I’m 73 and married. I fantasize about bisexuality.

Marriages are not supposed to last 50 years. We promised “to death we will part” when I was 23 and my husband, John, 24, but here we are 73 and 74 respectively. Death is not yet upon us.

Once upon a time when marriage was invented, people died in their 40s or 50s. It was easier to keep that promise of forever. Just as my husband and I were about to hit the 50-year mark, I started to think that there should be an eviction clause. Couples who have been together for 50 years should be celebrated but also have the option to release their vows.

In our case, John and I made it through seven years of itching and the first decade with no problems. They are the halocyon years and have no children. In our second decade, we had three kids and slept very little. We moved around California—San Bernardino, San Francisco, Costa Mesa—taking turns looking for job openings as they arrived.

We started with a plan: 50-50 shared housework and childcare, separate bank accounts, and occasional separate vacations. The plan works pretty well for everything except childcare. Companies want 60 hours a week of his time, and the universities where I work are demanding the same.

“You said you’d be home by 7 p.m.,” I yelled at him. “You said you would do half of the childcare!” We were angry at each other at times, and the walls of our house were scarred. He punched a wall or two; I threw the book and broke the window.

We’ve talked about divorce and seen therapists but never quite made sense, perhaps because we’ve grown up watching our respective parents fight but not divorce.

The worst years were the third and fourth decades of the marriage. Our family history of addiction and mental illness emerges as the kids go through their teenage years. Family therapy turns out to be more painful than couple therapy.

However, we had good jobs and settled down in Santa Monica, where we found unity in facing disasters, both natural and unnatural: the Northridge earthquake. , a small plane crashing into our backyard, and the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson after her daughter and ours performed in a dance performance.

The fifth decade of marriage brings new tensions. Retirement makes two people who have never had much time to spend together almost every day in the same house. The 45th President helped us through this shock by going through four years so tumultuous that we found solace reading newspapers, watching cable TV, and venting our hearts out to each other. Our politics remained in sync despite our conflicts during our parenting years.

We attended a golden celebration this month, but performing a floral celebration wasn’t on the cards. Our kids knew how rocky the road was and they were wary of any fake carnivals. More than once they asked, “Why don’t you two get a divorce?”

We are lazy, for one thing. Separating home, money, and family looks daunting; profits can not be more than losses.

Perhaps there are other couples who feel confused as to how to mark the surprising longevity of their marriage. Be realistic about it. Do we just throw a party and then scream, “Olly olly oxen free,” like we used to do when we were kids playing hide and seek?

What I want is the end for all Candlestick becoming a couple, starting with allowing them to live apart. I dream of having a quiet apartment, free of basketball, baseball, and ice hockey playing on a flat screen all day, punctuated by John’s scream, “Boom!” or yes!” I just want to have dinner together once a week.

Maybe I’ll move to the south of France or Alaska. Too far apart sometimes it’s okay to sleep together because sex isn’t what it was in our 20s. We slept in separate bedrooms due to the legacy of CPAP machines, waking up at night to pee, and lasting differences like whether to open the curtains at night. I want to see the moon and the stars.

If I were single again, I would probably marry a lover or be bisexual. Perhaps in the style of a medieval queen, I would retire to the convent.

The point is that marriage in the sixth decade, like an insurance policy, begins to work. You have someone to take you to and from colonoscopy and other “procedures”.

Since you’re still on a home, your mortgage may be paid off. You may have enough money to go on a cruise or do other travel – with a walker.

Towards the end of life, love is more complicated. It is less dominated by hormones and the magic of physical beauty. Comfort and familiarity were an important part of love in the 70s. We can talk about events and people long ago without explanation.

John and I had a bit of a jolt as the big day approached. We needed to do something but nothing too dramatic.

“Unless you have bigger plans, maybe we can go to dinner at that new place on 20th Street for our anniversary,” he said two weeks before the event.

“The restaurant where IHOP used to stay?” I ask. “That’s a good idea.”

“The chef owner is a woman and is welcome.”

The perfect solution: dinner at Socalo, no kids, no extended family, no pressure.

Just the two of us, our memories and a few kisses.

The author has taught literature and women’s studies at CSU Northridge and is currently working on a memoir called “Off Track: Confessions of a Feminist Christian.” She’s on Instagram: @annelinstatter.

LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its splendor in the LA area, and we’d love to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Send an email to LAaffairs@latimes.com. You can find submission instructions here. You can find past columns here.

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2022-06-17/la-affairs-anne-linstatter-los-angeles-single-sex-explore-bisexuality-marriage-relationship I’m 73 and married. I fantasize about bisexuality.

Russell Falcon

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