Hah! As if I know. But I bet I grabbed your attention, didn't I, because who isn't looking for some enlightening news about how to insure a successful relationship?
I would be the one to ask if you want five foolproof steps to ending one - I've done that countless times in my life - but you'd need to look to someone else to tell you how to keep one going.
Some people think if it's a good relationship you don't have to work at it. And that's true if one of you is a blow-up doll. The fact is, working at it is what makes it good (I'm convinced, but then what do I know?), and when you stop working on it is when it's sure to fall apart.
So the relationships that survive, are they ones where people have the most tolerance for each other's imperfections? Or ones where one of the partners is a peace-keeper at all cost? Are they ones where people communicate, or ones where they turn the other cheek? Are they ones where you can laugh at yourself and see the humor in life or ones where you take things seriously?
What the hell's the secret? Does anyone know? In my opinion (take it for what it's worth...) it's equal parts communication, respect, humor, tolerance, and a big dose of luck.
I know some (few) couples who've been together for many years and who seem happy, but you never know what goes on in a relationship, do you?
If all else fails follow the example of my friends Lucy and Ricky (names have been changed). They've been married for 36 years. The other day Lucy told me Ricky is looking for his own place nearby. My (classy) response was, "WTF??? What kind of place? An office? A studio?"
"No...a place place, as in home."
"Are you getting divorced?" I asked.
"No," Lucy replied. "We have no plans to get divorced. We just can't live together any more." Doesn't anyone who's ever been married or lived with someone understand this? "Ricky will still take care of things around the house," she said, "and pay the bills and stay here on holidays. We'll still travel together. We just won't live together. We're both really happy about it. We're getting along better than we ever have." She sounded giddy.
Is this the baby boomer generation's answer to a successful relationship?
There's a quote I like (unattributed) that says, The grass may be greener on the other side but you still have to mow it. Not sure how that applies here, but it does somehow.
BTW, stay tuned for the next installment: What To Do When You Lose The One You Thought You'd Grow Old With.
Hmmm...this may take some research.