Even though Gwyneth Paltrow seems to be one of the most disliked celebrities out there, she’s always been one of my favorites. She seems to have a demeanor that can come off a little b*tch, but I think it’s more of an air about her that speaks of style and grace with a certain edge. She has a certain confidence about her and a good balance between dark and light that very few can master. I know she’s not the most personable, but she’s super talented and even though skinny blonde doesn’t register anywhere near my vocab, she seems to be one of the few pretty honest and grounded in Hollywood. She has been known to promote healthy eating as well as environmental awareness. I actually might say she is one that I wouldn’t mind my own daughter looking up to. She has a website called Goop that is worth checking out.
Recently she shared her thoughts on cheating (imagine someone actually being honest on such a taboo and highly emotional societal subject, oh my!). She says, “I am a great romantic—but I also think you can be a romantic and a realist. Life is complicated and long and I know people that I respect and admire and look up to who have had extra-marital affairs. It’s like we’re flawed—we’re human beings and sometimes you make choices that other people are going to judge. That’s their problem but I really think that the more I live my life the more I learn not to judge people for what they do. I think we’re all trying our best but life is complicated.”
I personally have my own theory on cheating and the idea behind it and it’s more sobering than hers. While I don’t understand people who marry even though they know they would or never could be faithful (minus falling of course victim to societal and relationship pressure as well as all of the “perks” and financial benefits etc., that can come with), I don’t believe that monogamy is for everyone. And while women do have a tendency to be more faithful than men (I think some of it stems from men just seeming to have more time on their hands and their “antenna” being outside their body), even if it’s only the man who is cheating in the relationship, it’s still not a monogamous relationship. However with technology and the way that life has changed over the last few decades (especially for women) I think that more women have became open to having more relationships with the opposite sex since our noses aren’t only stuck on baking pies and raising 10 kids. Really, if we considered “cheating” just as much an emotional act as a physical one, then we would probably consider a majority of all married people as unfaithful. People have been “cheating” for centuries only because of the fact that they do marry (or you know, say they have a girlfriend or boyfriend in 5th grade). I feel people mostly have good intentions, but in the end, what difference does intention make? There are books on emotional cheating that you can find where some couples agree that even giving someone of the opposite sex a lingering look or having multiple conversations with them should be considered cheating. Wow, there’s so much ground to cover with this topic, it’s amazing.
So where does all this entitlement and desire to control another individual come from? Why is it crucial to our own self-worth, value and happiness that we need to be made to feel so special by another person that we insist on being coddled and having rules in place to ensure that we only get most if not all of our needs met by them…for the rest of our lives? I’m not saying that some connections aren’t greater than others. I’m not saying that at certain points in life we don’t feel as if we would forsake all others for that one person standing right in front of us who knows just how to push our love drug button. However, those are fleeting moments that go on and off as all feelings do and so where is a dose of reality when we need it? When are we going to stop believing in knights and shining armor or the idea that another person is responsible for rescuing us and helping to provide us with happiness? When will our lives not start or stop on the heart beat of another? I know there are “those couples” out there. You know the ones who BOTH truly love the other more than themselves. If one dies, the other follows right behind. Isn’t that so sweet, cute and romantic? Sure it is. But it’s not the rule, it’s the exception. A majority of people and their relationships are not cut from that cloth. And even for those die hard couples, we never see what goes on behind closed doors.
So if we took the term “cheating”off the table and recognized relationships for what they are and not looking at them as either entitling you to certain “rights” or “enslaving” you to another, what would so many people who gossip and judge do with their lives? You mean they may just start recognizing the truth more and more about their own lives, which is that ultimately no one else really has any power over it? You mean they won’t spend years wasted with snooping, checking caller id’s (yes, I know we’ve all had to be there at some point) and victimizing themselves on shows like Jerry Springer and through some crazy illusion of false empowerment? They might have to start worrying more about their own lives, what’s really holding them back from their own true potential and what’s stopping them from being able to see their own truth and selves clearly?
Let’s face it. The idea of forcing someone to love you ever day or you having to love them every day to the point of seeing no other is miserable. If you love on some days, you are going to hate on the rest. Husbands and wives are no more than sisters and brothers who aren’t kin and can have sex with each other. It just happened they weren’t born into the same family (for the purpose of multiplying), and were told that one day they could have their very own adult life Ken or Barbie. Until of course like most kids do after acquiring a new brother or sister that they have possibly begged their parents for, they get a good feel for what sharing life (and their toys) is really like with another. They find out that Ken has a gambling habit and Barbie, well even though her boobs showed up on a platter in the beginning, she really doesn’t like sex all that much and ….well, the list can go on and on
But why not tell and make someone feel oh so special enough that they want to help put you through school, give you that son or daughter you always wanted or wash your stinking underwear for years? Yep, that’s the underlying truth. We manipulate, pursuade and use this thing called “love” to get what we want in life. But with the ways of the world and more independence for both male and female species lurking around the corner, there becomes less and less reason to be dazed, confused or love struck by the smoke and mirrors.
Distance makes the heart fonder. And if it’s true “love” or there is real purpose and merit in the relationship, it will sustain through the disruptions and the even yes, heartache that may come with knowing your loved one may actually like or share interest in another human being of the opposite sex. It will endure another partner in between the cycle of falling in and out of love or just plain not having a purpose for the relationship. We’re not animals out in the jungle anymore who need to mark our territory or destroy our competition to ensure our survival. There’s something to be said for all the relationships you have in life, not just one in particular. If you want to rank them, then fine. But just remember life has a funny way of rearranging those numbers and all else that we like to control. It doesn’t mean that two people can’t still come together and create something special or have a unique bond. It just means that it doesn’t involve the word “forever” or “happily ever after”. It’s less about ownership, superiority, control or manipulation and comes from a more honest, genuine and authentic place.
So while I agree with Gwyneth’s statement (as well as see where she might be putting a little of her own truth out there), I disagree with her saying that anything about it is complicated. The concept is simple. We live in a big world with millions of people and experiences to be had (I’m not just referring to sex here people;). Monogamy isn’t realistic unless you are tied to the bed post or you’re still in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. For those who have a monogamous relationship, that’s great. But for those who don’t, realize you aren’t the exception, you are the rule and it doesn’t make you or your relationship(s) any less “special”. It’s us as a society who make things complicated by labeling, ranking and thinking that marriage is a rational and logical concept in a “free” country.
One door at a time I guess, but this “cheating” one still seems to be lacking a key.