On Tuesday this week I found myself in a hot tub at the Lido in Bristol. I say ‘found myself’ – I didn’t wake up there, blurry eyed and confused, I got IN. You know, consciously.
Two women who looked about my age were sat opposite me, chatting about various lighthearted things. There was a natural lull in the conversation. The woman on the left, we will call her woman one, looked thoughtful.
‘I think I know what it is to love somebody,’ said woman one, seemingly out of nowhere, ‘but I don’t think I’m in love with my husband.’
There was another silence. Not so natural this time. Woman two looked shocked, like perhaps she didn’t feel like she knew woman one well enough to be hearing this.
‘Wow,’ said woman two, ‘that’s pretty big. How long have you felt like that? I think it’s pretty normal over time to feel a different kind of love for a partner.’
‘I’m not sure,’ said woman one, ‘I think I’ve always felt like it. It’s actually the first time I’ve said it out loud to anyone.’
Woman two was definitely feeling the pressure at this point, and I was doing my best not to stare directly at them, but it was hard to listen over the noise of the bubbles without being able to see their faces.
‘How do you feel about that?’ said woman two.
Woman one sighed. ‘I guess I just try not to think about it. I push it to one side. I figure that’s just it now.’ She looked sad.
WHAT THE HELL??
It was absolutely all I could do at this point to stay quiet. I was rooting for woman two to say something, anything that might encourage woman one to want more from life.
‘I was chatting about relationships to a friend the other day,’ said woman two. ‘She’s 39 and what I call an alpha-female – successful in absolutely every area of her life apart from men.’ (Was she talking about me??) ‘She’s met this guy recently and she’s thinking about getting married and starting a family but she’s having doubts.’
Where was she going with this? Somewhere positive I hoped.
‘She told me that she wasn’t 100% sure about him, and asked me how good I felt was ‘good enough’ in a relationship.’
Woman one looked interested, ready to be inspired.
‘I said I thought about 70%,’ said woman two. ‘If it was 50% then probably I’d say it was a no, but if it was 70% then I would take it.’
Woman one nodded sadly, NOT inspired.
Am I being unreasonable to think that this is absolutely ridiculous?? I know that relationships are about compromise, I understand that no one is perfect, but 70%?? That means that 30% of your relationship is BAD. And you’re settling for that.
Another pair of women got into the hot tub at this point and sat between us. I wanted to shoo them out of the way, but I felt that probably wouldn’t make woman one feel BETTER about life, so I got out and went into the steam room to try and sweat out the despair.
What do you think? How good IS ‘good enough’ in a relationship? Would you take 70%?