The Happy-Couples-Cure for Heartbreak.

Why would you do that to yourself? Why seek out happy couples – couples that seem happy to you at least – after a painful divorce? Not many of my friends understood. I was not the only one going through this. It seemed like one of those wave things people do at a soccer match. Or a game of dominoes. One couple after another broke up, for depressingly similar reasons –  or shall I say depressingly similar looking reasons? It was so easy to fall into the trap of mindless rants: “All men are the same! They all cheat, they all lie, they all want younger women!” I’m not saying I was above that, I’m not saying it didn’t feel good once in a while, especially after a glass or two of white wine. But in my heart I did not really want to believe that. At fifty, after two failed marriages I was still a romantic at heart and an incurable one at that. I am a blue flower, a “coeur de midinette” as they say in french. Someone who stubbornly insists on believing in true love, despite all evidence to the contrary, despite all personal experience too, over and over again. But the end of my marriage had shaken those beliefs, weakened them. I pictured my inner romantic looking a little like Greta Garbo in Camille, pale and waning, reclining on a chaise longue, handkerchief pressed to forehead. I had to do something to get her back on her feet. So I took three months off and went on a trip across the United States, visiting happy couples along the way. I needed to see it with my own eyes, feel it, witness it: True love exists. In many forms. It may not look glamorous or spectacular. If there is drama, it is thrown at them, not created by them. It is based on friendship, and on respect. I realised I had raised my inner romantic all wrong, on a steady diet of french movies and Russian novels. No wonder she was so exhausted! She had to be reeducated more than revived. Every couple taught me a lesson. And eventually, their happiness did rub off on me.  And I even fell in love again. Twice. With a house, and then with a friend.

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