By Caitlin Kelly
Americans have a great expression — one I never knew growing up in Canada — the “hail Mary pass”, the final-few-seconds of a football game when someone makes the game-winning pass.
I love all the things it encapsulates, and that so-American notion that you can always, somehow, even at the very last desperate minute, save the day from ignominy and disaster.
Here’s a funny/sad New York Times story about couples heading off on vacations in the hope they’ll save their relationships or marriages:
The humorist Dan Greenburg insisted on taking his wife, Nora Ephron, on an African photo safari in 1972, even though she said they would probably split. When they returned home, she asked for a divorce.
“But I took you to Africa!” he said.
Yes, she said, it was a wonderful time. But she still wanted a divorce.
Harriet Lerner, a psychologist and author of “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up,” said she has noticed an increase in patients taking such “save-cations” in the last few years. She links the rise of these trips to belt-tightening in the wake of the Great Recession.
“A divorce can be much worse economically than going away for a few days together,” said Dr. Lerner, who is based in Lawrence, Kan.
This piece really hit a nerve for me, having had two of these, both ending in tears and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.
In January of 1994, my then-husband and I flew to Thailand for a three-week vacation. It was, still one of the best experiences of my life — spectacular scenery, kind people, delicious food, even a terrifying/exciting mo-ped trip to the Cambodian border. R and I always traveled well together and were able to enjoy ourselves anywhere.
But he was clearly heading for the exit — barely two years into our marriage.
As our plane took off from Mae Hong Son, a town so small and rural that a woman stood beside the runway on her bicycle, I started sobbing as if — it was — my heart would break.
“I’ll never be here again,” I snuffled.
What I really knew, deep in my heart, was — not with you.
My first post-divorce boyfriend, a hottie, (with the same first name as the husand, hmmmmm), was everything my marriage had been missing and, on the re-bound, I fell deeply in love.
Mistake! He was deeply ambivalent about anything permanent, and his Jewish parents weren’t thrilled he was dating someone named Kelly.
He dumped me, then came back. We had a glorious summer, and then a romantic, lovely weekend in Martha’s Vineyard in September. Then he dumped me again.
Gentlemen — ladies — do.not.ever.do.this!
If you really pretty much already know you’re only going to break someones’s heart into tiny little shards, do not mislead them first with some misguided notion you’re letting them down easy by taking them to a gorgeous spot that only encourages fantasies of a shared future.
Have you ever tried this tactic?
How did it turn out?