People actually care that someone cheated. Twilight fans wanted to believe in the real-life version of their perfect romance, two people bound together by a love so searing that infidelity is a laughable impossibility. A love that’s always fresh, always passionate, never worn-in and never changing. One endless blissful union, in which every moment is like that first tingle up your spine when you realize He might like me.
That tells me two things. First: my generation hasn’t been brainwashed enough to give up on the idea of lasting monogamy. If you think all love is doomed and lifetime partnership is just a shackle on female self-fulfillment, you wouldn’t be that upset to hear Kristen Stewart was embracing her sexual liberation with another man. If we’d given up on monogamy as a lost cause, there wouldn’t be the cultural phenomenon of Twilight’s success, an epic story of eternal love if ever there was one.
The second thing the outrage directed at Stewart tells me is that a lot of women of my generation are complete adolescents when it comes to love. I’m no expert either. At 24, what have I got to tell you about lasting partnerships and maturity? Though I’m still working out the details in practice, I have learned one thing: love comes in seasons.
The blissfully exciting moments of discovery, the deep wells of warmth found in recognition and mutual respect, the pride for another’s achievements, the gratitude for his apology or forgiveness. Love isn’t a continuous ecstatic moment. Teenage girls will be foolish about Twilight-style love for as long as there continue to be teenage girls, bedroom doors, and moments stolen from homework to daydream. And grown women will continue to secretly indulge in these fantasies too, as long as we have nightstand drawers and gal movie nights and moments stolen from the unrelenting chores of being an adult.
But what are we missing?