Many months ago, I read about a woman who married a bridge in France. The whole affair seemed jovial and, at the time, I assumed it was either a symbolic gesture or just a media event.
It never occurred to me that she was actually in love, you know?
But then, just this week, I learned of a woman who married a Ferris Wheel. First a bridge? Then a Ferris Wheel? What’s going on here?
I’ve always been fascinated with rare behavior. Rather than have a “that’s crazy love, not real love!” reaction, I only wanted to know more. How does it feel to be in love with a structure that is hundreds of feet taller than you? Do you make love to it? And if so, how? How do you know if the object of your affection is being faithful? Do you become angry when other people walk all over your bridge or jealous when they ride your Ferris Wheel? I had to know more, so I did a little digging.
I learned that there’s a rare condition called “objectum sexuality” that causes humans to experience romantic feelings for objects. It’s rare, but not quite as rare as you might suspect. At least 40 people in the world are currently involved in loving relationships with non-living spouses. The OS crowd even has their own support network. More than 100 people like their Facebook page.
“A person who has Objectum Sexuality might have trouble forging an intimate bond with humans. He or she might feel safe being in a relationship with an object rather than a person. This might be the result of an earlier negative relationship, not having learned how to relate or connect to people, or just a fear of rejection or vulnerability. If the latter, then this is a form of avoidance,” says Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist in New York City and author of Be Fearless. (Full disclosure: I worked with him on his book.) “Another explanation might simply be that the object is associated with a strong positive experience and this feeling or emotion is reinforced every time the person is with the object. Another consideration: the person might develop feelings of love that are associated more with the symbolism of the object rather than the actual object. For example, Lady Liberty represents freedom and prosperity. Ultimately, the phenomenon of Objectum Sexuality begs the question: is love that is not reciprocated true love?”
Is it? And are we sure this love is not reciprocated? Before casting judgement, check out the following slide show and learn more about five people who fell wildly in love with objects.
Yes, Someone Has Married a Bridge 1 of 6
And a Ferris Wheel, as well as The Berlin Wall. What is going on here? Let's take a closer look.
The Berlin Wall is Her Husband 2 of 6
A Swede named Eija-Riita Berliner-Mauer coined the term "Objectum Sexuality" decades ago, after she married the Berlin Wall. If you think it's an amazing coincidence that her last name resembles the name of her love object, think again. Like many modern women, Berliner-Mauer hyphenated her name upon marriage.
According to The Telegraph, Berliner-Mauer first fell in love with the wall when she saw it on television at age seven. In a recent documentary about OS, Berliner-Mauer admits to having relations with her husband, but when asked how those relations turned out, she answered, "That's private."
If only I could be so polite about what goes on between me and my husband in the bedroom.
She was horrified when the wall was torn down in 1989. "What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband," The Telegraph quoted her as saying.
Berliner-Mauer has also been in a relationship with a guillotine. More recently, she's fallen in love with a fence. She's never had a relationship with a human.
Photo credit: Angr, via Wikimedia Commons
She Cheated on Her Drum Set with The Statue of Liberty 3 of 6
Amanda Whitaker's first love: her drum kit.
During an interview on an English talk show, she said, "I didn't take the whole lot to bed. I took one of them to bed. I just liked to cuddle them, just like a teddy bear."
Unlike many people with OS, Whitaker did not see the drum set as having a gender. She uses the word "it" when talking about her former lover.
She fell out of love with her drums, however, when she laid eyes on the Statue of Liberty. ""Lady Liberty barged in. I love the way she looks and I love everything about her," she said. "She reciprocates to me… she doesn't put her hands around me, but she makes me feel really good inside."
Though she's changed her last name to Liberty, Amanda Liberty says she will never formally marry the statue, whom she refers to as "Libby."
"I don't think I have the right to marry her because she doesn't belong to me," Amanda Liberty said.
Because she lives in England and her lover is physically unable to travel, Amanda Liberty must settle for seeing Lady Liberty rarely. Still, whenever she can, she enjoys sitting at the bottom of the statue, watching the sunset, listening to the waves, and smelling the sea.
That sounds pretty romantic to me. Perhaps I should take a tip from Amanda Liberty and do something like that with my husband.
Photo credit: Pascual De Ruvo via Wikimedia Commons
When She Fell in Love with The Eiffel Tower, Her Archery Suffered 4 of 6
Erika La Tour Eiffel is a former world champion archer who once carried on a torrid love affair with her bow, Lance. "We had a hot and heavy relationship for a long time. We were such a great team because we had that connection," she was quoted saying during a recent documentary on people with OS.
Now, though, she no longer feels connected with Lance, and her archery is suffering. Instead, she's taken up a new relationship with the Eiffel Tower. "I just want to be with her," she says.
Photo credit: Akash, via Wikimedia Commons.
She Walks All Over Her Lover 5 of 6
Just a few months ago, Australian artist Jodi Rose wedded the Le Pont du Diable Bridge (known as "The Devil's Bridge") in southern France. She wore a beautiful white gown and said her vows in front of fourteen wedding guests, including the mayor of a nearby town.
She refers to the bridge as "devilishly handsome," and I have to agree. It's beautiful, don't you think?
On her blog, Rose described the bridge as, "strong, stable and silent, he is the ideal husband." She might be onto something.
Photo credit: Havang, via Wikimedia Commons
She Didn’t Marry Him. She Married His Invention. 6 of 6
When George Washington Gale Ferris (shown) invented the Ferris Wheel, I'm assuming he never in a million years thought someone would eventually marry one of his creations. Linda Ducharme, however, has done just that. The former pilot first fell in love with her airplane. Then a train. Now she's married to a Ferris Wheel named Bruce. (Note: Other people tend to call her husband Skydiver.) She married the aging amusement ride a year ago. Things are going great between the two, so Ducharme recently renewed her vows.
Photo credit: Tohma, Vierundnull, via Wikimedia Commons
So crazy love? Or true love?
I know it might make me sound, well, crazy, but what these women are describing sounds a lot like … love. Doesn’t it? Yes, of course, their boyfriends and husbands don’t have beating hearts, can’t cook and clean, never pay for dinner, can’t provide for or raise children, won’t be there to hold their hands when they are old and dying, and don’t hug back. Plus, they all seem a bit cold and inflexible.
Still, who I am to judge?
Read more of Alisa’s writing at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.