Is it weird that I can’t help but pictur…

Is it weird that I can’t help but picture Dan cheating on Amy every time I try to think of them having a happy ending? Every time I read about something like that tv host who said he’d be incapable of loving a 50 year old woman because of her body or politicians cheating with interns I keep thinking back to Dan for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I really really don’t want to!!! 1/2

I want to imagine that Amy would leave and never come back. Even though she left for Nevada she eventually came back. While she might hold a grudge against him forever I don’t think she would ever be able to let go of what she feels for him. I think those feelings would come back every time she saw him.

Dear anon,

I don’t think it’s weird at all.  I know there are some people out there who think Dan will love Amy so much that he won’t want to cheat, but I’m not one of them.

I’ve written about this before, but I think the key things to remember about Dan is that he is transactional about almost all his relationships, and he has tended to be rather short-termist in how he approaches them – prioritising immediate gains over long-term advantages.  Now, I think we’re seeing some signs that that is changing – he stayed in touch with Pete at CNN, he obviously kept some kind of relationship going with Kent and Ben, and, most obviously, Amy.  

The mere fact that he wanted her to come work with him at BKD is noteworthy by itself.  Because there wasn’t anything Amy could do for him there that he couldn’t have got elsewhere. There are other women out there with political expertise after all, and if you discount that element, and assume the job at BKD was a ruse on Dan’s part because he wanted more sex, well… has Dan ever worked that hard for sex when there wasn’t a professional advantage attached?  Don’t tell me he couldn’t have found some woman who would come to regret it in DC if he really wanted to.

So, to my mind, the real question is…how much did Dan learn from Amy ditching him for Buddy?  We’re still rather up in the air on that, and it is pretty crucial.

Because I agree with you.  I think if Dan cheated and Amy found out about it, she would leave and not look back.  Now, she might be slower to leave than the audience would like – and, depending on how intertwined their careers were at that point, it might be rather difficult for her to pull off (the professional link is almost certainly what kept her with Buddy for so long), but I’m pretty confident that she would.

And this is where Dan’s transactional nature could lead him into surprisingly not-terrible behaviour.  Because at some point the calculation becomes whether the enjoyment he gets from cheating is equal to the pleasure he gets from having Amy in his life.  In other words, I think if Dan knows that Amy will leave if he cheats, that knowledge will keep him in line – the temptation will cease to be worth the risk.

(Which I still think is terrible, because it means Amy’s feelings aren’t the decisive factor for him, but his own comfort – but with how he’s wired, I think he’s always going to be essentially self-interested.  The best one can hope for is that he will become more intelligent about his self-interest, start thinking long-term, and realise Amy is worth more than sleeping around).

Also, you have to bear in mind – Amy’s intelligent, beautiful and interesting – and I guarantee Dan is aware of that fact, even if she isn’t always.  Other men will want to pursue a long-term relationship with her, and Dan should have realised by now that Amy will take them up on those offers, especially if she feels that Dan has rejected her or doesn’t want her.

We’ve been very shut out of Dan’s perspective on their relationship for a while, which means it’s hard to know how much or what he learned from the Buddy debacle – but it is at least possible that he has learned enough to behave like a reasonable human in the future.  

(But let’s say Dan was in a situation where he had complete certainty that Amy would never find out he’d cheated, and therefore there was no risk of her leaving… well that’s one I wouldn’t want to call at this point).