On Spark Theory — Cheaters Edition

I never knew that our romance had ended until you poisoned my food
And I thought it was a lark when you kicked me in the park but now I think it was rude
I never knew that you and I were finished until that bottle hit my head
Though I tried to be aloof when you pushed me off the roof, I feel our romance is dead

– “Say That We’re Sweethearts Again” by Earl K. Brent

At this point, it’s so cliché, we all know the words:

__ had been having an affair with a young 20-something.  __ said he just didn’t feel The Spark any more.

(where “The Spark” = “like he was getting as much attention as he used to, and resented the implication that he had to work at the relationship because it turns out it wasn’t all about him and his needs alone”)

Women may be narrowing the infidelity gap, but the stories I’ve heard from people ranging from close friends to acquaintances have been very similar: husband/boyfriend has affair with younger female.  Heaven forfend a wife or girlfriend focus just some of her attention away from her mate and onto their pet(s), child(ren), or even herself in terms of her own career, dreams or health.

The Spark here appears to enable the cheater to rationalize selfish behavior.  Rather than discuss issues or unhappiness about the relationship like an adult, not feeling The Spark any more or finding a new Spark with someone else is an excuse to avoid confrontation for as long as possible, preferably until the illicit relationship is established enough so the cheater can leave the current relationship and segue cleanly into another without ever being alone and unsupported.  Never mind the cheatee left behind unsupported, perhaps with dependents or a sacrificed career or rent or maybe a flight of brand new STDs.  The cheater may have been the one pushing for the next step or the big wedding or children, but is seemingly too lazy to work at the relationship and too craven to discuss with his mate his growing dissatisfaction with the relationship.

I remember hearing a friend speak candidly after having her first child about her husband wanting to try for a second in part because her sex drive had been higher during pregnancy but fallen off since giving birth.  They did have a second child and then she moved to another state and stayed at home with the kids to follow her husband’s job…where he began having an affair with a 20-something at work.  He just didn’t feel The Spark any more.

Or another friend whose husband went on a business trip and fell off the grid for several days, finally sending his partner of over a decade an e-mail that he had been having an affair and just didn’t feel The Spark any more.

Or on the other side, a girl who as a 20-year old traveled by train from Paris to the south of France under an assumed name [and in separate train cars] for someone with a girlfriend who was almost a decade her senior, even met his mother and other family members, and stayed in their home. Because that seemed like a not terrible idea at that age when The Spark clouded her judgment.

Or a 26-year old girl who informed the wife of the colleague she was having an affair with that the wife had, in fact, contributed to the appeal of the adulterous spouse [The Spark had apparently addled the brain of that manic pixie cheap whore].

As another friend put it, The Spark sounds to her like the first high that junkies are constantly chasing after that they know they will never recapture but continue to pursue beyond reason, like a chemical fantasy romance addiction.

I’d like to think that if T-Rex can grow up, anyone can:

Fun is the worst

We all lose ourselves in relationships to a certain extent, give up part of ourselves for the greater whole.  But then you might realize one day the whole is lesser rather than greater and you have to find yourself again.  So, ladies: don’t change your name, don’t stop working, and maybe maintain at least a nominal separate bank account.  And don’t skimp on a divorce attorney.

“Say That We’re Sweethearts Again” – Harley Quinn [Arleen Sorkin], Batman: The Animated Series, “Harlequinade”

Somewhat related and also from the DCAU:

“Am I Blue?” – Batman [Kevin Conroy], Justice League Unlimited, “This Little Piggy”

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