In Love With Two Women

Jose Vilson 9 Comments

Mother and SonA few weekends ago, I went to AnnMary’s crib, where I got to see Ray and my godson, Josiah. He’s a little browner now (as in more brown, people), and has got the ill forehead. It’s adorable how he’s got a big head like his father and his godfather. I told AnnMary that we might make this baby tri-lingual: English, Cantonese, and Spanish. He’d also learn merengue by at least pre-kindergarten from his own godfather ::ahem::, making him a certifiable ladykiller by 6 years old. At first, we laughed it off, but then she said something peculiar: “No, he’s not leaving me. I’ll always love him, and he doesn’t need any other women. Right Jo-Jo? You only need your mommy, yes you do.”

I can’t blame AnnMary; she’s the mom and that’s what moms usually say. Innocent mothers avoid that Oedipal complex as much as their sons do in their youth, but it’s rather unavoidable in its many forms. Our mothers are the first women we fall in love with. As gross as it sounds, it’s the first womb we come out of, and the first sexual encounter we have. Hence, it’s only right that mothers think of themselves as their sons’ first love. Yet, that mentality also creates a false sense of loyalty that inevitably puts most men in a dichotomous relationship between the “main woman” and the “other woman,” even if that “other woman” is not necessarily a romantic relationship.

It usually starts well past the aunts, female cousins, and friends’ moms because they usually pose no threat. He may look towards them sometimes and fancy whether they might make a better parent for them. They may even inspire visions of fornication in his youth, but usually the boy runs right back to his mother. The treat to the relationship between mother and son is that first girl that the boy likes. The mother’s there with her eagle eye, smiling with her full grin, but also shaping how the boy should think about the girl. Usually, the mother’s there giving sound advice on being a gentleman and just asking about his whereabouts, but implicitly letting him know that she’s the first woman, even when she doesn’t recognize it at first.

But the boy gets comfortable, and sees more than one woman, and that’s when the mother tries to pull in the reigns, which causes an equal and opposite reaction from the boy who starts to see his romantic life as a chance to cheat on his first relationship with his mother. That’s why most guys don’t give details of their whereabouts to their mother. The uncanny part is, the mother can pretty much tell all along what’s happening with his son; after all, taking residence in one’s womb for 9 months lets mothers psychologically hook up to the dude’s mental computer.

Once the boy gains some footing, and the mother realizes that her son’s grown up and out of that first relationship, they enter a new relationship where the mother’s still an adviser, but no longer the first woman. He has a relationship, which of course adds to the old axiom “You can tell how he’s going to treat you by how he treats his mother.” Yet, it’s the mother who he runs to for relationship advice, which of course explains, for some of you ladies, why your ex would come back to you and tell you their relationship problems. Even in the relationship, both women (whoever those two happen to be at the point) always make the man choose, and usually at the expense of the other.

Then of course comes the issue of cheating. All these conjectures I’ve made make me wonder if the idea of always having two women to be beholden to may contribute to the idea of cheating. We can always reason it all out by saying that a mother’s love is different from a girlfriend’s love, but indeed we learned the second by the first. We also think about how, after that mother’s love has changed during the growing phases, who fills in the role of the second woman? While we’ve all speculated the many ways a man would cheat, we never really speculate the myriad of reasons it happens.

And really, as a man, the only way to distract yourself from this onerous act of human behavior is to

1) immerse yourself in a non-human love (i.e. your artwork, poetry, etc.)
2) reasoning that the one you’re with is really the best option and there’s no need for anyone else
or
3) starting a family, knowing that the person you’re with might bear fruit to a daughter who will permanently fill in the role of the second lady. Not so much in a perverted way, but love nonetheless. And so begins the cycle of the Electra complex.

I’ve personally observed this with other men too often (not so much me, though I can see hints of this in my own life), and it’s eerie how they treat their girlfriends, and then treat their mothers after having seen them with their mothers over the years. At least their main women. Many dudes who treat their women like crap tend to have a frustrating relationship with their moms, while dudes who never had a mother around shut down so quickly after they get their heart broken.

Then again, little Jo-Jo doesn’t have to worry about that just yet. He can revel in random women pinching his cheeks and wanting to hold him in their bosoms while the men in the family laugh or get jealous at all that attention. And if anything, he knows he’s always got his mother’s love.

jose, who is sure to get a million and one questions, but this is strictly not a conjecture and not based on scientific research … unless someone has scientific research, then I welcome it, thanks …

p.s. – criticisms are welcome, too. i wrote this post over only a few hours of sleep ;-) …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 9

  1. Mes Deux Cents

    Hi Jose,

    I’m curious; how would the Oedipal thing play out for a girl who will grow up to be a lesbian? I’ve never heard anyone speak about that.

    I think you are right that a boy’s relationship with his mom sets the stage for his relationships with women.

  2. pre_k

    this is a very interesting post. cannot say that i have ever taken to time ponder such a thing. Maybe because my mother and I are not that close. i love her certainly but more from a distance than anything else.. I guess for me I never really considered such a conflict because in my mind nothing is greater than the love I have for my sisters and I don’t think any woman i choose will ever win out over that.. now can she pull even? i would like to think so but the truth is i do not even know.. I would hope that such a conflict would not ever present itself cause i cannot see any female surviving such a thing.. luckily my sisters are not that involved in my relationship affairs so as to cause any tension..

    anyway very good post.. on a very interesting topic.

    piece and blessings

  3. surayasmom

    I have been married to my husband for 4 years. We’ve been together for about 7. His mother wants to be his main and only woman. She has tried to make my life hard in so many ways because she still sees her son as a boy, her boy. Not a man. I am myself a mother but to a daughter. i want nothing but freedom for her. The same freedom I was afforded to go to the school I chose, to move away from home, to marry the man I loved. His mother is not that way with him. She prefers it if he stays only close to her. I don’t quite understand it really. so it was nice reading your post. It gave me some perspective. His mother just said to him a week ago, “You don’t know how to take care of two women”. He said to her, “I only have one. I am not responsible for taking care of you. I love you as my mother but my wife is my woman.” There, he said it.

  4. Bam

    I can tell you were sleepy.. There are a couple “his” where there seems it should be some “hers” instead – but I got it. You know anything relating to men and their interpretations and actions toward love or cheating really peaks my interest. I think this is a tad more psychological than I would have preferred, but that could be my undergrad psych major talking. Great Post.

  5. Post
    Author
    Jose

    @ MDC: I gotta work on that thought. Frankly, I haven’t hung out with lesbians in a while.

    @ pre_k: Your sisters, you might say, played the role of the mother in that case, since they probably raised you right? That’s what I’m getting from you. Anyways, maybe you were fortunate that they were able to play that maternal role while recognizing that they indeed were not your mothers by not being all up in the biz.

    @ surayasmom: best story i’ve heard in a WHILE! thanks a mil.

    @ bam: my head hurts. im not lookin’ at that post again.

  6. luzmaria3

    Interesting post. Provokes many thoughts and questions – not only to you – but just about relationships in general.

    From a woman’s pov and experiences:

    I have met men who date many women but when it is time to settle down, they want a woman who is like their mother. The one who will take care of him, make him feel like the “king,” and will be drop everything for him. I have also met men who have a hard time seperating the mother-girlfriend factor in their relationship. Mom is number one and her needs come before the girlfriend and/or spouse. If mom does not like the girlfriend and/or spouse, then the relationship is basically over. Then there are those complicated mother-son relationships which have so many different categories and levels of complexities that patience is a necessary factor.

    I think parents sometimes forget that they one day chose to share their lives with others besides just mom and dad. It can be very hard for some mothers and/or fathers to let go of their child because they fear the alternative, being alone or replaced by someone else. What they fail to realize, is that maybe they are gaining someone else who will learn to love them and want to spend time with them. Most importantly, their child has found someone who loves him/her and enhances his/her life.

    Thanks for making my head hurt while reading this post.

  7. Laura

    I would like to comment as a lesbian, although I understand that this post has been published for a while, I think you would like to hear this.

    Gender, to me, is quite fluid. I see people at differing levels of masculinity and femininity. My girlfriend, on one end (masculine) myself on the other (feminine). Her brain works the same way your average guy’s brain does and this presents a problem for us that is identical to what you talk about. Her mother was (and still is in some instances) her first love. She treats her with more respect and adoration than I could ever hope to achieve. She once admired her father as someone to follow in his footsteps, but her mother was pure love and affection. She guards her mother as fiercely as a son would.

    I have actually considered separating from her since it is most important for me on a personal level to be the “queen bee” in her life, with no others before me. Interestingly, she has a daughter and I have a son. Her relationship with her daughter is nearly as deep, but doesn’t bother me as the competition doesn’t feel exactly the same and as a “cherished daughter” I can relate to her daughter’s position. My relationship with my son is the same. I love him deeply and have yet to meet a girl who could be awesome enough for him. I would hope, though it would make me feel sad, that he would take the position of standing by his wife. She will need his support as much as I need my wife’s support right now.

    I am glad to have read your post and look forward to digging around in all the others. Thanks!

  8. Kika

    Interesting post…I wonder what role siblings play in that mix…

    My mother is very much the doting type on my brother, he is her baby boy and will always be so sometimes she and my sis-in-law have tension. Sis-in-law complains that my brother is spoiled but in turn she repeats the same behavior. I tend to act as mitigator often trying to interpret the other’s position to each person, meaning my mom and comadre. But I wonder where do I fit in all this my brother has two sisters who can occassionally play the mom role, me not so much as my sis. So what does that mean?

    As far as the “Electra” complex goes…that’s true in my little family as well, I’ve always been Daddy’s little girl and sometimes it gets a little weird.

    Lastly, it’s a big part of why my parent’s split. My father’s mother wants to be the only woman in his life (she didn’t appreciate me too much) and my father didn’t do enough to “defend” my mother. (take that as you will)

    There’s more to it but this is just a commentary so I shall leave it at that.

    Thought provoking post…

    What does it mean for people with non-conforming gender and sexualities?
    Not just the aforementioned lesbians but also:
    Gay men
    Bi-sexual people
    Transgendered & transexual people

    Or people who haven’t had a traditional mom in their life:
    with gay men parents
    or adopted
    or grown up in foster care?

    Just more fodder for ur brain

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