Laura Kipnis and Her Definition of Adultery and Middle-Life Crisis: [Essay Example], 1035 words GradesFixer

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Laura Kipnis and Her Definition of Adultery and Middle-Life Crisis

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How does Kipnis reevaluate the meaning of adultery and mid-life crises? What sort of evidence are these phenomena, in her opinion?

As we all know, love is known to be one of the most powerful and important forces in our very own existence. The achievement of love has become such an important aspect of our lives that we think of ourselves as failures if we don’t achieve it. Society as a whole holds so many romantic expectations for love that it has almost become so overwhelming for us in a relationship to reach or sometimes even exceed those expectations. However, this romanticized version of today’s love was only learned after the 18th Century according to some historians. In fact, most of what we see love as came to us thanks to the romantic era of the 18th century along with our fascinations with reading novels. This romanticized version created a notion of expectations that are impossible to reach yet still expected to be reached. Therefore, Kipnis sees adultery and mid-life crises as a rebellious breakaway from the domestic confinement that these expectations has caused love to become. They have become evidence of the reality of the sustainability of monogamy and on the impact of society’s ideology has had on it.

Kipnis likes to express today’s ideology of love as something unsustainability and impossible to ever accomplish to the extent it is expected. She argues the search for love has become such a necessity in today’s society that that if we listed anxieties that we had “high on our own list would be diagnoses like “inability to settle down” or “immaturity” (Kipnis). She explains this was not the case with the Greeks and suggest that it was a learned behavior after the 18th century. Kipnis begins to note that after the 18th century society has had “the expectation that romance and sexual attraction can last a lifetime of coupled togetherness despite much hard evidence to the contrary” (Kipnis). The expectation for love to last a lifetime causes immense pressure on the individual to keep and be faithful with their partner for their entire life which is extremely unrealistic. She then explains that because of this we “feel like failures when love dies” and when love dies we “[experience] it as crisis and inadequacy even though such failures are more the norm than the expectation” (Kipnis). This causes a lot of anxiety surrounding the obtainment of love and its duration according to Kipnis which then causes higher rates of separation since the demands and expectations arise. This has led love to become both a “beacon of hope” and later “your worst nightmare” as you struggle to fit every single expectation that society’s love has led you to believe were true (Kipnis). This immense pressure according to Kipnis is what leads a lot of people to commit adultery or go into a mid-life crises because they begin to realize that they cannot meet the expectation of love that they were taught.

Furthermore, Kipnis sees adultery as escape routes for the modern idea of love and its confinements. The people that commit adultery are seen as failures and people who should be ashamed for themselves. However, Kipnis explains that they are people that are simply “wanting change”, “wanting to start over” or “wanting more satisfaction that what [they] have” (Kipnis). Because of this they are punished and sometimes shunned by society because the expectations of love that is has were not met by these individuals. She argues that they are not shameful people but instead individuals that are examples of how the expectations of love have caused so much disruption and pressure in a persons life. Kipnis believes that it’s surprising that society is “convinced that both love and sex are obtainable from one person over the course of decades” because it is certainly not (Kipnis). She states that society makes this huge assumptions which causes confusion and problems in marriage. In addition, it is the expectation of communication and compliance that also turns partners to adultery. Kipnis explains that “domesticity requires substantial quantities of compromise and adaptation simply to avoid mayhem” which means that each partner much listen to each other and come to constant agreements just to remain happy with each other (Kipnis). She explains that each partner according to today’s standards are required to exchange compliance for each other’s love in order to have the relations working properly. Constant communication is required to communicate what should be changed and what each partner wants from one another. This, Kipnis argues, causes a loss of individuality which is a paradoxical issue within us because we don’t want to sacrifice it, however, in a relationship “it is being surgically excised” (Kipnis). Our individually is even further taken from us as we dive into the huge amount of rules that begin to appear in long term relationships. These rules are many times always things we cannot do and are not limited to the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. However, the compliance is considered to be an even trade for the love that we receive for it. Yet the adulterer would tell you that it is not worth it according to Kipnis. The adulterer is an example of the reaction to this immense loss of individuality that comes with love. Kipnis suggests they are the result of the pressure on which this ideology of perfect love instill on people because of its unreachable expectations.

However, because it is hard to imagine a world without love most people are accepted to this kind of suffering. Kipnis depicts that most people will see the world empty with no love “as if love were vital plasma and eve thing else just tap water” which causes that same pressure to find a partner and keep them no matter the costs. The people who turn to adultery and mid-life crises are a response to this immense pressure of a perfect relationship and turn to alternatives, often in secrecy, to relieve them of such pressure. Although, most people see these people as shameful humans Kipnis argues they are just a product of our very own ignorance on love and it’s true nature.

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