Become a Fan
It is not a Sunset Cruise, Honey
By DALI ABEL
Saturday, March 01, 2003
Love isn't just chemistry, it's a law of physics too.
After years living together, Alex separated with his girlfriend Amy. Caught by surprise, she got burnt out from the experience and withdrew from life with the sole company of her pets.
Unlike Amy, who seemed lifeless after the separation, Alex went around looking for a new partner to share his life with. It didn't take him long to find one through the Internet.
Her name was Gloria and she, too, was separated from her partner. The matchmaking, Alex has been told, was based on the latest scientific findings and the selection fully computerized.
Gloria had been carefully chosen among thousands of potential partners as the perfect match for Alex. No place was left for human error, they were both told.Quickly enough, Alex and Gloria find out that they have the same interests and fall in love.
The new lovebirds are inseparable. They meet over drinks in a jazz bar, go to bookshops, to the movies, to the theater, to the Opera, and to museums. They join a tennis club and go horseback riding. They know a nice French restaurant by the seaside where they dine together quite often before heading to a swanky hotel room where they spend the night together. Both believe in reincarnation and would like to come back to life as a pair of pandas.
For this new couple, life could not be better. When they talk about their respective ex-partners, they say similar things about them. They discovered that both fell with partners who lacked understanding. Alex and Gloria are very happy at having found each other at last.
A few weeks pass by and the lovers realize that they cannot continue spending so much money just to be together. The bills of the chic restaurant and nice hotel they frequently go to became expensive. They move into the same apartment with the candle of romance still reflecting in their eyes.
Gradually, their outings become less frequent. Then, they stop completely. Now, instead of asking, "Where shall we go tonight?" they ask, "What shall we cook for dinner?" Instead of seeing each other nicely dressed, they go around in shorts and plain T-shirts. Instead of the wide alleys of a theater, they meet in the narrow kitchen. Instead of French perfume, they smell of freshly cut onions and cucumber. Room service in the hotel where they used to stay was very expensive, but it had the advantage of keeping the level of discussion above things such as the quality of carrots at the grocery store.
Gloria does the cooking and the dishes. Alex cleans around and takes the garbage out. He looks definitely more elegant with a cashmere coat on his arm than armed with a rag to mop the floor. It is hard for Gloria to remain sexy chasing after cockroaches in the very old apartment or cleaning kitchen pots.
Both being very much fixated with appearances, they find the practical necessities of everyday life quite difficult to manage without breaching some rules about appearance and refinement. Now in their mid-thirties, Alex and Gloria have some rigid ideas about running a home.
To their surprise, they find out that heir own personal habits are quite different. Gloria is extremely tidy and Alex, messy like a teenager. She likes to put things on top of each other and he likes to have them spread side by side. She looks at space from a vertical perspective and he looks at it from a horizontal one.
After another month, they start arguing over who should do what. Sometimes, they get upset and respond to each other's remarks tit for tat. Some more months together and only a television screen remains reflected in their eyes. The charm of earlier times has disappeared fast.
From time to time, Alex thinks of Amy and Gloria of Kurt, her ex-partner. Deep inside themselves, they begin to feel that their former partners were not bad after all. They were also nice at the beginning in those cozy bars, posh restaurants, theaters, and other lovely places. They looked refined and intellectually interesting.
Alex decides to talk with his uncle, an old bachelor, about the ups and downs of his private life. He shows him the computerized questionnaire he had to fill, and the answers he had given.
The old man reads the questionnaire, then looks at Alex and says:"This questionnaire doesn't make any sense to me. Who would answer negatively when asked about books, classical music, paintings, nature, skiing, tennis, swimming, hiking, cinema, opera, theater, funny friends, fine cuisine, candlelit dinners, watching the sunset, travelling, sex, and gifts? If sharing the same interest over such things were a serious ground for a steady relationship, separation cases would have been rare.
"Too many couples split. Have you noticed how people are nice in a sightseeing tour and how unfriendly they can be in a full parking lot? Life isn't a sunset cruise. It can be very hard. Life's difficulties can easily embitter the couple's relationship. Love doesn't shield couples from the prism of reality with all its facets. Couples do not fight while listening to a concert, watching a play, eating a delicacy, snorkeling or viewing an exhibit. They fight over many things that are amazingly seldom written about.
"Couples do not separate because of what they like as much as what they dislike. Discussing with your future girlfriend about her dislikes isn't a romantic thing to do, but it has the merits of honesty and clarity. Separation in some cases, isn't necessarily a sad development. It may turn out to be the most reasonable one.
"As far as I can see, love brought both of you together. Togetherness brought familiarity, and familiarity blew the candle of romance. When taking each other for granted became your second nature, passion packed its bags and left without warning.
"Life in our planet has been possible only because the Earth and the Sun keep a certain distance from each other. Couples are like that. For love to flourish and grow strong, partners should neither be too far away nor too close to each other. Being too far away freezes the feeling. Being too close melts the subtle charm of closeness."
Site: When the Whole World Went Wild
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