You ask, am I in love? And I might answer "when am I not in love?" Which some, I realize, might take facetiously.
But I understand the questions behind the question. Is my marriage threatened? No. Am I going to "do anything about it"? No. Is it then just a game? No to that, either.
Well, then, is it gratuitous suffering? Sure. All suffering is gratuitous, remember? That's my schtick.
You see, the thing is, I would be here anyway, if I tried not to be here. All I can do is set the bounds, and watch it run.
My intentions are almost never even muddy, though. In some ways this is no different from any of the times I've been in love in the past. The feelings are no different, the swoops from joy to despair, the ridiculous overloading of the slightest words, the constriction in the throat, the inability to speak, the preening, the self-contempt. It's all just the same. Business as usual. Except that the intention stays perfectly clear -- I won't cross the bounds. That is different, and it changes the cast of light completely. The light and shade fall in different places. Among many other differences, it means that everyone involved is on the same side. That matters.
This isn't virtue, not in the way I used to understand it anyway. It's clarity. Understanding exactly how it would run if the bounds were crossed. I've been old enough to know better for decades, but now, it seems, I actually do know better. And I know that people are pulling for me. I won't let them down by letting myself down. (Not that I really have the option, either. That, I have peevishly to admit, helps too.)