I met somebody really nice last night at a birthday party. And as per usual with me, before you knew it, all discussions tended to flow toward the definition of romance and relationships.
The funny thing when you’re 40 + and you meet with other dogs your own age, all you talk about is kids, divorce, custody, relocation, who get to keep the microwave - and later in the evening, the wine helping maybe, you inevitably go to that more dangerous territory of the downside of romance and the loss of love.
When you’re 40, you have at least one HUGE romance behind you. (NB: If you don’t, comment on this post, give me a way to contact you, and we talk). 40 + people, we share that experience of being madly in love with someone, being ready to reschedule our entire existence for that person, abandoning all sense of self to become a “us”, and then, fast forward to many years later and a bunch of kids, when you would gladly strangle that motherf**ker.
What happened? Is there a common curse? How can we go from universal lovers to perfect enemies and divorcees?
Is there a truth to the saying that all women think they will change their partner and hate us for failing and that every men wish their partner would never change and hate you for all your transformations.
What is it?
I really believe we’re a monogamous creature with a tendency for extracurricular activities. I just wonder why we have to fall out of love - and most importantly, why ?
My ex – God bless her, she’s the perfect ex, seriously, she deserves a medal! – is very pragmatic about it. Her theory is that you only need to love someone long enough to make babies and stick around until you kids can manage to open the fridge all by themselves. After that, all you need is alimonies, a gym card, and a low carb diet.
My theory? I don’t have one. I’m just like David Attenborough observing chimps long after their honeymoon, when they wouldn’t eat each other fleas anymore, even if you paid them in bananas for it.
And then, when the bar was closing, the person I was talking to, she had like this brilliant idea that might fix it all.
It’s a difficult one, but it makes a lot of sense. The real trick, she said, is to manage the delicate transformation from “high burn passionate love” to “slow burn regular love” without collapsing the soufflé.
It’s like the emotional equivalent of coming out of hyperspace speed without hitting an asteroid. And she said some people are just able to do that. To understand that passionate love was the fire starter but that the rest of their life will be run on everyday love, a more reasonable, less vibrant, state of being together. Yeah that’s right. She was talking about those other motherf**kers you see coming out of the movies still holding hands after twenty years of common life and still talking to each other in full sentences that contain no traces of passive aggressivity. And they walk to their car on the parking lot and drive away to a galaxy far far away in the suburbs, silently hoping Billy Junior will score high on his SAT.