weekend, I am going to my favorite place on earth: Big Sur, California
(pop: 1,049) -- a beautiful town on the Monterey Peninsula. In
anticipation, I pulled out my books by Henry Miller, a writer closely
associated with the area. As I flipped through the pages, I came
across a saying from Miller's lover, the author Anais Nin, that I had
handwritten into the margin. Nin wrote: Love never dies a natural
death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It
dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and
wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.
my fingers over these words, I started thinking of my most recent
novel, The Divorce Party,
in which two women find themselves fighting not to let love die. And I
recalled all of the people I spoke with over the course of working on The
who found themselves fighting that same fight -- and sometimes deciding
was better to let it go. These are five reasons that they shared
me, and to which I return when someone close to me is struggling with a
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a man I spoke with in Cleveland, was devastated when his first
relationship after his divorce ended badly. He wanted to marry
partner. But after closer inspection of their relationship -- she
only recently separated herself, they had conflicting ideas about
marriage and family, they had different values -- he acknowledged that
what he liked best about their relationship was that it provided
distraction and comfort during a mutually difficult time. "We
passion, but, when I'm honest with myself, I don't know what we have in
common on the other side of all of our drama," Ty said.
Ty's candor, he has hit on something that is important to remember:
some relationships are meant to be seasonal. They get us through a
tricky period, they make us feel alive again. But that doesn't
necessarily translate into two people being compatible for longer
commitment. A psychologist, who I spoke with after Ty, said it
eloquently: "Feeling love or passion is not enough to sustain a
long-term relationship. Liking your partner is just as
yourself: do you enjoy spending time together? If you do, find a way
through the inevitable problems. If you don't, ask yourself if
relationship has served its purpose."
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couple in New Mexico, Cassie and Jason, met and married in three
months. It was a whirlwind. Sadly, after the dust settled,
realized that her husband liked the whirlwind more than being
married. "As much as I bend myself into a pretzel to make him happy,"
said. "He criticizes me and makes me feel like I'm failing him."
is human to feel that it's your fault when a relationship goes awry,
especially if you have a partner who is more interested in
finger-pointing than getting to the crux of what is ailing the two of
you. But there is a difference between working hard on a
and working too hard. If someone is constantly meeting
efforts with endless negativity, it may be time to consider changing