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“Plus, I was already old when we met,” David continued. “I wasn’t some immature kid in my 20s. Chances are, a person isn’t going to change that much after a certain age.”

“You forgot the most important reason,” I said. David raised his brows in expectation.

“Communication. So many people are afraid to share their thoughts with their partners for fear of a negative reaction, so they end up suppressing their emotions or not being honest about their feelings. You and me, we talk about everything openly, and I can’t remember either one of us ever throwing out accusations.”

I was beginning to like this exercise of questioning why our relationship worked instead of wondering if it didn’t. “You know what else I’ve been curious about?” I said in a playful tone. “Is exactly what it is about each other we find so attractive. You go first.”

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bohemianopus Aug. 19, 2009 @ 2:28 p.m.

This is great! You have pretty much "nailed" all the secrets to a successful relationship.

And from experience (I've been married 36 years), you both have the ingredients required to bake a delicious, long-lasting relationship. Topped with whipped cream.

Pat

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bohemianopus Aug. 19, 2009 @ 2:34 p.m.

That should read:

This is great! You have pretty much "nailed" all the secrets to a successful relationship.

And based on my experience (I've been married 36 years), you both have the ingredients required to bake a delicious, long-lasting relationship. Topped with whipped cream.

Pat

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gardenparty Aug. 19, 2009 @ 2:59 p.m.

I was married at one time;in college. We made it about 1/2 way to the seven year itch. Money led to our demise. Well actually, I guess the money issue just hastened the demise that was probably coming anyway. It wasn't lack of money, though. We actually came into a large sum and she decided she would rather take her half and run, I guess. My girlfriend and I have been together 17 yrs next month, so I guess you could say we've passed the "itch" twice now. I was 32 and she was 28. We have had almost the exact same conversation that you had, several times. Only ours has usually been precipitated by the breakup/divorce of someone we know. I don't know if the fact that we had already known each other for about 12 years has helped, but I'm sure it hasn't hurt. I agree with number 1 that you have pretty muched nailed the things that make make a realtionship not just work, but continue to grow. Especially the communication part.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 19, 2009 @ 3:50 p.m.

Hmmm.... I am after the "antigeekess", and I can't figure out what I am doing wrong....maybe I can try some of the stuff here.

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SDaniels Aug. 19, 2009 @ 9:14 p.m.

Well, you should probably start with house-training, and working on that unsightly slobber. Sure you probably look cute when you roll over and wag your tail, but then there is that nasty problem of digging up the flower beds, and always choosing the wrong places to bury your bone...

sorry Puppy, but you trotted right into that one ;)

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antigeekess Aug. 19, 2009 @ 9:36 p.m.

"...and always choosing the wrong places to bury your bone..."

I'm sure he does. There was that toothless Bichon Frise he went out with, for example. ;)

One thing's for sure: No chance of burying it here.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 19, 2009 @ 9:53 p.m.

Wow.....the puppy hate runs strong in this thread......

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seymour Aug. 19, 2009 @ 11:49 p.m.

I definitely think that they have nailed what works in a relationship generally. However, I also think that Barb and David have put themselves in a position (and kudos for them) where they don’t have a lot of the stressors that cause the majority of problems in other relationships, the most obvious being (1) no kids or desire to have kids (probably number one stressor/life style change for most couples); (2) no apparent financial concerns (other than kids, probably number one stressor); (3) freedom provided by having a lot money and not having kids (corollary to items 1 and 2); (4) stable in careers; and (5) older and all around more secure in life. Obviously they are happy and should be commended for having made the choices in life that led to items (1) through (5), but comparing their relationship to others who have those stressors is not realistic. I think that a lot of people have very happy relationships when they are at the point in life where they don’t have to deal with items (1) through (5), but a big part of life is going through those experiences and coming out of them intact. It is when you go through those stressors with another person when the mettle of the relationship is really tested. I wish Barb would write more about that rather than how perfect her life and relationship are as I think then we would truly get to know her and really see the strength of her writing.

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bohemianopus Aug. 20, 2009 @ 8:29 a.m.

"...but comparing their relationship to others who have those stressors is not realistic."

I disagree. My husband and I did not want kids. After seven years of marriage, we had an "oopsie." We didn't have to go through with the pregnancy, but made the choice to completely rearrange our lives and do so. That was 30 years ago.

As pointed out in this piece, having stress is not the only thing that pulls a couple apart. Some folks just get bored and look for something else to spice up their lives. Some are so self-absorbed they forget there is another person in the relationship. And some just simply don't have a clue about life, love and companionship.

As for the strength of Barb's writing and getting to know her better, I suggest you read some of her stories in the archives. She paints a vivid picture of who she is through her colorful and delightfully descriptive narrative.

Pat

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gardenparty Aug. 20, 2009 @ 11:53 a.m.

I also disagree with # 8. We have a daughter, now 23, from a previous relationship my girlfriend had in college. Obviously, I knew about her, and as #9 said, rearranged my priorities because of her. There was never any question about it to me and I simply cannot imagine having done anything else. It has simply never been a "stressor" in our relationship. And I agree with # 9 in regards to stress not being the only thing that pulls couples apart. When your child is a joy to have, you don't have any financial, or career dificulties or any of the other "stressors" to which # 8 refers, that doen't mean all of your"problems" are eliminated. As # 8 put it so well,"Some folks just get bored and look for something else to spice up their lives. Some are so self-absorbed they forget there is another person in the relationship. And some just simply don't have a clue about life, love and companionship." It takes alot more than stress to end a relationship and to alot of people, those things are just not that stressful. And #8, if you want to test your relationship, try spending about 5 years planning, designing and building your dream house together. That is a test of your relations that you cannot possibly understand unless you have actually done it.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 20, 2009 @ 12:24 p.m.

And #8, if you want to test your relationship, try spending about 5 years planning, designing and building your dream house together. That is a test of your relations that you cannot possibly understand unless you have actually done it.

By gardenparty

LOL.........

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gardenparty Aug. 20, 2009 @ 2:33 p.m.

Are you mocking me the surfpuppy?.Obviously you are not in the position of being able to build your dream retirement home and spend that kind of money. Anyone who has gone thru an extensive, major and costly home reno knows what I'm talking about.You mightwant to talk to some of the families who lost their homes in the last couple of fires whether or not rebuiling is/has been stressful. A couple being able to agree on literally hundreds of decisions, under time and sometimes money constraints is not an easy thing to accomplish without some stress here and there and maybe an occasional spirited or discussion or two.

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Duhbya Aug. 20, 2009 @ 3:04 p.m.

Stress is imagined for the most part. A (quite successful) ruse championed by greedy psychiatrists during the 80's in order to line their pockets and fund their "dream homes". Morphed into "stressor" more recently. You want stress? Check out the plight of most Depression era families and report back. Puppy hits the mark here.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 20, 2009 @ 3:28 p.m.

Are you mocking me the surfpuppy?.

No....I thought it was a hilarious comment!

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SDaniels Aug. 21, 2009 @ 9:52 p.m.

You're right, gardenparty--but your experience is only slightly out of the norm. SurfPuppy may have found your comment ironic because many of us out here are currently having our relationships 'stressed' due to economic hardship, like paying rent on the saltbox you're crammed in together daily, credit cards, and continual hospital and doctor bills strangely uncovered by medical insurance. We would kill to be in your situation right now.

Of course, I can kind of dig it. My partner and I have just about torn each other's heads off over the construction of a piece of Ikea furniture.

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gardenparty Aug. 21, 2009 @ 10:32 p.m.

SD After giving some tought to my post, I have decided in our case the word tension might have been used to better describe our situation. Stress connotes some consequence of failure and certainly that wasn't the case. Poor choice of words on my part. But we have had to deal with stress. The teenage years of a daughter, serious illnesses and deaths of family members, personal health issues, job issues, the same stuff most people go thru. We are just lucky that, to a large extent, money hasn't been one of them. And as for someone who thinks stress is imagined for the most part and a ruse "championed by greedy psychiatrists", I have a few close friends, people I'v known for many years, who had multiple tours in Iraq. Tell them that the mental, emotional and physical stress they felt was imagined. And for that matter, their spouses also. I guess that means PTSD is "imagined for the most part" too?

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Duhbya Aug. 22, 2009 @ 3:19 a.m.

You're right, of course, gardenparty. What I meant to convey, and should have made clearer, is that the "s" word has become a sort of catch-all for what used to pass for the travails of everyday life that we all encounter. In no way did I intend to negate the real issues that many of us face, such as the examples you cited. I stand by my comment about the psychs and the overusage of the word "stress", however. My observation is that often the only thing that "shrinks" when one consults with one is one's bank account.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 22, 2009 @ 10:21 a.m.

I actually thought Gardenparty was being sarcastic, as in it is stressful for couples to argue and fight over how to spend a million dollars, or how early to get up on a worldwide cruise.

SDaniels is correct when she says stress over meeting a rent payment, or doctor payment or some other "necessity of life" seems far more serious to many people-but I was not mocking GP.

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shizzyfinn Aug. 23, 2009 @ 10:30 a.m.

I'm skeptical of the cliche of communication as the key to lasting relationships. Do happy couples really share everything with each other? Or is it that, because they're happy, they don't really have anything juicy to share?

"Honey, I'd really like to sleep with my new friend at work, who I've been fantasizing about the last few times you and I got busy. In fact, sometimes I find myself thinking my life would be more enjoyable if I was single again, because I would be free to pursue a broad range of currently off-limits experiences, such as occasional sex with some of the many other people who I find attractive."

"Thanks for sharing that with me, babe. Hearing about your wanderlust fills me with dread, and I'm equally dismayed to learn that you've contemplated the joys of being single. But it's sure better than if you had kept it all to yourself. I'm so glad we communicate!"

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