The following is the final excerpt in a four-part series. To view the introduction and Part 1, click here. To view Parts 2 and 3, click here

Part 4: Maintenance Is to Be Expected

We accept that cars require maintenance in order to last. We make sure that our vehicles are refueled, that the oil gets changed regularly, and we consult a mechanic when the car starts to make a funny noise. Maintaining a car is something proactive that we consider normal. But why don’t we expect that a long-term relationship will need a “tune up” at some point in time? Why don’t we expect that a couple, who have no training on these matters, are no better equipped to recalibrate the relationship on their own than they would be to replace a transmission in their car themselves? Why do we get discouraged, feel stigmatized and treat it like a dirty secret when we need to hire a relationship mechanic? We would never say to our friends, “I’m so embarrassed but the steering rack on my car went out and we had to take it a mechanic. I was sure I should tell you. I hope you don’t think poorly of us now that you know.”


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