What It Looks Like When You’re Happily Married (An Ode to My Wife)

What It Looks Like When You're Happily Married

Yeah, this is what I’m talking about.

A beautiful piece by Heather Havrilesky in New York magazine about what romance looks like ten years into a marriage. I rarely write long-form pieces, due to the fact that, well, I don’t get paid to write long-form pieces. But that’s why I take great pains to find new, interesting material to share with you each and every Thursday.

But first, I want to admit something that I don’t like to admit publicly. For years, I dealt with criticism when this blog was called “Advice from a Single Dating Expert,” since I was offering advice but wasn’t necessarily living it. “How can you call yourself a dating coach but still be single?” I dismissed the criticism because I was doing the best I could and legitimately was helping people. What I didn’t know was how much I didn’t know. How marriage would not only change my life for the better in miraculous ways, and how it would sharpen my edge as a dating coach. Basically, I am much better at my job today than when I started in 2003 – as would anybody who did the same job for 13 years. But the main reason I’ve grown into this position is my wife. She is my North Star. The “Type O” wife. You can give her to any man and she’d be able to make him happy. That’s how much I believe in her. That’s why I so fervently believe in love. That’s why I’m an advocate of marriage. That’s why I preach easy, happy, relationships with no drama. I have it and I want you to, as well. Which brings me to the highlights from Havrilesky’s moving article.

Traditional romance is heady and exciting precisely because — and not in spite of the fact that — there are still lingering questions at the edges of the frame: “Will I be enough for this person? Will she stop wanting me someday? Is he as amazing as he seems/feels/tastes?” Long-married romance is not the romance of watching someone’s every move like a stalker, and wanting to lick his face but trying to restrain yourself.

We’ve discussed this here for years and I hope you have absorbed it, in full: what you experience in the first 2 years of your relationship bears little resemblance to what you experience as a married couple. Which is why it’s really important to let the excitement and chemistry wear off and see how well you function when you move in together before tying the knot. Real love is based on transparency and comfort, not mystery.

What you experience in the first 2 years of your relationship bears little resemblance to what you experience as a married couple.

What you have instead — and what I would argue is the most deeply romantic thing of all — is this palpable, reassuring sense that it’s okay to be a human being. Because until you feel absolutely sure that you won’t eventually be abandoned, it’s maybe not 100 percent clear that any other human mortal can tolerate another human mortal.

Most people have never reached that 100% mark but it’s real and it’s spectacular. Six months after I got married, everything clicked and I knew that our love was to be unconditional. How can I say that? Isn’t it possible that  my wife will cheat on me or vice versa? I don’t know how to say this in any other way, but no. It’s not. And that’s what feels so good when I get out of the office every day to join my family for dinner.

You are both mortal and you’re both surviving, together, and you’re in this to the very end. You are both screwed, everything will be exactly this unexciting until one of you dies, and it’s the absolute greatest anyway.

Find me a happily married couple who would trade places with a happily single person. The fact that you can’t is a reminder of the redemptive power of partnership. It’s different than loving your best friend, your sister or your dog. It’s about having someone to slog through the tough times and celebrate the good ones – together. There’s nothing like it in the world.

So don’t let anyone tell you that marriage is comfortable and comforting but not romantic. Don’t let anyone tell you that living and dying together is some sad dance of codependent resignation. Our dumb culture tricks us into believing that romance is the suspense of not knowing whether someone loves you or not yet, the suspense of wanting to have sex but not being able to yet, the suspense of wanting all problems and puzzles to be solved by one person, without knowing if they have any time or affinity for your particular puzzles yet. We think romance is a mystery in which you add up clues that you will be loved. Romance must be carefully staged and art-directed, so everyone looks better than they usually do and seems sexier and better than they actually are, so the suspense can remain intact.

Strong relationships operate with metronomic consistency. I will wake up every morning next to my wife. I will fall asleep every night with my wife. I will go to church with her family for Christmas. She will fly to the East Coast to visit my family every year. We have theater tickets on Wednesdays at the Geffen and Fridays at the Taper. We reconnect over date night when one of us has been preoccupied with a personal project. Our excitement is a planned spontaneity – not the tingly confusion of early-phase dating based on whether I will be kind or act with integrity – but rather how we’re going to celebrate each others’ birthdays, or where we’re going to travel this year. We have no mystery. Just love.

It’s about having someone to slog through the tough times and celebrate the good ones – together. There’s nothing like it in the world.

How long can this glorious thing last? your eyes sometimes seem to ask each other. You, for one, really hope this lasts a whole hell of a lot longer. You savor the repetitive, deliciously mundane rhythms of survival, and you want to keep surviving. You want to muddle through the messiness of life together as long as you possibly can. That is the summit. Savor it. That is the very definition of romance.

With my wife, I am bulletproof. Without her, I don’t even know who I am anymore. That is the beauty of co-dependence. It’s not weak. It’s not needy. It’s not sad or pathetic. It’s about being part of something bigger than you – and being all in on it, forever.

I only hope that, if you don’t have a happy marriage now, you keep dating long enough to experience this feeling yourself. You may not know you have it for a good three years, but when you get there, I’m telling you, there’s no turning back.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

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Comments:

  1. 1
    NewlyMarriedWoman

    “Real love is based on transparency and comfort, not mystery.” — There is a great deal of truth here. I saw transparency in a man and the draw of it was magnetic. I wanted to be more like him. I felt he deserved back what he was giving.

    I dated for years, had relationships, had breakups, got back in the saddle, and had a divorce in the rear view mirror. After awhile, it is almost de rigueur to become cynical. I know that and lived it. But all I can tell you now is this is worth finding.

    This. is. worth. finding.

     

     

  2. 2
    Skaramouche

    For those having trouble with the link, it is easily fixed by adding an ‘l’ at the end to make html instead of htm!

    1. 2.1
      cindyp

      Thanks for letting us know the “l” was missing. It’s been added to the link.

  3. 3
    Christine

    Thanks for sharing this.  I really enjoyed reading it and hope to experience this myself.  No, romance isn’t that heady, tumultuous roller coaster our culture often promotes–but that consistency and rhythm.

    For me, the most romantic moments I’ve had weren’t the times we ate at a hip, fancy new restaurant or when he brought me flowers (although that was nice, don’t get me wrong).  It was when he immediately came over to my place and hugged me as I cried, after a particularly stressful day at work.  It was him taking care of me when I was sick, with a red nose that make me look like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (but much less cute!)  It’s been those moments when he made me feel safe letting my guard down and like I was still lovable, even during my worst moments.  To me, that’s what real love is.

  4. 4
    Noemi

    “You and your spouse are slogging through the slop of survival together.”

    I wish I could shout this phrase from the rooftops to a world that stubbornly clings to the stuff of fairytales.

    Every other day, I hear about a friend’s friend who turned down her boyfriend’s proposal because it wasn’t romantic enough–he didn’t have violinists playing romantic music.  He didn’t have anyone there to take pictures. It just wasn’t enough. I also hear about the girl who can’t rely on her fiancee to pick her up at the airport because he is too busy gambling at the casino to care.

    *sigh*

    Every day I work on improving myself so that I am the best person I can be for the man who sticks with me through thick and thin, for better or for worse…

     

     

     

     

     

     

  5. 5
    val

    “Find me a happily married couple who would trade places with a happily single person.”

    I can find you a lot of happy singles who wouldn’t trade places with any married person for a million dollars.

    You can make your point without all the self righteous superiority of the marrieds who walk on water recoiling from the pitiful single lepers.

    You can also stop selling the marriage self actualization fairytale. There’s a reason the divorce rate is 50%.

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      The divorce rate is not 50%. Never has been. In fact, for college educated women who marry after age 30 (my clients), it’s closer to 20%.

      As to your former point, (most) single people prefer being single to being in a bad marriage, because that’s all they’ve known. But I’ve never met a person who would rathet be alone than happily in love. Sorry.

      1. 5.1.1
        Stacy

        White women are considered the prize mostly to other white men…I do not believe it is so for other cultures and especially black men (maybe Asian)? Most black men marry black women overwhelmingly. Most people stay within their own race primarily.   Then again, I am originally a ‘foreigner’ and  have lived in three different countries.  So probably that’s what I have observed on the side of my neck of the woods.

        As far as why college educated people tend to have a lesser divorce rate. Honestly, I think the answer is much less sophisticated than you’ve proposed although I also see some good points in your post.

        College educated people tend to have a lesser divorce rate simply because they have more to lose more often than not. Also, when you go through the process of college (I have my Masters and went to an Ivy League school so I’ve seen the creme de la creme – fortunately and unfortunately), it does create a specific type of person. I can go into this in much more detail but I don’t think this blog is appropriate for me to develop this much further.  But overall, it creates a person who psychologically has created certain standards that may be different.  This transfers to marriage. I am NOT saying that college educated people are better in any way. However, the environment propels you to submit to the pressure to succeed…

        I have a friend, doctor, in an unhappy marriage. But she refuses to leave because of how it will affect her kids. She is determined to stick it out.  She would see a divorce as affecting her entire reputation amongst other things, and it would certainly affect the overall combined investments on behalf of the children and properties…etc. In other words, divorce would be too complicated. I love her to death but…this is how she feels.

         

         

      2. 5.1.2
        Christine

        That’s interesting, are white women really the “prize”? Just anecdotally speaking, I’m seeing more and more of my Asian girl friends marrying white men.  Me, my sister and another friend are actually the exceptions, in being with other Asians.  Before meeting my boyfriend, I dated men from a wide variety of backgrounds (white, black, Asian, Latin, mixed, you name it).  I have no statistics to prove this, but at least from what I’ve seen and experienced, there are substantial numbers of men open to dating (sometimes even marrying) an Asian woman.

        From what I’ve seen, all the black women I know are married to other black men (in fact, just congratulated one of them for celebrating her 10th anniversary).  Most, if not all, Asian men I know tend to prefer other Asian women.  I know there are exceptions to this too, obviously, but that’s the general pattern I’ve seen around me.

      3. 5.1.3
        KK

        Christine,

        SOME men think that Asian women are more submissive than other women and that is wherein the attraction lies. I think it’s racist and disgusting myself, but I have heard SOME men talk about this openly. They think an Asian woman will cook, clean, raise their children, support their dreams, allow them to do whatever they want, and adore them without wanting or expecting anything for themselves. They are looking for a one way relationship where they are the superior and their mate is inferior.

      4. 5.1.4
        Christine

        KK, tell me about it–unfortunately, I went through a lot of those experiences too.  I had to really learn how to distinguish between the men who had a genuine interest in me, and those who only liked me for some stupid stereotype of what they think Asian women are like.  Having said that, though, I did also date a lot of nice non-Asian men (who didn’t work out with me for a variety of reasons, but I think they’d be great catches for someone else).

        Actually, the funny thing is that in all those white man/Asian woman marriages I know, it’s the Asian woman who’s the “alpha” and really “wears the pants” LOL!  Those men are sorely mistaken if they think they’ll necessarily get some subservient and adoring house slave with an Asian woman.  One of these Asian women was a really aggressive litigator, who relished calling opposing counsel and yelling at them (and even now as a stay at home mom, she gets into constant battles with the other moms in those mommy-and-me groups).

        I really think the reason she’s with her white husband is because he’s a much quieter person, who is okay with her bossing him around the way she does.  I doubt any alpha male would even tolerate her.  Even she said she hoped her children would turn out nice and quiet like her husband, so it’d be easier for her (alas, her daughter is just like her so karma is about to give her payback!) 🙂

         

         

      5. 5.1.5
        KK

        Christine,

        Very funny about your friend and her daughter. My daughter has a very similar disposition and personality to me and let me tell you, she can be quite the pistol at times. 😀

      6. 5.1.6
        Christine

        KK, that cliche is so true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  My friend’s mother once yelled at her, “I hope you end up with a kid just like you!” (and sure enough, she did).

        My mother once said the same thing…and my sister ended up with my rambunctious nephew.  I wonder if that’s all coincidence. 🙂 (okay, it could also be genetics, but these kids could have just as easily inherited their dads’ mild-mannered dispositions)

      7. 5.1.7
        val

        Hold the phone. Your clients are college educated women who marry over 30, but they must have gotten divorced along the way since this is a blog on dating. The irony in your rebuttal is hiii–larious.

        Being unmarried does not mean being alone. You can actually be in a relationship – even a happy one!!!! – without being married. You can even be solo and have a very fulfilling life. Who knew?

         

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          This is a mind-numbing debate, Val. You’re putting words in my mouth that I didn’t state and you’re creating straw men to knock down. So let’s get a few things straight.

          1. The majority of my clients are:

          a) Never-married college-educated women in their 30’s who want to settle down and start families.
          b) Divorced women in their 40’s who often made poor relationship choices in their 20’s.

          I am a dating and relationship coach who helps these (and other) women understand men and find love. There is nothing ironic or hilarious about my clients; only in your willful desire to try to insult me.

          2. People don’t turn to me to “date” or lead a solo and fulfilling life. People turn to me because they want to get married. As such, all of my advice flows from that very premise. Thus, if you want to fly solo, more power to you. However, you have no grounds to stand on when you insult me.

          In other words, I don’t give a shit what you do in your personal clients. Since MY clients are looking for happy marriage and I have a happy marriage and statistics show that people in happy marriages are happier than single people, I will continue to do my job as I always have. Your defensiveness says nothing about me, only about your inability to parse advice that is not intended for you.

          You are akin to the person who gets mad at a vegetarian blog for not teaching how to season a steak. For the life of me, I don’t see why.

        2. val

          That may be true but I then don’t care much for vegetarians who can only feel good about their choices by looking down on meat eaters either.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t look down on you for being single; I frown upon you for attacking me without logic or merit.

      8. 5.1.8
        Em

        Stacy, you are right. 90% of married black men have a black spouse. Even among married black men making over 100k the number is still over 80%.

        i would also posit that people with higher incomes also divorce less because they have fewer stessors related to finances. A couple that can afford to hire help around the house and pay for high quality child care has more time to spend with each other and less pressure over division of household labor (a HUGE cause of resentment in many marriages) A couple that isn’t worried about how the mortgage is getting paid next month has mental space and resources for date nights and weekend getaways without the kids.

        There is also still a lot of pressure on men to be providers. That can’t be overlooked as a reason for a higher divorce rate among lower income couples.

        i would be interested to see the divorce stats on college educated wives broken out by those currently working and those not working outside the home.

      9. 5.1.9
        Em

        I think a distinction must be made between income and class. I live in the DMV and here men in some blue collar professions can make over 100k if they get into a union or follow a certain career path, while there’s no shortage of men and women with 3 and 4 degrees and 150k in student loan debt making way below average incomes at civil service jobs, think tanks, and nonprofits. Is it just about income?

        if I’m a woman in a white collar job with multiple degrees making 50k married to a man in a blue collar job making 100k, is the dynamic different than the white collar woman making 100k with the blue collar man making 50k?

        I have quite a few friends that fit into both categories. Where I see it working out the best is when the man grew up in a blue collar environment and is able to enjoy the  lifestyle typical of his upbringing, he gets to work in a job where he uses his hands but still enjoy a comfortable household income and outdoorsy and “man hobbies” on the weekends, etc. It also works out well when the man prefers the homebody role taking care of the house and kids and the woman is more career driven.

        I guess essentially when everyone is ok to live the roles that make them happy without constantly measuring themselves against some cultural ideal. But families and friends can be brutal. A friend of mine going through a divorce now would have been happy to be the breadwinner had she not been subjected to years of negativity directed toward her husband from her parents who felt he wasn’t good enough. It wore just them down and they turned on each other.

      10. 5.1.10
        Em

        “Black men, often have to settle for the women they can attract. That most people remain mated within their race does not automatically refute what I’ve said.”
        8 out of 10 black men making over 100k marry black women. I would hardly say these men have no options. They are choosing black wives.
        “So, we can clearly see, that just being a Black man and seeking a wife of another race, especially White, dramatically raises your chances of divorce.”
        “There’s no doubt in my mind as to the source and reason why this is: because White women especially, are considered the “prized” women in American society and Black men pose a serious sociosexual threat to many White men.”
        I don’t see how white men’s feelings about black men have any bearing on how marriages between black men and non-black women work out.

      11. 5.1.11
        Em

        I can assure you that my friends and I all had many choices in men and married the person we wanted to marry, as did our husbands, whether they make more than us or less than us.

        I’m relaying my experiences and what I see among the people I know. These are experiences, not opinions, and they aren’t for you to agree with or disagree with. 
        I can also assure you that the 9 of 10 and 8 of 10 statistics hold up very well in the DMV, an area of the country that happens to have the highest concentration of black wealth in the nation.

      12. 5.1.12
        Em

        “One, the entire Black upper middle class makes up, if that, about ONE percent of the total Black US population. Of course, this would include Black women. My point being, that you’re talking about, by definition, a rather small Black male demographic.”

        That’s irrelevant. Even if the population of rich black men is .001%, over 80% of them are chosing black wives. It’s not a matter of the percentage of black men who are upper middle class, because in America the percentage of non-black women will always be far higher than percentage of black women. In other words, either way, they will always have far more non-black women to chose from. But they’re still choosing black women.
        “Two, that there are degrees of “Blackness” here. I would like to think you would agree that there’s a difference between say, Lupita N’yongo and Paula Patton, yes? Most Black men who are in the SES strata you speak of tend to get the upper echelons of Black women who one doesn’t typically come across in more poorer and urban Black American settings. Which is where a disproportionate amount of Black American men are.”

        Once again, irrelevant. 90% of all black American married men, and that includes the poor ones, are married to black women. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not a one of these men was forced to marry a black woman at gunpoint. If they weren’t attracted to black women, they could have stayed single or married a non-black woman.

        “It’s simple, really: White men can, have, and continue to be able to exert their will on these pairings, in all manner of ways. This is historically documented in terms of lynchings and other forms of racial violence visited onto Black men (Sammy Davis, Jr. actually lost an eye behind this, in fact), and, as White men still are very much in control of the levers of social, political and economic power, quite a few can and have made life very difficult for Black men with White wives. Then, there’s the very kinds of familial tensions you spoke of in your last comment, only this time directed at the Black man and to an extension White woman (please review the film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” for more on this point). There are numerous other examples. A cursory study of American history in this regard will suffice.”

        I’ll say this. I am not a black man. I can’t speak from experience on what it is like to be a black man married to a white woman. However I have many black male friends and family members who have dated and/or married white women, and I can’t recall one saying they lived in fear of being lynched in 2016 because their partners are white, and I can’t recall any of their white wives or gf citing fear of violence as a reason for breaking up with them. This is my experience though. Perhaps yours is different.

        What about Latina, Asian and Native American women? Marriages between those women and black men also have higher than average divorce rates. Are Latino, Asian and Native American men exerting control over these relationships and causing them to break up too?

        As for family pressure, most people (excluding those who married a stranger in a drunken Vegas wedding) know the views of their family about their SO long before they tie the knot. The reality is that if someone allows family disapproval to break up their marriage, that’s a choice they made. My friend who succumbed to pressure from her family and divorced her husband was no victim. She chose to put her family ahead of her husband. No one made her do that.

        It’s also noteworthy that marriages between black women and white men have signficantly lower divorce rates. I guess those same white men are quite open to marrying black women and potentially having black sons…providing their half black half white sons don’t marry white women?

        What you seem to be saying without coming out and saying it is that most black men would prefer to be with non-black women or the top 1% of black women, but most don’t have that option (because they’re low income or because white men are racist), so they marry black women as a last resort. Am I correct?

        You also seem to be insinuating that black women and/or white men are the primary cause of black men’s relationship problems and/or failures but black men themselves despite being 50% of the relationship somehow bear less culpability. Am I also correct on that?

      13. 5.1.13
        KK

        Em,

        You’ve made excellent points against Obsidian. Others on here have as well. He will never validate you or anyone else. I’m not sure what his agenda is, but he’s angry he isn’t able to attract the kind of women he’d like to. He has said that his race, stature, looks, income, and lack of a college degree is keeping him from being attractive to these women. Instead of accepting his lack of value in the dating market and attempting to date within his own “league”, he feels that women should just lower their standards. Laughable, isn’t it? But obsidian doesn’t think it’s funny. He’s angry and will criticize any women who are actually on his own level. He doesn’t seem to see the absurdity of his argument or what a hypocrite he is.

      14. 5.1.14
        Em

        [Evan something seems to be wrong with the spacing so I am posting this again]

        Obsidian,

        I’m not refusing to grapple with anything. It’s pure math. Can’t argue with that 

         

        “Some are more desirable than others” can be said about any group on the planet.

         

        So can “men want the hottest chicks they can get” be said about every group. If you believe white men as a rule are all pairing up with supermodels while men of color all get the shaft, you may want to observe the world around you a little more closely. This blog alone tells a very different reality, as does simply strolling around any mall in America on a Saturday afternoon.

         

        I am not one who engages in the BM/BW blame game. There’s enough blame to go around. I would be happy if everyone that comes with a laundry list of reasons why BM/BW are “the problem” would turn that pointed finger around on themselves. Change starts with the individual. We are only responsible for ourselves and can only ask of others what we are willing to do ourselves.

         

        I’m also not one to see myself as a victim. Of anything. It’s worked quite well for me so far, and I’ve never had to settle — in my relationships, in my career, in my life.

         

        Obsidian, it’s really simple. If black women are not to your liking, you don’t need to date or associate with them. There is no law that says you do. It’s OK and it’s your choice. It really is… that… simple. We live in a country where black people are 13% of the population and are concentrated in specific areas. It should not be all that hard to find a place where non-black women are the norm.

         

        If you want the best women, are you the best man you can be? As corny as it sounds, I am married to what I think is one of best the black men out there, and I attracted him by being the best me I could be. And for clarification, yes, I think there are a lot of good BM out there.

         

        I’m quite confused as to why you responded to my comments about the experiences of my social circle with “I agree/disagree” and your interpretation of their life choices when you don’t know them, and when I said these are there experiences not opinions, you said my friends were not the topic of discussion. And then you attack me for sharing personal anecdotes as not the “sum of data” — which I did not claim they were — but then try and refute my points with your own anecdotes. It’s making me dizzy.

         

        Lastly I do not live in Prince George’s County. There are black people througout the DMV, not just in PG, Baltimore or Southeast DC.

         

      15. 5.1.15
        Em

        Thank you KK. Hs seems to be much more invested in just aruging than actually processing what anyone else is saying. I get the sense I could responding by agreeing 100% with every word he writes and he would still attempt to disgree and fight with me.

      16. 5.1.16
        Em

        You want the last word, Obsidian, take it. I’m done here.

        Sorry Evan were you telling me not to feed the trolls? 🙂

      17. 5.1.17
        KK

        O,

        I didn’t lie. You’ve said exactly those things in your numerous comments on numerous posts. One example is this direct quote by you:

         
        “But, therein lies the rub, isn’t it? I mean, if, as you’ve said upthread, a shorter/older/less accomplished/etc guy must settle for a woman like himself, what he and everyone else IS saying, is that they SHOULD force themselves to date women they aren’t attracted to (and vice-versa). Otherwise, they’d be attracted to them right from the rip, but since they are where they’re from, i.e., the undesirable, it’s hard to see how or why an undesirable person can or should see a fellow undesirable person as, you know, desirable. It simply doesn’t make any sense, and yet Evan simply refuses to directly address this in rational, logical terms. He only offers trite platitudes and rom-com claptrap that really functions to make everyone BUT the person(s) involved, feel better about their notions about human mating, life and love (read: sex, etc.) are supposed to work. As I’ve often said here and elsewhere, no 3 is jumping up and down for joy at the prospect of paring off with another 3 or worse.”

      18. 5.1.18
        Evan Marc Katz

        Dude, you’re hijacking my blog. I try really hard to let you do your thing, but at a certain point, it really just gets tiresome. You suck up so much oxygen that it leaves very little for the original question or the other commenters. Once again, I suggest you invest your time frequenting a blog whose core audience is more receptive to your theories. Otherwise, you’re the equivalent of a Ted Cruz on a Bernie Sanders site. You’re converting no one, upsetting everyone, and mostly wasting your time and everyone else’s. Forgive the clunky political analogies since I’m not comparing you to Ted Cruz, but you have to admit, these “dialogues” are mental masturbation. It’s why I don’t engage with you anymore. So please, you’re not being banned – you’re being encouraged to take your theories to a more receptive audience, since they’re not really gaining any traction here. Posting longer, louder, more heavily cited comments isn’t going to do the trick.

      19. 5.1.19
        Adrian

        Evan,

         

        This sound like I’m being facetious, but I’m serious, maybe we regular commenters can start warning new people about the futility of engaging Obsidian.

         

        Evan 10 of your most venomous critics take up less room in the comment section than 1 of Obsidian’s comments; plus at least we learn something from those critics.

      20. 5.1.20
        Evan Marc Katz

        Obsidian,

        I’m done with you. You have the uncanny ability to see yourself in a completely different light than you are seen by others. You are not respectful. You are sarcastic, condescending, acidic, and so convinced of the superiority of your positions that you regularly fail to concede the validity of others. You think you have a monopoly on truth, but you fail to see that opinion is different than truth. You don’t see your own hypocrisy. You are hypersensitive to perceived unfair criticism of men, and yet you are aggressively insensitive to the valid desires of women. You take quotes out of context – like the one where I made a point to say that I was not ACTUALLY comparing you to Ted Cruz – and you still act falsely aggrieved. You play the card that you have the evenhandedness of a Supreme Court justice, when, in fact, you as blindly partisan as the former Justice Scalia. Finally, you seem to think you’re being singled out and that my blog is an echo chamber. You evidently have seem to have skipped over the thousands of other critical comments that have appeared on my posts since 2007. You’re not being singled out for being a superior debater; you’re being singled out for being superiorly exhausting. I’m sorry you find my echo-y blog “boring”, but at least you find yourself fascinating. You may enjoy preaching to your own choir, but from here on in, you’re not going to preach to mine.

        I’ve tried to be patient with you and hoped you’d improve, but you’re the same guy you were when you baited me and ripped me on JustFourGuys and the same guy who’s trying to make a buck ripping me in his podcast. The right to free speech means you can do whatever you want on your blog; it doesn’t give you the right to do whatever you want on mine.

        Enjoy your red pill. Enjoy your bile. Enjoy your trolling. Enjoy life alone. But from now on, leave me out of it.

  6. 6
    Florrie

    why it’s really important to let the excitement and chemistry wear off? and how to do that?

     

    1. 6.1
      jo

      When you’re in the ‘honeymoon’ phase you can’t see a person’s flaws – so you haven’t yet really gotten to know your partner. Probably a bad idea to move in together or even marry before you know someone.

      Time is all you need – the lust effect starts to diminish after 6 months in my experience. Evan suggests waiting 18 months plus before marrying.

  7. 7
    LYNN C.

    Hello Evan:  I have been following your blog for many years.  I remember when the love bug bit you and you let the world know that you were going to get married.  I was elated!  I was thoroughly overjoyed at the birth of your two beautiful children.  You and your wife are the epitome of joy and love in a very successful marriage.  Marriage is a most blessed occurrence and is to be cherished throughout the years.  You are spot on in everything you say!  When two people can trust each other implicitly, their marriage will thrive, survive and grow!  I know this from experience.   This article brings to mind the statement “grow old with me for the best is yet to be”.    Evan, as always, you rock!

  8. 8
    Stacy

    @Evan

    People could deny it all they want. Unless you are dealing with a ‘special’ type of hurt or hatred or have another plethora of issues, I have NEVER met anyone who would rather be alone than HAPPILY coupled.  It is against human nature.

  9. 9
    Tracy

    To Evan’s point, I think there are several reasons the divorce rate is only 20% for women who marry over the age of 30 and are college educated. Firstly, education provides economic security. Economic instability and poverty have the potential create tremendous stress and discord in families. Secondly, the older you marry, the more experienced and wiser you are, and the more likely you will make a better decision. Would love to hear other’s thoughts as well.

  10. 10
    Em

    Ok Evan so I loved what you wrote, but a little mystery is good, right? Keeps things exciting 🙂

  11. 11
    Caroline

    I wanted to chime in on Christine and KK’s discussion earlier in this thread about race, marriage, etc.  The biggest factor I’ve seen personally for mixed ethnicity marriages have been because of greater exposure to different cultures. I have a niece who just married a wonderful man of Chinese decent (they met in college), I have a nephew who married a Russian girl (was visiting the states-they met at a party), I have two nieces who are the breadwinner in their beautiful little families and another niece and her husband who have chosen not to have kids. Their generation definitely reflects  changing social attitudes. The one thing  these couples have in common is they have similar values and beliefs in general. I think like architecture; you can build any style/type/mixed building you desire; the foundation just has to be secure.

    1. 11.1
      Em

      Caroline, I know you weren’t directing your comment at me but I hope you don’t mind my 2 cents anyway. If so please disregard.

      You hit the nail on the head about having beliefs and values in common. That’s one thing about living in diverse, progressive areas in that many of us are aware of how we can be more alike than we are different. I’m not denying the unique experiences of people of color in America than white people do not face, or that IR couples can face additional pressures on their marriages which very well may vary from place to place and family to family. But from what I’ve observed, one of the biggest problems tends to be when people date outside of their race because of a perceived universal character flaw in men or women of their own group or because of stereotypical notions they harbor. Until they start encountering the same relationship problems they had when dating people from their own race. As is often said, we tend to keep dating the same person over and over (unless we choose to become more self aware of our own role in our relationship failures) and I think a lot of these people find out pretty quickly that changing the scenery doesn’t change who we fundamentally are.

      I’ve never understood why people feel the need to demonize all men or women of their own race, as opposed to just saying they’re more attracted men or women of another race, but then are extremely vocal about their discontent with being stereotyped themselves.

      Before we met my husband and I both dated and had IR; in fact I was engaged to a white Jewish man in my 20s. I’ve had a few people ask if we broke up because of race. We broke up because we knew but didn’t want to admit that we were way too young to get married and had lot more growing to do and things to experience, and we made some dumb choices rather than face up to our reality, as young people tend to do J

       

      1. 11.1.1
        Caroline

        Thank you for your input Em:)

        i just posted down here out of the fray. I avoid reading and interaction with any troll. It proves just to be a futile exercise IMO.

  12. 12
    SparklingEmerald

    From the OP  “Real love is based on transparency and comfort, not mystery.”

    Yes, thanks for this.  Most dating advice is based on gamesmanship and trying to gain the upper hand by pretending to be the one who cares the least.  I don’t think this gospel of indifference is doing anything at all to help promote happy relationships.

    Weather it’s “The Rules” for women or “Dr Love” from “Ask Men” there is no shortage of “Act like you don’t give a rip” advice for both genders.

    One advisor to males claims that women are drawn to “mystery” and “challenge”.  To me that translates to “evasive” and “difficult”.  I can see a little bit of “cat and mouse” in the extreme early stages of a relationship, but I can’t see keeping someone at arms length indefinitely.  The reasoning seems to be that the one cares the least is the “winner”, but what exactly have they won ?

    1. 12.1
      Caroline

      Great point Sparkling Emerald. Relationships are challenging enough without advice that puts partners in manipulative power struggles.

    2. 12.2
      SMC

      Sparkling Emerald,

      Very true.  Pretending to be the one who cares least is exhausting and frustrating.  A little mystery is fine, and I occasionally joke about it with my guy.  He doesn’t need to see me shaving my legs or any other number of “maintenance” chores, and I don’t need to see HIS personal maintenance processes either.  That, to me, is the “mystery” of a good relationship, not trying to pretend like one of us cares less than the other.

      So far I’m able to keep the hair coloring process to myself because we still live apart, but if the day should come where we move in together (and we lightly touched on the subject last night), I’m not sure how to keep THAT a mystery.  And it does need to be kept a mystery.  🙂

      1. 12.2.1
        Caroline

        SMC-that’s funny:)

        Maybe you can color your hair with the door locked? Ha. My oldest son took a pic of me when he was getting his haircut (we have same stylist)-he said the reflection from all that foil burned his eyes permanently! I’ve been coloring my hair so long I really  don’t remember my real color-I think it was Loreal 105?!

    3. 12.3
      Christine

      That’s funny.  Hopefully, there’s more than one bathroom so one person can use it for “secret” processes behind a locked door, and the other person can use the other bathroom!  Some things should stay a mystery.  I think my guy is still recovering from this time he saw me in a face mask and wondered who I was LOL!  I learned to lock the door during those moments. 🙂

      But that really is the extent of the mystery.  Our feelings for each other certainly aren’t.  Even at the beginning, we never played “cat and mouse” games.  We weren’t sure yet where things would go, but we certainly let each other know that we liked each other and wanted to spend more time together.  One time he jokingly asked if he should be more of an elusive “bad boy” (and I told him, honestly, that the day he became one is the day I would leave him–I had enough of that before and there’s a reason I’m not with them now).

      1. 12.3.1
        SMC

        Caroline, me too re: my “real” color, except now the roots are white instead of dark. I have Irish skin (read: ruddy cheeks) and gray hair just doesn’t look right next to it.  I’ll be coloring my hair to my grave.  🙂

        Christine, definitely we will have to have two bathrooms.  I have said for years (make that decades), that the secret to a happy relationship is two bathrooms, and more so now than in the past.  I laughed out loud at your comment about the mask.  Yet something else that needs to be a “mystery.”  I’m done with playing any sort of “cat and mouse” games.  We’re in our 11th month, and if I can’t be honest and up front with my feelings and expect the same from him, then we need to move on.  My guy is very, VERY cautious about expressing his feelings but I’m seeing him let go more and more with his affections, so progress is being made.

        Evan, thanks for this post.  I loved it.

        1. Christine

          SMC & Caroline, hair color is yet another mystery I’ll have, in the future!  Unfortunately, with jet black hair, I don’t think greys or whites will look good with it at ALL.  Then I’d get a “skunk” look and feel like Pepe Le Pew (but without that cheesy French accent and unrequited love for a cat, LOL!)

          I know what you mean, my guy can be reserved and cautious about expressing feelings too.  But he does try to let me know how he feels and most of all, his actions clearly show it.  That’s more than enough for me. 🙂 In fact, I learned to beware of the guys with flowery compliments, with no actions to back them up!

           

           

           

        2. SMC

          Christine, you’re right, and every time I think I miss those pretty words, I just look at his actions and KNOW how he feels about me.  We just came back from a road trip to Missouri (from Texas) to take his grown daughter’s dog back to her (he was dog sitting for 3 weeks) and he asked me to join him so I could meet her.  I’m the first girlfriend that he’s asked to do so which says volumes.

          The ex-wife was part of the package (she and the daughter live together) and we spent several very pleasant hours together over the weekend.  He’s had a lot of bad experiences in the past with girlfriends being jealous of the two, so I’m sure he was happy with how this trip turned out.  I feel that it has unlocked some of the affection he’s been holding back.  (Or “mushy stuff” as he calls it.)  🙂

        3. Christine

          The cliche is true that actions speak louder than words!  His action in taking you to meet his daughter and ex-wife means a lot.  To me, that says that he sees a future with you, so he’s integrating you with the rest of his life.  It also takes a tremendous amount of trust, for him to introduce you to such important people in his life.

          I once dated someone who whispered all sorts of sweet nothings in my ear.  But then, his actions really never matched up to those.  My guy now isn’t so flowery, but his actions tell me how he really feels.  Just about anyone can whisper sweet nothings.  But it takes someone else entirely to actually stand by you when the chips are down, and pick you up when you’re not at your best.  For that reason, I don’t miss those sweet nothings at all (which were basically just window dressing to hide what was missing).

  13. 13
    Rebecca

    The happiest years of my life were when I was married, and there is nothing in my life now that is more precious to me than my relationship with my sweet boyfriend.  I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say I “need” a man in my life – clearly I _survived_ the years after my divorce – but I suspect the human brain’s significant investment in language and the oxytocin response is because it’s pretty basic to intensely crave people who know you and love you and have your back.

  14. 14
    j

    Evan,

    Your post speaks volumes to me.  I am not married, but in a relationship that is like your marriage or what you describe as a happy marriage.  It is the best and, honestly I never thought I would get there.  I finally understand what it means to be in a happy and healthy relationship.  It scares me sometimes, because it seems too good to be true, but it is.  I can’t believe I finally have what I’ve been looking for.  I’ve been reading your blog for about a year after I had a terrible breakup with my crazy ex.  I don’t think I would have known the definition of  a happy relationship without you.  Thanks!!!

  15. 15
    GL

    This is so sweet. Love should be easy. I think about my long term friendships and we’ve simply clicked really well, and I’ve had some kind of fight with them which we moved past with flying colors. I think the last guy I dated really solidified that there doesn’t need to be all this BS dtama involving dating. In fact I’ve become more “zen,” and introspective as a result. In fact I’m approaching 35 and I don’t even care that I’m alone.

  16. 16
    AllHeart81

    I thought this was beautiful, hilarious and poignant. Real intimacy is messy. Real intimacy is romance.

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