Thursday, April 16, 2009

I ain't got no satisfaction

When the mood hits I take classes through OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute). It's definitely a gray-headed crowd. Between classes last January, a classroom door opened and the participants of that class surged out, talking, laughing. One elegant, silver haired woman using a walker suddenly burst forth singing, "I ain't got no satisfaction", and an equally elegant man, presumably her husband, played to the crowd with, "Oh honey, and I thought that was going to be our little secret". Their audience dissolved into a round of more laughter and ribald comments.

Point being is that they obviously did get a great deal of satisfaction out of their partnership and I couldn't help feeling a twinge of envy having lost that possibility with a man I loved. In a time of "throw away" marriages, particularly at the danger time of retirement and empty nest, I wonder how much thought goes into understanding the reality of loneliness. It sounds so liberating to throw off someone who annoys or bores you; to take that great leap into the glamorous sounding world of "independence" - your own condo or house; you in control of your money; free to walk around in your jammies all day and eat jam sandwiches for dinner; travel- see the world. Such enticing daydreams.

I guess I want to caution men and women both about overestimating tossing out the old and familiar. Absolutely get out of a relationship where mental and or physical abuse dominate you; get out of a relationship where cruelty , put downs and sarcasm are the norm - but reconsider if something just feels old and jaded. Begin by thinking about what made you fall in love in the first place; get him talking about your first date; the proposal; the early dreams. Guide the conversation to re-living those first years together. Anne Perry, who writes for , has an article going into the May issue that refers to a study showing that couples who get out of their rut, try something new and challenging together, have a good chance of rekindling love. Personally I'd try sky diving into a lake of alligators before throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

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