~ One of my coffee house acquaintances got a boob job a few years ago. She explained that, “I’ve always wanted one and three years ago on my 40th birthday, my husband sprang for it as my gift” she said.
To be honest, none of the people who sit at my table ever noticed that she had gotten “new” breasts. Perhaps that is a testament to the fact that our conversations are so interesting that we are less concerned with physical appearances, or perhaps all of us are too dimwitted to have noticed that her boobs got bigger.
“Kenneth, my husband and I have been married for nearly 20 years, and everything has been fine….until now. Suddenly, right after I had the operation, our relationship has all but ended’ she told me recently.
Without going into all the details, she explained to me that ever since getting new boobs, the relationship between her and her husband has gotten so bad that they don’t even live together anymore. Of course, I thought it was interesting that a lot of things changed following her boob job;
—) Within a few months she enrolled in college and is a couple semesters away from finishing her bachelor degree
—) After being a bartender her entire adult life. She was recently hired by a non-profit social services program in relation to the bachelor degree she is studying
—) She has made a lot of new friends at college and at her new job, that are very different from the social group she and her husband have had all those years
“Kenneth, the bottomline is that I was very in love with my husband when I was younger, but we are just too different now. I was young, and he seemed really interesting. But now, as I’ve furthered myself intellectually, he is still where he was at age 21” she said.
It would seem that in relatively short time, a lot of things have changed in her life, and the boob job precipitated many of those changes. Many relationships have a difficult time sustaining stability in the midst of major changes that take place in one of the individuals. The things that you had in common when you first got together often die away over the years, and if one of the partners is happy with the way things “always were”, they can have a difficult time adjusting to the future.
A coffee house friend of mine thinks that long-term relationships are almost impossible to maintain. He suggests that it is easier to be friends with someone for a lifetime, than to be intimately connected.
One of my closest friends in the world died a few years ago at the age of 84. He and his wife had been married for more than 60 years. They were really good friends, but I wouldn’t say that they were “lovers” in the Hollywood sense. His wife had been going on vacation without him for decades, and in many ways they lived separate lives. But the two of them came from a time when relationships were meant to be permanent, and they both had a deeply profound respect for each other, and up until each of them breathed their last, they were both really good friends.
Is that the best my “new boob job” coffee house friend can hope for? A deeply profound respect for her husband as a friend? Is that all anyone can hope for in longterm relationships? Or is it possible to maintain the emotional and physical high you experienced at the very beginning of your relationship, all the way through to death?
Hollywood gives us a million movies about the beginning of a relationship; the two people meet, the excitement, the sexual energy, the passion. But there are a hell of a lot less films about what happens when the initial excitement slowly fades. In the 2011 film “Take this waltz” Michelle Williams beautifully captures the emotional emptiness that occurs in many people after the passion fades from the relationship. Her husband still very much loves her, but she finds herself feeling lonely and fading away.
“I know I could move back in with him and make it work. We don’t fight, we never have. But I keep asking myself if I really want to live with him for the rest of my life. We are so different now, and have almost nothing in common. I really feel all alone” she told us.
Sometimes there are no easy answers in life.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society