Thursday, May 1, 2008

Breakin' up is a big to-do

My boyfriend, a wiry electrian (pun unintended), ended our our four-year relationship to pursue the fourth love of his life more than two years ago. (The first three partners did not work out.) Never could I have imagined that this decent, kind, forgiving, intelligent, analytical, and truthful man would treat me with such callousness. In that stationary moment, he became a stranger to me, full of lies and deceit and meanness. It was a messy thing, and he did not handle it well. Maybe I did not either.

Ultimately it is for the best, but my fundamental trust in my own perception of people is irreparably shaken.

Eventually, as one does, I came to terms with it, and moved on. In retrospect, it all makes sense now, but, of course, while in the relationship, in the moment, the signs are invisible.

Although marriage was never in the cards for us (in other words, in my tongue-in-cheek description, the relationship was not terminal, as in terminating in a marriage), he was the best and most respected of any beau in my 33 years of adult singlehood.

At this age, I feel relieved of the burden of worrying about marriage, or the fact that I've never been married. This is what it is. While in my earlier 30s, a dear friend said, "You might just be one of those people destined never to marry." Back then, I held out hope, but now I'm more "que sera" about it. (Thanks, Doris Day.)

Whenever I meet a lifelong bachelor of a certain age, though, I wonder what is wrong with him. But it does not occur to me that other people might be, understandably, raising the same questions about me. And are they right to wonder?

Even Jerry Seinfeld, before he was married, likened the idea of marriage to someone choosing a car, but with the imprimatur that you have to drive this one car for the rest of your life. Seinfeld is now married—to a possibly plagiarizing cookbook author—with whom he has three children. Of marriage, and alluding to the high divorce rate, someone wrote something to the effect that marriage was the triumph of hope prevailing over all rational thought and experience. We still do it, though.

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