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Would We Be "Unfaithful" or Become "Closer" If We Examined Our Differences?

In the films Unfaithful and Closer, infidelity is a primary reason for tremendous strain on the marriages/monogamous relationships within both films. Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, Richard Gere and Diane Lane as married couples, and Jude Law and Natalie Portman as an unmarried couple all exemplify relational struggles similar to those we see and encounter daily. While relationships begin and end daily, often we don’t necessarily attribute a more sophisticated way of seeing differences as possibly beneficial to assisting couples in negotiating/navigating the often treacherous terrain that they must travel during their relationships.

What are some of the diversity & social justice implications (ability, gender, socio-economic class, and privilege) that one can assume may have contributed to the strain or demise of their relationships when infidelity occurs within their marriages or putative monogamous relationships? Still considering diversity & social justice, what might they have done better to avoid losing their way?

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In Unfaithful, Diane Lane’s character had an affair with a man she met on a windy day in the streets of New York City. She hurt her knees from falling and he offered some band-aids and comfort in his apartment. They end up having sex and the subsequent clip shows Lane reflecting on her experiences with this younger man. She was sitting on the train, and at certain times showed a small smirk on her face. Other times, she was crying hysterically. According to an article titled “The Importance of Fights in Love”. “…nothing is more contrary to love than self-contempt mixed with resentment.” I think Lane’s character was dissatisfied with herself for cheating on her husband. She was clearly physically upset with herself, and I thought she would discontinue her sexual relationship with this man after the train scene. I was wrong. She continues the relationship and seems more physically happy than ever.

Although we don’t see the relationship continue wither her husband, we could assume that their marriage continued happily because she never told her husband about her affair. We can assume she feels like she doesn’t need to tell her husband because of her unearned privilege. She is white and included in the middle to upper-class. Maybe because her lover was not white, she felt like no one would suspect her to cheat on her husband with him. Maybe she felt like if her lover was going to tell someone, she could bribe him not to tell because of her financial status. Finally, she had children. Maybe she never told her husband because she feels a need as a woman, and wife to be a mother, and a nurturer.

I'm Donta, the films Unfaithful and Closer depicted marriage from an interesting angle. Each marriage was on the verge of breaking down due to the lack of connection between the partners of the relationship. A quote from "Friendship As the Foundation of Love" that relates to both films is "The other side of this is dramatically evident when two old friends make love, especially the first time. What is so overpowering is not the sex but the meaning of sex, which is why sexual friendships can turn so readily and so successfully into love." During the movie Unfaithful, Diane Lane's character wanted to end having an affair with Olivier Martinez's character because it was evident that she was beginning to feel emotions for him that went beyond sex. Also in Closer, it seemed that Clive Owens' character was hurt by the idea of Natalie Portman's character falling in love with the guy she was having an affair with. Somewhere down the line, each of these couples became disconnected with their partners and this should have been the time for them to express this to their significant other. Instead they kept it to themselves and went out looking for love somewhere else. This made the situation worse and complicated.

In the films Closer and Unfaithful; with all three couples, there were definitely some diversity and social justice issues that played a role in the strain and demise of each of their relationships.

In Closer; gender, class, and privilege all played a significant part in Julia Robert & Clive Owens' and Jude Law and Natalie Portman’s relationship downfalls. After admitting to their infidelity, Julia Roberts told Clive Owens that he could keep their house because she was going to live with Jude Law since she was in love with him, but Clive Owens said he didn’t care about the “spoils,” which shows that even though he had the privilege to stay at a nice place, love was more important to him than the material objects which wouldn’t make up for it.

When they were talking about their bathroom decorations, Clive Owens said, “You chose it. Doesn't mean I like it. We shouldn't have this” then referred to it as, “working class guilt.” This quote could be symbolic of their marriage because even though Julia Roberts chose to marry Clive Owens, she didn’t like it. She just wanted things to work with them but she was really in love with Jude law and wanted to be with him in the end. But just because you want something, doesn’t mean you should have it, which was proven with Julia Roberts wanting Jude Law. Just because she wanted him doesn’t make it ok for her infidelity. She shouldn’t have cheated on her husband, and he shouldn’t have cheated on her. But because they were privileged to have each other, they took that for granted. So, even thought they were both successful in their career, they weren’t successful in their marriage.

Ultimately, Clive Owens was hurt, so he wanted Julia Roberts to feel extremely guilty for being unfaithful, more than she already said she did. Clive then proceeded to call Julia a “spoiled b----” which he clearly said out of anger, but there is no excuse for any man to call a woman a derogatory name or vice versa; thus showing gender inequality. This was further displayed when Clive Owens said, “First time I walked through the door returning from a business trip, to be greeted by my wife. I have, in this moment, become an adult.” It is a social norm for a wife to be expected to greet her husband and for him to be the one going on the business trips. It is also expected that being married and going to work is the norm for adulthood; when in fact, that is just a stereotype, and many people live in different ways not conforming to these societal norms.

As for Jude Law and Natalie Portman, when Jude came home from work late, Natalie assumed that he was just having a drink with Harry, joking around that Harry was in love with him, making it ok that Jude was out late, but when he admitted to actually being out with Julia Roberts, then all of a sudden his being out late was wrong, which shows that gender also plays a huge part in infidelity and trust.

Natalie Portman asked Jude Law if the reason for his infidelity was because she was successful, and he replied back saying “no, it’s because she doesn’t need me,” another stereotype of women needing men. Furthermore, if a woman is independent and successful, then she’s supposedly a “better” catch. But success isn’t everything if you don’t have anyone to share it with. So, Natalie Portman decided to leave Jude Law, and he asked her, “what about your things,” and she replied with, “I don’t need things,” similar to Clive Owens, again displaying that money or material objects can not buy happiness or love.

In Unfaithful, class and privilege also played a role because Diane Lane and Richard Gere were the stereotypical couple. They were married with a nice house and a child, but just because they seemed well off, doesn’t mean they had everything they wanted. Clearly something was lacking in their relationship because Diane Lane was unfaithful to her husband which doesn’t fit into that stereotypical mold.

Overall, the ability for someone to hurt another person is unfathomable, especially when it involves cheating on their partner. If all three couples would have communicated better and appreciated what they already had, to avoided losing their way.

***Desiree, I am so impressed with the depth and breadth of your response to the diversity dimension of the question, at present, I am speechless ! I'll get back to you...

In Response to Donta’s post, I have a question: Did Diane Lane really want to end the affair with Oliver Martinez? Or did she just feel guilty about it but had no intentions of trying to stop it? I think that she wanted to keep it going. She liked the excitement; she liked the forbidden aspect of the affair because it was different from her daily routine with her husband and child. Also, since her and her husband’s “honeymoon” stage in their marriage was over, she found that type of new romance with Oliver Martinez, and that’s why I think she began falling for him. A marriage is only kept alive if the couple keeps it from going stagnant and is constantly refreshing their relationship as if they were newlyweds. Overall, I agree with you that all 3 couples became disconnected with their partners, and this is why they each found the “need” to cheat on their partners. “It is not enough to say that love involves one particular person; it is also a question of how we relate to that person. Love has long been thought to be a kind of desire, or else the admiration of one’s lover,” (Elusive Emotion, pg. 40), and in all three cases, each partner that committed the infidelity clearly related more to their lover than the person they were married to.

“If some groups (blue-collar workers, women, children, minorities) have less economic and social power than others, their members are more exposed to sexual coercion.” This quote from “Philosophy of Sex and Love” speaks of sexual coercion but it can be related to the predicament that the character in “Closer” played by Nathalie Portman finds herself in. Perhaps she has known that her relationship with the character played by Jude Law was coming to an end, but ignored this because she “needs” him. Oddly enough this is one of the reasons he is attracted to another woman rather than Nathalie Portman’s character. He says it’s because she “doesn’t need” him. Julia Roberts’ character has higher socio-economic status and this may be attractive to Jude Law’s character. The same book says “…consensual participation in sexual activity requires substantial economic and social equality between the persons involved.” Again it refers to sexual activity but it applies to the relationship. They cannot find true compatibility if they are in roles of dominant and subordinate. These roles may be more apparent in the relationship between Nathalie Portman and Jude Law, but they will probably surface eventually with Julia Roberts. I think that friendship and communication is what they could have used to save their relationship. The quote from “Philosophy of (Erotic) Love” says “It is friendship that makes love last and lack of it that makes love falter. The reason is not just the much-repeated observation that sexual desire and attractiveness dwindle while time together goes on. It is rather that sexual desire and satisfaction don’t mean anything without friendship.” If they had a good friendship, they would wish the best for each other without trying to dominate and the lines of communication would be open and without judgment. “Edward Carpenter says that behind every marriage stands the life-long environment of the sexes; an environment so different from each other that man and woman must remain strangers” (Philosophy of Sex and Love). Friendship could help to bridge this gap between sexes or statuses so that the differences between two people are more bearable as they work to relate to or to merely understand each other’s perspective.

*** Good food for thought, Liz!!! -- JW ***


Hi everyone im Vaughn, Both of these films were very interesting and showed how a lack of passion, intimacy, and communication can lead to failed relationships. In Unfaithful the women needed to feel sexually desired for, and wanted to be taken to a place where there were no limits and she can have that sexual passion she has been longing for. In Closer the main characters cheated on their lovers and wanted to feel more loved, and desired for. In both of these films each couple could have relayed better communication with one another and shown more attraction to the person they were with so they could feel loved and understood. If these measure were taking throughout the relationship then most if not all of these unfaithful actions would have not have occurred

After watching these film offerings, it seemed as if socio-economic class played a big role in the infidelity that occurred. Jude Law and Natalie Portman’s relationship was destroyed by acts of infidelity due to each other’s privilege. “If some groups (blue-collar workers, women, children, minorities) have less economic and social power than others, their members are more exposed to sexual coercion.” Jude Law’s character seemed to be a womanizer, who treated women as disposable objects instead of meaningful pursuits; which, was made obvious when the told his wife he “slept with a whore.” For him, a wealthy businessman, he deserved any woman he wanted whenever he wanted. Ironically enough, Natalie’s character had an affair because she wasn’t the oppressed. It looked as if she was able to control the man she was having the affair with because she had more money than him and seemed to be better off than he was, thus finally putting her in the driver’s seat. Perhaps the couples could have made love their priorities instead of earnings. It was apparent that who ever brought home the bread, or the bigger loaf, was in control, when that shouldn’t be once individuals are involved in relationships.

Problems aren’t created in a vacuum; there are always various factors that have attributed to their occurrence, especially in situations of infidelity in a relationship. In the film, Unfaithful, Diane Lane’s character is married and appeared to have a fling with Olivier Martinez’s character, because she was bored and she and her husband had drifted apart. Diane Lane’s character seemed to long for the days when she and her husband were romantically involved. Olivier Martinez’s character entered the picture when Diane Lane’s character was “ripe” for sexual and romantic attention. It was no surprise to me that shortly after meeting Oliver Martinez’s character, Diane Lane’s character visited him on a number of occasions which lead up to them having a hot affair. The couple depicted in this film, were individuals too caught up in having it all and weren’t paying attention to what really mattered. They were both privileged people, which allowed them to give their children material possessions, but it also aided Diane Lane’s character in her sexual infidelity. Diane Lane’s character could just have the babysitter/nanny watch her son while she carried out her sexual infidelity. Diane Lane’s character’s sexual infidelity ended up being beneficial and brought a much needed spark back to the relationship. When sexual infidelity happens everyone wants to put all of the blame on the person who committed the act. However, sexual infidelity is just a symptom of a much bigger problem going on underneath the surface. An individual can commit infidelity in their relationship, which is just as damaging as sexual infidelity. As Robert Solomon states in About Love, “the truth is that sexual fidelity is significant only insofar it is a matter of feelings, intentions and intensities, and one can be unfaithful and adulterous—as many from St. Paul to Jimmy Carter have attested—in a passing thought or feeling without making so much as a gesture. A conversation over coffee can be more of a betrayal than a kiss or a caress…”
In the movie, Closer, two couples were torn apart because of sexual infidelity and the inability of the person scorned to see their part in the demise of the relationship. Jude Law’s character ended up having an affair with Julia Robert’s character, because he resented Natalie Portman’s character for being what he perceived, as too needy. If Jude Law’s character would have taken the time to realize that many women are put in a financial situation that may unfortunately make them dependent on the man that they fall in love with and later marry or move in with, he might have seen that her “neediness,” may not have been her fault. Natalie Portman’s character may have just been a product of the environment that she was raised in. He also should have realized that the very attributes which made him fall in love with Natalie Portman’s character were those that he despised in the end.
Julia Robert’s character in that film, had an affair because she is not compatible with her husband, who she at one time adored. She found solace in a gentler man, one that she had more in common with. Solomon states that, “…our ideal of love—and our ideal of friendship—is and ought to be “higher,” beyond utility and enjoyment and deep into the most basic of questions of who we are and would be.” And to do this, love is not enough. It takes friendship too, and in return, friendship can make love last as love alone will not.” What may be perplexing for many individuals is why Julia Robert’s character married Clive Owen’s character even after she knew that she didn’t really want to be with him. It may be that Julia Robert’s character felt that she would be set financially by marrying Clive Owen’s character. While this may seem to some like this is “gold digging,” it can also be perceived as being reflective of women’s continued subordination to men in society.
Communication is key in the longevity of romantic relationships and sexual infidelity is the canary in the mine, couples will either let it put an end to their relationship, or talk through it and discover why this rift in their relationship occurred and what each of them did to attribute to it.

It appears that in both Closer and Unfaithful the couples seem to still have love for each other but lack the passion and sexual desire they may have had for each other in the past. The lack of passion leads both couples to look outside of their marriage to find someone else who can fulfill that need. Although they may not have wanted to start an affair with someone else because they were married they could not ignore their feelings and desires. A quote from “Philosophy of Sex” by Soble and Power explains the dynamics of how these affairs began. “Finally, due to the insistent nature of the sexual impulse, once things get going it is often hard to stop them in their tracks, and as a result we often end up doing things sexually that we had never planned or wanted to do.” In the film clip Unfaithful Diane Lanes character felt the sexual pull towards the Frenchman she met (Oliver Martinez) and tried to stay away but found herself back at his apartment time after time.

In the film clip, Unfaithful, the relationship between Richard Gere and Diane Lane seemed flawless from the eyes of the outsider. They were successful, appeared to be happy, had jobs, and children. In fact when Diane Lanes character was at the café with her friends and she left for a moment they were discussing how great she was doing. Despite how Diane Lane was really feeling her friends believed that she was happy and doing well. This just goes to show that even successful married couples who seem to have it all may not actually have it all because what her friends didn’t know was that Diane Lane’s character was torn between the love she felt for her husband and the growing feelings she felt for a Frenchman that she had just recently met.

Asher, Julia Roberts’ character’s husband may have been a womanizer, but she must have known this from the beginning of their relationship. She was in love with another man, Jude Law, yet she still married Clive Owen. Do you think that she married Clive Owen exclusively for money and status? Goldman states that: “Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement, an insurance pact…In taking out an insurance policy one pays for it in dollars and cents, always at liberty to discontinue payments. If, however woman’s premium is her husband, she pays for it with her name, her privacy, her self respect, her very life, “until death doth part…the marriage insurance condemns her to life-long dependency…”. I think perhaps Julia’s character married her husband because love alone doesn’t pay the bills and buy you all of the luxuries your heart desires. I think that she decided to leave her husband for Jude Law’s character in the end, because although she had everything monetarily her heart desired, she wasn’t happy and didn’t have love.

In response to Desiree’s post, she closes with “Overall, the ability for someone to hurt another person is unfathomable, especially when it involves cheating on their partner. If all three couples would have communicated better and appreciated what they already had, to avoided losing their way.” This made me wonder if, although there has been severe damage done to the relationships, are they all lost? Is it possible that even with these transgressions, they could flourish together and possibly become stronger? If nothing else, these acts of infidelity could be merely a cry out for help from a spouse who doesn’t know how to communicate their dissatisfaction. This quote from “Philosophy or (Erotic) Love” says, “If he has been properly prepared for it by you, he will be all the more ashamed; he will wish to be reconciled sooner and, because he is more warmly attached to you, he will love you more tenderly. Conscious of his injustice towards you, he will perceive your attention to his livelihood and make trial of your affection towards himself.” Isn’t it possible that this event could help to strip the relationship down to its core and either makes the couple realize that what they have is important and meaningful to them and they have been taking it for granted, or finally end something that may not have been worthwhile in the first place? Of course the amount of damage a relationship can endure is fully up to the couple and must be correlated to the amount of effort each is willing to give to restore the trust that is necessary for their relationship to carry on.

Hello all, my name is Jen Mikol. Throughout watching the two films Closer and Unfaithful numerous different thoughts were rushing around in my mind. The concepts of social justice and diversity never seems to jump out at me when I am thinking about relationships, however I have learned more and more that social justice as well as diversity can play a large role in romantic relationships. When you step back and look at it, all of the themes play into relationships and their success. Lets begin with the marriage we see in the film Unfaithful with Diane Lane and Richard Gere. They appear to have a good marriage, something you see every day. Their lives seem to be routine, which reminded me of a quote from the Imaginations reading “it is often the mind most cooped up by boring routine which explodes into romantic activity”. For Diane Lane’s character she was bored with her routine marriage with Richard Geres character, and Oliver Martinez’s character revived her and she exploded with romantic activity, if you will. This film touches on diversity, diversity can be defined numerous ways. For Diane, she needed something different, something less routine . In the marriage they could have explored new sexual fantasies, tried marriage counseling, had better communication. Maybe roleplaying would have been a good option. However, I don’t blame her for going along with something new and exciting. I feel as if it goes against human nature to be with one person, in one routine all the time. I think that the aspect of diversity is a perfect reason why marriage should NOT be for everyone. Why do we not learn from the increasing divorce rates, if you need diversity in your life, and that is something you appreciate, why settle down? It is just going hurt someone along the way.

As for the film Closer, one could go a million places with it. There is a lot of depth to this film. However, what I found to be the most interesting was the interaction between Jude Law’s character and Natalie Portman’s character. When Law’s character reveals that he has been having an affair for the past year Portman’s character asks “Is it because she is successful”. Further into the clip Jude Law asks her where she will go, because it seems she has nothing but him. This clip stood out to me for a number of reasons, the most prominent being the ability/ socioeconomic class dilemma. Portman's character seemed as though she could not leave. It was interesting that one of her first questions was about the other woman being successful,this shows that it was something that Portman had been self conscious of. Not being able to leave a relationship because your partner is your support financially is difficult. It begs to ask the question, do you stand up for what you believe and have nothing, or keep your mouth shut and be walked all over. I respect Natalie Portman's character because she was strong, and got out, even though she was not sure where she was going to wind up. I would have done the same thing. I think it is important to know that you never need to be stuck in a relationship, and if you start to feel that way. Whatever the case may be find a solution or find someone who can help find a solution and work on getting out of it.For socioeconomic class, and being stuck in this situation. Most don’t have the privilege of getting out. For a lot of people the reality is staying in a relationship because your partner is your support. I think that a solution to this is to improve the education system, and trade jobs. No one should have to feel like they can’t leave a relationship because of money, it takes away from one’s self worth and paves the way for abusive relationships.

In Unfaithful, Diane Lane’s character had an affair with a man she met on a windy day in the streets of New York City. She hurt her knees from falling and he offered some band-aids and comfort in his apartment. They end up having sex and the subsequent clip shows Lane reflecting on her experiences with this younger man. She was sitting on the train, and at certain times showed a small smirk on her face. Other times, she was crying hysterically. According to an article titled “The Importance of Fights in Love”. “…nothing is more contrary to love than self-contempt mixed with resentment.” I think Lane’s character was dissatisfied with herself for cheating on her husband. She was clearly physically upset with herself, and I thought she would discontinue her sexual relationship with this man after the train scene. I was wrong. She continues the relationship and seems more physically happy than ever.

Although we don’t see the relationship continue wither her husband, we could assume that their marriage continued happily because she never told her husband about her affair. We can assume she feels like she doesn’t need to tell her husband because of her unearned privilege. She is white and included in the middle to upper-class. Maybe because her lover was not white, she felt like no one would suspect her to cheat on her husband with him. Maybe she felt like if her lover was going to tell someone, she could bribe him not to tell because of her financial status. Finally, she had children. Maybe she never told her husband because she feels a need as a woman, and wife to be a mother, and a nurturer.

In reply to Donta’s post-
I think that you made some very valid points. I agree with you when you said at the end of your post that when the couples from both movies felt disconnected from each other they went searching to find someone else to fulfill the void that there marriages were not fulfilling. This made both situations more complicated and stressful. Instead of confronting each other and either fixing the relationship or ending it they chose to get more people involved which made the situation messy and ended up hurting a lot more people in the end. Communication is key in any relationship and in both of these film clips there was certainly a lack of communication.

Hello my name is Josephine Gonzalez- last night my LS and I were talking about prenups, and she mentioned, nothing can kill romance faster than the word prenup. With this being said socio-economic class and privilege play a huge role in relationships, especially issues concerning infidelity and seperation. In the article Fildelity, the author states, “Sexual fidelity has often been a matter of politics and etiquette rather than personal integrity” (325). In both films, Unfaithful and Close, both married couples seemed to be financially stabled, however the financial status didn’t matter because they still felt like something in their love life was missing, which is why it was very easy for them to fall into temptation. After disclosing their affairs to their love ones, the questions of who keeps the house, the money, the car began to come up? Those who cheated tend to be the ones who are willing to leave because of the guilt they feel. Its only “polite” that you give the house and money to your partner after cheating on them right?


In the film Unfaithful the Diane Lanes character shows that infidelity can occur when one doesn’t feel appreciated both physically and mentally. I don’t think Richard Gere’s character is aware that his wife is feeling this way because just like her he is stuck in this routine- cooking, taking care of their son, working etc. I think Diane loves her husband however Oliver Martinez’s character gives her a feeling that she hasn’t felt for a long time, passion.


In the film, closer Julia Roberts’s character’s infidelity occurs due to dishonesty. She married someone hoping that her feelings for another man would go away, however like always the truth has a way of catching up to you. During the clip, she revealed her infidelity to her husband because he admitted to have cheated on her with a whore. Making her feel less guilty for her actions it appeared that she use the right opportunity to share her infidelity since it was something they both shared in common.

“Somewhere down the line, each of these couples became disconnected with their partners and this should have been the time for them to express this to their significant other. Instead they kept it to themselves and went out looking for love somewhere else. This made the situation worse and complicated”- Donta Barley


In response to Donta’s statement above, I agree a lot of times in infidelity couples are afraid to tell their partner for many reasons. Also, when there is a loss of interest and passion in the relationship couples at times feel uncomfortable talking about it. In my opinion, communication is key through the good and the bad, if you cheat on me let me know, would I forgive the person, who knows? Will it make me evaluate our relationship? Of course, because now I’m going to think about why my partner cheated on me. Was it because temptations, circumstances, or because he fell out of love with me. Like Dr. Wiley mentioned cheating can hinder or better a relationship, but in order to do either couples need to be honest with each other.


Infidelity, is a very touching topic because I have a hard time having an open mind to it, I just feel like if my partner cheated on me then he doesn't really want to be with me. Like mentioned before I can forgive but I can't forget which can be detrimental to the relationship because I will have a hard time letting go. Which means I can never fully trust my partner again. So in this case I would end my relationship. Or course cheating is very broad term but the cheating I’m referring to above is what Diane Lanes’ character did to her husband.

Desiree, dang girl, you owned this post! I really enjoyed where you went with this! I found it interesting how you related the comment Clive Owen made about the bathroom to his marriage with Julia Roberts. The parallel is on point, and isn’t it so true that sometimes we try to love something that we picked and want to make it work, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t. I think I see this more and more in my life everyday, sad reality. This idea leads me to a quote from the reading Recognition, “Of course we often try to please others by doing what it is we think they want, or being the sort of person of whom we imagine they will approve”. I think that is exactly what Julia Roberts was doing, she wanted it to work and please him , but I think people in general just need to do what they want from the start.
While I was watching the films i notice the same trend you did with the stereotypical woman role. I spoke about how the power in relationships seems to come through in the clip from Closer; I guess another way to phrase it would be privileged. A quote from Philosophy of Erotic Love jumps out at me, it states, “I submit that love is essentially a much simpler phenomenon- it becomes complicated, corrupted, or obstructed by an unequal balance of power. We have see that love demands mutual vulnerability or it turns destructive”. The power imbalance in both relationships was bound for disaster. I think we see this frequently in society. Even in little things like when people tell their partner “I love you more”. I am still not sure what that is even a thing? should relationships not be equal?

A question was asked of me, "did Diane Lane really want to end the affair with Olivier Martinez? Or did she just feel guilty about it but had no intentions of trying to stop it?" I have always believed that marriage and children are a form of confinement. These two things sometimes trap people into staying with someone that they'd much rather remove themselves from. Diane Lane and her husband weren't on the worst of terms but they definitely lost the spark they once had. I doubt that she wanted to stay with her husband but the marriage and their son confined her to that relationship. When she began having an affair it made her feel things that she hadn't experienced in a while, or ever. She did not want to end the affair she just did not want to ruin her marriage and hurt her child.If she was just dating her husband and had no children, I think she would have ended the relationship and went to Olivier Martinez. With that said, I still believe she loved her husband but she was no longer in love with him. An interesting quote from The Philosophy of Love is "Equally impossible for her is the man who can see in her nothing more than her mentality and her genius, and who fails to awaken her woman nature." Olivier Martinez's character awoke Diane Lane's woman nature and she realized that something was lacking in her relationship but was confined to her partner because of marriage and a child.

Infidelity in a relationship can happen as a result of a seemingly endless number of various factors. Often times, people associate the reason(s) to why infidelity occurs to certain negative emotions that are a result of or can be directly attributed to the relationship itself, such as anger, distress, or unhappiness. There are times, however, when none of these emotions are apparent and the “cheater” isn’t visibly unhappy with relationship whatsoever. In this instance, it’s not about the presence of any negative emotion—on the contrary, I believe there is something absent from within this individual (the “cheater”), something that hasn’t been allotted enough attention and therefore hasn’t been nor can be corrected until it is addressed. Whatever this something is, it has led to the surfacing of something new to fill this void—this new something is called desire. Desire, in both its sexual and nonsexual contexts, is absolutely necessary in order to engage in a healthy relationship with another individual. It is the very foundation of relationships. It is what brings two people together and what keeps them from drifting apart. When something is missing from a relationship—when a person becomes physically and/or emotionally deprived of something that they long for, however—desire, for all it does to bring two people together, can just as easily tare them apart. In the movie “Unfaithful,” Diane Lane’s character cheated on her husband with a man she had just met on the streets of New York City. She obviously had some kind of sexual desire that couldn’t/wasn’t being fulfilled by her husband. The clip goes on to show Lane’s character reflecting back on her actions while on the train, causing her to be hysterically upset with what she did at times, and at other times she was seen smiling. Privilege definitely plays a role in this clip. First of all, Lane’s character cheated on her husband to fulfill this new desire that had blossomed within her. Not only did she cheat, but she didn’t tell him. Regardless of whether she thinks what she did was right or wrong, the fact that she took for granted her relationship is a form of privilege. A quote from the article “Imagination” from Conditions of Love sums up what Lane’s character was thinking: “Supposed you meet someone that you find fairly attractive; you might go on to think how nice it would be to kiss them, to hold their hand, to sit on a sofa and talk intimately, and if you have some hope that this might be possible, the process of falling in love can start.” The quote contextualizes desire very well. As I stated earlier, desire can lead to a lot of good things and it is required in virtually all aspects of life in order to be successful and happy. Desire, for all the good that it brings about, can also be quite nasty.

Hello, I’m Nicole. I feel that in the film Closer and Unfaithful Julia Roberts character and Diane Lane character cheated on their husbands because they were not getting the tension and pleasure they wanted from their spouse so they went out and received it from someone else. The way some of the diversity & social justice implications contributed to the relationships in the film is through gender, socio-economic class and ability. Gender was shown through the males when they were confessing to their wives that they cheated and expected them to understand but when it is the other way around they flip out and got jealous. Socio-economic class was shown through Closer when Clive Owen came back from his trip and bought gifts for his wife back. She replied back that he is wonderful and he said don’t forget that. It shows that she stays with him because he takes care of her and he uses his money to keep her around. “You are not convinced that love of one’s husband resides in conduct that is noble and good. For this is the grace of marital association. Recognize the fact that he goes to the courtesan in order to frivolous but that he abides with you in order to live in common life; that he loves you on the basis of good judgment, but her on the basis of passion “(Theano). When we are married or in a relationship we ignore the fact that our spouse/lover would ever cheat because of the way they act, the gifts given, or even the smile they greet us with. But in reality they do all of this because that’s what is expected from them; to take care of you and make sure your good while they g outside the relationship and enjoy the passion and love from another.

In the film Closer, Julia Roberts and Clive Owens' relationship does have something to do with gender and socio-economic class. Julia's character was the typical stay at home wife, while Clive's character was the "bread winning" husband going on business trips. Clive's character's infidelity’s happened because he was away on these trips. Meanwhile, Julia’ character was in love with another man. It could be possible that she was only interested in the fact that he was successful with a stable job. His day to day job left her at home and not able to love and get to know Clive’s character. This I think was the primary strain on their relationship. Once again, their communication with one another would have had an impact on their relationship and possibly would have helped it.
In the film clip, Unfaithful, Richard Gere and Diane Lane’s relationship like many seemed like the best marriage. They were fully committed in that they had children and came home to one another every night. They were always based on a routine, on who would pick up the kids, grab dinner, and tuck the children in at night. I think that has a lot to do with socio-economic class, because if families are successful they usually don’t work to fix anything. Some could say that they think that all the success and money in the world can save their issues in their marriage. In this case, Oliver’s character gave her what she wanted. That special attention and new sexual adventures is what attracted Diane to Oliver. I think it was a temporary attraction because she was still partially happy with her marriage. “Do you intend to be negligent of the house and to destroy your husband” (The Philosophy of Erotic Love) is what comes to mind when I think of Diane’s character’s stance on her relationship. She appreciated her marriage more than this temporary attraction to this man.
These are struggles that married people face every day. Socio-economic class, I believe is one of the most important themes that couples fight over every day. The fact that some partners don’t have jobs, or are not as successful as we are, is the primary reason why marriages do not last. Communication about these money issues could possibly mend some of these marriages in the future.

This is in response to Liz’s, I agree with everything you said especially the last sentence that “Friendship could help to bridge this gap between sexes or statuses so that the differences between two people are more bearable as they work to relate to or to merely understand each other’s perspective”. I feel that there cannot be a good relationship if you cannot be friends with each other. Friendship can surely fill in the gap between two people. It gives you the chance to really know the person better and understand who they are.

In Unfaithful, Diane Lane’s character was a working mother who didn’t seem to have enough time for herself. Her marriage to Richard Gere’s character appeared to be happy and loving, but there was something more that Lane’s character was thirsting for. The two spouses were rarely intimate with one another because of their busy lives as working individuals and parents. In the film their son called out for Gere and Lane just as they were getting sexual. Lane’s character needed some way to have her sexual appetite fed, and Olivier Martinez’s character did just that. Lane’s character has an adulterous relationship with Martinez’, but still feels guilty for her infidelity. Maybe if Lane’s character were more open with her husband about her sexual needs and desires, then she wouldn’t have acted in such a way. She knew that she had her marriage and home life with her son at risk, but still fell for Martinez character’s charm and the spontaneous thought of him. “Recognize the fact that he goes to the courtesan in order to be frivolous but he abides to you in order to live a common life; that he loves you on the basis of good judgment, but her on the basis of passion” (PEL, Theano). The couple could have sparked an exciting flame in their sex lives if they took the time away from their busy schedules and concentrated on their needs as lovers and sexual beings.
In the film, Closer, Jude Law’s character fell out of love with Natalie Portman’s because Julia Roberts’ character didn’t “need him.” Law’s character felt that Portman’s had to rely on him for everything. When Law dumped Portman, she had nowhere to go and it was made clear that Law had sheltered her for most of their relationship. Having a lover, who is not financially stable, which depends on others, not him or her, is not healthy for either person in the relationship. If Portman’s character could have proved to Law’s that she wasn’t a lazy woman and didn’t need to rely on him financially, she could have kept her relationship strong by showing she was an independent woman.

Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, and Diane Lane all give off a very dull persona when they are with their husbands or boyfriends. They are projected into a very “typical” woman’s gender role. Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman are both waiting up for their “men” to come home, and one of the first things they ask them is can I make you something, be it tea or food. Diane Lane is cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her son, while her husband watches TV and drinks a cup of coffee. This is directly following the stereotype of woman manning the kitchen and raising the children.


In The Importance of Fights in Love it states, “Couples who don’t fight are only rarely those in perfect harmony; more often they are two people who have too little shared identity to care” (312). None of the couples seemed to be in a position that they fought or tested the boundaries of their relationship as a couple. Julia Roberts seemed almost fearful of any confrontation with her husband, even though they said he has never hurt her. Diane Lane seemed to love her husband a lot, but didn’t really connect with him on a passionate level. But fighting with the book dealer brought out her desire and ignited her passion. Natalie Portman seemed like a woman who is so in need of a man that she wouldn’t fight with him. Even when they start fighting she starts off aggressive then turns instantly submissive. These woman don’t seem to have a shared identity with their significant others.

Response to Damali’s post:

I found myself physically nodding my head in agreement to most of the arguments you presented. I too, believe that because of their socio-economic class, the couple lost sight of the importance of romance in their marriage. My original post was similar to yours but I think you brought up a new and important point that I did not touch on. This includes your point about Diane’s “temporary attraction” to Oliver. One could say it was temporary, but was it convenient as well? Lane made a point that she would think about reasons for her to come into the city to see him. It didn’t seem too hard for her to think of reasons and be able to get away from her family. It seems inconvenient to be thinking up lies all the time. I think she saw it as not that difficult because she was really enjoyed her time spent with Oliver. She didn’t seem to regret the relationship once it started either.

Damali:
I agree with you 100% that socio-economic class definitely played a big role in the infidelity that occurred in the movie Unfaithful. It does seem that many times, relationships that encompass two people that are well-off from an economic point of view are just as apt to have hardships in their relationships as people who aren’t well-off. I mean, we see it all the times with famous actors, sports stars—people who can have basically anything they want in life that can’t make a relationship work. I’m not saying that the couple in the movie were millionaires, but it does give credence to your point that perhaps those couples who are better off economically don’t appreciate their relationships as much as those who struggle, because like you said, they never have to fix anything.

Hi everyone, I'm Jasmine. After reading through everyone's comments I personally feel as though everyone made great points, especially Desiree. The portion of the clip where Jude Law told Natalie Portman that he enjoyed that fact that Julia Roberts'character didn't need him really stood out to me. It reminded me if a talk my older brother Jayson and I had where he said, "The two most important things in a relationship are money and trust, love comes easy after that". Many relationships are built on the foundation of finances. How can you picture a great future with someone (no matter how much you love them) without having financial stability? I honestly don't think you can and neither did Jude Law's character. And although Clive Owen's mentioned that he had "working class guilt" I don't believe that money was the issue in their relationship. They were lacking everywhere else and reciprocating those missing areas through other people and not each other. From the time he walked in the door, coming back from his business trip he was surprised that his wife had actually waited up for him. This to me was an immediate warning signal, why, if they were happily married would she not be waiting for him or missing him? She also was not even excited to see him, when he wanted to have sex with her, she denied saying she just showered. Anyone who really cared about someone would want to express their love after time apart and simply take another shower.
"Today, by way of contrast, we have books teaching us "how to be our own best friend," extolling "the virtue of selfishness" and reminding us to be "looking out for number one" (Friendship, 314). I feel as though Julia Roberts, Clive Owens and Jude Law's characters were all selfish in their relationships. Instead of considering their partners, they put themselves first.There lies no virtue in selfishness when you're in a relationship with another,when you choose to marry or commit to someone you give up your right to selfishness.

I totally agree with you Melissa. Diane Lane’s character was trapped in the societal norm of being working mother who does all of the housework and takes care of the children. Lane and Gere had a son and were a happy family. However, there was something that was missing in their marriage. It lacked passion, and romance. Lane was thirsting for sexual excitement, something her marriage had seriously lacked. Even when her and her husband were about to get intimate, they were interrupted by their son’s call. Lane needed something that would allow her to escape the norms she had been living. She never had intentions of being “Unfaithful” to her husband. She loved him, and their family too much to risk anything. “The woman’s role is to create harmony in the home” (PEL, Theano). However, by meeting Olivier Martinez’s character, and having a spontaneous romance with a young lover was an experience Lane would probably never forget. Having an affair is not fair to your partner, but in a moment of heated passion it is difficult to control your arousal towards one you sexually desire. This was a time in Lane’s character’s life that she felt she needed to do for herself. “Fidelity, rightly construed, is the total sense of one’s own needs as well as the needs and desires of the other” (Fidelity). Lane probably felt that she needed an experience like that to prove how much her family and marriage really meant to her.

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