Does abandoning your marriage in order to travel the world indicate that a woman has the character necessary for a life-long married love? Let’s look at a case in which a famous feminist abandoned her husband to travel to have adventures.
The New York Times writes:
Elizabeth Gilbert, whose best-selling 2006 memoir, “Eat Pray Love,” traced a journey of self-discovery around the world that continues to resonate with fans, announced a new chapter on Friday.
[…]Ms. Gilbert, speaking directly to her readers in a Facebook post, said that after 12 years she was separating from José Nunes, the Brazilian importer whom she met during her travels and later married, and who was a central character in the book.
“I am separating from the man whom many of you know as ‘Felipe,’ ” she wrote of her husband, referring to his pseudonym in the book. “Our split is very amicable. Our reasons are very personal.” She also asked for privacy, saying she would be “a bit absent from social media during this sensitive moment.”
“Eat Pray Love,” a sumptuous tale of escape, self-discovery and romance, quickly became a cultural phenomenon, though not one without criticism, with some noting that not every woman who wished to escape would have the privilege to live as sumptuously as Ms. Gilbert did on her sojourn through India, Italy and Bali.
The book, however, drew praise from Oprah Winfrey and was made into a 2010 film starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The tale also resonated with fans, mostly women, who either identified with being in an unhappy relationship or had managed to artfully escape one.
The phenomenon has endured over the past decade: The travelogue touched so many readers that it eventually spawned a book, “Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It,” comprising 47 essays from inspired fans who had written their own tales of escape and discovery. That book was released in April.
[…]In April, Ms. Gilbert said that she missed travel: “I’ve never been to Japan, Iceland, South Africa and other places that it would be a pity to come to this earth and miss.”
Adventures, escape and discovery – that’s what young women want today. Not marriage, and not motherhood. They believe that they can find lasting happiness through travel and adventures. Even if they change their minds later, and want to marry, repeated acts of self-centered behavior do not prepare a woman for life-long self-sacrificial married love. Promiscuity and hedonism do not prepare a woman’s character to be content with the roles of wife and mother.
Here is Gilbert writing in the New York Times about her priorities:
It started with a boy I met at summer camp and ended with the man for whom I left my first husband. In between, I careened from one intimate entanglement to the next — dozens of them — without so much as a day off between romances. You might have called me a serial monogamist, except that I was never exactly monogamous. Relationships overlapped, and those overlaps were always marked by exhausting theatricality: sobbing arguments, shaming confrontations, broken hearts. Still, I kept doing it. I couldn’t not do it.
[…]If the man was already involved in a committed relationship, I knew that I didn’t need to be prettier or better than his existing girlfriend; I just needed to be different.
[…]Soon enough, and sure enough, I might begin to see that man’s gaze toward me change from indifference, to friendship, to open desire. That’s what I was after: the telekinesis-like sensation of steadily dragging somebody’s fullest attention toward me and only me. My guilt about the other woman was no match for the intoxicating knowledge that — somewhere on the other side of town — somebody couldn’t sleep that night because he was thinking about me. If he needed to sneak out of his house after midnight in order to call, better still. That was power, but it was also affirmation. I was someone’s irresistible treasure. I loved that sensation, and I needed it, not sometimes, not even often, but always.
[…]In my mid-20s, I married, but not even matrimony slowed me down. Predictably, I grew restless and lonely. Soon enough I seduced someone new; the marriage collapsed. But it was worse than just that. Before my divorce agreement was even signed, I was already breaking up with the guy I had broken up my marriage for.
[…][I]f you asked me what I was up to, I might have claimed that I was a helpless romantic — and how can you judge that? If really cornered, I might have argued that I was a revolutionary feminist, taking brazen agency over my own sexuality…
She didn’t want to commit and love others self-sacrificially. That’s boring! She wanted to get attention and drama. Men liked her because she was easy to use and easy to throw away. She wasn’t anyone’s “irresistible treasure”, because she didn’t have enough value for any of these men to commit to her for life and take care of her as she aged. The men she chose wanted sex, but they were not going to actually provide for her or protect her when she reached her 70s, 80s and 90s. The question that we need to ask is whether a woman like this can stay married. Is she capable of doing the work that ordinary wives and mothers do in a married home – the work that wins a man’s loyalty for life? Is she capable of behaving in a way that leads a man to commit to caring for her when she is no longer young and pretty?
Let’s review what happened after Elizabeth Gilbert divorced her first husband for travel and adventures.
Christian men’s rights blogger Dalrock explains:
Having written a book on divorce, Elizabeth decided to write a book on marriage titled Committed.
From the Publishers Weekly review on Amazon:
How did a woman who didn’t want children land the only Latino hottie with a vasectomy in all of Indonesia?
[…][I]t turns out he needed a visa to get into the US, so he asked Elizabeth to marry him. After a year of bickering and unhappiness together, she finally said yes after he explained it to her.
From the Publishers Weekly book review on Amazon.com:
When are you going to understand? As soon as we secure this bloody visa and get ourselves safely married back in America, we can do whatever the hell we want.
You couldn’t make stuff this romantic up!
That was 6 years ago, Elizabeth is about 47 now and divorced again. I wonder how well her plan of “seducing” men and getting no commitment in return will work over the next 40 years? Tramp stamps and belly-button rings seem fun when you are 17, but are not so fun when you are 71. Hooking up, cohabitating, traveling and having adventures seems to make sense when you are 17, but they don’t result in a man standing by you when you are 71. A woman needs to invest in a marriage-minded man early, and sustain this investment if she expects him to stick around when she loses her youth and beauty. Not every man will respond to this investment, but it is her job to choose one who will – with the help of wise advisers.
In early September 2016, it emerged that she is now in a relationship with her best female friend.