June 6, 2013

"My husband and I both date other partners, and we've been doing so since before we were married."

"It was our first choice of approach for the relationship (not a fallback position). Initially we both dated relatively casually outside of our marriage, although I started seeing someone about a year ago with whom I unexpectedly fell in love. These days I am only seeing my two lovers, while my husband continues to date other people causally."

From a Slate article by Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins titled "How Do You Maintain Desire in a Long-Term Relationship? Date Outside the Marriage." Jenkins and her husband are both — she says — "professional philosophers."

Some people stay single because they love dating. Some people get married and think finally, no more of the ordeal that is dating. And then there are the "philosophers"....

ADDED: Jenkins writes that her "husband continues to date other people causally." Philosophers are careful with language, I think, so I take that to have something to do with the processes of cause and effect. We are talking about relationships. And the expression "causal relationship" is common. But it's possible that Jenkins got careless, like that time she "unexpectedly fell in love," and maybe she meant that her husband "continues to date other people casually," which is nice for her, since that crazy thing called love is annoying when your spouse does it with someone else when you are dating "Accidentally... Without design or previous intention; as it happens or happened; by mere chance" — (to use the OED definition of "casually").
1828 C. Lamb Poor Relations in Elia 2nd Ser. 149 He casually looketh in about dinner time.

86 comments:

Palladian said...

Gay people are destroying sacred marriage!

Oh, wait...

Methadras said...

Palladian said...

Gay people are destroying sacred marriage!

Oh, wait...


No, leftists are. They have a big enough tent.

Palladian said...

Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins!

Inga said...

What utter nonsense, aren't attracted to each other anymore, want to date others? Get a damn divorce and bonk your ex once in a while.

Renee said...

Dating. I don't have time for that.

I wonder what they said for wedding vows?


I would assume the majority of Americans have little value of marriage, maybe as an ideal, but not a reality.

ricpic said...

Two lovers, count 'em, two, and a husband on the side;
Nothing less will satisfy a gal's penchant to confide.

Renee said...

Inga, They can't, because the mortgage is underwater.

chrisnavin.com said...

That Slate Double XX thing keeps getting better and better.

Meade said...

"He casually looketh in about dinner time."

Hey, good lookin', whatcha got cookin'? How's about cooking somthing up for me, your next door neighbor?

madAsHell said...

She is on facebook. She looks pretty emo, and probably a cutter.

Her husband is listed as John Jenkins Ichikawa. How trendy!!

Professional philosopher!?! Can you do that without food stamps??

tim maguire said...

Now that is funny--she fell in love and stopped taking on new partners. So her trick can make her stop seeing other people, but her husband can't.

As a philosopher, I'm curious about his reaction to that fact.

ricpic said...

Would Carrie have given it up for Freddy Nietzsche?
All those insights balanced against a moustache itchy -A close call.

bandmeeting said...

Do they date other partners or other people?

Moose said...

Commitment is so old fashioned.

t-man said...

I'm guessing they are both bi. In a column about sex, she is very careful to use the word "partner" for the people (I assume its people, at least) that she and her husband date. Also, he lists his interests as "American politics; Boston Red Sox; bow ties; cocktails; cooking; excellent TV shows; Gilbert & Sullivan; LGBT rights; the Muppets; opera; non-monogamous relationship styles; San Francisco 49ers; whisky; xkcd."

tim maguire said...

madAsHell said...Professional philosopher!?! Can you do that without food stamps??


Sure, so long as there's a .edu in your email address.

leslyn said...

"Date" is coy. Just say "we like to have sex with other people and that's how we can stand each other."

chuck said...

Not just a professional philosopher, but a professor of theoretical philosophy. Although she sounds a bit applied to me, what with the open marriage and monads -- music for analytic philosophy. I'd put her down in the fraud column, a classification supported by her publicity seeking style.

Luke Lea said...

Fuck that shit. They are not really married.

John Lynch said...

In these articles it's always the woman bragging about having an open marriage. And they never dwell on what their husband is doing.

Nomennovum said...

The umpteenth example of why marriage is dead.

Ann Althouse said...

When I was young, "dating" was something only square did.

Today, it can be a euphemism for prostitution (as well as plain old casual sex).

I think it would be funny if the idea being promoted by Jenkins was actually going out on dates, like dinner and a movie, with somebody else.

Shawn Levasseur said...

I can't remember where I heard this, but there's a saying.

"Once: A philosopher.
Twice: A pervert."

cold pizza said...

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
-Through the Looking Glass

see also: Marriage. -CP

traditionalguy said...

The new word for the day is " casualty love."

But the accident of falling in love with your lovers is not new. It's as old as the hills.

Methadras said...

Here's her Google+ page.

She's just a cum dumpster.

Chip S. said...

Ann Althouse said...

When I was young, "dating" was something only square did.

You date yourself w/ this comment.

El Pollo Raylan said...

She looks a bit like a lumberjack in Palladian's photo link, probably into birling and bobbing the log. It's hard to stay upright, let alone stay on.

dc said...

"Philosophers are careful with language" All I know is that I had to take two years of philosophy in college and I never knew what the hell they were talking about.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

What great and wonderful things have your philosophers effected? They leave uncovered one of their shoulders; they let their hair grow long; they cultivate their beards; their nails are like the claws of wild beasts. Though they say that they want nothing, yet, like Proteus, they need a currier for their wallet, and a weaver for their mantle, and a wood-cutter for their staff, and the rich, and a cook also for their gluttony. O man competing with the dog, you know not God, and so have turned to the imitation of an irrational animal. You cry out in public with an assumption of authority, and take upon you to avenge your own self; and if you receive nothing, you indulge in abuse, and philosophy is with you the art of getting money.

John Lynch said...

OK, I think have this figured out.

"Professional Philosophers," don't make any money. This couple is enjoying the financial benefits of marriage.

They don't have any children, which is good, because this nonsense would break down if they had to actually commit to something that was in any way difficult or challenging. If it didn't, what a horrible environment to grow up in, where parents care about each other until it gets boring.

The current age is simply immature.

John said...

In fairness, back in the days of political arranged marriages, this sort of thing was done all of the time. You got betrothed at 8 or 9, and married at 14 to the person your parents chose for political reasons. So people got around this by sleeping together just enough to produce children and doing what they wanted on discretely on the side.

Those marriages such as they were seemed to work. I really don't know why people have such a fit about this. Maybe it works for them. Maybe they are not the jealous types. Maybe one or both of them are gay but really love living the straight life? Who knows. And it is none of our business anyway.

Also, what happens if the singularity believers are right and in the next couple of decades people start living hundreds of years. No one has ever been married that long. Will the traditional structure of marriage survive that? Could two people no matter how in love really spend a hundred years together and never see or date anyone else? Two hundred? Not sure. But it would seem to me that that bargain is a whole lot different than the bargain we make knowing both partners will live another forty or fifty years at best. Just something to consider.

Jane said...

First thought is: should she get pregnant, does the husband step up and happily parent, or bail, or demand a paternity test, then bail? What of one of his extramarital relationships produces progeny?

(Or are these the sort of "abortion as back-up birth control" people who are more than happy to consider abortion as the way to guarantee their childless life continues?)

But I guess if her "partners" are women and his "partners" are men, it's not an issue. (And if you consider the risk of STDs to be fully eliminated by condoms, you're good in that department, too.)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

John said...

And it is none of our business anyway.

Slate is promoting a public discussion on ways to prevent boredom in longterm relationships, and this person writes in extolling the virtues of their arrangement. The entire point was to discuss it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

John said...

Those marriages such as they were seemed to work.

Of course those marriages seemed to work, because there was a major social stigma to the marriage failing to work. Also, at the time the wife had basically no rights, so it didn't much matter if it was not working for her. Finally, part of the arrangement was the understanding that the sleeping around was done with some measure of discretion.

Since then, we have removed much of the stigma of a failed marriage and recognized the woman's rights. This woman is now suggesting that we also get rid of the discretion.

No reason to assume that, under these circumstances, these marriages would work for any useful definition of the word work.

wyo sis said...

Getting a divorce would take all the philosophy out of it and it would just be plain old mundane.

Philosophers never want to be mundane.

edutcher said...

"professional philosophers"?

Is that like anything they show on "Real Sex"?

edutcher said...

PS For once, I have to go along with the She Devil of the SS.

And Methedras.

(there's a parlay; throw in Titus...)

(hmmm, at second thought, maybe not...)

Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

No reason to assume that, under these circumstances, these marriages would work for any useful definition of the word work.

And you are so convinced that this woman's marriage doesn't work how? Why is it so hard for people to admit that maybe something they would never want to do might work great for someone else?

Why are you bothered by this woman? I am not. I wouldn't do what she and her husband are doing. But so what? I am not them. And neither are you.

Now if you want to make a biblical argument that what these folks are doing is a sin and against God, make it and you will probably have a point. But if you want to make some idiotic argument about how you don't like this, like your opinion means anything when applied to other people's lives, then you are just being a busy body asshole.

John said...

It is always good to come on Althouse once in a while and read the threads on social issues. It serves as a good reminder that conservatives who are otherwise rational and level headed can be just as mind bogglingly idiotic as liberals on some issues.

Seriously, if this sort of arrangement works for one in a thousand couples, why the hell do any of you care or think it is a bad thing? What gives you the right to rip on this woman. It is not your marriage.

David said...

Thanks for the pic, Palladian. She looks like a Smithie from the early 1960's. Appears she has two wedding bands, one on the ring finger and the other on the middle digit. I wonder which ring she uses for which man?

David said...

Do you suppose Mr. Ishikinky forgets to put the tpilet seat up? (Or are you supposed to put it down. I keep forgetting.) If they can survive that . . .

El Pollo Raylan said...

No reason to get all uppity, John. People should be free to look at that marriage and say and think "that''s not my marriage...that's their marriage." This brings up equivalency of terms usage and is why I object to people insisting on using the term "marriage equality" for all sorts of marriages. All marriages are not equal because it foists the logical fallacy that the components therein and sum thereof are equal. The more correct term would have been "marriage equivalency" but no, they had to go they one step further which includes deconstruction of the traditional term itself.

El Pollo Raylan said...

David said: I wonder which ring she uses for which man?

As the saying goes: "a ring plugs no hole."

David said...

Hey John, if you had more of a sense of humor you would note that most of commenters do not take this very seriously. I don't. I hope it ends well for them. Since, like many Althouse commenters, I've lived a long time, and seen much more than this, I doubt it will.

Remember, the woman sought the publicity. Perhaps the razzing makes her feel even more special than she already does.

John Lynch said...

To disagree with John, this is our business. Marriage doesn't operate in a vacuum. It's the basic building block of family, which builds community, upon which stands our entire society.

We aren't just individuals. When marriage fails there are enormous social costs that we all must pay. On an individual level, sure, other people's marriages are none of our business. On a societal level they very much are.

We see the results of social breakdown and complain about them. We complain about crime and about people who can't or won't work and we complain about income inequality. The collapse of marriage has a lot to do with all of that.

From a liberal perspective the destruction of family causes most of the problems liberals worry about. Same from the conservative angle.

It's only the libertarian, ultra-individualist perspective that everything is perfectly OK. Sure, if you believe that everyone should be able to do whatever they want no matter the cost to everyone else (as long as the cost is indirect) then the failures of individuals to live up to societal expectations are none of our business.

But I disagree. I've seen too much failure hurt too many people.

Chip S. said...

When marriage fails there are enormous social costs that we all must pay.

Fine. But if this helps them stay together, then you'd agree w/ John, right?

John said...

Ok fair enough. I didn't mean to be a scold. And for the record, I would be good money one or both of them are bi sexual and didn't want to give up playing on both teams when they got married. I would bet that more than anything is behind this.

We aren't just individuals. When marriage fails there are enormous social costs that we all must pay. On an individual level, sure, other people's marriages are none of our business. On a societal level they very much are.

So in other words we all belong to the collective. No thanks.

El Pollo Raylan said...

@John: I think you're right in spirit, but the flesh is unwilling. And and you stop with the Biblical reasoning stuff. Shakespeare taught that: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments." But he went on to teach away from marriage being corporeal and that it outlasts even death (all in the same sonnet). We're talking here of the physical embodiment of marriage--what it is and isn't. I think you're confusing the two.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And you are so convinced that this woman's marriage doesn't work how?

I'm not convinced that it doesn't work. I am convinced that it is not marriage.

You made a comment about how a somewhat similar type of arrangement was done all the time, as though that shed some light on this current arrangement. I presented my case as to why I didn't think the comparison worked.

Why are you bothered by this woman?

I'm not especially bothered by her. However, I think that her philosophy is destructive to society. I believe that a traditional marriage is a fundamental building block of society, and that a weakening of that institution will be harmful to everyone in society.

Can I prove this? No, although the harmful effects of the breakdown of the traditional family seem pretty obvious to me.

And it seems pretty silly to call me a busy body for commenting on a letter that she sent to a website that was having a discussion about longterm relationships. ( Is that point really so difficult to comprehend? )

Calling me an asshole is probably on target though.

And I won't approach this from a moral/religious perspective, because I'm an atheist.

John Lynch said...

Chip S-

Eh, these are elite, educated people. The problem I have is that this nonsense filters done to the rest of society. Theodor Darlymple goes on and on about this- individualist nonsense hurts the people at the bottom the most. People who need marriage and family don't get it, and the results are catastrophic.

If an educated couple wants to live like this and not have any children, fine, whatever. On its own I don't really care. But it's a bad example. What I see is people who can't get anywhere because they can't commit to anyone or anything.

What makes marriage work isn't freedom to have your cake and eat it too. It's commitment and sacrifice. Children are born expecting both from their parents, and all of us are disappointed to a greater or lesser degree. But that doesn't mean that commitment shouldn't be an ideal we try to achieve.

Life, and marriage, is about self-control and self-restraint. We can't grow as people without controlling ourselves. Otherwise we're just animals doing whatever our impulses direct.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

John said...

So in other words we all belong to the collective. No thanks.

No, but we all belong to society. As such, we all have a right to say what types of arrangements we are willing to recognize as marriages. We have a right to discourage people from engaging in actions that weaken society.

David said...

The marriage: http://www.mawwiagefilms.com/ichikawa#.UbDqJZWDo4Q

John Lynch said...

John-

Collectivism happens because civil society disappears. The Soviets intentionally destroyed the old society to impose a collectivist model.

We're doing it in the name of freedom. People without families require government to do everything for them. Education, welfare, pensions, everything that family used to do has to be done some other way.

Guess who pays for all that?

You.

If people want individual liberty they need to support some other institution than government. Children must be cared for, the old must be cared for, and so on. Either we do it ourselves or the government does it, badly.

Letting family collapse is a societal choice, and it has consequences. Radical individualism leads to government intervention.

So, for the people who want government out of their lives, how's it working out? Like all the taxes and regulations because people can't stay married or raise children? Like the nanny state? Should have said something before it got this bad.

But that freedom is worth it, right?

Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Lynch said...

Charles Murray is a libertarian but he's spent a lot of time chronicling the destruction wrought by the rise of illegitimacy and divorce.

Libertarians really need to pick a side. Be a liberal, get your sexual freedom, and have a huge government or accept some socially-defined limits and get government out of our lives. Decide what's more important. We can't have both.

Methadras said...

John said...

Seriously, if this sort of arrangement works for one in a thousand couples, why the hell do any of you care or think it is a bad thing? What gives you the right to rip on this woman. It is not your marriage.


Because bad ideas are like a virulent infection. Once rooted, it's very hard to remove. If she really cared about her relationship, she would have kept it private, but yet you rail against those that are criticizing her while she made this relationship public and open to public debate. It may not be our marriage, but she is in the club of marriage and what she is doing is bad for it. Bye John, thanks for playing the fool.

Methadras said...

Michael Haz said...

We have a right to discourage people from engaging....

We have no such right.

Humans have been given the gift of free will. How they use that gift will bring reward or consequence, depending on what each freely chooses to do.


Michael, the concept or idea of free will is only so much maintained as to not realize that if you step back from your immediate decision making processes, that free will isn't as free as you might think.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Michael Haz said...

We have no such right.

Of course we do. We do not have the right to use force to discourage people, not even the force of government, unless what is being discourages causes direct harm, such as murder, rape, or theft.

But we can certainly use words to discourage it.

John Lynch said...

If I don't have the right to criticize other people, then they don't have the right to tax me to pay for the results of their choices.

Both arguments are stupid. We're a social species and there are seven billion of us on the planet. Of course it matters what other people do. That's what politics is for.

Putting marriage and family choices beyond the pale of discussion is simply trying to win the argument without having it.

Broomhandle said...

As others have observed, this arrangement is an accommadation for the bisexuality of at least one of them (sounds like him). Wierd that they even bothered but Leftys love a vanity project.

David Davenport said...

John said...

So in other words we all belong to the collective. No thanks.

///////////

No, but we all belong to society.


Margaret Thatcher famously said, "There is no such thing as society."

So I'm sure that John would have voted Conservative had he been a British subject in Ms. Thatcher's time.

I'm also sure that John would have shared her taste for the traditional "lace curtain" bourgeois virtues of decorum, propriety,and sobriety.

Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Davenport said...

I'm arguing that we have no "right" putting our collective societal nose into their private life.

Is homosexuality only a matter of the homosexual's private life?

Alex said...

Inga is so not with the modern times. Swinging is so 1970s.

Alex said...

Michael... they will burn in HELL for all eternity...

Said the loving Jesus.

C Stanley said...

1. What interest does society have in subsidizing the relationship between her and one of her lovers?

2. How long until people involved in these relationships push to normalize them and have the second or third lovers put on an equal plane with partner #1?

3. Ichikawa. Sorry, I know it's juvenile but it just made me laugh.

Renee said...

@Michael


They were free not to marry.

When you are married, you make your relationship on notice for the public.

The couple should uphold their end of the bargain in regards to public policy. Not only children, but yes monogamy to prevent STDs.

Sharing partners spreads diseases, costing the common good.

They're free to do so, but their marriage is based on false presentation to everyone.

Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Davenport said...

The editors of Slate ran an article about a couple who happily boink other people. Slate ran the article in hopes that it would draw out comments from (conservative) people who then could be held up for ridicule.

No actual conservatives read Slate, unless looking for a dismaying and ridiculous item of Kulter Bolshevismus to laugh at.

And some here took the bait and swallowed it. Now the libs can laugh at the rubes who got themselves in a knot about one couple who fuck others.

And we rubes and yokels are laughing back.

Crunchy Frog said...

(And if you consider the risk of STDs to be fully eliminated by condoms, you're good in that department, too.)

Well there is the whole HPV/throat cancer thing to worry about...

Crunchy Frog said...

Bea Arthur: Profession?

Mel Brooks: Stand-Up Philosopher.

BA: Bullshit artist.

wyo sis said...

"The editors of Slate ran an article about a couple who happily boink other people. Slate ran the article in hopes that it would draw out comments from (conservative) people who then could be held up for ridicule.

Or the comments could hold up for ridicule the puerile rantings of an attention hound "philosopher" who thinks what she's doing is new or edgy or philosophical.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Michael Haz said...

And by the way, I am most definitely not owned by society.

Nobody said you were. Belong to, in the English language, can also mean is a member of. You are a member of society.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MCD said...

When I was young, I would go out occasionally with young men who were completely candid about seeing other women, sometimes including married women.
I did not take these swains seriously. I considered myself completely free to see other men, and did so.
Strangely, this would upset my swains. They would get angry and stop calling.
No big loss, I thought.
Been married many years now. Still think I was right.

William said...

I have cable. It's got over a hundred channels. Nonetheless, most of the time I'm bored with television and don't watch it...If you're engaging in casual sex in the same way with different partners, I imagine that's just another form of channel surfing. There's more of an adventure and sense of discovery to peeling back the rings and finding what lies beneath in a monogamous relationship. Plus you don't have to suck in your gut when you get undressed.

Freeman Hunt said...

How long until she leaves the husband to be the with guy she's "accidentally" fallen in love with?

Freeman Hunt said...

(And it is a guy. I checked.)

Freeman Hunt said...

The problem comes down to people not having hobbies anymore.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I made a wisecrack here very early on about her looking like a lumberjack. Then I listened to the Monty Python song and realized they were singing about British Columbia (Jenkins is a UBC professor).

Coinkydink?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Freeman Hunt said...

The problem comes down to people not having hobbies anymore.

You don't consider fucking random strangers to be a hobby?