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This photo was captured while on vacation in Israel. Besides being a ghastly picture of my husband and me (not to mention the décor), it put me in mind of a monthly article, I’m pretty sure it was in The Ladies Home Journal, entitled “Can This Marriage Be Saved.” It depicted a couple in a pose very much like this – minus the phones of course. The implication of the photo being that it was touch and go with these two.

To me it looked like business as usual. Let me get this straight, my husband and I really love one another and we’ve been married for…well decades. But we both travel a great deal, so in dog years it only comes out to about seven years. Which we think kind of works…for us.

To others I should imagine it would not. They’re the 24/7 couples. Working from home or retired. The breakfast, lunch and dinner couples. Damn, that’s admirable. No matter how huge the home, how fascinating the hobbies, how do they do it? And instead of staring down at their meal in grim silence, some of them actually even look cozy and comfortable, eating their meal in compatible silence.

“I forgot to bring the newspapers.” There are no more frightening words my husband and I can say to one another when faced with a Sunday lunch out together. “Oh my God! That means we have to talk? The whole lunch?”

Lets face it in a long relationship there are only so many words, so many new opinions. After that it’s sort of like the summer TV schedule, it just goes into repeats.

I suppose children make a welcome break. There’s the: which school problem, their cuteness, their ungratefulness, then when they grow up, their partner’s cuteness, their ungratefulness, the in-laws rude behavior. Then there’s the old standby politics. The machinations of US and UK politics do seem to be throwing interesting spitballs. Thank goodness for Netflix and HBO and Reality TV. It’s the: “Did you see what Darren did on Survivor?” Whew! At last, other people’s problems.

But all that is temporary. Have you ever looked at your partner and realized they’re composing a shopping list or trying to figure out how to out-smart a business rival while your lips are still moving?

There was a New Yorker cartoon with a middle-aged couple sitting together and the woman says very pleasantly: “I’m sorry dear, I wasn’t listening. Could you repeat what you’ve said since we’ve been married.”

I don’t think this is only true about marriages; it’s true for most relationships. There are several people who I like a lot but if I see one more Facebook or Instagram post of their dinner or their kids, I am going to fire them. Take Trumps tweets. Even if I liked the man, which I most certainly do not, I’d be thinking: enough with the tweets. Have some hot chocolate and go to bed!”

I remember when I was a kid my mother would be on the phone for hours with friends, each complaining about their partners. Now to me that’s why God invented caller ID. Why hang on the phone like a teenager when we have email and texts? I imagine even caviar would become mundane if we had it every day (though I sure wouldn’t mind trying that.)

Maybe some of us are suffering from ADHD, or at least we’re on the scale. Because the thing is I keep remembering that at least some of those 24/7 couples don’t seem to be unhappy or bored, they look content.

I’ve come to the conclusion that some people are just naturally restless, and others are the stay-puters. Some people are happier all warm and comfy in the nest. Sitting by the fire with a good book and a good bottle of wine is their idea of absolute heaven.

And then there are people who’d be crawling up the walls after a few hours. They’re excitement junkies. Everyone tends to think that it’s just the kids who've been raised with non-stop technology. But I look around at my friends and realize that they too seem to crave adventure. They’re traveling all over the world, climbing mountains, skiing the black runs. Still working, still looking for the party.

I guess those of us who are like that just love the oh so sad goodbyes as we set out on an adventure (even if it is just to the office), and the great returns, the bitter-sweet realization that, gosh, I really really missed you.

TURNING POINTS from Crowd-Writing

a book by Shelley Katz

Out Now

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