I‘m on vacation and my friend and former client, John Smith (yes, that is his real name) wants your input on a provocative post about relationships. More about him at the end, but he’s getting famous and you want to know him. Not just because of that. Because he’s a fascinating guy.
Do All Love Relationships Have An Expiration Date On Them?
By John L. Smith
When Carol first asked me if I wanted to be a guest blogger, I had just finished replying a snarky comment about an aspect of relationships that she had posed. I don’t know if I even adequately expressed my feelings about the subject she had thrown out, but I couldn’t resist adding in a long-evolved cynicism I had about long-term relationships.
I grew up in an era where Ward Cleaver came home from work and continued to wear a suit in the evenings after dinner as he read the newspaper. June was in the kitchen, still wearing her apron and string of pearls. She was apparently all alone and doing the dishes by hand, even though dishwashers had been invented, and Ward’s hands appeared to not have been broken. Wally and the Beave were upstairs doing homework using sticks of graphite lead to write with on paper. If the phone rang, it was always Eddie Haskell. Wally then had to come downstairs, take the receiver from his father and talk to Eddie in “public”.
I know that things change. Relationships between adults certainly have as well.
But I nevertheless can’t help thinking of the Cleavers today. Of what they would be like. Assuming Ward and June weren’t both dead from heart attacks or had been bitterly divorced for decades. Instead, I wonder of the days when Ward and June were retired… (Well, when Ward was retired, let’s say. June had done housework her whole life, so she had been sort of retired all along. Hey, I’m kidding, folks).
But I still can’t envision Ward, now heavily obese and bald, snoring like a commercial aircraft in his tilted-back Lazy-Boy downstairs. June upstairs with her gravel voice from 60 years of unfiltered Winston’s and wagon loads of wine. June would look down the stairs at Ward and think, “You disgust me”.
That light thought brings me to my questions I pose to Carol’s astute and enlightened audience:
Do all love relationships have an expiration date on them?
Are they bar-coded from the beginning to start spoiling just because of human nature?
Is it because people change over time? By time, I mean decades upon eons of decades… when our ancestors would’ve been dead from the Plague or eaten by mastodons, we’re still married to the same person. Is it because society expects… no… puts unrealistic demands upon couples to remain together… no matter what. To stay married long after the relationship should’ve been taken back to where it was bought, receipt or no receipt.
Can two people even coexist in the same universe if he constantly watches FOX News and always stays pissed off, while she’s always going to book club meetings and adopting feral cats?
Is it inevitable that just over time, two people who used to love each other and have their hearts do spasms if the other person entered the room, now just barely accommodate the other? Or even recognize the existence of the other?
Do all love relationships eventually go bad?
Thoughts on this one? Anyone?
John L. Smith is a retired corporate communications manager for a Florida energy company who, after retirement, reinvented himself as an actor. As an active SAG-AFTRA member, he has appeared in many films, TV shows, commercials, and corporate training videos. In spring-summer of 2014, he was Robert Redford’s stand-in and photo double for the filming of “A Walk in the Woods”. He’s busy writing a “factual, but funny” book about the American Revolution. Excerpts have been published in The Journal of the American Revolution, Knowledge Quest, The National Review, Smithsonian Magazine and other publications.