Friday, January 27, 2012

Heidi Klum, Seal, and the tragedy of having "grown apart"

Shrine AuditoriumI told Isaac that the Seal and Heidi Klum divorce surprised and saddened me, and he laughed. I suppose he's right. Who would be surprised by the failing of a marriage between a high profile singer with a tumultuous childhood and a famous lingerie model?

I don't know, I guess I just saw small interviews when Heidi gushed about her husband and his eyes sparkled over her. They seemed to delight in each other.

They married two months before Isaac and I did, so I suppose that means I've been married long enough that I now sort of have a leg to stand on when I talk about making marriage last. And then at the same time, how lame is it that only seven years is a leg to stand on in our world?

In their public statement Seal and Klum say, "We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart."

"Grown apart". Isn't that what everyone always says if it's not about affairs or abuse? That was my biggest fear - that I might one day realize that I no longer really knew or was known by my husband. That's the desire so many of us have - to be really known and truly understood. That was my dream too. I love the (sad) Brad Paisley song "Somebody Knows You Now".
You used to say you wanted someone to know you inside out
And as I look back on things well congratulations baby
Somebody knows you now

I got a hundred bucks that says right now your hair's up in a clip
Your socks don't quite match and you're bitin' your lip
I can finish your thoughts or pick the right restaurants
Even order for you 'fore you sit down
Yeah somebody knows you now

 Ironic, isn't it, that the song ends with, "Well baby all your mystery like you and me is history, cause somebody knows you now."

All that being known doesn't a relationship make. You can know someone so well and still have "grown apart". That's the problem. We know how to get to know people, their habits and personality and past, but we don't know how to rebuild a loving romantic connection that has dissolved with time and life. We rarely build that connection, we think it just happens because it seems to exist so instinctively and wonderfully when we fall in love. Then when we fall out of love it's painful and we want to make things last, but we have no idea how to build a connection that happened naturally the first time around.

M. Scott Peck talks about this in The Road Less Traveled in his brilliant section on love. He first talks about the experience of falling in love as being a necessarily temporary experience.

Most of us feel our loneliness to be painful and yearn to escape from behind the walls of our individual identities to a condition in which we can be more unified with the world outside of ourselves. The experience of falling in love allows us this escape - temporarily. The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden collapse of a section of an individual's ego boundaries, permitting one to merge his or her identity with that of another person. The sudden release of oneself into the beloved, and the dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse  of ego boundaries is experienced by most of us as ecstatic. We and our beloved are one! Loneliness is no more! 
And then reality hits, and either the relationship or the marriage gets adjust to a partnership between individuals who are working to love, instead of two people running on the powerful fumes of infatuation.
Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual will reasserts itself.... So both of them, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that they are not one with the beloved... One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back into place... At this point they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the world of real loving.... Real love often occurs in a context in which the feeling of love is lacking, when we act lovingly despite the fact that we don't feel loving....
It's at this point when the ability to build a relationship is key.  You have all the hope in the world of building a big, beautiful, life-long love. You have to be willing to do that, though, because it won't just magically fall into place like infatuation.
In summary, then, the temporary loss of ego boundaries involved in falling in love and in sexual intercourse not only leads us to make commitments to other people from which real love may begin but also gives us a foretaste of (and therefore an incentive for) the more lasting mystical ecstasy that can be ours after a lifetime of love. As such, therefore, while falling in love is not love itself, it is a part of the great and mysterious scheme of love.


Jaimie said...

I always think it's weird that I've never been in love yet I don't feel lonely at all, and never have really. No deep loneliness that would compel me to hitch up with any of the dozens of guys who have been interested in me, anyway. (That sounds like bragging, but over 10 years that number is fairly average.)

But I have felt that loss of self, that ecstasy, and it's when I first started writing. It lasted about 1 1/2 years. I always wonder how to get it back, but I guess if we're to think of my art as a "relationship" it's gone for good -- mostly. There will be, and are, other forms of it.

*musings of an artist*

Kacie said...

for me, the ache of loneliness has always stretched beyond the longing for a romantic relationship. It's an ache for this deep connection, for souls meeting. Communion.

To take it spiritual, I suppose I believe that man was never meant to be alone, and that we were always meant to commune with God. All our human relationships mimic this but never entirely fill the void that we still feel.

Jaimie said...

Very true. Sometimes you can get the soul-meeting outside of a relationship. I have often. And yes, it's like a brush with ecstasy... not ecstasy itself.

AHLondon said...

All that, which I second only with CS Lewis and John Cusack. Jamie the artist, the CS Lewis bit is on point for your beginning artist comment.