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Chastity and Children November 17, 2010

Posted by Dev in Musings.
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I have to give a tip o’the hat to folks such as Shane, Atone, Jnuts and Belle, and Thumper who are incorporating chastity into their lives while still having kids at home. Although part of me wishes I had discovered chastity 15 or 20 years ago, another part tells me that it came along at just the right moment in our lives. And, it was serendipitous timing that we discovered chastity literally on the eve of becoming empty-nesters. Not having any children in the house certainly makes it easier to run around naked, take pictures of Ab in his device (usually in the kitchen because it has the best light) and lately, do Humbler prototype testing (more on that in another post!). I love my children, don’t get me wrong, but there is something to be said for being able to get your private lives back, too!

For the better part of a year, people were constantly asking me, “How do you think you’ll cope as an empty-nester?” My stock answer was, “I have no idea,” because truly, I didn’t have any idea! We have two children but once they each hit their teens, our home became known as an open and welcoming safe haven for friends of theirs who were experiencing challenges of whatever type. My son had a friend, J, who more or less moved in with us his senior year in high school. It was never really discussed, it just happened, but I knew J was dealing with a horrendous family situation. If I could provide a place of solace and peace and support him to graduate, then that seemed like the right thing to do. (The good news is, five years later, J is going to college in Boston, has a terrific internship that will likely turn into a job, and a lovely girlfriend. Yes, even for straight kids, “It gets better.”) Similarly, my daughter had two different friends who bunked with us off and on, for most of her senior year. Same idea—if they needed the support to get out of high school in one piece, then I was happy to provide it.

In addition to the “boarders,” there would be the random friends who would drop by at all hours of the day and night. In the morning, I’d count the shoes by the door and learned to recognize them. “Jason must be here,” I’d tell Ab. “And Andrew and Eric. I think the little sneakers belong to Will.” For Saturday night dinners we would routinely host six or seven guests. What was it going to be like to suddenly have just the two of us keeping ourselves company?

Ab and I actually went through a very rough time last winter—probably the most difficult few months for us in all our years together. It was a combination of everything: stress, kids, work, the lousy economy, my mom, worrying about money—nothing new on that list, right? But for some reason, we ended up taking it out on each other which was very unusual for us.

Unusual, and it didn’t make us happy.

The thing is, when you’ve been married for 30+ years you sort of figure you’ll be married forever. But suddenly, when you’re fighting tooth and nail over every stupid little thing, a small thought develops in the back of your mind, “Maybe it’s time for this marriage to be over. Maybe we’ve just been hanging on for the kids. Once our daughter heads to college, maybe it’s time for us to say sayonara.”

That thought, more than the idea of being an empty-nester, terrified me. I like being married. I like the institution of marriage and believe it confers huge benefits to the couple, their children and extended families, and society in general. This is the reason I identify as a straight ally and do everything I can to support same-sex marriage: I think everyone who wants to be married should be able to be married. But what if all this was empty talk and my own marriage was headed off the rails?

I knew that Ab was worried, too, and he’s more divorce-phobic than I am (which is kind of hard to imagine, but it’s true).

Our epiphany came after an incident which prompted a huge fight—really huge—and then Ab decided to build me a porch. I took that as the ultimate apology and I knew I had to forgive him. The forgiveness came slowly but then, one blistering hot summer day, as I watched him crawl around the roof installing the roofing shingles it suddenly hit me: this man loves me more than anything on earth and would do anything for me. If I asked him to crawl bare-kneed across broken glass, he’d do it. If I asked him to…

You get the picture.

It was just a few weeks after this that I read the story that gave me my chastity fantasy. Since I was still in the mindset that he’d do anything for me, chastity didn’t seem to be such a far-out and wacky idea. Even if it was, well, maybe it gave me an idea of just how far he’d go for me. Did he say yes because it appealed to his kinky side or because he was still working on forgiveness? Probably a little bit of both, to be honest.

The thing I didn’t expect, as I ordered up The Birdcage from Extreme Restraints, is that chastity would be the thing that would make us re-fall in love and to re-find that spark of passion and desire that had burning pretty low for quite a few years. I realized just how much our lives had been consumed by our children, both biological and “adopted.” As someone said to me recently, “You have kids and your life is wrecked for twenty years.” While I don’t regret a minute of all the time we spent as parents, I realize now that focusing on “us” had moved pretty far down on the list. Now it is back in the number one space, where it belongs.

Heath Ledger giving a hat tip.

Which is why I give my hat-tip to chaste couples with children at home. I hope that chastity gives you the gift that Ab and I have discovered—the wonderfulness of love with your spouse and the importance of focusing on the two of you as a couple. That love will certainly overflow to your children and they will see and experience firsthand what it means to have loving, committed parents. What greater gift could you possibly give to them?

As for us, I am sad about all the fighting that went on last winter and wish it didn’t occur. But, hopefully, when the kids come home now, they’ll see that Ab and I are in a very good place, deeply in love and having a very good time together. The children will probably attribute it to our being alone—the empty nest thing. I won’t tell them our chastity secret. 😉