Make up, don’t break up

Everyone is breaking up.

The past couple of weeks I’ve heard about at least three couples who broke up in my small circle of friends and acquaintances. Some were married, some not, but the results ended up to be the same.

What’s going on? Is there something in the air or the water?

Hearing about the demise of these relationships made me worry. These couples seemed to be so solid, so happy, so normal. Did they know it was coming? Does anyone ever know that it’s coming?

It is so hard to see into relationships. Couples that seem to be well-matched on the surface could be struggling to stay together, and some odd couples that I would never put together are thriving. I often wonder what people think of me and Drew. Do we make sense to the outside observer? Someone who doesn’t know Drew might think that he’s large and loud and a little arrogant. I’m flighty and moody and somewhat neurotic. I know that we have a great time together, but I doubt that we make sense to those around us.

Hearing of all these breakups, my first instinct is to feel superior: this would never happen to us. But then I start to worry — if it happened to these other, normal couples, could it happen to us? Is this a monster waiting under our bed?

So I turned to Drew with the questions: “Are we OK? Is there anything we need to talk about?” Maybe our calm, quiet relationship is about to implode and I just don’t know it. Maybe the next time I argue with him about the temperature of the dryer will be the last drop in his glass and that will be the end of it.

I’d like to think that we know each other better, that if we had really serious problems we would talk to each other and we wouldn’t let things get out of hand. But these breakups also reminded me that the trust and respect we built over the years are fragile and we can’t take them for granted. We can’t assume that just because we’re married our spouse is going to put up with hurtful comments or annoying habits forever and that the cup will never overflow. Even though we’re settled down in a stable relationship, we have to keep changing and growing to maintain and strengthen our bond.

We reassured each other that neither of us has any unspoken hurts or issues that can bubble to the surface unexpectedly. We usually nip things in the bud before they become big problems or big resentments. Yes, he finds it annoying that I think that my clothes can shrink even after 200 washes, and yes I think it’s ridiculous that all of our magnets have to align perfectly on our fridge, but these are surely no reasons for divorce.

“We are doing just fine,” Drew told me last night after we spent the evening listening to one of his friends who is on the receiving end of a break-up.

And that’s all I need to know.

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