Saturday, June 27, 2009


Do our problems with marriage arise from our impoverished ideas about romance?

In this article at Salon, Amanda Fortini discusses the story of Sandra Tsing-Loh and the dissolution of her 20-year marriage, in "Why Your Marriage Sucks." Her premise, along with those of her sources, is that the majority of relationships fail because of warped expectations of relationships. It's not the first time we've heard this excuse.

I'd be willing to place a lot more fault on reality than on fiction. I'm even willing to "blame the feminists," in that yes, women have come to expect more from marriage than financial support. We want a partnership, which may be suggested in romance novels, but fuck.

I suppose I should note that this is coming in on the tail end of my engagement, which is dissolving like a sugar cube in boiling water. Yes, I'm a little jaded, because for a long time I held onto the idea that this was a good man, and he is. He is a truly caring individual, and is quite attentive. But.

I am capable and competent, and I want more from my life than comfortable. I want happiness. I did not have happiness with him, and without the complications of children to hold me to it, I find it difficult to force myself to stick it out. My mom says, "they're all like that, so you might as well keep the one that's nice to you."

If they're all like that, I don't want one.

There's no reason a woman shouldn't expect her man to share the load. I don't mean "help out." The jobs need done, it is OUR home, they are OUR jobs. Not MY jobs you can help me with. Most women I know will give you this same frustration, even if she is happy in her relationship.

At any rate, I think it's more an unwillingness to put up with the frustrations of married life than disillusionment. Few women expect that we will find a Mr Darcy, and on a romantic level, are frequently perfectly happy with mediocre romance. It's when the inequality becomes so rampant that it's unbearable. We were raised to stick up for ourselves and not be walked on; we shouldn't have to exchange that self-reliance for love.

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