1. He’s a regular prince charming. Unassuming, full of boyish charm. They get on like a house on fire- easy conversations, relaxed laughter. They love, and passionately. He is a passionate lover, there is no doubt about that. Every date is intense- expensive dinners, flowers, handwritten letters, phonecalls every night, texts through the day. They book weekly holidays, local staycations, weekend getaways to a nearby city. The intensity burns. It doesn’t last of course, it’s hard to sustain. His attention starts to waver a little, suddenly there are just too many faults. She’s not the right size, not the right look for the moment. How about trying someone else there? She’s the girl of his dreams- so surely, surely she’ll wait as he dabbles a little into other interests. A little fling here, a little wink there. He returns each time, more passionate than before. In his guilt and regret, his passion burns with even more intensity. They fall into these peaks and valleys. Every pain, every heartache, matched in intensity with each joy. They have fought to death yes, but they have loved to death as well and at the end of the day, they look into each other’s eyes and call it love.
2. He loves her- there is no doubt about it. Like a checklist of things to do, he ticks off his mental checklist on life. Got a degree, friends, done well somewhere, career, girlfriend, wife, kids, car, home maintenance bills, change the light bulb tomorrow. He works hard for all of them, drags himself out of bed each day, kisses his wife who sits at the edge of their marital bed dying a little. Their conversations a week number but a handful of sentences. Last night he crawled into bed, too exhausted to say or do anything but to give his wife a quick peck on the cheek. His wife chooses her words carefully. There is a window of about 3 minutes before he falls fast asleep and is dead to the world. Should she tell him about the kid’s homework, the brawl that happened in school, how much she misses him? “The washing machine broke down today. can you repair it this weekend?” she finally says. He mumbles in reply, promises to ‘look into it’. The same promise he made about the broken shower door, the kid’s broken bar on the babycot- a cot that has been used, stowed and stored away, broken bar and all, a good 5 years ago. It’s hard to ask of him anything. He’s always so busy with something much more important than she. Dates are pushed back, ob/gyn examinations that she goes alone. She merely shrugs when she receives yet another sms tellling her he’s been held up; he’s sorry but there’s just so much work to do. it doesn’t really affect her anymore. In fact, she would have been surprised if he did actually turn up. Periodically he holds her hands in his, gazes meaningfully in her eyes and says ” you know i do all this for you and the children don’t you?” She nods mutely. She knows. At the end of the day, when it’s all over, he leans back in his easy chair, tells the next generation how important it is to love your wife and be there to meet her every need. How important to stay faithful. “I’ve never ever cheated on her. Always stayed faithful these 50 years” he declares, with a tinge of pride. He sleeps easy that night, next to a woman who wonders if this is what love really is.