Time can have a damaging affect on a couple. Not necessarily because of the two involved, but because of what goes on around them.
Time can steal away what makes you you.
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This past year and a half has proved to be more than challenging for me and le man. With life throwing more than our fair share of rubbish at us, we’ve found ourselves having to deal with issues that older couples than us would struggle with. We’ve not been able to catch a break, with one thing after another hurling itself at us, trying with all its might to batter down the barricade we had built up around us.
And for a while, we’ve been in a state of giving up. We surrendered to the trials of Time and stood, mouths open in vague shock, limbs frozen in an ice block of stone, while bits of ourselves were chipped away in the onslaught.
The problem was not the things we had to face. We faced them with bravado and gumption, and came out the other side changed – older, wiser. In that respect, we were a strong couple. A triumphant couple, standing the test of Time.
But it’s not just about longevity in a relationship. Our real problem has emerged in the aftermath: over Time, we lost the little bits that made us the individuals we fell in love with in the first place.
Le man stopped playing the games he loved, and watching the things he enjoyed. He stopped drinking in the pub with his friends and getting Chinese take-out. He stopped surprising people with visits and laughter, and stopped driving any place new to look at the stars.
I stopped spending time with friends, and writing and reading in the sun. I stopped staying up late, talking until the early hours about increasingly obscure topics. I stopped singing in choirs and dancing in thunder storms.
Now neither one of us are ourselves, and as a result, we have stopped being US.
We are stuck in a state of limbo, loving and not knowing each other. We are lashing out and saying hurtful things…ultimately I think, because we miss each other. These past few days have been full of conversations, of letters written to each other by shaking hand, of tentative promises filled with hope, and embraces by starlight that are slowly knitting us back together.
It is so easy to be swallowed up by time, to allow your own individuality to disappear amongst the beauty and intricacies of you as part of a couple. It is easy to stop being a me and become a you and me. It is what drives a wedge between people, what seeps into the purity of love and poisons happiness with resentment. When you are faced with it, it is a Mount Everest, it is Dante’s trip through Hell and back, it is a deep sea dive with no oxygen to buoy you to the surface. But in reality, it is simple.
Stop tip-toeing around the relationship. If you aren’t working as a unit, maybe that’s because neither of you are working as a singularity. Don’t walk away from the love, just get out there. Go and find out who you are.
And then run back to the one you love to tell them all about it and share that new nugget of you with them.
You don’t have to be identical in order to work. Two mismatched socks work just as well as matching – and in fact, they make a much more interesting statement.
So this coming week, I am going to share a cocktail with my best friend and sister. I am going to dance in any storm that comes my way. I am going to sing along with the radio in the morning. And then I am going to run into the arms of the man I love to tell him all about it, and laugh until the early hours of the morning.
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Time can have a damaging affect on a couple. But a couple? A couple can fight back and heal.
A couple can become reborn.