It’s harder than you think

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Why write an article on something so obvious as the importance of compromise in relationships? We routinely compromise at work or in our social lives but it seems far more difficult to do so in intimate relationships. In an alternate universe, our partners would magically meet all our needs. Yet, in our world, that can never happen — and that’s why mastering the art of compromise is the key to healthy, long-lasting relationships.

What makes it so damn hard to compromise?

Much of how we view interpersonal relationships comes from our culture. Someone growing up in Brazil, India or Peoria will likely have vastly different views on intimacy…


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Married ten years to a Haitian woman, I could not help but see that the subject of racism had gradually become a source of alienation between us. I present her story here, in her own words, as a way to give voice to her concerns and, perhaps, to come to grips with my difficulty in more deeply sharing her experience as a woman of color.

It surprised me when my husband, Michael, an American, started to feel exhausted listening to tales of racism in my life as well as various run-ins with same in New York City. What do you…


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I realized I was definitely getting older when my nasolabial folds started resembling crevasses so deep that my nose became an afterthought. Older, in my mind, did not mean old, although the distinction may be suspect. Being older only made me realize that I wanted to live a lot longer. Perhaps not as long as Jeanne Calment, a French woman who lived past the age of 122, recently profiled in the New Yorker. But longer! Wondering if there was anything I could do to postpone my eventual demise beyond avoiding refined sugar and exercising every day, I flirted with certain…


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Erika said that “we needed to talk.” Worse words I cannot imagine coming from a girlfriend. She was breaking up with me. She hewed close to the line of “it’s not you, it’s me.” We had been together four and a half years, starting in college and continuing through our first jobs in the real world. She said that she didn’t have the chance to find out who she was, to develop herself more fully, to try things she never had. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I thought that I would never find anyone as good, as cool, as beautiful as her…


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There are so many misconceptions about me. Over the millennia, I have yearned for people to know who I am really am. But how can I feel close to my subjects when I am like a Mr. Potato Head, with people adding or subtracting features to fit their own tastes? So, I appreciate this opportunity to vent, to help me be the best God I can be.

Not Everything Happens Because Of Me

It used to please me that my subjects believed that everything happened through my Divine Will. But that’s always been a double-edged sword. It’s not my bad…


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We got engaged just to stop the nagging from our parents. Then, the incessant, insipid questions started.

Do you have a wedding date?

Who is going to throw your bachelor/bachelorette party?

Where are you going on your honeymoon?

When are you going to have kids?

All these questions were asked by friends and relatives with smiles so sickeningly sweet that you wanted to bitch slap every last one of them.

Barbara, my fiancée, being quite polite, managed to keep a smile plastered on her face for all these interrogatories, so much so that she feared the onset of facial paralysis…


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Loretta and Mick are driving down a lonely highway one winter night. The purr of their Tesla contrasts with the rat-a-tat of hail splattering against the windshield. On a moonless night, all they can see is a small patch of pockmarked road ahead of them. While driving, Mick turns on the radio but there is only static. Drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, he whistles a Sinatra tune played at the cocktail party they just attended. An unlit cigarette hangs from his mouth. A few specks of dandruff nestle on the shoulders of his sports jacket.

The blackness of…


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The aliens descended to earth many millennia ago. They chose to live below ground to escape the chaos of the primitive species above. Their civilization beneath the Grand Canyon is one of many throughout the world. Their technology has advanced far past that of the human race, allowing them to be self-sufficient in all aspects of daily life.

However, for the first time, their children have been suffering from a disease of unknown origin. Several children have died, which has shocked their community. The aliens have always been disease free and death is a choice their people make based on…


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I always thought that in a romantic relationship, you were supposed to make your partner happy. But that belief did not seem to work out particularly well for me. It created tons of pressure, which compelled me to put their needs before mine. While this may seem like a good trait, it actually meant that I was defining myself based on my ability to make my partner happy.

Years ago, I was in a relationship with a girlfriend who struggled with depression. I pulled out all the stops to help her: finding a psychiatrist who took her insurance, giving her…


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My earliest perception of being older occurred when I decided to take the big step, something I had put off for months: asking for the senior discount when buying a ticket at the Regal Cineplex in Union Square. I anticipated that the agent would be incredulous at my claim and demand proof off my bona fides. When this did not happen and the agent just charged the lower price, I felt discombobulated. Could he not see what I see when I look in the bathroom mirror? A frisky colt, wizened but certainly no geezer. Was this clerk playing mind games…

Michael Sands

Challenger of assumptions. People worker. Recovering nihilist.

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