what Commitment means, or what it has the potential to mean (*Black Mirror, Striking Vipers spoilers*)

“God knows if I wanted, I could go out and do whatever. You think I haven’t made sacrificed, I haven’t denied things for myself? A guy at the bar was hitting on me earlier, and half of me wanted him to, just for some excitement, some fucking passion. But that is what you do. That is part of being in a partnership. You shut the door on all that shit, you shut it out because you’re committed. Because that’s what commitment is.” Striking Vipers, Black Mirror

I think a part of me believes that…this…is what most vanilla, mono folk believe Commitment to mean.

…and, maybe it’s enough for most people, but I don’t believe that.  Certainly, it isn’t enough for me. I need Commitment to be about what You Do For Me. What I Do For You. Instead of What You Don’t Do. Instead of What You Deny Yourself and What You Sacrifice.

Do I want you to sacrifice your whole being for me?  Of course not.  Yes, there are times where compromises are needed. Some sacrifice that goes along with the territory. But “excitement”? Some “fucking passion”? No, just absolutely no. That isn’t “shit.” That should be life.  If you have to give that up to be with me? Why are we even together?

The truth is I don’t care what you gave up for me, because I never asked you. Never wanted you to do that. I care about what you do for me, here and now. I’ll want you here for me, with me. Not every night, but for a lifetime.

…but maybe they do understand that. The writers in Black Mirror.

After all, in the end, there’s a bit of a twist. He tells her the truth.

Danny is having a virtual affair with his best friend, Karl. Neither knows what to do about it, or the feelings. It gets to the point where they end up in a fist fight one night, and they get arrested. His wife, Theo, picks him up. She confronts him, and he tells her about his passionate encounters online with Karl. But instead of breaking up, Danny and Theo are brought closer together than ever.

On his birthday, from then on, they exchange a gift. She gives him a video game that allows him to have an “affair” with his best friend (virtually). He gives her an empty ring box for her wedding ring, while she enacts a long time fantasy (something from their first days together) to pretend she’s not married and hook up with a stranger at a bar.

She finally gets to love him, I mean really love him for the first time, because it’s the first time he’s allowed her to see the real him. He lets her be her true self, because she make the asks she truly desires (instead of withholding them for his sake). And it’s simply and honestly beautiful.

Maybe people just need a little patience until they can work out what really matters for themselves.

I believe Theo does understand commitment, at least more than I thought. After she went through a piece of life that forced her to look at her marriage, and her husband, more deeply than ever before.  She could have broken, collapsed.  Could have divorced him and taken away his child, because she couldn’t handle his desire or her own.  Instead, she chose to step up. That is pretty incredible.

I wish I saw more of that.

(If you like this, apologies for the spoilers, but it’s worth seeing, you should check out the sapphic romance in the other episode, San Junipero.)

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