Testing a relationship

Relationships are what life is all about. To make it worthwhile, you want a satisfying emotional and sexual association with somebody. If you don’t have it, you won’t feel complete until you do.

But relationships are eminently tricky. You want to be part of a couple, but you don’t want to be smothered by your partner. Both individuals want to be together, but not 24 hours a day. When both partners work, they leave the nest in the morning, mingle with different people during the daytime, and are happy to meet again in the evening. In other words, you need to take regular breaks from the relationship to make it sustainable.

An individual in a couple is like an apnea diver. After the exhilaration of a deep dive, he must periodically come back for air to continue his activity. Problems will occur if you work together or when you retire. Being on top of each other every minute of the day is mentally exhausting and corrosive. You might like strawberry pie, but not every day of the week.

To test a budding relationship (and I talk from experience), I would recommend a three weeks’ vacation far away from your regular, comfortable environment. If after this time together you are still talking to each other, your relationship has a chance to survive. If not, you are not made for each other and you better call it quit, no matter how painful it can be.

This long preamble brings me to the now infamous Petito/Laundrie affair. Four months together in a small van was a recipe for disaster. A thousand things could go wrong, (it did) and the couple didn’t have any “boudoir” to decompress. A boudoir by the way is a small room usually adjacent to the bedroom. This word has its roots in “bouder” which in French means to sulk. After a quarrel, the woman would escape to her “boudoir” to regain her composure. Since a small van does have this luxury, you will have to sulk next to your partner and this will make the situation even more uncomfortable.

If you survive a long vacation together, plan to marry, and build a dream house, don’t forget to include a “boudoir” in your project. It is as valuable as a bathroom and can save your marriage. It is as necessary as an internet connection.

Togetherness is one thing, suffocation is another. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and there is quite a bit of truth in that. Give your partner regular breaks and let him/her blow off some steam away from you. Reunions will be sweeter and will consolidate your relationship.

“Parting is such a sweet sorrow…” because it will make you long for your next time together.

Alain

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