very thought-provoking. And here are the thoughts that it provoked.
Yes, it would be great if the woman could ask the man to take a hike if he didn't behave...but the problem is that most often, women do not really choose the men they are attracted to. Emotions take over, and that alone, even if there is financial independence, causes vulnerability. A man (this seems to be the nature of things) seems to switch on and off his emotions at will; I've not seen a woman, yet, who can do so. So she is left the "weaker" one in what she rationally knows to be a doomed, unequal relationship...but powerless to do anything about it. Society heaps scorn on her (never much on the man!) if and when it comes to know about it. That just adds to her woes.
I made friends with such a woman once. I was a newly married, "respectable" wife, but some measure of either innocence or slightly "different" thinking made me get closer to the lady who lived alone with her son on our street, about whom people would only talk in muted tones, with a snigger or a contemptuous look. As I spent more time with her, I found how very vulnerable she was, on every front, how the hurt caused by the man on one side, and the people around her on the other, kept alternating. And yet...she said that the little time she managed to spend with the man was worth it, because of the love she had for him. I found this very touching...though really sad. The son had started facing snide remarks, too, at school, and that bothered her a lot, too. They moved out of the street when I had gone to have my baby...and we lost touch. I still wonder where she is...and what she is like, now.
The word "keep" would be acceptable if it expressed sympathy for the woman's precarious position...but it is perjorative, and expresses scorn and contempt instead. These women are not always evil vixens, breaking up homes. Sometimes the marital relationship is very bad even before the "other" relationship begins....we need to know these women better, and cannot judge them.
A young woman I know is in such a relationship currently; it seems to satisfy her, though, which is quite a new thing for me. Perhaps things are changing....?
I was wondering about same-sex relationships....of this sort....I cannot even begin to imagine the complexities if one of the spouses happens to be attracted to someone of their own sex. How complicated and tough such lives must be!