me saying, WTF. I tell them that I'd rather drop them from my blogroll than Snickollet.

Jeff

January said...

I just wanted to give a little perspective on the "most precious gift" idea. I don't agree one hundred percent with that, but I do believe that sex is intended a highly symbolic act -- if I can use biblical language for a second, the two becoming one flesh.
I believe that the most precious gift you can give someone in a relationship is yourself, openly and honestly and freely, to love them unconditionally and allow yourself the vulnerability of the inevitable hurts that any close relationship brings. And I believe that sex is the symbol of that closeness. That's why I have been waiting the last 3 years of my relationship with my fiance and will continue to wait for the next 51 days till our wedding night to engage in sex.
And for what it's worth, I'm a conservative, and I've been reading here since 2007 and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. Love your blog.

Heather said...

I was a wait-until-marriage kind of girl. After ten years of marriage, currently separated, I find myself wondering how I might be if I find myself back on the dating scene. Just not sure, and didn't really plan on needing to figure it out. Thanks for throwing your thoughts out there.

AussieJenn said...

Well said!
You are one sensible, sane and likeable woman.
I wish you much love and happiness in your life.

ENJOY!

Sandi said...

Here's what bothers me. Whenever someone has something negative to say they hide behind "anonymous". If they believe so strongly in something why don't they post under their real name?

Anonymous said...

My thoughts on the matter are well in line with yours, but I used to be a bit more conservative in that I thought I had to have a deep emotional connection in order to have sex.

I've been thinking about that lately. When I was single, I sometimes made myself miserable by pursuing deep emotional connections with Mr. Wrong. I would get involved in a physical relationship because, dammit, I liked sex, but I would feel the need to create some kind of emotional connection even if, to be honest, I wasn't that into him. I sometimes wonder if I just bought into the "you're still a Good Girl if you have LOVE for an excuse" dogma?

Anyway, looking back on my single years, I wish I had had more sex, less guilt. I know that's not the cautionary tale that most people will be telling their kids...

Happy4u said...

Love it, love it, love it! From a girl raised a strict Catholic who chose not to wait until marriage, I feel middle of the road too but regret not having had more partners in my younger days - ha ha. Fine line to teach my children about enjoying sex but still having morals and values. This post was awesome and thank you for being so open. Even though I am a McCain supporter, we have a lot in common - LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

So what about Internet Guy #3?

beyond said...

Well said. I feel like you are very middle of the road regarding this issue.
(maybe because I'm European?)

Tiffi33 said...

I think you are a very smart woman..and in no way a floozie..heh..

I have only been with 3 people..ever.
I am 33..
sometimes I regret that...sometimes I am very glad..lol..

You are a responsible loving mother...& a real woman who needs "the sex" (lol) just as much as the next person..
to me casual sex is picking someone up at a bar or something..
you & Mr Coffee have a relationship..that isn't casual sex to me..

you go on w/ your bad self ;)

I will keep reading!!

Twinsmomma said...

I have lurked here awhile, and this is my first comment! :) I love your blog! What I love most about your blog is that you are completely honest about everything! It's very refreshing to read your blog and not feel like you are putting on any false pretenses. Thanks for sharing!

Shosh said...

I have my own personal views on sex that are mostly as a result of my religious views, and that is that I personally believe sex should be saved for marriage. However I totally respect your choices, and I think that all the choices you have written about here have clearly been well thought out, and maturely and responsibly chosen.
The thing that stands out for me as worrisome is how you wrote that Mr. coffee might not even be interested in marriage. For me, that would be a deal breaker from the beginning. Why get attached to someone there is no hope for a future with? I mean, its great to have fun and all, but it sounds like you really like him and I'd hate to see you have to let a guy go who you really love!