On returning to the hotel I would meet young women, mainly Austrians, who came to Venice to spend the first fine days of this flowerless spring. There was one in particular whose features did not resemble Albertine's but who attracted me by the same fresh complexion, the same gay, light-hearted look. Soon I became aware that I was beginning to say that same things to her as I had said to Albertine at the start, that I concealed the same misery when she told me she would not be seeing me the following day because she was going to Verona, and that I immediately wanted to go to Verona too. It did not last - she was soon to leave for Austria and I would never see her again - but already, vaguely, jealous as one is when one begins to fall in love, looking at her charming and enigmatic face I wondered whether she too loved women, whether what she had in common with Albertine, that clear complexion, that bright-eyed look, that air of friendly candour which charmed everyone and which stemmed more from the fact that she was not in the least interested i knowing about other people's action, which interested her not at all, than that she was confessing her own, which on the contrary she concealed beneath the more puerile lies - I wondered whether all this constituted the morphological characteristics of the woman who loves other women.
Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, pp. 663-664
Marcel continues to climb out of his depression, finding another new woman, this time an Austrian, to obsess over. The relationship never went anywhere, mainly because she was scheduled to leave Venice, but Marcel began to notice certain definitive trends that marked his relationship with Albertine: "Soon I became aware that I was beginning to say that same things to her as I had said to Albertine at the start, that I concealed the same misery when she told me she would not be seeing me the following day because she was going to Verona, and that I immediately wanted to go to Verona too." It is one of the shameful secrets of humankind that we court, date, fuck, marry and divorce the same person repeatedly. We employ the same endearments, tell the same lies, repeat the same moves in bed, share the same stories, reveal the same secrets we've never told anyone, endlessly, with the only noticeable difference being the color hairs they leave on our brush. Actually, that would sound a lot better if I were saying it with Robert Mitchum's voice from Out of the Past. Do I actually believe it? I think it's more true than we want to believe. The self may be fabricated, but it's also pretty solidly constructed, and it's not as if we recreate ourselves, for the most part, with every new woman who passes through our life. Proust hints at the notion that all love affairs are actually self-love and I have trouble going that far, but he was also a genius so I should probably listen.