Adventures in Divorce

I always wondered why people who murdered their spouses didn't just get a divorce.... I now understand why

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No, I'm not a prophetess. Cassandra, according to Greek mythology, spurned the advances of the Greek god Apollo and her gift of prophecy was cursed so that her predictions would never be believed. Such is my life. I tend not to think like most people, which is a gift... but also a curse. So step into my mind, take off your shoes and stay for awhile... you're always welcome, loved ones.

July 30, 2008

Love vs. Desire

I recently finished reading the book "All He Ever Wanted" by Anita Shreve (author of Oprah Book Club book "The Pilot's Wife".... also another worthwhile read). It's written from the perspective of a man who is recouting his marriage to a woman with whom he, arguably, experienced love at first sight and the experience of not having that love returned. I couldn't help but note the parallels between this character's marriage and my own, at least my own toward The End. In the book, the main character, Nicholas Van Tassle, meets a woman as he is assisting her following a fire, and from then on is determined to have the woman for his wife, regardless of her feelings about him (or lack therof). His single mindedness leads him to pursue her relentlessly until she agrees to marry him on the condition that he knows that she does not love him and that they will never speak of love.

The book also made me think about a podcast I'd listened to from Zencast.org on the topic of desire, considered to be one of the 5 Hindrances to enlightenment in Buddhism (the psychic forces that keep people from being fully present in the moment, which is necessary for proper meditation). The concept basically is the idea that love and desire, while very similar, are actually very different and have different focuses, one being outward and one being inward. Stated simply, love is an emotion that is directed outward to it's intended target, while desire is directed inward. Desire is selfish while love is generous. A person who is driven by desire is focused on how the emotion makes THEM feel..... they desire a person because it makes them feel good. Conversely, a person driven by love has the wish to bestow this feeling on others and, ideally, this feeling is reciprocated so that love flows between the two individuals involved. Unfortunatley, it's often difficult to distinguish the two because they both involve the feeling of pleasure. The Dharma talk also discusses how Desire creates exhaustion, alienation, and loss of opportunity to see change. Unchecked, it keeps us on the surface of life, superficial, and leads to poor judgment in the pursuit of this pleasure and desire.

I cannot say that my marriage was entirely loveless.... it was just the wrong type of love. My Ex was CRAZY about me. I was talking to a friend last night who knew my Ex in a work setting years before she knew me, and she said that he used to talk about me incessantly (his favorite topic was natural hair..... if you have natural hair, you were gonna hear about mine for him). She isn't the first person who has relayed this to me, and actually I used to have to tell him to please quit telling folks about me because I'd have random people come up to me knowing way too much info about my life. While on the one hand it was somewhat endearing, on the other hand it was somewhat, well, obsessive. The problem with this "love", though, was that I felt it wasn't directed toward me.... it was directed inward toward himself. I felt like he loved me in a way that was satisfying to him, while ignoring those things satisfying to me. There was a disconnect somewhere, and not until I listened to that dharma talk podcast on my patio one day did I fully realize it: his feelings toward me were more heavily steeped in desire, not love.


In the book I just finished, the narrarator many times mentioned how he took great pride in and made a point let others know that this woman was "his wife" as if she were some sort of prize to brag about. Likewise, that's the feeling that I got when my Ex would talk to people about me. It was almost as if I didn't feel like a real person, but more like an object to be showed off. Arm candy to the extreme. Yet I felt like he ignored or downplayed who I actually AM as an individual. It wasn't about what I wanted, but what I should want; wasn't about how I was, but how I should be. He had projected this image onto me that suited his purposes, that made him feel fulfilled.

Love, however, is acceptance of who a person is as a whole. It's not picking and choosing the qualities of the person to focus on and derive pleasure from, while ignoring the rest. Love is not a prize or a trophy to show off to others. It's not a status to brag about. I feel like if my Ex had truly LOVED me, he would have let me go peacefully like I tried to do, not repeatedly, deliberately and maliciously tried to hurt me becuase he was hurting over his loss of "love". It was all about how HE felt, because, I'm sorry...... you don't do and say the things he's done and said to me over the past year if you truly love someone. You don't destroy another person's happiness so that you can have "love" from them. That is desire, and desire can be perilous.

I feel like I'm rambling, so I'll stop now. Maybe I'll come back and fix this mess later.......

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Adventures in Divorce: Love vs. Desire

Love vs. Desire

I recently finished reading the book "All He Ever Wanted" by Anita Shreve (author of Oprah Book Club book "The Pilot's Wife".... also another worthwhile read). It's written from the perspective of a man who is recouting his marriage to a woman with whom he, arguably, experienced love at first sight and the experience of not having that love returned. I couldn't help but note the parallels between this character's marriage and my own, at least my own toward The End. In the book, the main character, Nicholas Van Tassle, meets a woman as he is assisting her following a fire, and from then on is determined to have the woman for his wife, regardless of her feelings about him (or lack therof). His single mindedness leads him to pursue her relentlessly until she agrees to marry him on the condition that he knows that she does not love him and that they will never speak of love.

The book also made me think about a podcast I'd listened to from Zencast.org on the topic of desire, considered to be one of the 5 Hindrances to enlightenment in Buddhism (the psychic forces that keep people from being fully present in the moment, which is necessary for proper meditation). The concept basically is the idea that love and desire, while very similar, are actually very different and have different focuses, one being outward and one being inward. Stated simply, love is an emotion that is directed outward to it's intended target, while desire is directed inward. Desire is selfish while love is generous. A person who is driven by desire is focused on how the emotion makes THEM feel..... they desire a person because it makes them feel good. Conversely, a person driven by love has the wish to bestow this feeling on others and, ideally, this feeling is reciprocated so that love flows between the two individuals involved. Unfortunatley, it's often difficult to distinguish the two because they both involve the feeling of pleasure. The Dharma talk also discusses how Desire creates exhaustion, alienation, and loss of opportunity to see change. Unchecked, it keeps us on the surface of life, superficial, and leads to poor judgment in the pursuit of this pleasure and desire.

I cannot say that my marriage was entirely loveless.... it was just the wrong type of love. My Ex was CRAZY about me. I was talking to a friend last night who knew my Ex in a work setting years before she knew me, and she said that he used to talk about me incessantly (his favorite topic was natural hair..... if you have natural hair, you were gonna hear about mine for him). She isn't the first person who has relayed this to me, and actually I used to have to tell him to please quit telling folks about me because I'd have random people come up to me knowing way too much info about my life. While on the one hand it was somewhat endearing, on the other hand it was somewhat, well, obsessive. The problem with this "love", though, was that I felt it wasn't directed toward me.... it was directed inward toward himself. I felt like he loved me in a way that was satisfying to him, while ignoring those things satisfying to me. There was a disconnect somewhere, and not until I listened to that dharma talk podcast on my patio one day did I fully realize it: his feelings toward me were more heavily steeped in desire, not love.


In the book I just finished, the narrarator many times mentioned how he took great pride in and made a point let others know that this woman was "his wife" as if she were some sort of prize to brag about. Likewise, that's the feeling that I got when my Ex would talk to people about me. It was almost as if I didn't feel like a real person, but more like an object to be showed off. Arm candy to the extreme. Yet I felt like he ignored or downplayed who I actually AM as an individual. It wasn't about what I wanted, but what I should want; wasn't about how I was, but how I should be. He had projected this image onto me that suited his purposes, that made him feel fulfilled.

Love, however, is acceptance of who a person is as a whole. It's not picking and choosing the qualities of the person to focus on and derive pleasure from, while ignoring the rest. Love is not a prize or a trophy to show off to others. It's not a status to brag about. I feel like if my Ex had truly LOVED me, he would have let me go peacefully like I tried to do, not repeatedly, deliberately and maliciously tried to hurt me becuase he was hurting over his loss of "love". It was all about how HE felt, because, I'm sorry...... you don't do and say the things he's done and said to me over the past year if you truly love someone. You don't destroy another person's happiness so that you can have "love" from them. That is desire, and desire can be perilous.

I feel like I'm rambling, so I'll stop now. Maybe I'll come back and fix this mess later.......

Labels: ,