Last night I heard the news: after a twenty-three year relationship, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are separating. At least they don't have to get divorced, since they never got married.
Yesterday, someone told me that in a recent NY Times op-ed there was a statistic that something like eighty percent of people in their "middle ages," whatever that is, are married. But in New York City that number is dramatically lower.
I have heard of more couples separating in the last year than I can ever recall. I also know of many people who are not happy in their relationships, but aren't going to leave. The reason I know this, is that when you announce you are getting divorced, suddenly everyone confides in you. I also heard from a friend yesterday, that out of her four grown kids, two are now getting divorced.
Another friend recently told his wife if their relationship didn't improve he wouldn't stay. Another couple hasn't really spoken to each other in about a month.
I think that the myth we are sold on marriage is distorted and also that people show one face when they are dating, and after they get married, they very quickly become who they really are. I do know couples who deeply love each other, and think about how they can show that love, and are supportive and genuinely enjoy each others company. What a gift.
I don't know if I'll find someone to share my life with again. I know that my living arrangement with my friend has taken the edge off and I feel more relaxed about the future. I wonder what Susan and Tim would say about their separation - did they grow apart, as so many of us do? Even with the perfect life, the great careers, the multiple homes, the money, all the kids, and the fame? Did one of them find someone else? The message is we're all basically the same...humans struggling, trying to find connections and good lives. No one is immune from loss, sadness, illness, death. Even Tiger Woods has to do some major re-evaluating of his life choices.
As difficult as life can get, it's also fun too, and the difficult times pass. It's been about a year since I first mentioned the idea of separation and each day gets better. I keep going where it's "warm", even when the wind chill is fifteen degrees. Going where it's warm is about turning to friends who are supportive and really care about you. I am grateful for the friends I have, every one of them.
I'll be away between Christmas and New Years, up in the country, enjoying nature. This has been a very difficult and extremely good year for me. I hope that Susan, Tim and everyone else who is going through these major life changes can find peace even in the painful times.
Do you think Tim Robbins will post his profile on Match.com?