I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. What is love? How do people express it? When there is disconnect, is it due to lack of love or simply lack of capacity? Fidelity, as you know, has always intrigued me, because it’s this violation of trust, a breach of honesty… these acts aren’t committed by strangers: they are committed by people for whom there is utmost faith and confidence. Have you ever been betrayed on a level so deep that it changes how you view the world? Even if the doubt and uncertainty influence your relationships for only a few years, the innocence and naivety are gone forever.
My friend is filing for divorce, because trust has been broken, not by infidelity but by substance abuse. Words expressing apology and contrition, no matter how sincere now, are only words that didn’t align with the actions.
I read a disturbing article yesterday about Political Sham Marriages. Basically, the author refuses to sympathize with educated women married to men who are either alleged or confirmed cheaters. The accusation is that these wives tolerate the infidelity in exchange for their own power and political gain. The article irks me on so many levels. First, love is a complicated thing. It really is. Regardless of socio-economic or political status, love isn’t simply about “I love you and you love me.” And who the fuck is she to question whether Shriver’s love is true or not. Sure, adultery seems like a pretty difficult action to place under the love column, but hell, does she know the stats on infidelity? The percentages are pretty fucking high, inside or outside of politics, so is she saying then that most people in marriages and relationships in fact do NOT love each other?
That’s why I’m asking: what is love? This notion of forever, of unyielding loyalty… who are we fooling? Do you know people who have cheated? been cheated on? It’s a depressing state of affairs, no pun intended. What I’m saying is, why should we withhold empathy for Maria Shriver? Because she should have known better? Honestly, if that were the case, everyone should know better and no one should be in a relationship at all. Because, just point to the numbers. Odds are, you’re going to screw or get screwed.
Forgiveness can happen. Change can happen. I like that saying, “Dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening, and love like you’ve never been hurt before.” or however that saying goes… But that’s where individual capacity comes into play. After feeling pain and betrayal, do you have the capacity to live again with the same vigor? And if you have the capacity, do you have the will to risk it all again?
My friend is leaving. She has neither the will nor capacity to risk it all again. And so that’s where things end… when one person is done punching the timecard. I suppose the triggers that push you to that threshold vary. There are no right answers, and life has a funny way of circling from one end to another beginning. Still, it’s hard to watch the end of something I once witnessed as true and loving. All these paths in life– they seem so dramatically different and yet their beginnings– all started at a single trailhead.