What should I be doing instead of this?
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The Dating

By Erma P. Sanders · August 17th, 2000 · Diva
Years ago I worked in an office doing data entry with a dozen or so others. We shared one telephone. I would totally piss people off when I sprayed it with Lysol before I used it. I totally believe that colds and other germs are transferred in the workplace by some thoughtless person getting his or her cooties all over the phone. Whenever possible, I try to avoid situations where there are contagions.

Some things, however, seem to be contagious, and I haven't isolated the source. Like marriage. Ask anybody who has had a wedding. They'll be able to name a friend or family member who married or at least became engaged soon after. I know of no exceptions to this rule.

So the get-married bug must be contagious. Indeed the resulting married couple will often cite the original wedding as a catalyst for their own nuptials. I've heard things like, "You looked so happy, I thought it was time I settled down," or "I'm the last of the single people in our group. Guess it's my turn."

Whatever the reason, committed couples beget committed couples. Therefore it stands to reason that I should feel threatened when a couple breaks up.

Now admittedly couples are coming together and breaking up everyday. I was in many weddings and didn't feel compelled to marry. I've seen many couples break up when I was in a happy relationship and didn't get contaminated. Going back to the phone thing again, spraying the phone with disinfectant didn't stop me from getting cold germs from other sources.

Similarly, some couple break-ups haven't affected me while others have. So you may sympathize with me when I share that the very couple who cite me and my man as the push they needed to legalize their union are now going through a rough patch. No one's filed any divorce papers yet, but if you look closely at the couple you can practically see thought bubbles floating over their heads reading "I think I made a mistake."

Will this reflect negatively on me? I'm not sure yet but I'm afraid. Suddenly this couple that I've seen only a handful of times in the past three years is on my mind constantly. I want every detail of their lives. Are they fighting daily? Do they sleep in separate rooms? Are they just experiencing common marital doubts that disappear as fast as they arose? I'm spending too much time analyzing this, but I can't help it. The rumor is she's a nag.

Consequently I try to be nicer to my man. She put on a lot of weight. I step up my exercise program. I can't let the break-up cootie attach itself to me. I'm going to fight it. I'm going to spray myself with whatever emotional and psychological Lysol I can create to make myself immune. Although I do believe the behavior of close friends or family often affects your own actions, some things either act on our subconscious or are out of our control. Really now, whatever happens to this other couple should have no bearing on my own relationship.

But I am anxiously awaiting the final outcome. If nothing else, I may get another column out of it.



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