He is a gondolier who wants to be a famous artist; she is a famous artist who wants to be (or love) a gondolier. And so we come to the question with which we opened: "Are you faithful, darling?" Perhaps the answer should be "yes—I am always faithful to our marriage." Then comes the inevitable dilemma of whether one can be faithful to a marriage and bed others.Europeans know that the two are by nature polar opposites.Romantic love thrives on differences: She speaks Japanese; he only speaks Amurrican. Romantic love takes two unlikely people and brings them together despite the odds; married love takes two likely people and keeps them together against the odds.It is just assumed that monogamy is rare, if not impossible, among lively people, and the question never comes up." Whether my friend's observation is true or not (for I have many European friends who do seem to care deeply about their mate's fidelity), it certainly does seem that Europeans see marriage differently than Americans do.Marriage is for stability, friendship, children; love is for the adrenaline highs and lows of sexual madness, the romance of being appreciated by anew person, the joys of flirting, pursuing, and clandestine coupling.
It takes as a given that the friendship that endures between lovers is more vital than the sexual love that flares between friends.In fact, I think the dating culture in England is very complex, and it is divided into different classes, but also in different regions, and even the differences in the industry will make a considerable difference in this respect.If your dating partner only likes your money and has sex on the first night, then he/she is just a gold digger.But the having and growing of children, gardens, libraries, and art collections seem to demand something more permanent than romantic love allows.And now I, too, am beginning to wonder whether the European way isn't more pragmatic, more intelligent, finally more durable.