Getting to know you

April 20, 2006 at 1:46 am (Personal)

Lately my life has been one huge example of Mark Twain's famous comment, "Familiarity breeds contempt."

Last summer it was my marriage that suffered those damming words. My then husband decided he just didn't want to be with me any longer. Though I had been expecting this for some years I still held out hope that we could see things through. However, it's as though the longer he was with me the less happy he was with me.

About a month ago a close friend of mine called me crying hysterically. She was driving and said she needed a friend at the moment; apparently she and her husband had just hit the skids themselves. I got her over to my apartment and let her sit and talk for a few minutes. I said all the wrong things, of course, but it worked out well because I was so focused on the big D that she denied it was going that far. They're going to do their best to work it out, and I hope they do – they're really great people – but if she's just not into it (she's like where my ex was in our relationship) then it's hard to make it desirable. Her hubby just isn't where she would like him to be and it's frustrating her to no end. Again, it's as though the longer she's gotten to know him, the less she wants to be around him.

Just yesterday my mother called me to give me an update of my older brother's situation. He's divorced twice but has been married for the last 10 years. He has two children with his current wife and a teenage son with his first wife who lives several states away. He and his wife have had some rough moments over the years – mostly financial – and within the last few weeks the ugliest has come to a head. Neither one of them is good at managing a budget; neither one of them is good at telling the other about issues. My brother hides bills from his wife; my sister-in-law demands she manages the budget but then gets irritated and drops it when she can't figure it out. He's got ADD and a gaming addiction. She likes to go out and play Sex in the City with her girlfriends, leaving him at home with the kiddos. It's just not a great situation. Yesterday was the last straw… sis-in-law demanded a divorce and threatened to take the kids. In the few times I've seen them together since they married I've rarely seen anything but demeaning behavior from her towards him (calling him stupid, etc.) while he dotes upon her – like he has with every girlfriend he's had in his life (he's truly a romantic). Why does sis-in-law hate him so?

So I wonder… how does any couple last through the decades? What makes two people stay familiar yet not grow contemptuous towards one another?

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1 Comment

  1. Maria said,

    I’m reading you…
    And asking myself the answer to your question…
    With just under 5 years under our belt, and some significant issues we’ve gone through, I don’t see us breaking apart. So I’m wondering exactly what has done it…

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