“That’s not love. That’s torture.”


“All for someone who lies to you, who, uh disregards you? Who ultimately cannot love you.
Can you possibly hate yourself that much?”

I had a chance earlier this week to binge-watch the fourth season of Masters of Sex and came across some very articulate wisdom that hit on the psychology of our relationships and choices. This particular ounce of dialogue from the show really resonated with me and hit on points that I never really considered in my relationships I’ve come to know and understand.

It made me think about the others I know too. Particularly a dolt like woman, who retreats into her own insecurities and self-doubt with a Machiavellian-type individual in a very naïve and diffident manner. The one who pours herself into every facet of fixing something that is so horribly broken by running away, sweeping it under the rug and all because of her (and the unfound man‘s) own childish fear of repeating history or not fitting the wholesome mold society has laid out for them as the quintessential trophy couple—with their trophy bairn. Or, the picture-perfect life they mused over during a quick, fleeting moment of happiness as ankle-biters, while each caught in their own updraft.

I’m talking about the ones who try to fix their broken marriage by having a child or heading on vacation, getting a new job, haircut, or even moving across town, etc. They can do it all to escape the reality, but is it enough? It’s not. It’s also a testament to their own integrity, their self-worth, and their personal truth.

While listening to this dialogue based on psychology and a profound sociological depth, it gave me my own epiphany about relationships, and everything that has happened in the last year. In the show, Alice (Judy Greer) has a husband Dan (Josh Charles) who constantly cheats on her—most times with the same person. He’s been doing it for years, saying the marriage is over, the relationship is done, they don’t see “eye-to-eye,” and the usual a Machiavellian-type will come up with. Most recently, Dan cheated with Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), returning to her after some time and telling her that he and Alice were kaput again. Of course, as it is, Virginia believes Dan and the two carry on. But without spoiling the new season, Dan has his own insecurities and doubts, and Virginia and him are always at a crossroads. As are Virginia and Bill.

In this particular dialogue (photo attached above), Alice and Bill Masters (Michael Sheen, seen famously in Frost/Nixon—what a wonderful play that is too!) talk about their respective relationships. Alice, exhibiting her own low self-esteem tells Bill that Dan will always come back to her because that’s what love is. However, Bill realizes through her own low self-value and beggary attitude that this is not love. Drawing parallels to his own relationship with Virginia, someone who continues to lie to Bill because she doesn’t know how to sort out her feelings in their committed relationship—an obligation to their work, which was a marriage of sorts—that enough is enough. Where do you draw the line on upholding your own integrity?

This understanding and psychology points to the fact that in this world, we could date or marry someone, stay with them for a decade or so, have a baby a decade later (“[He] desperately wants to work out between us” and “do whatever he has to to save our marriage”), move to half a dozen homes within those years and things will still be what they are.

They will not get better. They will hit phases, similar to that honeymoon phase we each reach in relationships (sometimes burnout is felt in the same year though). But ultimately, it will all remain stagnant until something gives and someone is brave enough to admit what they truly want in a relationship. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. We are creatures of habit who are scared most often—who are insecure, who draw comparisons to our friends, family, everyone who looks like they are leading the quintessential life of “happiness” and “perfection.” Yet, our social skills can only expand so much, especially with respects to our comfort zone and how much we truly love ourselves to feel free versus the other.

When someone lies to you, and we’re talking about cheating both emotionally and physically, it shouldn’t go without a penalty because in the end only you pay for it. Under your nose most often, they will continue to without your dimwitted knowledge, and always will because they hold the power in knowing you are weak, easy and always forgiving as it fits conveniently with “faith.” They come out of the woodwork, twisting the truth to some who have an inkling, but are unsure without the facts. There will be no proof until you acknowledge it in yourself. How much do you really, truly hate or respect yourself to suffer and allow yourself to be contorted through mental and emotional torture from a socially adroit master manipulator who is as good an actor as the awards he received? Lest we forget, he never even attended the ceremony.

Unfortunately, some people choose to live with master manipulators and fall down their own self-made “bottomless pit” with “no idea what to do.” But because of their insecurities and weakness, they will constantly live in that circle of negativity, doubt and frustration. As some have so pathetically put it (similar to Alice Logan), “time will tell if [a] marriage can survive this.” And eventually bright minds will deteriorate as it continues to weigh down on their well-being and fester into something far worse. Especially for those in rose-colored glasses who choose to live in denial with a life swept under the rug.

That said, “he’s still being kind of sneaky about things now.”

For those that are curious as to the exact dialogue from the show, here it is:

Alice Logan: You knew Virginia would never give up her work and I knew Dan would always return to me. We predicted it and we were right. We know our people.
Bill Masters: Oh, Virginia is, uh, not my people. Jesus, I’ve been—so you come all this way to St. Louis to clean up after him, to tell his lover to back off?
Alice Logan: Someone had to.
Bill Masters: All for someone who lies to you, who, uh disregards you? Who ultimately cannot love you. Can you possibly hate yourself that much?
Alice Logan: Sometimes I do. But sometimes I don’t. Surely people like us feel we deserve a certain punishment? Or these things wouldn’t keep happening.
Alice Logan: What matters for me is Dan loves me and I love him.
Bill Masters: No. That’s not love. That’s torture.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime

Featured image: Showtime

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