3.29.2005

Love is good

...and it's not blind, people. It just sees foibles and flaws with a tolerant eye, as it should. Had an interesting discussion about fidelity and marital constancy yesterday at lunch with Eli & Hermann, and it got me to thinking about the state of unions.

I have several friends (and, no, I will not name them here) who have strayed from their marital vows and cheated on their partners, etc. I've never understood it. Now, granted, I've only been married 3 1/2 years and we don't have kids yet, and buying the house is the most stressful thing we've ever done (and we definitely squabbled during its purchase), but our relationship is well into its twelfth year and I've never considered stepping out on Bryan. And I'm sure he hasn't considered betraying me, either. The way I see it, if you think there might be other people out there you want to shag, maybe you shouldn't oughta get married/ hitched/ joined.

The thing is, it's not like there aren't other people in the world to whom you will be attracted, whether physically, emotionally, psychically, or whatever, even after you're in a committed relationship or married or otherwise engaged, under terms that preclude you indulging that attraction.... Fidelity, though, is not a question of not being tempted, but rather, resisting that temptation, and in fact, re-choosing your partner, over and over again, affirmatively, renewing your commitment to them in the face of whatever juicy morsels may be dangled in front of you by a mischievous universe. And those morsels will be dangled, my dears, because Somebody up there (out there) has a very naughty sense of humor indeed.
What I wonder is whether infidelity (or adultery or faithlessness, pick your term of choice) is deliberate or accidental, for the most part. I'd be curious to see a survey of those who stray, to find out. Naturally, those surveyed would be anonymous, and there would have to be questions that allowed you to winnow the serial cheaters from the one-time cheaters.... the corollary to this is whether once you cheat once, is it easier to cheat again? Does it, I wonder, depend on why you've cheated, in the first place? I guess it must: if you're a rat bastard, cheating for the thrill or because you crave infatuation more than love, you probably won't blink at cheating and re-cheating, whereas if your offense is ... situational?... it's more of a lapse than a character flaw.

A propos of devotion, in its myriad forms, I do want to say more about Eli and the missus, with whom we had dinner Thursday and went to Carnegie Hall, as you may remember from the last (exhaustive) post. Their regard for one another, and how it was expressed in facial expressions and chuckles, was incredibly sweet and touching. Michael is only 25, so they were together for a long time without adding a child to their relationship; I wonder if that's why they like each other so much. I suspect that a lot of marriages become focused on the family really early on, leaving parents without much in common once the littles are grown.... If you know each other for longer, before adding variables to the equation, maybe the formula is more complex and longer-lasting.... It's funny, because it doesn't seem like the Ms are very much alike (although they share key interests), but I rather think that may be one of the keys, too: to have someone with whom you're not exactly in lock step, to keep you on your toes.

Anyway, my point? Love, in a word, is grand. Find some for yourself, and enjoy it. But remember not to put up with any drama or bullshit or anyone who treats you less well than you treat them. People need to check their baggage before they get on board the Love Express. Life, as you've read in these pages before (I know, ad nauseum), is too short. Save your issues for your therapist. ...Or your blog. Heh.

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