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         Marriage Of Convenience

Marriage of Convenience

All That Glitters

I've been to a social worker and a marriage counselor.  I hope you can offer me some new advice. 

Two years ago I was very, very sick and beginning to be homebound.  I could no longer get my teenage daughter up in the morning or pick her up from school.  I would often wait for her to come home from school to find me on the floor, unable to get myself onto the couch. 

An MRI revealed a growth in my brain.  This disturbed my gait and caused havoc like uncontrollable peeing.  I could not even walk around the block, and my house fell into a state of chaos.

I was afraid for my daughter.  Her biological father wasn't mature enough to care for her,  and I thought he would pilfer money intended for her.  I needed someone to watch over my daughter, a good-hearted person who would never hurt her.  That is where "Ed" comes into the picture. 

We met four years before when I was posted to another city.  Our fling was more sexual than love on my part.  Now that I was looking for someone to be responsible for my daughter, I thought of Ed.  He took my medical condition in stride.  When I suggested we marry, he said yes with no hesitation. 

It was a relief to have another adult here for my daughter before the surgery.  Recovery was slow, but I now have a normal gait and can detect when I need to pee.  Now that you know why I remarried, I feel the marriage has served its purpose for me.  I am not in love with Ed.  I am repulsed by his sluggish, dopey body. 

Ed is my chauffeur and gym partner, who embarrasses me by his solicitousness.  I felt guilty when he did things for me I could not do for myself, but now that I am better I don't want him around.  I think Ed should understand this and not oppose me.  I want a man who is decisive, someone who won't make me ill when I kiss him.

The marriage counselor gets quite upset when I say this, and Ed does not want a divorce.


Gloria, most religions find value in a principle suggested by the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant.  Kant said we should never treat others simply as means to our ends, but also as ends in themselves.  This principle is called the categorical imperative, and it is one way to judge if an action is good or bad.

By the standard of the categorical imperative, your actions are bad.  You simply used Ed as a means to your own ends.  Ed is a person, not a saw or a hammer to be used by you.

Your actions remind us of Budd Schulberg's novel "What Makes Sammy Run?"  In that story, Sammy Glick rises from copyboy to Hollywood mogul.  Hollywood is a place where convictions are for sale, and Sammy's rise to the top is propelled by backstabbing others.  Sammy double-crosses his boss to steal his job, and he dumps his good-hearted girlfriend to marry Laurette, the glamorous daughter of a banker. 

The wedding occurs on Sammy's estate.  After the ceremony Sammy finds his bride having sex with another man.  Laurette, it turns out, is as self-centered and ruthless as Sammy.  She taunts him by saying, "What have you got to gasp about?"

You couldn't get the answer you wanted from your counselor or your social worker, so you wrote us.  We agree there is no future for your "marriage."  But we want you to consider an ancient principle called the principle of sufficient reason.  What that means is things don't just happen.  They happen for a reason.

You married Ed because only Ed was willing to marry you.  Now you aspire to someone aesthetically better, but that cannot be attained through despicable means.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Built On Sand

We have been married 10 years and have a daughter, 5.  She was legally adopted and is not my biological daughter.  My husband adores her.

Our marriage was not based on what you call "love" but was, I guess, out of convenience.  We were both new immigrants to Canada and found ourselves convenient with each other.  We got married.  I love him, and I am pretty sure he cares for me in a special way, too.  We lived a comfortable life in Toronto until we moved to New York because of his job.

We adopted our daughter when she was an infant.  At that point, my husband met a married woman based in Montreal.  He admitted his feelings for this woman and told me he would like to have a life with her.  If I agree to separate from him, this woman may separate from her husband. 

This hurts me a lot.  I have not done anything wrong during the years we have been together.  I've devoted my life totally to him and our daughter, which he does not deny.  I told him I won't make things easy for him since he is messing up our lives.  I can reject the idea of separation, can I not?


Reyna, the "Persian Letters" by Baron de Montesquieu is a tale about Usbek, a traveler from Persia. 

Usbek has a harem in his homeland, and when he travels to Europe, the harem revolts.  Freed from their master's control, the wives and harem guards do what they are now free to do.  Even Usbek's favorite wife, the one he most trusts, is found with a lover.  The point of Montesquieu's story is that our nature will always try to assert itself. 

The mind is a river whose source is unknown, but that river has very strong tendencies.  Perhaps the strongest of these is the tendency to find love.  You say you love your husband now, but a woman who is intimate with a man will always call that love. 

You confess that your marriage was a marriage of convenience.  In a marriage of convenience it is not unusual for the marriage to end because one or both parties find someone they truly love.  The point of Montesquieu's story is the never-ending dilemma of your marriage.  Love was not the basis of your marriage and that is what your husband seeks.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)



I'm 27 and my husband is 41.  We've been together since I was 18 and he was 32.  I got pregnant when I was 21, then we got married.  I knew I never wanted to be with him forever.  When I was walking down the aisle, I said to myself, "I can always get a divorce."  Little did I know it wouldn't be that easy.

Now we have two wonderful kids.  He makes good money, and I get to stay home.  We have a nice lifestyle.  The problem is he makes me sick.  I do not love him and do not want to be with him anymore. 

We have nothing in common, and he is not a very intelligent person.  He is illiterate.  He is not kind to others.  He's good with the kids, but does and says things in front of them that should not be said or done.  I don't want to waste any more time in this marriage.  I want to leave, but I don't want to take the good life away from my kids.

I feel bad leaving him because I don't think he deserves to have everything taken from him, but having sex with him makes me ill.  I don't let him kiss or touch me.  I make him get it over with as quick as possible.  He works offshore and is away more than he is home.  I think that's the only reason I've made it this long. 

I got married because I was pregnant, and I was ashamed.  Please give me your thoughts.


Brianna, 1400 years ago, when China was ruled by the Sui dynasty, soothsayers in the imperial capital predicted that the emperor would be overthrown by someone named Li.  A popular song even repeated that theme.   This caused the emperor to persecute officials named Li.  Some of them he even murdered.

Meanwhile, north of the capital, there was a military garrison commanded by another Li.   Again and again Li's son urged him to revolt and attack the emperor before the emperor could attack them.  At last the father agreed, and father and son marched south with their army to overthrow the Sui.  And so a prophecy was fulfilled, and a man named Li seized the throne.

Your marriage was also a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You married a man who could provide for you, but he is a man you do not love.  Now the marriage may end, and you may need to go to work.  Like the last Sui emperor, you have brought ruin upon yourself.  It's impossible to live with a person who makes you physically sick, but once you have children with them, you will be bound to them for the rest of your life.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)


Playing House

My wife and I are newlyweds, and we have had our first fight.  We were out of town on vacation.  To make a long story short, we got on each other's nerves due to the fact we were flying standby.

After a huge argument we came home separately.  She wants a divorce after only three months of marriage.  She is a dominant person, a spoiled brat, a daddy's girl, and a Leo by zodiac. 

By nature I am an impatient person and a Taurus.  I am not now in our home and  desperately want to reconcile.  I suggested counseling, but does that really help?  She is stubborn, difficult to talk to, and easily annoyed.  For the last week all I have been doing is annoying her.

I decided to give her some time alone.  Am I doing the right thing?  She has these inner demons when she gets angry, and I don't know how to approach her.


Reuben, years ago Wayne had a landlady named Margaret Richter.  Margaret was a spry 90 when he first knew her.  One day she looked Wayne square in the eye and said, "I don't believe in divorce.  I believe in a fight to the finish!"

It looks like your bride kayoed you in the first round.  Don't look to the stars for a solution.  The reasons for your problems are earth-bound.  This separation allows her to resume being a spoiled girl, not a woman interested in going 15 rounds with you.

The party is over.  She wasn't looking for marriage.  She wanted the excitement of the proposal, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, and vacation.  Three months later, with little provocation, she wants a divorce.  Has she already calculated it's been long enough to keep the wedding gifts?

An honest confrontation is the only thing likely to lead to an honest conclusion.  My guess is she would rather be Daddy's little girl than your wife.

(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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