Social Question

choreplay's avatar

What should my feelings be about wife kissing another man on stage?

Asked by choreplay (6297points) January 7th, 2011

My wife gets involved in a lot of theater and will be trying out for a roll over the next few months where she will be kissing some other guy on stage. Now, let me say I can deal with this, but get into debates with her about whether this is real in the sense that, if she’s attracted to the other guy, it pleasurable and not benign. Again, I’m comfortable enough to deal with it, but argument is over calling it what it really is. Does the context make it benign, don’t feelings between the actors exist?

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21 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

If you can deal with it like you say, then why debate it at all?? She is taking a a role to play and IMO it goes without saying she will act out emotions as that is what actors do. IMO it is best to give her her space to play that role and like you say deal with it. Show her you are proud of her craft and give her a box of breath mints with a wink and a smile.

tedd's avatar

I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with my significant other kissing other guys as part of work. But its hard to say what I’d do, as I’ve never been with anyone who’s had to. But cruiser has good advice… maybe express your concerns to her, and let her reassure you that there’s nothing going on “on the side” at work.

choreplay's avatar

@Cruiser, and thats what I’m doing. Maybe I’m trying to reconcile in my head what it is. I’m not concerned about her feelings and faithfulness to me. If anyone is trustworthy its her. Im a must reconcile things in my mind and shes a lets just blow it over type of person. I have lots of weird feelings. Maybe I’m jealous I’m not on stage kissing someone else. So I know it would be something to me, so I get snagged that about dislosure issues.

marinelife's avatar

@Season_of_Fall It does not sound like you are OK with it. You are just disguising your feelings of not OKness by splitting hairs about what is bothering you.

Yes, actors can kiss without any feeling. Remember they are also kissing in front of bunches of other people and an audience. It is not a real romantic moment. Also, they do it over and over again, which takes any thrill out of it.

josie's avatar

Just make sure she brushes her teeth after the show

augustlan's avatar

If it is pleasurable (and I kind of doubt that it is, at least after a while), I’d equate it to getting a back rub or an itch scratched. That is, maybe it’s a physical pleasure, but not an emotional one.

stump's avatar

There is a psychological principle involved in theatre called Cognitive Dissonance, part of which states that what a person pretends to do in fantasy has the same psychological impact on the person as if it were real, even though they know it to be fantasy. It is this principle that makes it possible for an actor to get emotionally caught up in a roll. Unfortunately it can create a false sense of intimacy between actors who play love scenes together. It is one of the reasons actors have trouble with long term relationships (and why Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton twice). It probably isn’t a problem if your wife is playing this roll for one production with a short run of performances. But if she finds herself cast opposite the same person in subsequent productions, or is in a long run of performances (several months) then she should be aware of this psychological principle and the illusory nature of the feelings that it produces.

iamthemob's avatar

This is a great question. When I read the summary, I thought in my head “Get over it?”, but the details totally made me think about it differently.

Here’s my opinion – I think you’re 100% right. It’s possible that your wife could enjoy it both emotionally and physically, as well as expressing the emotional enjoyment and physical of the character. Because it’s theater, the feelings can potentially get muddled. Yes, it could be a matter of mistaken associations, as @stump outlines above. Or it could be that it would happen regardless because she likes this guy and thinks he’s attractive. So, it’s not really clear that just because of the context it’s benign, and it should therefore alleviate any concern you have, or more severely invalidate any concern.

If your frustration is that you feel a little awkward (natural), but don’t care in the end (mature), and are just frustrated that you see it as an unclear issue and she’s not really calling a spade a spade, it’s probably best to just let it go. It’s always difficult to be objective about your own emotions. In theater, it gets even more confusing. And in the end, she may be refusing to admit anything because it’s a barrier she finds psychologically necessary to keep her head on straight, and trying to break it down, although I’m not suggesting may lead to any sort of infidelity, could just make it stressful for her – and since you two sound like you have a secure relationship, it doesn’t sound like it’s worth stressing her out simply because it’s likely you have a reasonable position that she should acknowledge.

choreplay's avatar

Iamthemob, your answer is all over it. Thanks. @all I haven’t brought this back up with her. I wouldn’t put this on her, theater means a lot to her and I will be thrilled if she gets the roll. I was trying to sort out in my head whether her answer was correct (benign) or whether it was designed to make herself and me cope. I think its the latter and thats fine. Subject is wrapped up as far as I’m concerned.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@augustlan GA! That’s pretty much what I was going to say. It can be pleasurable without being an emotional issue.

6rant6's avatar

As someone who has done a lot of community theater, and seen a lot of marriages break up over stage romances, I’d say the situation is fraught with peril..

On the other hand, so is going to work, or the gym, or church – if there are attractive people with whom one can engage in things that are passionate about, stuff can happen.

Trust is a wonderful thing to give and receive. If you eliminate all sources of temptation, it’s not trust, it’s just control. So my advice would be encourage her to do the role. Just make sure you’re planning to be extra appealing during rehearsals.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Have her practice her lines a lot with you.

ETpro's avatar

I think you have to let your wife be herself. If she loves theater, this is a part of it. Trust, but verify. Let it be obvious to her that you want an exclusive relationship, not an open marriage. Let her know that if she were to become too emotionally involved with her on-stage lover, it would damage your relationship.

Nobody but you can tell you how you ought to feel about this. But it is good you are examining your feelings and weighing which are rational.

For myself, if an acting role called for me to seriously kiss a beautiful woman and particularly of she responded to my kiss, I would get a hardon. However, that would not mean I loved this lady and wanted to leave my wife for her. In fact, my wife would end up being the beneficiary of the excitement and heat generated in the stage kiss. Your wife may or may not respond the same way. While you are thinking things through, consider how she might respond to the actor’s kisses, and how you would feel about each of here possible response mechanisms.

Oh, and while you are at it, don’t over-think it. :-)

I wish you the best. If it works out well, it could even be a bonding experience with her. Communication and honesty is the key to making it that. As the Bard said in Othello;
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on”

kevinljs's avatar

Kissing scenes or intimate scenes is just not compatible with marriage. Regardless of the fact that its a job or “acting”, when you are in a relationship or marriage, there are things which you treasure as only something that can be done by the both of you in the relationship.

To exploit that treasured acts of intimacy elsewhere outside of the relationship will of course cause hurt and bad feelings for the one who is left behind having to watch his lady or her man “perform” the same thing with someone else. Think about it carefully, its not really about trust, or insecurity, its about respecting your partner over your craft/art/job. Priorities people, priorities.

If you think your partner is more important than your craft, then sacrifice that part of your craft. I repeat, sacrifice that PART of your craft. I didn’t say sacrifice your craft, but only that PART of your craft. So continue acting and omit intimate scenes out. Yes it will undermine your career but that is exactly what prioritizing one thing over another does.

On the other hand, if you prioritize your craft/art/job over your partner, tell him or her so first, then if he or she accepts that, then all is well. But the effects in this flip side is that your relationship will never be as solid because you have expressed that its 2nd in priority to your job. Which partner wants to feel 2nd best? It surely would have its own psychological effects.

Anyways, the answer to this controversial question is priority. Which will you prioritize. Make the choice and make the sacrifice. You can’t have your cake and eat it i.e. you can’t have two things that are incompatible together.

If your partner who is an actress/actor loves you truly, she or her will not let you go through that uncomfortable feeling which iamthemob (poster above) agrees is “natural”. This craft/art/job is amazing. But That “Part” of the job is simply incompatible with relationships or marriage. Any attempt to swallow this and turn a blind eye to it is just an attempt to fight your natural feelings. Which is not totally right. Just ask yourself why do you get that gut feeling of discomfort? Sometimes we shouldn’t deny our natural gut feelings and this is one of those times.

Not just you bro, many others like you. I’ve spoken to many people in your position and I myself am in this position.

This part of the Arts (intimate scenes) is just un-natural/incompatible for any actor or actress who is in a strong serious relationship that is heading towards a future together.'s_cake_and_eat_it_too

If you want more discussion on this, I am willing to talk it out with you. I’ve spoken on this aspect of my relationship extensively with my lover and other actors as well. It simply isn’t compatible in a true to heart relationship or marriage.

augustlan's avatar

@kevinljs I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. Feelings are not always logical, and we often overcome our ‘natural’ feelings for the greater good. Mature people should be able to put reason above emotion, and if both parties are able to do so, there is no problem.

lapilofu's avatar

@kevinljs You should more careful about making sweeping generalizations about what does or doesn’t work in all relationships. You’re nearly always going to be wrong.

I think we can safely say kissing scenes or intimate scenes are just not compatible with some people’s marriages. It is very much up to you to determine whether or not you are comfortable enough to manage your feelings.

In situations like this I find it helpful to break down my fears—try to nail down exactly what I’m afraid of, what I think is going to happen that makes me so scared or jealous or whatever. Sometimes I realize that what I’m afraid of is silly and that helps. Other times I realize that it’s a genuine well-founded fear—and then I have something specific to bring up and discuss with a partner.

choreplay's avatar

I did want all perspectives. Thanks Kevin. @kevinljs, what was your personal experience with this and how did it turn out? Your hitting on something the others aren’t. the feeling of being on the outside and all the normal dynamics being upside down and out of place. I wrote the following as a response so someone elses question:

“I’m going to break a rule here. I’m going to compare an old girl friend to my wife. I dated a girl, an attractive girl, and often when we were out on the town guys would start to flirt with her. We would give each other a knowing look and laugh or I would bring it to her attention that she had a fan, she would follow through with the flirtation and than we would both laugh about it. Now, my wife (also a very attractive girl and the one I’d pick between the two) handles it differently. I tried this with her a couple of times when it appeared she was flirting or I knew some guy was flirting with her. She would react harshly and defensively that she was not flirting. I learned fast not to do that again. But there is a theme here and this is what it is. Whether it is inclusive or exclusive or you’re SO. Intimacy or alienation. I don’t resent flirtatious situation with my wife as I know she will be faithful to me and would not let anything go too far. I resent the latter because of the denial and exclusion. It’s not about the flirting. Therefore I don’t think flirting is bad, it depends on how both sides of a couple handle it.”

There is a dynamic between my wife and I, going into this situation, that I’m having a hard time with. Don’t get me wrong, I got the front up and am supporting my wife, but feel a little cheated here, not cheated on but on the outside. Ultimately I think I can deal with this (there could be a caveat, depending on who plays opposite her), but for the most part we will be fine and I will put on a strong supportive face. It’s just this dynamic between my wife and I that I have had to settle for.

choreplay's avatar

Done!!!! She got the lead role, she did the play, she kissed the guy, it was no big deal. Thanks all.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks for the update! I’m glad it went so well. :)

ETpro's avatar

@Season_of_Fall Glad to hear it worked out well. Kudos to a great actress.

choreplay's avatar

Thank you very much.

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