Divorce and breakups are sweeping through the lives of some of my dearest girlfriends these days. They had relationships I never thought would end. As a result, I've been having deep and complex conversations about love, secrecy, and commitment, and I find myself seriously wondering: are lifelong married couples–the ones I've always idealized for having found and sustained true love–really happy? Or have I unknowingly been idealizing (and thus, torturing myself with) a true love concept that doesn't really exist?
Let me ask you: which couple in your life do you idealize? For my friend Deborah, it's always been her grandparents who've been married some 38 years. Deborah puts them on a pedestal for sharing the kind of love she's always hoped for but has yet to find.
Recently, when she expressed her admiration to her grandma, the response she received was shocking. Apparently grandpa had run around on grandma during their marriage for decades. Decades! She'd just resigned to thinking she couldn't find "better."
My other friend, Maddie, a single mom, referred to her aunt and uncle's relationship as her ongoing source of hope and inspiration. Some of Maddie's fondest childhood memories were listening to them laugh exuberantly and joke around as she drifted off to sleep in the family cottage. 8 Unconventionally Smart Things Happy Couples Do Differently
Turns out, not only was her uncle cheating on aunty during their marriage, but aunty had numerous lovers, too. "The truth was that they were hardcore partiers!" Maddie says. "They were off doing their own thing with other partners while my other aunty raised my cousin!"
So what is the lesson to be learned from such examples? Is it that we should stick around no matter what's happening in our marriages, because one day they might turn around? Or should we face the fact that we're oftentimes idealizing couples that probably would've divorced if divorce wasn't as diffult and socially unacceptable during their time?
I'd really like for you to share the "perfect couple" example in your life. How long have they been married? Have you asked them if their "true love" has been as perfect as it seems on the outside?
I bet lots of these couples will openly admit that they've experienced tough times. They may also say that's what marriage is about–enduring those tough times. Because in the end, they found their way back to each other.
More Juicy Content From YourTango: