Aunt Ruby has just returned from a well-deserved holiday and, as is inevitably the case, her inbox is simply jammed with questions from the love-lost, confused, and needy.
So, as she dusts off the glitter and confetti from a spectacular time abroad and gets to work, one correspondent raises a perennial issue. That person writes thusly:
“Dear Aunt Ruby,
I am fraught. I love my partner dearly, and my partner loves me. The problem is promiscuity. She is naturally promiscuous. I know for a fact she has been unfaithful when I am gone. I don’t trust her. But all the same, she is so loving and caring. What shall I do?
Well, well Mistrustful. You have raised an issue as old as love itself; and that is the issue of trust, and where the center of that trust is located.
The first thing one must do in situations such as these is to recognize that some people simply require physical intimacy with more than one person. Honestly, Aunt Ruby is a bit like that herself, but she will not go into details. This can be a very, very adult matter to deal with. The challenge, then, is to tease out your partner’s (to my mind unemotional and shallow) physical needs from the true love you share.
Ask yourself: What are the things that keep you two together? What allows you to know about the promiscuity but yourself remain faithful? What, exactly, are the bonds of trust between you? Does your love outweigh the nettlesome matter confronting you?
You must also ask yourself the toughest question. Are you insecure? Do you worry that you are not “enough” for your partner? For men, in particular, this is the (pardon the pun) hardest issue to confront.
Aunt Ruby does not believe in “open” relationships; and in this regard, she is rather old-fashioned. Her advice is this: People in love must make choices and compromises, and these are based on faith and trust. Go to a neutral place that is not your home – a nice park bench, perhaps – and make your needs known. If your partner cannot or is unwilling to cease the behaviour that vexes you so, then what you must do is unwind the relationship. There is no need for animosity. Agree on a process where the two of you can lead more independent lives. If, as Aunt Ruby frequently observes, your love is strong, then you may find a way to re-build your lives together. If not, then the inevitable will come to pass.
Aunt Ruby always welcomes comments and questions, as long as they don’t make her blush.