Saturday, February 4, 2012

Love lessons from Ernest Hemingway

I just finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  As I neared the end of this historical fiction book about Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson, I found it hit so close to home.

If you wanted to read this book and don't know about Ernest Hemingway, then stop reading because I am going to reveal the jist of the book.

Essentially Ernest married Hadley, who was about 7 years older than him. They fall in love and get married. They move to Paris and start a wonderful life of sex, drinking, traveling and some writing. People think they are the perfect couple, and from the wife's point of view, it does seem wonderful. They have a child and things are still OK. On a side topic, I would like to point out that during this time, it seems wonderful - they are broke, but yet they find ways to vacation for weeks or months at a time. They have a nanny for the child and they continue to party and travel without the child. I want that. Anyway, at some point, Ernest falls in love with Hadley's very good friend and begins an affair. Of course the wife doesn't realize this for months, but after it is revealed, and she confronts him...he basically blames her. Wow, talk about hitting home, didn't SI do the same exact thing to me? What is it with men who cheat who displace the fault and blame the 'victim' because she exposed the truth.
 I copied the picture on the left for the following excerpt "His silence was as much as an admission that he was in love with her, but somehow he'd turned it all back on me so the affair wasn't the worst thing, but that I'd had the ...bad taste to mention it".  This sentence captures such an unspoken commonality between women that get cheated on, cheaters have this amazing ability to twist things around and blame the other person for their behaviors.  When I found out about SI and I confronted him and his family, it was way 'worse' that I told the truth about what he did and he could never forgive me or trust me again...but that cheating on me for 3 years was just a speckle of something that happened. What I did, he claimed was worse and unforgivable.  Reading this really hit home. 

On top of that, Ernest thinks he is allowed to have everything he wants (sound familiar SI?) and wants to establish a relationship with both women and have the mistress vacation with them and they eat their meals together, and it is just way to strange. How can a relationship like that really work out? It can't. The pain Hadley goes through because she loves Ernest and doesn't want to let go of him, what she is willing to endure, the pain she feels, to me, it is so familiar. Her eventual decision takes courage but will lead to happiness.

The next picture continues from above and basically just says the same thing "play the victim if you want, but no one's a victim here. You should have kept your goddammed mouth shut. Now it's all shot to hell." Here Ernest is telling Hadley that she is just as much to blame because now he can't have both women, and something needed to change. He couldn't think of letting his mistress go and he didn't want to give up his wife, but Hadley wasn't going to go along with the 'let's all live together and be happy' idea.   This also is familiar from my relationship with SI.  At the time of the breakup I was so devastated that I couldn't think about loosing him to someone else, I did wonder if we all could live together, just so I wouldn't be alone, but that would never have worked for me because I am jealous and I would not have liked it when he was having his 'visits' with her in the next room.  Who would be able to tolerate that? I do not know how the polygamist wives do it, I give them credit.  I don't want to share my man.

Ernest gets what he wants, but it is temporary...he ends up marring I think they said 4 times and then commits suicide. He calls Hadley many years later to talk about their time together and he finally admits that he made a mistake, that it was among the best time of his life.

So, SI wherever you are, you behaved the same way as Ernest Hemingway. I haven't found a love to replace you yet, but I will, eventually. And I really hope that your relationships are not fulfilling, that you are missing something and that you occasionally look back at what you did to me as a regret.  I hope I hear from you in the future when you are near your breaking point, and honestly and truly apologize to me. 

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