dimanche, juillet 10, 2011

Online dating, marriage, divorce and the "happy ending"

I don't know how many of you read the "Modern Love" columns in the Saturday New York Times.

Pretty much every week, I click on the link to find out how other Americans are faring at the great game of love.

In the old days, (like a few years ago), you'd run into some typically odd, New Yorkishstories. The one I recall at the moment is about a woman in love with two guys (one on each coast). Eventually, she moved out to the West to be with her lover, bearing the other man's child.

Yeah, well, New Yorkers have a level of hipster cool to which the rest of us can't aspire.

Recently, I've noticed something -- a lot of the stories actually have happy endings. And that includes those about married folks!

Which reinforces what the stats are telling us -- many married people, especially middle and upper-class Americans, are staying together, working it out, looking at divorce as increasingly unacceptable.

Clearly, I'm not in that category. My ex and I spent many years of retreats, therapy (oy) and conversation trying to make our marriage into a healthy venue for all of us -- and we failed.

All that work resulted in a relatively amiable relationship -- but we are much happier when one of us can go home - and it's not to "our" house.

I have many friends who have been married and divorced once. One of my good friends married a man who had been married twice before. I freely admit that I expected her to be a statistic -- but this one is for life.

Many of my other friends are still married to their first, and probably only spouse. It's tough explaining online relationships to them. They just don't get it -- and the compromises we need to make. In addition, as I've said, a lot of married people I know bear some pretty heavy baggage.

Among the men I meet online, many have been married more than once. In fact, that's pretty common.

While I try not to judge (marriage in itself is a rather complex institution in America), I find myself in a strange place -- navigating between those who are choosing to "work it out" and those who have moved on to greener pastures. Or to pastures they see as greener.

I'm not sure what I think anymore. I know that, for myself, it's hard to imagine the relationship, and the guy, who could persuade me that a second marriage was a fantastic idea.

But I haven't given up hope for a relationship that goes the distance.

Only, I have to admit, I'm listening harder to my married friends when they warn me about the perils of building a dream house, and the advantages of a realistic approach to love. It could be that they are saying something I need to hear.

4 commentaires:

BigLittleWolf a dit…

I dislike the concept of the happy ending, which doesn't preclude "happy" along with content, joyful, jubilant, wistful, comfortable, questioning, and every other human emotion as we progress through our days and nights.

Some of us alone, and some, in tandem.

I, too, like the quirky over the saccharine. I, too, have met more multiple-marriage-men than I could have imagined, in the online world. I, too, hold out hope - for surprises, and simply survival - which may ultimately bring me back to flourishing but differently. And I hope, not alone.

Offcenter a dit…

Good point, BLW -- that "happy ending" thang gets us in a lot of trouble, if we assume that as the goal. It keeps moving on one, doesn't it? But I'm not much of a romantic.

Anonyme a dit…

Marriage is a process and a journey you will be unhappy, unfulfilled and feel unappreciated during your marriage but it isn't all of your marriage. You also feel joy, love and happiness, riding out the bad is as much a part of a happy ending as feeling the joy. For me weathering the difficulties together makes me appreciate the good times. My spouse has given me a companion in life but I want them in my life I don't need them to be there to make me happy, there is a subtle difference. I have had to learn that when I depend on another to affirm me, I just spend my life chasing that affirmation, as it has come more internally I like it but I don't crave it.

Offcenter a dit…

When you constantly crave affirmation, you are not treating the other person as an equal. It's termed co-dependency. Thank you for the comment anonymous!