A letter in response to my June 14 View column (Like war, divorce shouldn’t be declared lightly)
What was unsaid in this article is a sad fact in America: 1. Women lose their fashion sense and/or their figures lose their sexual desire over time. 2. Men are not inclined to develop close and/or healthy emotional ties to their women and many times not even to their own children.
You did not explore the possibility that this man in particular may have been looking through the lens of a man who is intensely and head over heels involved with another, perhaps younger, thinner, temporarily more “exciting,” more fashionable woman.
To develop spiritually requires that every couple educate themselves regarding controlling their thoughts as well as their natural and quite base and selfish inclinations of this temporary existence. We are meant to elevate ourselves.
— M.W., Las Vegas
Sad facts? Sad choices, perhaps. Do you mean that a preponderant number of men and women make these sad choices? Or do you mean that men and women, because they are men and women, are like this?
Fashion sense? I suppose some women, at some point in their lives, cash it in. Cease caring. But, anecdotally, I gotta say I don’t see a theme here.
Their figures? Well, all you gotta do is go down to the Strip on a Saturday afternoon, lean against a lamppost and open your eyes. America is fat. It’s a national health problem. It saps human vitality. It often (not always) interferes with sexual courtship. But, I’d have to say men and women are “neck and neck” in the American penchant for imprisoning oneself behind the walls of adipose tissue. This is nothing I would “pin” on women.
Lose their sexual desire over time? The research says just the opposite. As women near menopause, they often “rewire” their sexuality. Their sex drive is no longer dancing with cycles of fertility and the possibility of pregnancy. In midlife, a woman’s sexuality can be and often is rewired singularly to the celebration of selfhood and intimacy. Muliebrity grows; it does not decline. In midlife, female sexuality can and does become even more powerful.
Men are not inclined to close/healthy intimacies? This one is tempting because I do see some themes in the way men commonly dodge intimacy.
But, are women more inclined to close/healthy intimacies? See, I’d say the only difference is that women tend to dodge intimacy in their own particular idiom. Intimacy is the ultimate adventure of all human beings. No one is inherently good at it.
Another younger and thinner woman? Regarding the man in question, it’s just not true.
I laud your views on spirituality. Yes, we are more than our instincts.
And then a letter in response to my June 21 column (Passive tolerance is wrong way to address abuse):
I am writing about your advice to J.W. I have been in J.W.’s position, and I just can’t stop thinking about her. I respectfully disagree with one point that you made. You speak of her husband’s addiction as infidelity, which seems to lead to the conclusion that he does not love her. Alcoholism is a disease. It does not mean that he does not love her.
Please, please, if you can still contact her, have her reach out to Al-Anon (615-9494). I have been in the program for about a year now.
— B.M., Las Vegas
You disagree with my description of addiction as infidelity? Then, yes, we disagree. Addiction is an insidious infidelity. Addiction makes intimacy impossible. Addicts, in the end, simply cannot be present and constant in meaningful relationships. Just like you can’t be present to your marriage while you consort with a clandestine relationship on the side.
Or, did you disagree with the point I made about him not loving her? Then, no, we don’t disagree in the least. Because I didn’t come close to saying that.
Perhaps he does love her. Or perhaps he does not. I don’t know. The point I am making is this: His love for her doesn’t matter as long as he is a practicing addict. When a drunk man slurs “I love you” face down on the carpet of your living room, the right response is, “That and a buck seventy-nine will get me a ‘tall’ black coffee at Starbucks.” Or try this: “OK, let’s agree you love me. The more important issue is you suck at love when you’re drunk.”
I love Al-Anon. Thanks for the referral. I’ll make sure she gets it.
Steven Kalas is a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Las Vegas Psychiatry and the author of “Human Matters: Wise and Witty Counsel on Relationships, Parenting, Grief and Doing the Right Thing” (Stephens Press). His columns also appear on Sundays in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 227-4165 or email@example.com.