Saturday, 31 March 2007

Couples and break-ups

There's a lot of arguments about the issue most likely to split couples apart. Is it sex? Money? Housework? Politics? Violence? Weirdness? In theory it could be just about anything - whatever you feel so strongly about that the other person's totally opposite attitude is just too much to take.

With Jenny and I, I think what would separate us beyond repair is actually sexism. Jenny having been a strong feminist ever since I met her, the one thing she couldn't stomach would be my turning into a stereotype male, watching the footie and guzzling beer while she cleaned the house and knocked up the evening meal. We've always tried to share the pleasures and chores of domestic life equally, and hopefully we don't slip into the traditional sex roles too often.

Early in our relationship money became a thorny issue. I still had my own bank account while Jenny wanted us to pool our cash. Luckily I came round to the idea and a joint account saved the day. Jenny has always been freer with money than me, and sometimes sees me as mean and ungenerous. But going broke is one of my big anxieties, so splashing out isn't easy. It helps that we have a lot more money than when we first met - when we were two amorous but seriously underpaid booksellers.

Housework isn't a serious bone of contention. I do my fair share - in fact when Jenny was working in Glasgow I did all the house-cleaning here. Perhaps not entirely to her standard (the thinnest coating of dust makes women very antsy!) but it was respectable enough. Jenny does most of the cooking, as she loves cooking, but I do all the washing up and a lot of the shopping. Not to mention most of the gardening and looking after the two cars. But then Jenny earns a lot more than me so fair's fair.

As for sex, my lips are sealed. Call me old-fashioned, but I think some subjects are too delicate and too intimate for the full-frontal exposure of a global diary. So you'll have to use your imagination on that one. Bondage? Cross-dressing? Nurses' uniforms? That would be telling. All I can say is, it won't be sex that breaks up the happy home. Unless it's sex with someone else of course. But let's not go there either.

I could chatter on freely about couples uncoupling - isn't it strange how those dream couples suddenly crash and burn while the most unlikely matches endure effortlessly? But there's too much to say - it'll have to wait till later.

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