I had a whole fireworks display of things to say about the subject (and will probably do that Monday), but what struck me most over the last few days was reading emails from old friends stuck in tough relationships, then poring over some of the old comments on sexual death within marriage. It has been divorce season again – these things come in waves, it seems – and it’s amazing to see the kind of recurring problems, even in a hyper-therapized culture.
It comes to this simple pronouncement: SO MANY PEOPLE ARE VAGUELY MISERABLE IN VAGUELY UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIPS. And though it’s easy to blame marriage and/or kids, the truth is it can happen at any stage. Here are some of the scenarios I’ve seen lately:
• you’ve realized you’re with someone who actually makes you feel more lonely than being alone, but you’ve got too much shared history, and you’re too tired to rock the boat
• you have fallen in love with someone else from afar, someone who exudes the qualities you always cherished
• you’ve realized your current partner is not “going through a phase” – that’s actually who they are.
• the sex is over.
• or, if the sex isn’t over, it is so far from “dangerous” or “titillating” or “subversive” or “my awesome fetish” that you constantly fantasize about others regardless
• you are in a state of waking sleep, a drone, a clock-puncher, once vibrant but now content to mark time until you can’t stand it anymore
• your partner is a handsome asshole (or a gorgeous cooz)
• you’ve had an epiphany: you’ve been imagining your partner as much smarter than they actually are, and they’re finished surprising you ever again
Now before I start getting clandestine texts… Tessa and I are doing crazypants awesome, thank you very much. But it doesn’t quell my fascination with the dysfunction around me. Our generation was supposed to get this right. We waited until forever to get married, and still, many of us didn’t know ourselves well enough to pull it off.
This weekend, tell your significant other one thing that has been REALLY BOTHERING YOU for A LONG TIME NOW and IT HAS TO CHANGE. Do not listen to their defenses. Calmly tell them again. Then smile.