Marriage Grass Greener?
November 2, 2011 § 59 Comments
One of my best friends, in many ways one of the more remarkable people I know, calls a spade a spade.
She reads my posts every day with astonishing loyalty, support and enthusiasm and is always full of constructive criticism and compliments. She says this blog helps her realise the good things about her marriage – I think it’s great, for so many reasons, that married people also read this stuff – and to put the various struggles within it into perspective. But she did say to me last night that I wasn’t to think that being married was all a bed of roses. Of course I know that, but the way she said it, so forthright and frank and honest, pulled me up short. I have so busily been ploughing the furrow which dictates that marriage-is-marvellous and planktonhood-is-shit, that I am definitely guilty of forgetting my married friends also have their crosses to bear, and in many cases they are not inconsiderable crosses.
You name it: infidelity; lack of communication; no money or too much (can’t say the heart entirely bleeds at that latter one!); mammoth selfishness; mid-life crises; unkindness; workaholism or indolence; illness, mental or otherwise; the list goes on – and on. I have, for example, three gorgeous girlfriends whose husbands have not had sex with them for anything between three and ten years. Don’t know why. Either out-sourcing or gay or bored or turned-off or psychologically troubled or who knows? Whatever, it’s all very well me looking at married folk and thinking it’s all scented fucking candles and significant back-rubs, hit-the-ceiling orgasms and cunting till kingdom come, but the reality can sometimes be at best prosaic, at worst, hidden marital rejection on a massive scale. The wives don’t want to leave their husbands because they recognise they are a good couple and do love each other in so many ways, history together, children, and all that, but the sex has not just vaguely dwindled, it has entirely disintegrated. At least if you are a plankton that it not necessarily the case and, even if it is, then times are – however dodgy and infrequent – when at least it’s on the cards. No sex within an otherwise happy or plodding-along-nicely marriage is riven with complication, fear, heartache. It doesn’t bear thinking about, but it’s out there, very real, and very commonplace and, for sure, breeds a hurt and shame that is up there with the worst aspects of being a plankton.
I am a woman of the world. I know that the grass is not particularly green the other side of the fence from where I am standing (the stubble in my field was torched relatively recently – divorce – but there is now the odd weed beginning to put in an appearance). From what I can see, the marrieds’ field is perhaps more bright yellow than glorious green, (call it mustard on a good day, rape on a bad) so perhaps there is not all that much between us? There again, there kind of is (I cannot betray my plankton-statehood quite so cravenly!) A generalisation, I own, but however bad marriage, planktonhood is on the whole still shit, shit, shittier. I loved being married to my husband, even if the marriage itself had its imperfections. There were more good things about it than being a plankton, even if I must grudgingly admit that being a plankton has about it some good things too. But not enough. My field is covered pretty comprehensively in a solid, thick layer of shit.
I told my lovely Spade friend (she has an allotment, so perhaps that’s a good name for her, though I hasten to say she doesn’t look like a spade, more like an angel) that for all her struggles, she would be better off sticking with the program. She knows it too. There may be several reasons to leave him, but one trumps them all. She loves him and he loves her. End of story.
Quite apart from the fact that the world can’t be doing with any more plankton, especially ones who may be called Spade but who have the faces, hearts and souls of angels.
Present plankton can’t be doing with any more competition than that with which we already have to contend, thank you very much. Period.