I wish that it were easier to soul search…that maybe I had started that search earlier. It’s hard when you’ve always been a people-pleaser, the good child, daddy’s little girl. How do you “determine if your fantasies are just fantasies, dark desires, or actual needs”? Where do you even start? And where do you begin to explore deep desires when you’re in a committed relationship?
You don’t. And for Natalie, she didn’t seek it out either. It came to her, unexpectedly. It came to her without her even knowing she needed it. Lucky for Natalie. We should all be so lucky. Even if Michael can be an “entitled asshole,” he will help Natalie discover what she needs. And she may just discover that part of her needs are masochistic in nature.
And you’re right! The best books have infidelity and flawed characters we love or love to hate. Frankenstein. Lolita (a book I hid from my folks the first time I read it). God damn yes! Best books ever. The list is long.
What happens with erotica and romance is that it isn’t taken seriously. It’s not considered “literature” and quite frankly, most of it shouldn’t be. Right? I mean, let’s be honest. The “familiar tropes” cannot be tainted or obscured; there must be a happily ever after, for instance, in romance. And a lot of the erotica is just pap nonsense often for titillation purposes only. I’ve discussed this in an earlier blog.
But some of us don’t want that in our reading and certainly don’t want that in our writing. Take your book, Michael, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Familiar tropes? I think not. Worthy of literary note? I do believe so. I loved the science fiction elements of that novel, that Orwellian society, juxtaposed against the couple’s exploration of sexual taboos and desires. It was powerful and thought-provoking.
But to W.H. and your experiences with cheating in real life. Man, that’s not cool. I cheated once on my first boyfriend. I was only a freshman in high school. I kissed a senior boy. He was a football player. And he was also my brother’s friend, and I think I just did it to piss off my brother, truth be told! But it ruined my relationship with this boyfriend. Jealousy. Trust issues. Though we stayed together until he moved (then I dated his best friend for seven years! Blog for a different day for sure!), it was riddled with insecurity and power games that were built on distrust. I don’t think I’ve ever been cheated on (am I naïve—maybe), but it wouldn’t feel good if I thought I were happy in the relationship.
And perhaps that’s what it boils down to. Are we happy in our relationships? Should we be forced to be so unhappy? So unfulfilled sexually just to please some moral, man-made code? Again, I'm not condoning cheating. I agree with Devilsthorn in that it's selfish. But as another said, if you're cheating, something is missing. Why not find it? Because would you cheat if you were fulfilled?
Whether Natalie is weak-minded or a cheater...whether Michael is an asshole or egotistical, they are finding love together. Let’s let them have that journey in their FICTIONAL world.