Most couples follow a known path when it comes to love and sex.
We stick to the traditional relationship model to live together and leave everyone else and generally behave the same way as our friends and family.
But not everyone adheres to the “rules” – and not everyone should.
Just as every person is unique, so are relationships. And sometimes you don’t just have to think outside the square to make things work, you have to jump over the fence and run over land.
Here are three case histories of people who dared to do it differently – and made it work.
Most couples follow a known path when it comes to love and sex. We stick to the traditional relationship model to live together and leave everyone else and generally behave the same way as our friends and family. But not everyone adheres to the ‘rules’ – and not everyone should (stock image)
WE LIVE SEPARATELY BUT ARE A PAIR
“I love him and he loves me, but we can’t live together. We are simply too different. I like to live spontaneously, he likes order. He is picky about food, I eat what’s in the fridge. It’s neat, I’m sloppy.
“We went out for two years and loved it, but when we moved in, we were constantly arguing about everyday things. We broke up, I moved and then we started seeing each other again. We fell in love again – and out again when I moved in again.
“There’s nothing wrong with our relationship, we just can’t live together. People don’t get it, but that’s how we make it work. There are actually many advantages. ‘
Tracey says: About 10 percent of couples in the UK live separately but are together.
There is even a name for it: sociologists call it ‘living together separately’ (LAT). Couples who live separately from their own choice.
It’s often done as a last-ditch effort to keep a relationship alive, but it can work – and has benefits.
Tracey Cox Most couples follow a known path when it comes to love and sex. We stick to the traditional relationship model to live together and leave everyone else and generally behave the same way as our friends and family. But not everyone adheres to the “rules” – and not everyone should
If sex isn’t available 24/7, you’ll want it more, see each other at your best (maybe spared seeing the toenails clipped), and don’t drown in domesticity.
Some couples are fully compatible with important, important features, but collide – horribly – with everyday things that make living together hell.
It takes a special set to make it work – and deal with the judgment of others (many people don’t get it and make it abundantly clear that they don’t).
And of course it is expensive and usually incomprehensible to your children. For most, living separately is just a pit stop on the way to splitting up.
But for others, it’s a workable compromise and an alternative relationship model that suits them perfectly.
I LET HIM KINK WITHOUT ME
“My husband confessed to using BDSM about six months after we went out. He likes to be dominated by a woman and made to perform quite humiliating tasks. We’re not talking about average strength games or bondage – what he likes is quite full.
“I was thrown when he told me, but tried not to overreact. I tried to do his things with him but didn’t like it at all.
“So we had a problem. I didn’t want him to give up something he enjoyed so much (although he said he would give up instead of losing me), but I didn’t want to do it to him, either.
“The solution was to pay a professional. He sees his mistress for an hour about once every two months. They don’t have sex. There is no kiss, touch of genitals or penetration. Sometimes he masturbates for her, but she never touches his penis.
A woman speaking to Tracey revealed that she had her husband use his BDSM nod behind her back
“Because I gave him permission and he didn’t do it behind my back and because I know it has nothing to do with the fact that he doesn’t think I’m sexy, I’m fine.
“I don’t tell anyone, but it belongs to him. If I want him, I have to accept him all. He also enjoys ‘normal’ sex with me, so it’s not like we’re not having sex together. ‘
Tracey says: We all have our own sexual idiosyncrasies. One ‘thing’ it does for us is that we tell very few people, sometimes no one at all.
We eventually confess to a loved one and hope they will spoil us, satisfy the urge by fantasizing or watching a specific type of porn – or we’d like to let it go if our partner doesn’t show enthusiasm.
But some people’s kinks are an integral part of their pleasure in sex.
They do not enjoy sex without it or they would feel deprived of much sexual pleasure if they are refused.
Depending on the nod, it can sometimes be absorbed by role play, dirty talking, fantasizing, or porn.
But some cannot, and giving your partner permission to satisfy their kink without you being there can be a valid solution.
I surprised my husband’s ‘working woman’
My husband had a ‘work woman’. Which I didn’t mind at first. He talked about her all the time and I knew they sometimes went for lunch but I didn’t feel threatened. I had seen a photo of her and thought she was not his type.
“But then he started home late. He would say he went to drink with a few people from work, but I knew he meant only her. He also stopped talking about her, which I knew was a warning.
“When he talked about her, I could see on his face that his feelings were changing.
“I was thinking of putting it in: I was really upset and hurt by everything. But I also instinctively knew – and I was right – that nothing physical had happened between them yet.
“Instead of sitting back and seeing how they fell in love, I took action. I took half a day, got a hair dryer, got my makeup done and dressed in something my husband loved me.
A woman confronted her husband’s ‘working woman’ while the couple had a drink in a bar (stock image)
“Then I came to the pub where he drinks after work. They were there together and talked very intimately. I walked right up to them and said, “Hello! I thought I was going to find you here” to my husband. Leaned forward, kissed him fully on the lips, then reached out to shake hers and introduced me.
“My husband looked shocked. She looked at me from head to toe and I knew she was thinking: I can’t compete with her.
“I sat down next to her, opposite my husband, and showed him the comparison. I was kind to her. I asked her a lot about herself and didn’t get jealous at all.
“She apologized after ten minutes. When she left, my husband looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.
“Everything has been fine since then.”
Tracey says: Confronting a potential lover of a partner is something our grandparents would have done.
Today we find it humiliating: how dare anyone even think of cheating on us! Only for that sin do they deserve imprisonment.
The truth is that many ‘friendships’ get out of hand very easily without anyone thinking about the real consequences of what could happen if it became an affair.
Organizing a chance meeting, so that the ‘work woman or man’ has to recognize the real one, injects a much-needed reality into the fantasy to run away together.
- Tracey’s new book Great Sex Starts at 50 is out now. Her new range of Supersex Soft Feel products, ideal for people who find sex painful or uncomfortable, is available at lovehoney.