Sometimes (everytime?) I’ve had or read discussions of Celestial Polygamy the spectre of the Remarried Widower is brought up. Remarried Widower is a man whose wife died, and is later sealed to another woman who he loved just as deeply. “Is it fair to make him pick just one wife to spend eternity with?” They say. “He loved them both and married them both. And, if we did make him pick, what would happen to the other wife? Is she simply cast off? Would that be fair to her? No! Certainly not!”
I see a few major problems with this argument.
- For some reason no one is tied up in knots about Remarried Widow. When it is a woman being forced to choose just one man to spend eternity with few proponents of the Remarried Widower scenario seems to think it is unfair to her, or her husbands. Nowhere near unfair enough to mandate Celestial Polyandry. Funny, that.
- We seem to overlook that adding a third person changes the dynamics of a relationship. It is certainly possible for a person to love two different people very deeply, but that doesn’t mean those deep feelings could coexist peacefully and fairly. Some things are just plain mutually exclusive.
- People are forced to pick like this all the time.
For example I had a great friend, and he had to leave for awhile. While he was gone I found another friend to spend my time with. When we were all ready to enter adulthood and it was time for us to think about marriage, I had to pick just one of my friends and I had to let go of the other relationship in order to let that happen. (If you want to hear a long, drawn-out, angst-filled version of this story it’s in footnote )
So our hypothetical man marries a woman and she dies (for a while). While she is dead he finds another woman to spend time with and to be his wife. And when they all die and are ready to be resurrected it doesn’t seem at all unfair to me for him to have to pick just one to be sealed to and be with eternally, letting the other person go on to find another. That just sounds like how relationships work.
When I was three I decided I was going to marry Sousuke (names have been changed). I knew Sousuke from the playgroup I was in. I have no idea what made me decide that I was going to marry him, I just did. That, on its own, isn’t very odd. The odd thing is that it stuck for *years.* In my early childhood it was just part of my life plan, the same way some kids plan on being doctors and ballerinas. Around age 8-12 these plans matured into a crush- a very exclusive crush. I didn’t allow myself to have crushes on anyone else, even celebrities. I also resented friends who tried to share my crush on Sousuke. (Shared crushes are a phenomenon that still kind of baffles me.)
At about age 15 my plans matured again into a friendship. If you asked me at the time, my official answer was that I had outgrown my crush and left my plans to marry Sousuke behind me and that it is stupid for a 15 year old to be betrothing herself to anyone. In many ways I actually believed that. In truth, though, the plans were still there- I just knew that I wanted to do things ‘right.’ This meant that High school was not the time to develop a romantic relationship, but rather a time for solid friendships. And we did become good friends- I would say that he was my best friend during my high school years.
I also knew that Sousuke needed to serve a mission and I did not want to be That Girl who Waited for a Missionary. Nope. Romance with Sousuke would wait until after his mission. So we went on exactly one date; he took me to prom. He left on his mission and I did my part of ‘doing things right.’ I wrote him regularly, and dated other men with marriage as an option.
Halfway through Sousuke’s mission I met and became friends with Ichigo when I started dating a guy from my physics class (we could call him Keigo). I later broke up with the Keigo but remained good friends with Ichigo. Ichigo was there as a friend at a very formative time in my life and so had a huge influence on me. Around the time when Sousuke had a just weeks left on his mission, Ichigo and I, for the first time, went on an honest to goodness date and had a *great* time.
Shortly after that great date with Ichigo, (who now qualified as a close and well established friend) I found myself staring at a blank sheet of paper that was supposed to be a letter to Sousuke, trying to sort out how I felt. These were both men I had great friendships with. They were men I cared for deeply. I could have pursued a romantic relationship with either one of them seamlessly. I could have continued with my life long plans and tried a relationship with Sousuke. Or I could have continued from where I was, and tried a romance with Ichigo instead. If it didn’t work out with the one I picked then there would be no guarantee of having a chance with the other. If it did work out, then the other friendship would have to be put away. I could keep only one of these men in my life, trying to keep them both would have been selfish and unfair to everyone involved.
I picked, and I am very happy with my decision. I have never regretted it once. But a lack of regret does not preclude feelings of loss at the friendship that had to end in order to make space for the life I picked. The friend I did not pick went on and married someone else, and from what I hear they are very happy too. Maybe he never knew that I was this close to putting the moves on him, and maybe it would never have worked out with him at all if I had.