April 24, 2018 Journal Entry
Watching this movie, Little Children. The character's affair continues. The woman falls hard for her lover. She dreams, she fantasizes, she sees a life for herself that centers around him. So familiar these feelings. I wanted something different from Jeff, but still, the intensity of unrequited love was there. The pain of unrequited love.
Did the pain make my consuming love even more exquisite? Perhaps. Perhaps that is why it fed me so deeply, so profoundly. Regular love is just regular love, predictably satisfying. When two people feel similarly about one another, where’s the pain in that? Where’s the suffering in that? And isn’t love all about suffering? It is for me. Always has been. I know of no other kind.
I remember saying to him once, very early on, “Your family seems so happy. You look so happy.”
“Pictures are deceiving, pictures are deceiving,” he replied. He said it twice, with a heavy pause between. But down deep inside I knew he was lying. He had to be lying. No one can act that happy in a picture and there not be some authenticity.
The last time we were together, my arm over his chest, my hand on the side of his face, “Your wife is so much more attractive than me.” He turned his head so slightly, pressing into my palm so slightly. He blew out a breath. So barely audible if I wasn’t looking at his face I might not have noticed. Actions that told me it was true but inconsequential. It mattered not. And then I remembered what he said in one of his emails. “You’re an extreme turn on for me.” I didn’t understand it; I couldn’t wrap my mind around it then. I'm not beautiful. I am not beautiful. But now, I see it clearly. Beauty leaves. Time wanes beauty. It isn't beauty he seeks.
“Beauty is overrated,” the man in the movie says. His mistress takes it to mean something he had not intended. What he meant was, “You may not be beautiful, you may not be beautiful the same way as my wife, but you are what I seek, what I need, what I crave.” The beauty he references really has nothing to do with beauty, or love. It is plain desire.
Love cannot exist alone once familiarity sets in. If an enduring friendship is not birthed once familiarity is introduced, boredom takes residence in that empty place. Perhaps the relationship endures for the children. Else, there is no compelling reason to remain. The only thing left is commitment, honoring your commitment, honoring your word, honoring your vows. I didn’t get it before. Right now, this moment, I get it.
That simple chemistry that bonds two people early in relationship, that chemistry simply isn’t sustainable. What replaces it is routine. Predictability. No excitement, no hope of excitement to come. What can result is a compelling desire to escape. It’s the seemingly unavoidable temptation, the intense want for that temporary reprieve. It’s pure avoidance. Beauty has nothing to do with it. Most certainly love has nothing to do with it. Respect for the mistress, yes, perhaps. But not love. Just naked, uncomplicated, base desire.
That's why Jeff could ask for "some good ol’ fashioned fucking," and not see how much that hurt. He just wanted relief. Relief from the mundane. I just wanted him to love me. Even just a little bit. Or at least that's what I thought I wanted. But not really. I just wanted him to want me. I wanted to be his refuge. Being his refuge is far more fulfilling than having his love. It's far more rewarding. Because it makes me feel valued. It gives my life purpose. Love only gives me pain.
I get it now. I see it clearly. Finally. It was never his intention to hurt me. Not ever. He does respect me. He does value me. He just does not love me. Love really had nothing to do with the affair, not for either of us. Nature abhors a vacuum. We were simply enacting what comes naturally, filling an empty place.
Few men leave their wives for their mistresses, because without the existence of the existence which fuels the desperate need for stolen time from the day to day, what is there to keep the affair intact? NOTHING.
I know this. I know this through and through. Months and months ago, I knew it already:
“Sitting at my desk writing, thinking. What does a mistress have a right to expect from her married lover? I bring my arms up, intertwine my fingers, rest my chin on my hands, gaze out the window at my beautiful city view. The word that comes to mind? NOTHING.”