Fitzgerald Grant, “aka” Fitz is incredibly dashing. He sweeps America’s favorite Gladiator, Olivia Pope, off her feet. He’s sexy, he’s smart, he says all the right things at all the right times, he’s passionate and obsessive about his career (he’s the President of The United States), about serving his country and the common good, and…he’s married.
He’s married, and he has three children. What a winner, right? He’s also a former Naval Officer, and one of his closet friends from that period in his life happens to be another man who is in love with Olivia Pope – Jake Ballard.
Jake Ballard is also smart, and sexy, and completely smitten with Olivia, He’s not the President of The United States, but he is quite passionate about his country and his job, which happens to be that of a high-level governmental assassin.
Yes, I suppose that this technically makes him a murderer.
Even so, Olivia should still pick Jake. Always. Now I know it seems like slim pickings when we’re comparing a murderer versus a married man who doesn’t seem to have any intention of getting divorced, but, Scandal is nothing if not scandalous. But the heart, well, the heart wants what it wants – and Olivia’s heart is in constant flutter between Jake and Fitz, Fitz and Jake.
It would be easy to say that she should just walk away – but it’s hard to walk away from the kind of love that has melted into your very being. Your muscles start to memorize their touch, your dreams become peppered with their face, and when you have a bad or good day, your heart immediately wants them to be on the other side of the phone or waiting for you on the couch. When love sticks to your soul, it becomes part of you, and so walking away is neat and pretty in theory, but downright difficult in the process – for when you’ve given your heart to another, it’s as if a part of you is now living outside your own body.
And how does one walk away from themselves?
Indiscretions aside, Olivia needs to choose Jake over Fitz because of one reason, and one reason only – Jake is the type of partner who wants to be with Olivia in the light, not cultivating a relationship in a dark corner, or closet, or random hotel room that they can have sex in. Jake doesn’t hide their relationship. He doesn’t ask her to call at specific times of day, he doesn’t wait until his wife and children are safe asleep so he can leave his home and meet her for a tryst. Jake doesn’t weave a web of lies so that he can have an excuse to see her – he just picks up the phone and calls. He just shows up. He doesn’t slip her lustful glances in crowded rooms in an attempt to give her the attention that she needs and deserves, he initiates an embrace for all the world to see, because he is proud to love her. Jake makes their relationship his priority, not an extramarital activity. Cause that’s what it is to Fitz, an extramarital activity. It’s hard for Fitz to break up his family, and his wife’s heart…it doesn’t sit well with him. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy. So he takes the easy road out, and he keeps Olivia around with just enough love and attention so that she stays with him, but not enough love and attention to build a life upon.
That’s what Jake gives her – the bricks to build a life upon. That’s what she needs, and that’s what you should want for yourself, too.
Sure, the affair with Fitz can feel exciting and dangerous. You might even believe that you’re made for one another, that you’re in love, not in lust. Maybe you’ve told yourself that you can have a future, too. Maybe you have dreams of cottages in Vermont, and making homemade jam, and a kitchen table surrounded by dozens of kids.
But if that dream only involves the two of you in a bubble, tucked away from the rest of the world, not facing your family or your friends – is it really real? How are you supposed to build a life upon that kind of dream?
The reality is that you can’t. You can’t build from secrets and lies. Half truths, alibis, and quiet glances are like sand – they’ll slip through your fingers swiftly and quickly. And how can you possibly build with something you cannot hold?
If you want a relationship that will last, it has to be one that is built from honesty, from a place of, I choose you. If your Fitz is not going to get divorced and start anew, you will be living in a bubble of darkness for however long you choose to stay.
If you want a relationship that will last, one that has any hopes of withstanding the bumps and bruises that will come on this journey in life, you need to choose a Jake Ballard. You need bricks to build with and upon. You need a partner like Jake Ballard. You need someone whose love and attention is real and for you, so that you both can build a life upon it. You need to choose a reciprocal kind of love.
Let your love out of the shadows and let it stand in the light. Let your love be the bricks that you can build a life upon. That’s the kind of love you need.