Friday, March 30, 2012

Separation Anxiety

Faithful readers may recall that a few months ago, our good friend Jane called us out of the blue to announce she was divorcing her childhood sweetheart and husband. The news shocked everyone, especially since for years, we’d held Jane and Peter up as the absolute ideal of what a happy marriage and relationship should look like.
            Saffy was so shaken by the news that she wondered why she was bothering to date in the first place if, after all that hard work dating to find the guy you want to marry, years down the track, you end up getting divorced.
            As she put it with her usual penetrating insight, “I might as well take up a cooking class, it would be so much more useful!”
            Her best friend Sharyn added, “Yah, lor. We, hor, we not like Madonna. Can get die-vorce today and straight away get new boyfriend tomorrow!”
            “You know who I feel sorry for,” Amanda said, “the kids!”
            Saffy blinked. “Madonna’s kids? Why…”
            “Peter and Jane’s kids!” Amanda snapped. “Why would I care about Madonna’s kids?”
            As Saffy later said, sometimes when Amanda gets into one of her moods, you always feel as if you have to walk around on eggshells.
            A few days ago, Jane rang to say that she had a new boyfriend.
            Amanda was shocked. “How is that possible? You’ve only just separated from Peter!”
            “What’s the problem? He’s already dating.”
            “Yes, but he’s a guy. Guys are like dogs. They’ll date a door-knob if it had cleavage! Wait, is this a rebound thing?” Amanda asked, her eyes narrowing.
            “I’ve already had my rebound thing,” Jane said. “In fact, I’ve had three rebound things. This new guy is proper boyfriend material.”
            For lack of anything else to say, Amanda stabbed her cheesecake and shifted her phone to the other ear.
            “I’m a woman,” Jane added firmly. “And I have needs.”
            Jane said she jolly well wasn’t going to hang around her flat and mope, and, anyway, she and Peter had been drifting apart for years now, so there weren’t any raw emotions or baggage to deal with.
            Amanda hanged up the phone and immediately called Saffy.
“The last time I broke up with a guy,” Saffy reported, “it took me a year before I started dating again. And Jeremy and I had only dated for two years!”
“Well, they say that it takes you half the period two people were together before you can move on. So, if you are Jeremy were together two years, then one year is about right to start dating again.”
Saffy did the maths in her head. “That can’t be right. Jane and Peter were together fifteen years, so theoretically it should take them seven and a half years to get over each other. It’s not even been a year!”
 “Clearly,” Amanda said, “their relationship was over seven years ago.”
Saffy later told me that she and Amanda spent the next two hours talking about this. “Seriously, if I devoted as much time to my career as I do analyzing my friends’ relationships, I’d be vice-president of my company by now.”
What I wanted to know was how, in the space of a few months, Jane had managed to have three rebound flings and was now embarking on a serious relationship. “I mean, it takes you and Amanda, on average, five years to find a boyfriend!”
“We have standards,” Saffy said, stiffly, her tone somehow implying that Jane has less than gold medal morals.
Sharyn sent me a private message on Facebook saying that it was a good thing the girls were currently dating successfully, Saffy with Bradley, and Amanda with her insectile on-again, off-again boyfriend The Cockroach. “Can u imagine if dey still single and Jane got so many bf so soon after her divorce? Wah!”
I’ll never really understand the mysterious dynamics of female relationships. If Jane had been a guy, there would have been high fives all round the locker room that he’d gotten back on his horse so soon after his separation. “You’re the man! Grab a beer?”
But a newly divorced woman has to deal not just with her painful separation, but she must also do it in a way that doesn’t add to her girlfriends’ insecurities about their relationships.
“Yah, boy,” Sharyn said later when she caught up with me for coffee. “Good thing they got boyfriend, udderwise, chiam ah. It’s like Kim Kardashian so jealous when her sister Kourtney got boyfriend and baby and Khlo-ee also got big black boyfriend, so she hurry hurry marry that Kris. And now, look, die-vorce!”
Sharyn also says someone should make a reality TV about the flat I share with Saffy and Amanda. “Sure win, one!”

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