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How do husbands/wives of actors/actresses deal with this jealousy?

Tagged as: Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (15 October 2008) 35 Answers - (Newest, 9 December 2016)
A male United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Help Help Help. I think I might be overreacting, but then sometimes I think I'm not and I should feel jealous. My wife is a pre-school teacher, and an opportunity for a Kindergarten position came up (at more than twice the salary), but my wife and I got married soon after high school. We both worked while I went to college, but she never pursued higher education. Without a college degree she couldn't apply for this teach position.

I then encouraged her to start taking classes and eventually get her degree. I even told her after she was sure what she wanted to do, she could quit work since I make a very good living and go to school full time to finish in 3-4 years. Well, she likes acting and drama, and thinks that she wants to be a drama teacher or work in producing plays. A local theatre (regionally known from Washington up to New York) has workshops that they offer that offer college credits. No guarantee that you will ever get to work in a 'real paid for' play, but you do get to work in classes and put on a few 'free' plays for the public. Good experience, right?

They're working on a play to perform next month, and my wife is playing the lead female role. There is a 'serious' love scene, and I'm having problems with it. I watched her practice it once and it made me feel a little jealous, but I guess that's what all the husbands and wives of actors and actresses feel when their spouse is in a play or a movie and has a 'love scene'. Doesn't feel too good, no wonder the divorce rate in Hollywood is so high.

We were talking the other day and I told her that it must be strange to make out with another guy being married and all, she said it was and you just distance yourself from it. There is nothing romantic, it's just acting. I said, well, I feel a little strange and jealous watching you kiss another guy then kiss his chest while he is only wearing underwear. She got real quiet, then said "why do you think he was in his underwear?" I said well, in the scene, he is already in the bed, and obviously has no shirt on since you kiss down his chest before the lights start to dim. She said, the play originally calls for him to strip naked and then climb into the bed before she enters the room, but he is too shy and convinced the teacher/director that he would just be already in the bed when the scene starts. But he is naked when they practice the scene, and will be when they perform the scene. I was floored, now I'm even more jealous. I know they're not really doing anything, but her kissing and 'pretending' to have a love scene with a naked guy is bothering the hell out of me. How do husbands/wives of actors/actresses deal with this jealousy? I don't want to make her pull out of the class, I would suggest that she tell him to wear underwear for the scene, but it's too late for that, they've already practiced the scene a few time with him naked.

View related questions: divorce, jealous, kissing, shy, underwear

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A male reader, luffy400 India +, writes (9 December 2016):

I just don't understand where are all the morals. First of all Mr. A marriage is an emotional, physical and spiritual thing. You can't have physical acts with someone else and say its okay, there is nothing there. But let me tell you as a man. It is real and I wonder how people ignore this visible fact. It is purely insulting the very sacredness of marriage. And why should you suck it up just because you love. Fuck love and gather some self respect. I don't know when this world will learn to see things as they are.Let us imagine this situation- I come home from office and tell my wife - "Today I was asked to have sex with that girl. It was just sex, nothing real. Just an order from boss, had to do it." And after saying this, leave another person, I wouldn't want to be with myself.

There is no respect for loyalty left, no compromise in a relationship and even if they do, its a compromise on the values. There is no use in being with a partner who doesn't see the simple interplay of human biology. There are boundaries in a marriage. It is a sacred thing and I would never let a woman enter my house after she brushes her lips with someone. That is cheating FYI, only difference being, you know they are doing it. Another example - If I am stealing and I tell my partner about it, then it doesn't make the act justified. It is still a crime.

As an actor/actress, there are always choices whether to take them or not. If you can't make a choice that brings the two closer then I don't think the marriage is worth the effort. Gone are the days, when morals used to rule our instinct, now its like - you are getting jealous - get over it.

I would wish to see a change in the world.

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A female reader, defer2ok United States +, writes (19 October 2016):

When it is your passion or your life's work, it has levels and hurdles that as an actor you must cross in order to see yourself as successful.

Being able to act in a romantic story is part of the range a an actor must do to feel fulfilled. It's like a straight man playing a homosexual man in a play. It doesn't mean he is gay, but it does show his range to be able to play any type of person in any situation. This goes for your wife as well.

There is a big difference between acting in love and being in love. The physical part is an act in itself. A professional will give the best performance they can. Scenes like this may bring an actors closer but, they are professionals and know how to separate reality from illusion. Jealousy is a fear of lose, you're not going to lose your wife unless you allow your fears to fuel this possessiveness that could lead your wife to feel that you were not there for her and you didn't believe in her abilities which could shatter her dreams.

Be confident and show your wife that you know she conducts herself as a professional and your confidence will make you stronger and your marriage stronger. Right know you're being judgmental,and dare I say somewhat anal. Be willing to change how you see it in your mind then what you see on stage will also change.

It is natural to feel a little jealous, if i were you I would have a nice laugh with my wife about it and give her the real thing, YOU. No one is hotter than you in her eyes keep it that way.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 February 2013):

why did he HAVE to be naked? and what is the name of this play?sounds messed up. if nobody is seeing his naked parts why does he have to be naked to begin with?

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A male reader, Trying Again United States +, writes (18 July 2012):

Well, this is a good question. I have wondered this question too. Marriage is the most sacred institution on earth and the feelings, minds and persons involved should be protected and cherrished as much as possible. In this case, at first it will feel strange, but then it may feel normal. This is not good. It is not good because if we as humans dont act on certain matters fast we may lose the conviction altogether. For example, a woman who is in an abusive relationship may be shocked at first but then, after tolerating the abuse for some time, she begins to just put up with it. You both experienced those feelings because marriage has joined you together as one. I suggest that you both reconsider partaking in these type of engagements because even though it's labeled "just acting", the human heart does not know the difference. In marriage, the bedroom is a sacred place and you belong to your wife just as much as your wife belongs to you. I know im late but I hope this helps.

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A male reader, phillip12 United Kingdom +, writes (3 July 2012):

This is disgraceful, even though they are not doing anything it still gives the impression that they are. Not only this but the man is naked. Being naked next to someone, kissing someone, making love to someone, being intimate with someone, is something you share with one person and that person is your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, or husband/wife.

To say its fine because she's going home with you at the end of the day is a insult. Thats like saying yh go and screw anyone you want in the day as long as you sleep with me at night its fine. No it really isn't.

I know where your coming from, its not nice to watch something like that, i think if your wife respected you and your boundaries she wouldn't have applied for or taken the role in the first place.

I wouldn't ever expect something like this from my spouse and if they did it they can enjoy being single.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (11 April 2012):

I am from that part of world which you call South Asia.Here morals are also degenerated, only a paint on the wall is there.I mean to say few people are bothered abut such things anymore and i don't like this personally.

I being a female really appreciate that you are letting your wife to pursue her studies.Can you simply suggest that she can change the direction of her studies? If you have children i don't think she as a mother like her daughter to see this stupid scene.

I think you both are good in family life.Tell her if you are in her place it would have also hurt her. Ask her without being harsh, which seems you are not that can she just simplify or dilute a scene the little bit.

Please tell her your emotions fully and pray to God for strength and prevent any harm in your marriage

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A female reader, riddlemethis Canada +, writes (3 April 2012):

riddlemethis agony auntwow!! Hello there! It has been a while since I've checked this site and I am glad that I did. So full of new comments.... with the same old problems.

I used to struggle with this issue. I wrote about it... and told you all that I was ending things.... well it didn't really end up exactly that way.. although it is over and has been for over a year.

I have made some conclusions that make sense to me. I will list them and I am sorry if you don't agree or if you are in the industry and feel insulted. It is not intended to be so.

1) Actors are often times self-absorbed. They have to be self-centered in order to succeed in the industry. Precisely because... It is all about them!! Sometimes it is worse than others. Because of this, you will always come second, after their acting careers. They have a deep and uncontrollable need for attention, recognition and praise. More than the average person. Nothing will stop them from being center stage. Even if what they are doing hurts the person or people that they love the most.

2) Actors want to be actors. It is their passion and purpose. What makes you think they will be happy in another profession? If they did stop acting, it would change the very core of who they are. You don't want to do that.

3) The dynamics are hard, if not impossible to change. As much as it would be the right thing to say "get over it and change your perspective", I can't. I have been there. I know how devastated you can feel when you know that the love of your life is "rehearsing" his love scene in someone's apartment or studio and you are supposed to just suck it up.

.... and please know that I tried. I am a relatively intelligent person with a good head on my shoulders. Many people come to me for advise... I am formally educated and work daily on my spiritual health via yoga philosophies....

I tried. For many years. I loved hard.

That is not to say that it is impossible.. I just stress that if the feeling is there instinctively, it might mean that for you to change how YOU FEEL might be just as unreasonable as asking an actor to stop acting.

In general, I think that we all look for advise because we are looking for answers that we already know.

The solutions are plain... simple.

I was devastated when my relationship was over. There were many other factors.... but it is funny; most of them related to my ex's inability to get over his deep seated need for attention... and I am better for it. Now that it is a part of the past, I feel that it was the right thing to do.

Life goes on. Be who you need/want to be and let the person be who they need to be. If it doesn't fit... it just doesn't.

Allow things to proceed the way they were meant to for you, AND for your significant other... accept the transient nature of things... and accept your feelings. It will be okay. I promise.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 March 2012):

In our day and time we've lost certain morals. Everything and anything is deemed ok. Personally I think you're a hundred and fifty percent entitled to feel jealous!!! I don't understand how or why it's seen as bad, when you have something good you aren't willing to share that are you. I mean if u didn't care at all I think that'd be a bit worrying. As for your wife, how can she make out with another man and be ok with it? Distancing or not, you're still making out with ANOTHER MAN!! Jeeez I dnt get people today!

Anyways best of luck to u mate, and in answer I think you have every right to feel jealous and protective of your wife! (this coming from a female)

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (28 February 2012):

I just read every post; my wife is passionate about acting and I am dealing with the topic of "the stage kiss" at this time as well. Luckily I consulted the greatest self help book ever written in the history of mankind to answer this conundrum. (these versus apply to all couples, because the purpose of courting is marriage, and we all should have a solid understanding as to what the sacrament of marriage entails)

Best of luck to you all with the improvement, growth and love in your lives. God bless!!!

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 ESV

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. ...

Ephesians 5:31 ESV

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

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A male reader, Frohan United States +, writes (21 February 2012):

I can't help but notice that every person suggesting that it's no big deal and you should just suck it up is an actor/actress...

My girlfriend is an actress and she is doing a play that has some stuff in it that makes me uncomfortable (kissing, touching, sexually explicit language, etc.) and I just don't think it's necessary. Do we consider pornography art? Yah, it's extreme, I agree, but "Actors" in pornography are oftentimes not romantically attached either, their just getting their shots done and moving on to the next guy/girl. It doesn't matter if there's no romance involved, doesn't matter if the actor in mind "doesn't really feel anything emotional," the act in and of itself is wrong to me by my standards.

I guess the bottom line is, if you're in a relationship, you both need to respect boundaries. So if one person is not comfortable with something, you should damn well respect that, no excuses. If you can't do that, then maybe the relationship is just not as important to you as acting is, and if you can't resolve your differences, don't make yourself miserable by having to watch your loved one do something that makes you uncomfortable (or, in the actor's case, have your loved one prevent from being "all you can be" because they hold some sacredness in physicality only between you two... what an inconvenience...)

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A male reader, mlmcasual United States +, writes (10 February 2012):

There are several problem with this.

For one, there is a unequal strain because of the acting-kiss. Marriages are partnerships based on compromise. How is it a compromise when she gets to act out intimacy and you get what out this besides jealousy and betrayal? So she gets her cake and eats it while you have to suck up you "insecurities"? Absurd.

Second, while there are many relative points of view and shades of grey in relationships, the definitions of physical intimacy in Humans is Universal. We don't go around sniffing ass like dogs, we kiss, make love, hug, cuddle. So it's totally self serving and dishonest for your spouse to try to "re-contextualize" the acts themselves. Is she "fake kissking", meaning there is no physical contact? No?, then she has no place making that argument. I can say throwing feces on a cross is an act of art but that doesn't redefine the act or the meaning.

Third, taking the above out of the equation.. it still simply boils down to respect for the sanctimony of YOUR relationship. If one partner is doing something that can (within reason) be harming that sanctimony and the spouse.. then that partner is disrespecting you for their own gain. It's simply a matter of self serving convenience that they would argue it's art or their passion.

If the argument comes up you are holding them back.. are you holding them back from acting? The compromise would be they can accept any role that didn't involve physical intimacy. That IS the compromise. If you spouse does not agree to that then she is not willing to compromise and willing to do something that makes you uncomfortable. That's not a relationship that's. And if you allow that not only does she have no respect for you, but even worse- you have no respect for yourself.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (10 December 2011):

I've been searching on the internet for over one year about this very issue. Over the period, I've visited this site numerous times...the question has generated a lot of responses. It has also provoked a lot of discussion on other sites. In general, both sides seem to be committed to their stance.

The reason I've searched site is because my wife has been involved in community theater throughout our marriage. When we met nearly 28 years ago she was acting in college. I knew how important acting was to her; because I loved her I wanted to support her interests as much as possible. I did recognize, however, that there would likely be a limit to what I could suppose in her case. When we started dating I told her that I loved to see her act, but I knew I would not be able to handle her in romantic roles. She said she understood and that wouldn't be a problem.

I had always supported her during roles such as encouraging her to audition, getting off from work early to take care of the children, and whatever else it took. I loved seeing her on stage...she is an excellent actress. Last fall, the issue that I dreaded emerged. We made it through 25 years of marriage before she finally decided to audition for a romantic role. My wife told me that she was going to audition for the role of Ethel in On Golden Pond. I literally thought my heart was going to stop. I knew what it meant for me and for us. I told her that I said I wouldn't stand between her and a role, but she needed to remember that I said I couldn't handle it.

While kissing and other physical activities can be regarded as only physical behaviors, it is the meaning that those behaviors hold to each individual that truly matters. For me holding hands with intertwined fingers, certain kinds of embraces, certain places to touch, lip kissing, and baring aspects of one's body contain special meaning to me in and of themselves. I wouldn't consider doing those activities with someone on or off the stage even if my wife had no problem with it. My wife, on the other hand, sees those physical behaviors as containing meaning ONLY within the context of an intimate relationship. Those she can engage in all of those physical behaviors and be considered totally faithful to me and to be totally ethical and moral in every way.

So who is right? Do those behaviors hold meaning in and of themselves or do they only have meaning in the context of an intimate relationship. We could argue all day long depending upon your stance; my wife and I have certainly argued about it. We have yet to resolve it.

So if each spouse regards the behaviors differently, to one it is wrong and to the other it is right, how do you decide? Should the partner who struggles with the issue be honored by having the other mate give up his/her right to do it? Well, I think so, but my wife does not. To her this is my problem. She believes she posses the moral right to do so because the activities or behaviors are NOT regarded in the Bible as wrong and therefore they are permissible.

The result of all of this has been a marriage that has unraveled. Although my wife and I have had a good marriage, even conducting marriage retreats together, this issue has wreaked havoc on us. It has become a baked potato issue; that is, we have piled into it other marital struggles that we were able to manage previously. Yes, we have gotten counseling and it hasn't really resolved the issue. We are working on some of the other things that hopefully will lead to us getting through this issue.

I wish I had an easy answer. Ironically, I'm a psychologist and sex therapist. I'm no novice on human behavior to say the least; in fact, I have two PhDs. I consider myself to be fairly sophisticated, but for me I have no ego strength around this issue.

I do know that had she insisted on doing this before we were married that I would have broken up with her. Because we both believe in the sanctity of marriage that is not an option at this point.

On a superficial note, I get amazed by actors who say that it is just a form of blocking; no different than shaking hands. Then they talk about how uncomfortable (e.g., anxious, nervous, awkward) they are with the scenes. It becomes something that the two actors must process before they do it. How many times must actors process a stage handshake????? I think there is an awkwardness because they is a sense that such physical activities represent something.

I agree with someone who said that acting is about creating illusion, but it involves real bodies and actors who must pull from real emotional experiences to fashion that illusion. I also know that any pleasurable touch generates chemical releases in the brain for pleasure and bonding.

I'm happy for all of the couples who can negotiate this issue, or for whom it is a manageable level of discomfort.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2011):

To the "A reader, anonymous, writes (3 November 2009):"

I think the biggest question to ask yourself is "What do I really love about pursuing an acting career?" If it just about the "acting" itself, there are many, many, many roles you can engage with where you portray different characters in different stories and you get paid to do it. Perhaps not well at first, but with all things you love and are passionate about you will eventually make money at it. However, if the answer (if this is the answer and if you are honest with yourself) is more about the recognition for your acting, or the sense of adulation you may receive--anything other than the acting itself--you may very well find yourself in a situation where you will have to do a sex scene. because if you are willing to sacrifice everything to act, for the sake of "recognition--ie. fame", or "acceptance" bla bla bla, you will eventually be persuaded to do a sex scene--because the adulation and and recognition are more important to you than anything else.

However, pursuing one's dream is not synonymous with forsaking one's life partner, or one's cherished values. Far be from it.

As I've argued earlier that when actors engage in sex scenes they are in fact engaging is sexual behaviour with someone other than their life partner--(in many ways it is a socially sanctioned way of having an "open" relationship), the question remains: the "WHY" of wanting to pursue acting as a career is just as important as the pursuing itself.

As an addendum: I often hear actors say: Well it doesn't bother me to do that sort of scene. Okay fine, each to his/her own. However, what about the person you are engaging with? How do/does he/she/they really feel about the situation? How does their spouse or partner feel? How does your acting partner's children or family feel? You're not just affecting yourself when doing a sex scene, you're affecting everyone involved.

Lastly, I kind of think of it like this: My husband worked for a company a few years ago negotiating terms for suppliers of his company. The company he worked for was a very large, popular and established company and the new owners didn't really want to pay their suppliers--they didn't want to pay their bills as a way of "cost savings". Larger companies with economic clout could and did sue them, however there were many smaller companies that simply could afford to sue--they went bankrupt.

My husband was responsible for negotiating the deals to begin with. When he realized his company was not paying the smaller suppliers with whom he had negotiated contracts with in good faith he felt sick. He could have said to himself "It doesn't matter, this doesn't affect me, I've still got a job, I'm still getting paid." However, his conscience wouldn't let him do that because he knew he was a significant part of the problem.

What he ended up doing was quitting and moving to a company that did not have this practice. Until he could quit, he would give these smaller suppliers the names and phone numbers of the people who made the decisions not to pay them.

So in other words, he was a significant part of the harm being caused to smaller companies and their employees. He could have chosen to ignore it, or deal with it. He dealt with it--ethically.

Same thing in acting, when you're doing a sex scene it's not just about you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 November 2011):

There is much to say on this topic, and sex scenes are unfortunately a prolific part of the acting industry. From a purely logical, and debate worthy point of view sex scenes are unethical--every argument "for" the innocuousness of a sexual behaviours on stage, or in front of a camera are "EASILY" dismissed. However, because sex sells and there is fame, and fortune to be had--fame in the sense of "success", spouses who love the art (which is wonderful) easily deceive themselves about the cost emotional involved on their marriages and lives.

The primary question I ask directors and actors--both known and relatively "unknown" is in your opinion what constitutes "sexual" behaviour?

The quick response I get is "It's all about context", and the intention of those "involved". This is really the only argument which is presented and is relatively easy to dismiss. One way to deconstruct this argument is to use a little logic tool called a syllogism. A syllogism is taking two premises and drawing a conclusion based on those premises. It sort of looks like this: “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.”

So, Do actors engage in sexual behaviour on screen with their fellow actors?

A--Actors engage in this type of behaviour on stage or in front of a camera: french kissing, erotic touching, intercourse, fellatio, sustained lip kissing, gyrating crotches together etc.

B French kissing, erotic touching, intercourse, fellatio, sustained lip kissing, gyrating crotches together etc.

Constitutes sexual behaviour.

C Therefore actors engage in sexual behaviour.

Simple easy logic.

This type of syllogistic logic precludes motivation and context. Simply because these behaviours universally constitute sexual behaviour.

This same logic cannot be applied when playing the role of murderer who stabs his victims simply because the actor is not "actually" stabbing his colleagues.

The complicated part of this is that husbands and wives may come to a point where they share different values. Perhaps what the acting spouse really wants is a socially "sanctioned" open relationship. People don't want to call it that, but in truth that is what it is.

We have different ways of justifying things to ourselves. The greater issue, is we may criticize those who will do anything to become actors, yet we support the films and filmmakers who create and sustain this cultre. Do a Wallmart thing--don't shop at Wallmart if you don't agree with its purchasing ethics. This is the only way to stop the problem.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (19 November 2011):

I guess to answer your question, that just seems so unrealistic for anything like that to happen, especially because it's not actually happening. Nobody is actually going to die onstage. But love scenes and kisses are physically real, and it's very hard to wrap your head around the fact that the emotion is fake. For me, I'm not worried about my girlfriend having feelings for the guy she has to kiss, it's literally just the fact that she is physically kissing him.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (19 November 2011):

CindyCares agony auntAs an ex actress, I always found curious how actors' partners get so bothered only by love scenes . I mean, if your wife were playing the role of a serial killer, you'd still sleep sound at night, you would not worry about her stabbing in your sleep. If she plays a thief, you would not hide your wallet, if she plays Giocasta ( mother of Oedipus ) you would not keep her away fron your teenage son. But if she gives a colleague a stage kiss- big deal. Why ?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 November 2011):

I am dating an aspiring actress who is about to graduate from high school and very likely to get into a good college for acting. I knew she was an actress prior to dating her, and I thought it was really cool.

I am a musician, so we have a lot of similar thoughts about art and good conversations that i've learned from. However, she just landed a lead role for a play being performed through a local college which involves a single kiss in a wedding scene. This is the first time I've ever had to deal with this, and it's also the first time she's had to kiss someone for a role.

I am having a lot of these same feelings. This is something that nobody thinks about until they have to deal with it. Now I can't watch any kiss in a movie without thinking about how it must be for their spouses or what they are thinking about as actors.

It is a very weird and crappy feeling to understand something in your head but not in your heart. We have talked about it some, and she assures that I don't need to worry. Something that she says is that acting (at least for her) is done by putting the character into yourself, not yourself into the character. Therefore, anything she does is not actually her.

This is something I will never truly be able to understand emotionally without the acting experience. I don't know if I can watch her on stage and not think of it as herself. I am afraid of how I will feel when I go see the play, and the anticipation of when she will actually have to kiss in rehearsals is driving me crazy. She doesn't really want to talk to me about it. I figure that because to her, the kiss is not a significant part of her life, just a part of the play. It is hard for me to not think of this as insensitivity or not acknowledging my feelings. It does help that the other actor has a girlfriend, so there are no factors of whether or not he is thinking of it the wrong way.

I want to support her, especially because this is the best role she has ever gotten. I don't want to mess up what I have with her, and I don't want her to feel insecure with me if I show her too much of how I am feeling. She is an amazing person and I don't see our relationship ending any time soon. I am just also in search of way to get over these feelings. I know I will have to do that somehow if she will be acting as a profession. My situation is far less intense than some of these comments I am reading about love scenes and nudity. I am going crazy enough with this one kiss, and can't imagine what it would be like for another guy to be naked with her. She is very dear to me and I view our lips/body to be for each other, and not at the disposal of other people for work. Reading here has been a good "heads up" for what is to come dating a professional actress.

Something that has helped me a little bit is to study and read the play. I am hoping that a true understanding of the work and what is being portrayed on stage will help me to be engaged when I watch the performance, and maybe I will be able to watch my girlfriend as a character and not as my girlfriend.

I feel lucky that I'm very young in dealing with these situations at an early level of her career, and will hopefully be easier to deal with more intense work in the future if I have some experience.

As of now, I am not over it and do not see myself figuring it out in time for this performance.

But I care about her very much and want her to be happy, even if that means going through all of these painful thoughts and feelings. She is worth it, and hopefully I will eventually be able to truly understand and appreciate the art of acting.

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A female reader, riddlemethis Canada +, writes (26 August 2010):

riddlemethis agony auntJust a quick update:

It has been ten months since my first comment was posted. Since then, there has been countless roles (all unpaid work) in which my boyfriend has been in intimate situations with other women for 'work'. Because it has been an issue for us he has not disclosed the events to me and I find out about them when I see his work or pry into his projects. At this point I have expressed my feelings more than once and we have tried to work through it but my feelings on the matter have not changed a bit. Every time it happens, I feel betrayed and to be honest it makes me resentful and affects my level of respect for him and the profession in general.

Although outside of this issue we have a great relationship, I feel that we have gone as far as we can. This is an issue that affects the level of respect I have for my boyfriend and the level of fidelity I feel we have in our relationship. I do not see myself pursuing a life with marriage and a place together and perhaps children if every other month he is fooling around with a new woman.

I am ending our relationship.

I am going to miss him and I hope he finds success and happiness in the acting world and perhaps a new girlfriend who can support his pursuits in their relationship.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (21 February 2010):

Totally agree with Rosseau - you can't have your cake and eat it. Personally, I don't like the industry or usually the types of people who are drawn to it. Anything to do with stroking the ego can't be good. If it was that good, why do you all feel like crap? Great for them, crap for you. I ended my 8 year relationship when my partner went into the business - everything began to revolve around his "passion". Since I've finshed the relationship, I've never felt better - the worry, the anxiety, the jealousy - it made me feel like crap and I want a relationship that makes me feel good - like they presumably do when they are on stage, putting their relationship second to their "art". If they say they have to do what it takes to get into the industry, I say, they have to do what it takes to stay with me!

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A female reader, riddlemethis Canada +, writes (8 December 2009):

riddlemethis agony auntDear "claytonmcmanus",

Thanks. It does feel good to know I am not alone. Sounds like you are in the same position as me. I keep going back and forth from feeling like I am over-reacting to completely justified. The act of kissing... could be done without emotion... and our bodies are... just bodies.... Acting is their passion, dream and job... but if we were to do the same, it would be considered cheating and grounds for separation. Does this not sound like the biggest crock to you?? It does to me.

Every time it happens I feel betrayed, just like I would if he had cheated, only I am not allowed to be angry. One can say that it is situational, that they are involved for work. It doesn't make me feel any better when my boyfriend has spent the better part of the day making pretend-love to some beautiful actress... and then coming home to me.

So what to do? If you love someone, you want to see them happy. You don't want to stop them from following their dreams, but the bottom line is either I neglect my feelings or I neglect his.

There is just no easy answer.

I talked to him about it. I told him everything I felt. I told him about finding this information and I was finally able to articulate how I felt (thank-you Rousseau). He didn't really have much to say except he understood and loved me... that he would pursue roles that didn't have a love interest. He is a handsome man and I know this will not be possible if he is going to establish a career in the business. I do feel better having expressed my feelings but still have no solution.

I wonder how big budget actors deal with this sort of thing. I wonder if the money makes it easier to ignore?

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A male reader, claytonmcmanus United States +, writes (5 December 2009):

Dear "female anonymous from December 5th" - I feel EXACTLY the same way and I sympathize with you. I also don't think I can live with this in my marriage. The quote you highlighted is so true. I am glad to know there are other people out there that can understand how this feels.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 December 2009):

I am happy to have found this site. It has offered some relief to a very conflicted person (me). My boyfriend is pursuing an acting carreer. I think it is great that he is following his dreams and I wouldn't want to interfere with that. It is just so hard to deal with this issue. I am not sure why but the person that said the following has put into words what I have been trying to work out for myself for some time...

and I quote... "You are not overreacting. In the abstract world of acting and theater there seems to be this justification of not having any accountability for what a person is doing or portraying because it is a "scene", or "art". I have absolutely nothing against acting and understand very much that it is art, the problem is that outside "fantasy world" is real life and real feelings; so if you have a husband and/or wife who feel that nakedness, touching, kissing, etc. is part of the bond between the two of them and no one else, then that bond is broken; justify it any way you want. The classic saying "you can't have your cake and eat it too" comes to mind".

This is EXACTLY how I feel. I am so in love with my boyfriend. I thought I would be with him forever... He has become such an important part of my life, but I am not sure that I can deal with the thought of him being intimate with other people. I know that it will continue coming up. I know he would feel the same way if the roles were reversed.

The closer we become the worse I feel about this. I don't really know what to do aside from ending things. I am not sure i can live this way. I makes me feel like a fool.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 December 2009):

you don't have to do love scenes to be an actor/actress...they don't have to accept every role--easy as that

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A male reader, claytonmcmanus United States +, writes (28 November 2009):

Rousseau -

I appreciate your comments. It's really hard to be the spouse of an actor/actress, and it's never as easy as cliched phrases like "she's going home with you", or "it's just acting". People saying that have never really felt what it's like to be the spouse of an actor/actress. My wife recently took a lead role in a play that requires her to be naked (full frontal nudity) on stage for about 5 - 7 minutes with another man who is also fully naked. I am completely uncomfortable with this, but she feels that this opportunity is just too important to pass up. It gives her the opportunity to work with the best director in town at the best theatre in a controversial show, so it will get a lot of press and attention. She believes this will be a springboard to her career. I will never stand in her way and hinder her career, but I am so angry, hurt, depressed, etc. Hundreds of people are going to see my wife naked. That is something that I value very highly. It is so special and private to me. Her nudity is something that I alone get to enjoy as her husband. No more. She sees it as just acting and not a big deal. It's just skin she would say. It's not to me. It's intimacy. I feel betrayed, embarrassed, emasculated. I can hardly sleep, am struggling with anxiety, etc. I HATE that people I know, actor friends of hers that i've met, etc. are going to see my wife naked. It is a horrible horrible feeling. I want for her to want to turn these types of roles down. I certainly did not sign up for this. Any advice from someone who can sympathize, understand?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (3 November 2009):

I had started acting before I met my husband. He was in full support over it. Around 5 months into the relationship our love grew stronger and around that point he told me how much he would dislike if I would kiss guys during acting. a few years before i met him, one of the 1st plays i was is where I met my 1 boyfriend, i was single at the time. However when I told my present husband about the situation, he freaked and told me if i ever got involved in a acting project like that that we'd have serious problems i.e divorse

Of course, I love my husband for many reasons and becasue he told me that i am know afraid of getting involved in any acting that involves love, kiss, or relationship between two actors.

I truly love acting, love it! and have been told by numerous people that i could actually make it hollywood, however, because of my promise to my husband, i feel like i have betrayed a part of me, i don't feel like im living to my true potential, its been almost 2 years, that its been like this ,its agonizing knowing you have a skill and your not putting it to use. I'm scared one day i will rebel.

I think you should tell your wife your concerns and suggest that the guy put underwear, if you ask nicely she will probably do her best to make sure it happens.

Just don't control her, because it feels shitty, and she might rebel against you.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (2 September 2009):

Tisha-1 agony auntPsst, anon poster. Look at the date of the original question. Whatever happened, it's nearly a year ago. Double check the dates before you get too wound up.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 September 2009):

I'm sorry but I have to respond to vodkagirl148 and TasteofIndia. Ladies, you can't possibly believe that the problem this could cause is worth it! First of all, I respect the acting art. But not at the level where my wife is sharing bodily fluids with another man just to make a good seen. This could even cause problems indirectly.

Too many people feel as though they have evolves intellectually to a level where watching love/kissing scenes of their loved ones won't cause an issue. It could!

As far as "as long as if she's going home with you" doesn't fly in the least. As a matter of's down right insulting. I won't want my woman to come home with me after witnessing something like that.

You have to realize what you are saying. You are with your spouse for the rest of your life in every way. THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN AN ART. Therefore, if you don't see that then you shouldn't be arried. After a scene like that most people won't look at you the same. This is the truth and you can't say that it's silly because non-actor spouses didn't sign up for that.

Also, you shouldn't willfully do something that your spouse should have to grit their teeth to watch you do.

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A male reader, Rousseau United States +, writes (6 May 2009):

You are not overreacting. In the abstract world of acting and theater there seems to be this justification of not having any accountability for what a person is doing or portraying because it is a "scene", or "art". I have absolutely nothing against acting and understand very much that it is art, the problem is that outside "fantasy world" is real life and real feelings; so if you have a husband and/or wife who feel that nakedness, touching, kissing, etc. is part of the bond between the two of them and no one else, then that bond is broken; justify it any way you want. The classic saying "you can't have your cake and eat it too" comes to mind.

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A female reader, Ginger65 United States +, writes (6 February 2009):

I'm the "significant other" of a very talented actor who, at this point, does local work. Up until now the scenes he's done did not involve "intimate" moments. Until now. He's in an acting workshop in LA in February and the scene he's doing is very challenging but it also involves kisses an actress who is part of his circle of acting friends. He didn't tell me because he wanted to avoid conflict but that left me to find out in a very hurtful way . . . only minutes after being on-line working to build a photobook of us for Valentine's Day, he invites me to sit next to him and while he's on Facebook the female actress pops up in chat and tells him to be ready to kiss in the next rehearsal. I was stunned as much by the way I learned as by the act. We have struggled with this now for over a week - him to try to explain and convince me it's just "acting" and me trying to help him understand that I'm not a trained actor and so this feels like a betrayal of my trust. I love this man with all my heart and I believe in him and want to be supportive. I am trying to accept that he must do this but every time I think of him kissing this other woman I feel sick inside. I truly believe in him and I want him to be successful because I know this is his dream, but I don't know how to handle the hurt and pain I feel inside. He wants me to talk to his former acting coach but I'm reluctant because that still seems to imply that I'm over-reacting and as a "non-actor" my feelings are wrong. Logically I understand everything he's shared with me, but emotionally . . . I hurt and I don't know how to stop this hurt. I even went on-line and tried to find materials to help me deal with what I'm feeling and to help me be a better partner for someone in the acting profession. But honestly, when I read stories of and by other male actors who have become aroused in love or sex scenes, my inner turmoil just grows worse. I don't have any suggestions for the poor man dealing with his feelings . . . I don't even have any for myself. But you are not alone!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 October 2008):

I'm married to an actor. I was on set when he had to do a kissing scene over and over and over again because there were planes flying overhead. I wasn't comfortable and I'm not happy about it but I have to put up with it.

I've just decided that I'm not going to watch anything that he does with a kissing scene or a love scene.

He's started doing the production side of things, and while I've always supported him in all his endeavors, I hate to admit it but I'm more supportive of him being on the production side because of the fact that he doesn't have to do any love scenes.

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A male reader, KMan United States +, writes (16 October 2008):

Hi there. I am in an opposite situation. I'm an actor (not famous, just plays, and some B-movies that made it to DVD, but never the big screen). One of the B-Movies I starred in was a typical horror flick. You know, where all the girls run around topless at some point before they get killed and tons of gratuitous sex scenes (not love scenes, sex scenes). Typical B-grade horror flick crap. But, what the heck, it's a job.

This one movie I'm talking about called for a pretty graphic sex scene. Me and the actress where both completely naked and simulating having sex (her on top). Well, needless to say, I wasn't the least bit attracted to her, nor romantic feelings, but I did get an erection. There we were both naked, mashing our private parts together and it was being filmed. Like someone else said, there is nothing romantic or sexy about a scene with a camera, lights, and directors telling her to flip her hair around and bounce her breasts a little more. I only got an erection because I'm a guy, hell, I'd get an erection if I bumped into a wall a few times :).

Anyway, what I'm trying to tell you is, even though my wife was a little jealous of the scene, I reassured her that we shot the scene a few times over a few days, but I never spoke to the actress outside of the job. No exchanging phone #'s, no talking outside of the shoot, nothing. So what if you wife saw this guy naked. She's not touching him, and if they never talk outside of class/play practice, then you have NOTHING to worry about. Check her cell phone, if she's never called him, or if they never went out to talk after practice, then swallow your jealousy and let you wife live her dream.

I normally support men and women hanging out with people of common interests, even if they are the opposite sex. My wife sometimes goes out with work people for a drink and appetizers after work about 1 Friday a month. But, in the case where there is some intimacy (and I don't mean this in a romantic sense, but the fact he is naked with your wife for acting purposes only), then I am against any contact outside of the job (or class in this case), that's why I never hung out with that actress from the B-movie I did. Not that I would stray, I love my wife, but when you've been naked with someone, and not for romantic/sexual reasons, you don't need to tempt fate. Let your wife finish this class, put on the play, and continue with her dream. Just make sure it stays only on stage and not outside the classroom, and you have NOTHING to worry about.

Good Luck.


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A female reader, TasteofIndia United States + , writes (15 October 2008):

TasteofIndia agony auntI'm a theater geek and think that my boyfriend could sympathize with you. He's seen me on stage smoochin' up on lots of fellas (and a lady, which he was quite enthusiastic about).

The thing is, he knows as well as I know, that I truly have a passion for the art of theater. I love throwing myself into a character, and without some of these love scenes, the play is simply not complete. It would be lovely if only single people played roles that called for kissing or touching, but it's just not always the case. A role is a role, and you have to do what's called for.

If she really has a love for the stage, it's your responsibility to support her indefinitely - even if the smooching makes you a little uncomfortable. Focus on her acting, her characterization and skill. Go to her shows and close your eyes during the mushy parts.

As an actor, love scenes are something that are bound to come up. It's tough, and believe me - kissing on stage is really difficult to get through. Sometimes you're across from a fella with super bad breath, or who's actually a jerk off stage and you can't stand him... but, you do it because you have to do justice to the script. You have to commit all the way!!

As the token husband, it sucks... but the best you can do is grit your teeth and support her like crazy. Bring her flowers on opening night!

Good luck, my dear!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 October 2008):

Its bound to bring people closer kissing and touching. It's a fine line, if a rapport is built up and both are physically attacted to each other it is kinda pushing the limits, and i guess eventually someone like that is bound to come along. Then it's perhaps lets go for a drink. This how things can get started.

I'm sitting here trying to think what compels people to become actors, role play, fantasy, exhibition, i'm not quite sure.

I would suggest you get to the bottom of what makes actors tick. This may help your figure your problem out.

If she has given you need to doubt her before. I would give her the green light, look her in the eye's for a while and tell her you trust her, and don't mention it again. Make sure she realises this is a serious conversation your having.

Then shut up.

Good luck

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A female reader, vodkagirl48 United Kingdom +, writes (15 October 2008):

trust your wife, like she says, it's only acting... remember at the end of the day, she is coming home to you and going to bed with you!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 October 2008):

I read loads of interviews with actors on kissing scenes, they say they can't really enjoy the moment as their being directed in where to stand, how to kiss and what too do. There's no feelings in it, also there's loads of people watching you! Just remember it's just acting and it's silly to get jealous over, also kissing scenes isn't why hollywood couples spit up! very unlikely!

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