When I was in college, I had a list of of what I wanted in a husband. A long list. I wanted a registered Democrat, a bridge player, a linguist with particular fluency in French, a subscriber to The New Republic, a tennis player. I wanted a man who wasn’t bald, who wasn’t fat, who wasn’t covered with too much body hair. I wanted a man with long legs and a small ass and laugh wrinkles around the eyes. Then I grew up and settled for a low-grade lunatic who kept hamsters. At first I thought he was charming and eccentric. And then I didn’t. Then I wanted to kill him. Every time he got on a plane, I would imagine the plane crash, and the funeral, and what I would wear to the funeral and flirting at the funeral, and how soon I could start dating after the funeral.
Is this inevitable, this moment when everything leads to irritation, when you become furious that he smokes, or that he coughs in the morning, or that he sheds crumbs, or that he exaggerates, or that he drives like a maniac, or that he says “Between you and I”? You fall in love with someone, and part of what you love about him are the differences between you; and then you get married and the differences start to drive you crazy. You fall in love with someone and you say to yourself, oh, well I never really cared about politics, bridge, French and tennis; and then you get married and it starts to drive you crazy that you’re married to someone who doesn’t even know who’s running for President. This is the moment when any therapist will tell you that your problem is fear of intimacy; that you’re connecting to your mother, or holding on to your father. But it seems to me that what’s happening is far more basic; it seems to me that’s it just about impossible to live with someone else.”