The Husband Seeking Love Elsewhere with His Wife’s Permission

The Barometer will simply recite the facts from a New York Times “Ethicist” column (November 19, 2017, p. 30) and end with one comment:

A 60-something husband’s wife is in ill health. The ill wife has given her 60-something husband permission for conjugal visits with a non-conjugate. The husband describes the proposed affair/relationship as “friendly but not competitive.” (One comment: Hell hath no fury …). The 60-something husband turned to a dating website and described his situation thereon with full disclosure (One comment: We could expect no less from a married man proposing permissive infidelity) and was met with scorn and accused of “cheating.” (One comment: Is this incorrect?) The 60-something husband labeled these responses as “immoral” and “unfair.” (One comment: Said the kettle to the pot and vice versa)

So, the 60-something husband requested a solution to his dilemma for, in his words, “… there seems to be no pathway to address the ageism and biblical [sic] rigidity of a society that spends billions on youthfulness and eroticism and nothing on thought.” (One comment: So, society is to blame for this dilemma? For better, for worse, in sickness and in health … — we have not added footnotes to the vows to cover one 60-something who self-describes as a “very sexual person.”) (One more comment: One need not spend a bitcoin on thought; they are free and ours for the taking — one need only contemplate the consequences of actions to be drawn into another world of depth and self-development.)

(One last comment:The problems that even permissive affairs create have been given, sadly, less thought than Biblical rigidity. Perhaps love from afar and devoted help and assistance to his bride could help the 60-something understand that he has been given a test of character that demands more from him than he can imagine. Every worthwhile act of service demands sacrifice as it builds the strength and character of those who give despite personal costs.)

That was a total of seven (or so) “one comments.” The dilemma demanded as many.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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2 Responses to The Husband Seeking Love Elsewhere with His Wife’s Permission

  1. Ash says:

    > One comment: So, society is to blame for this dilemma? For better, for worse, in sickness and in health … — we have not added footnotes to the vows to cover one 60-something who self-describes as a “very sexual person.”

    I would think yes, society is absolutely to blame for this dilemma.

    Society did make the rules, and society does have no answer except “immoral infidelity” or “unhappy chastity”.

    This is especially distressing as study after study show the importance of touch, love, sexuality to everyone, and if (I didn’t read the original column), the wife’s health is not expected to recover and the husband’s health is otherwise good.

    One final comment:

    > 60-something understand that he has been given a test of character that demands more from him than he can imagine

    If the wife can be believed to have given her informed and genuine consent, then, … what a stupid test and who are you to impose that on him?

  2. mmjdiary says:

    I did not impose the test. Nor did society. Society gives them rights and benefits for their marriage. They took vows. Should they choose to not honor those vows, society has given them an out. The out is not bringing in a third person. Study after study also shows the damage that infidelity causes — deep psychological damage, even with “informed”consent. Just a thought — How does a wife become fully informed on the prospect of this third person? The original question from 60-something was vague on that notion.

    By the way, the out society gives is each going his/her separate ways.

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