I’ve been seeing this article floating around Facebook lately. It’s entitled “7 Steps to a Happy and Successful Marriage.” In it, the author discloses her wealth of secrets and wisdom to maintain your partner’s interest, improve your sex life, and make a better banana bread ALL AT THE SAME TIME (maybe not the banana bread part, but you get the idea). She is a veritable treasure chest of wifely do’s and do not’s, outlining the various steps you should be taking in order to save the love you once cherished in your youth. “When speaking to others about your wife or husband, only speak highly of the person you chose to spend your life with,” she advocates. “Speaking negatively of your significant other makes you look bad and sets a poor foundation for any relationship.” Not only will you convince yourself that your partner is perfect, you’ll have everyone else fooled, too. This strategy is both self-fulfilling and prophetic: a natural cure-all for relationship problems.
I think it goes without saying that long-term monogamy is the current romantic norm in western culture. Many men and women I’ve spoken to aspire to attain longevity in their relationships. I was commonly asked the question, “How did you do it?” as I explained the five years of long distance I endured with my first love. “How did you make it work?” Now, after we’ve separated, after nine years of exclusivity, happiness, trial and tribulation, I am asked a new question:
“What the fuck happened???”