"Forget the proverbial seven-year itch. Not to disillusion the half million or so June brides and bridegrooms who were just married, but new research suggests that the spark may fizzle within only three years." And: "It may be that happy coupledom always came with a three-year expiration date." And: "'What's keeping people together is their love and commitment for each other,' Professor Musick said, 'and that's fragile.'"
Remember last week when I was all "marriage is a tool that the patriarchy uses to oppress women, just like it's always been. Oh, and love is a lie"? If you read <A href=this article, you probably figured, Okay, here comes a post along the lines of, "Well, DUH! Hahaha, eat it wedding suckers!"
But: actually, no. This week, I believe in love, even though there's still no good reason to.
I just sort of decided to believe in it, even though it's still hard for me to imagine any two ordinary flawed crazy people sticking it out til death do them part without majorly deluding themselves. But maybe that's ok?
I would have posted about this yesterday, but yesterday I was really exhausted from spending the night before alternately sobbing uncontrollably and dancing around the room lip-synching to my iPod to 'Walking on Sunshine' by Katrina and the Waves. Breakups are like that. Yeah, I broke up with my boyfriend. Um, duh.
Here's one of the few things that I'm reasonably sure of: that people like "Bart Blasengame, a 33-year-old freelance writer from Portland, Ore., who was with his former fiancée for three years, are going about it all wrong. "I felt like, by year three, we were both forcing it ... It's the whole cliché of pursuit. Your dates are planned out like some Drew Barrymore romantic comedy with unicorns and rainbows. By year two, we were cruising along, living together, relatively happy. But from a growth standpoint things had started to atrophy. We were happy, content is a better word, but there was no spark."
First thing: Drew Barrymore romantic comedy. Somewhere, if she has any sense in her head, Burt Blasengame's ex-fiancée is like, "Dodged that bullet." Second thing: it is dumb to expect another person to make you happy. Everyone does it. It's still dumb and we should stop. Third thing: thinking and planning and imagining how the future is going to be is the enemy, not just of relationships, but of feeling happy ever. One of the things that makes people like Burt get all bored is that they're looking at things from a "growth standpoint," thinking about how things were in the past and comparing them to way they think things might be in the future. The problem? The past and the future don't exist, or they might as well not exist. For all intents and purposes there is only now, and we're alive right now, and we should try to enjoy it. Thinking about whether we're going to enjoy it in the future makes it impossible to enjoy it now. Always. Maybe this is Buddhism or maybe it's Hippie Self-Help 101. Maybe this is just me being Tony Soprano standing on the edge of a cliff on peyote yelling "I get it!" when everyone else has gotten it already. But it's the truth.
Another thing. My mom's parents are very old and they still totally love each other. My grandfather sometimes calls my grandmother "my friend" as if it's, like, a secret that they are hooking up, even though obviously they have hooked up because hello, I would not be here otherwise. It's also obvious because sometimes my grandfather likes to get a little drunk and talk about their sex life! Awww/ewww! Anyway. They seem to have figured out the secret to making "the spark" last more than three years. I wish they could tell the rest of us, but maybe it's one of those things that everyone has to figure out for themselves.
The Shelf Life Of Bliss [NYT]