摘要:這是許多人心目中普遍存在的一種錯誤觀念——愛情, 像商品一樣, 可以 “偷走”。實際上，許多州都頒布法令，允許索取“情感轉讓”賠償金。
佛羅里達州的一位讀者顯然是在個人經歷上受過創傷, 他寫信來抱怨道: “如果我偷走了五分錢的商品, 我就是個賊, 要受到懲罰, 但是如果我偷走了他人妻子的愛情, 我沒事兒。”
A reader in Florida, apparently bruised by somepersonal experience, writes in to complain, “If I steala nickel’s worth of merchandise, I am a thief andpunished; but if I steal the love of another’s wife, Iam free.”
This is a prevalent misconception in many people’s minds—that love, like merchandise, canbe “stolen”. Numerous states, in fact, have enacted laws allowing damages for “alienation ofaffections”.
這是許多人心目中普遍存在的一種錯誤觀念——愛情, 像商品一樣, 可以 “偷走”。實際上，許多州都頒布法令，允許索取“情感轉讓”賠償金。
But love is not a commodity; the real thing cannot be bought, sold, traded or stolen. It is anact of the will, a turning of the emotions, a change in the climate of the personality.
When a husband or wife is “stolen” by another person, that husband or wife was already ripefor the stealing, was already predisposed toward a new partner. The “love bandit” was onlytaking what was waiting to be taken, what wanted to be taken.
We tend to treat persons like goods. We even speak of the children “belonging” to theirparents. But nobody “belongs” to anyone else. Each person belongs to himself, and to God.Children are entrusted to their parents, and if their parents do not treat them properly, thestate has a right to remove them from their parents’ trusteeship.
Most of us, when young, had the experience of a sweetheart being taken from us by somebodymore attractive and more appealing. At the time, we may have resented this intruder—but aswe grew older, we recognized that the sweetheart had never been ours to begin with. It wasnot the intruder that “caused” the break, but the lack of a real relationship.
On the surface, many marriages seem to break up because of a “third party”. This is, however,a psychological illusion. The other woman or the other man merely serves as a pretext fordissolving a marriage that had already lost its essential integrity.
Nothing is more futile and more self-defeating than the bitterness of spurned love, thevengeful feeling that someone else has “come between” oneself and a beloved. This is always adistortion of reality, for people are not the captives or victims of others—they are free agents,working out their own destinies for good or for ill.
But the rejected lover or mate cannot afford to believe that his beloved has freely turned awayfrom him— and so he ascribes sinister or magical properties to the interloper. He calls him ahypnotist or a thief or a home-breaker. In the vast majority of cases, however, when a homeis broken, the breaking has begun long before any “third party” has appeared on the scene.