Thursday, September 13, 2007


Have you ever wondered what goes into sustaining a long-term relationship? I was talking to a couple the other night who have been married for 59 years. I asked them what their secret was. The wife answered, "No secret, just pain." She said this with a smile and a playful swat at her husband. I then asked whether they did everything together. She again laughed and said, "Hardly anything".

That gave me some measure of comfort. Maybe because I've often thought that I needed to spend much time with my spouse and do everything together. I've heard others in Al-Anon state that unless you do all things together, the marriage isn't going to work. One long-term Al-Anon member told a group that she and her husband do their readings together, pray together, exercise together, eat together, and do other activities together. It all seemed too smothering to me. I need to have some space to pursue those things that I enjoy and my wife doesn't. We've worked together professionally before and have shared various activities that we've enjoyed over the years. Admittedly, those things that we shared diminished in recent years due to a variety of reasons, including active alcoholism.

Since being in recovery through Al-Anon, I find that it's necessary to have time to do things that I enjoy such as being on the boat. I need to have some level of solitude for meditation and reflection. I enjoy my time spent in meetings and with friends that I've developed in the fellowship. I find that spontaneous closeness works well for me. I don't want to have expectations of another that can't be realized right now. We're both working on a path to recovery, just at a different pace. I think that's okay.


  1. My own opinion is what works for some may not work for others. Sure you may get some insight to keeping the relationship going, however it is up to the two individuals to determine what works for them. To me this process is precious and ever so intimate. It is something so unique that two souls can share with one another. It is beautiful (and at times painful, but hey who says growth is easy!).

    I have been with my love going on 4 years. During this time I have endured the realization that I am an alcoholic, then experienced sobriety, then relapsed, now am finding my ground. Somehow all of this is making us stronger . . through pain comes strength.

    Ultimately it is up to the two individuals to determine this however. But hey, 4 years compared to 59 . . . see that is where I can get in trouble, to play the "comparison" game. All I must do is to believe in self, and get inspired by others who have what I want yes???


  2. oh boy, did you touch on something here....

    i think that whatever a couple feels comfortable with, works. all the time together or no time together, whichever, only works if both like it that way. but whatever you do in your own life, time alone by both is a necessity i think. i've struggled with that in co-dependency. i'm only now beginning to enjoy my time alone. i have to learn the difference between alone and lonely...

  3. I always need my time alone. I think there has to be a balance in relationships, where you do things together, but you also have a life of your own. If you don´t have time for yourself, I think it will be impossible for you to grow as a person...

  4. Syd, I have been sober 16 years. My husband is an atheist, and drinks every day. We are madly in love and most of our activities are separate. Our sucess is..I think...that each of us have a true hearts desire for the other one to be happy on this planet with the time whatever form that takes.

  5. Thanks for a good read. I have heard it quoted as "we're not joined at the hip."

    I have heard that many couples even have sex together. Who'd have thunk it?

  6. I am not sure if there is any magic trick to sustaining a relationship over time. I was married to my first husband for 23 years. We were together 26 years total. Somewhere along the road we lost each other and before we knew it we had nothing left. I have remarried since and I will be celebrating my first year with my second husband this November and the difference with this relationship is we talk, we laugh, we have fun and deal with issues together not apart. We respect each other's "alone time" as well "as together time". We love to research family genealogy and explore everything historical. We love the beach, the ocean, all of nature together.While he spends his 'alone time" writing music and playing the guitar, I spend my time "reading, writing or gardening". I also consider him "a saint" for having married someone who has a lot of baggage as myself. This man had never been married nor had any children and here he comes along and gives up "freedom" to be with someone who has three grown sons (one a recovering addict) and three grandchildren who are very active in my life. This is love or maybe it is insanity. I always enjoy your posts. Have a great weekend.

  7. Syd,
    What goes into sustaining a long-term relationship??
    Separate rooms in different houses. Just kidding.
    Too much togetherness is not need to follow your own interests and encourage your partner to have her own hobbies, friends when you do get together you'll have a lot to discuss., and take pleasure in each other's company. I would also encourage that whatever you enjoyed in the past, try to do it again together. Maybe its a date once a week...its good to have something that you can share together. Going your own separate ways is not good either..there has to be a common ground although you both need space of your do need to be together as a couple...but not to the point that you're suffocating each other.
    I think it's something that 2 people can talk about. She shouldn't feel that you're neglecting her or that you don't want to be with her..just because you need time alone.,,and vicey versey.
    Communication is the key.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.