Marriage and Convenience

By Irina Pino

Sunday on the Malecón. Constantin Eremechev

HAVANA TIMES — It’s common for married people to get tired of each other after living together for so long and for passion to dwindle. It’s normal: these are the stages of love. Hopefully you’re left with affection, common ground and friendship. However, if convenience because of work interests, shared homes and other material things take precedence, then I think it’s time for concern. 

They’d have to sit down and analyze why they can’t just be housemates, nothing else. Why hold on to your marital status if only certain interests are at stake?

In our country, it’s suffocating to see that so many married couples can’t separate because they share a home or because one of them doesn’t want to move. Everyday life becomes rough amidst pitched battles, sterile arguments which don’t do anything or issues which would be easily resolved if they each had their own space.

Why not face the facts?

Nothing is simple. We know that Cuba’s housing problems are what most affect its people. Selling, moving, involve both of their names on documents, money, trying issues for anyone.

However, let me tell you a story: I have a friend who makes films with his wife. She introduced him to this project so he is in her debt somewhat. This man tells me that he doesn’t want to have sex with his wife, but that he loves her as if she were family. They have been together for over 10 years.

He is having an extramarital affair with another person who, according to him, is his other half. He feels he needs to share more and more time with her every day that passes. He admits he’s in love and that he has incredible sex with her. Meanwhile, they share common interests.

On the other hand, his wife has a marriage which doesn’t really exist, and she has told him a few times that she will file for a divorce. She wants to break all ties with her former partner once and for all.

At this point in time, he hasn’t said anything, he talks about future plans with his wife, but they don’t involve her, of course.

However, this doesn’t stop them from going out together to places as if they were a normal couple.

What should she do? Carry on with this relationship until he decides enough is enough? Wait for him to call her to see her?

A friend of mine has a very original theory about the ideal marriage; he says that in order for marriage to last, it’s necessary that a couple lives separately, that is to say, each of them in their own apartment and that they should only see each other to go out, have sex…

He tells me that all the magic is lost if you live with someone, that he doesn’t want to see his wife with her hair in a mess and wearing an apron. That takes away his desire to do anything.

His opinion is machista, she would surely add a few other things: that she doesn’t like his bad breath in the morning, or when he sits in front of the TV in his boxer shorts and burps as if she weren’t there.

A lot of things can break a couple but neglect and a lack of attentiveness are two of the most important. My friend’s theory of “not committing” to share life’s good and bad things… Well that doesn’t work either.

Marriages that share “common interests”, whether that’s a house or work, when one of the members of that couple stops feeling love for the other person, then they need to find a solution.

Even though one person is always going to get hurt and feel like they’ve been cheated.

4 thoughts on “Marriage and Convenience

  • I concur with Carlyle; passion and friendship needn’t be mutually exclusive. Sensual passion, in my opinion, is what differenciates a marriage/romantic partnership from a plotonic friendship.

    We are constantly changing as individuals~ I think the objective of a relationship should be supporting your partner’s evolution as a human being. And to *not* become obsessed over them~ have your own interests and time for yourself. I think living with someone can be a beautiful experience as well. But too often people dissolve their identities in a relationship. My advice is be responsible for your own happiness and enter into a relationship as a whole person, rather than seeking for the other person to somehow “complete” you. This is futile and will ultimately lead to disappointment.

    Irina, thank you very much for writing on this thought-provoking topic!!

    Sending you Love from California,

  • I apreciate it for reading my posts. Thanks for your words.

  • I so enjoy your writings, Irina. As an American has developed a love for Havana, and Cuba, I now love to read as much as I can about the lives of Cubans. Your articles are so easy to understand, and I feel I get a real insider view into the Cuban lives !!!
    Gracias !
    Joanna Minnesota, USA

  • A rather sad cynical view of what can be the most wonderful part of life.
    The single most important thing in life is finding the right partner.
    The second is having children for they are a true bond of two people.
    It is possible to share passion and friendship, one does not exclude the other.

    In Cuba however, the very endeavors to exist place incredible stresses upon couples endeavoring to raise their children on a pittance in squalid housing conditions. Having to ‘resolver’ daily, having to struggle to buy the children’s school uniforms, wondering how to extend the food from the permuta for the rest of the month and trying to stay under the radar of the CDR, MININT and the State Police, and all without hope of a better future and even fear about discussing problems with neighbours because doing so might be reported as criticism of the regime.. Such are the consequences of communist repression

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