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It's Not Always Shady...:

1999

John and Mary die. According to the author Margaret Atwood, this is the only accurate ending to any relationship. What happens in the interim makes a relationship or reading about someone else's worth the effort. To illustrate this epiphany, she wrote a discussion called "Fiction: Happy Endings." In her discussion, she presents to us six versions of a relationship between her characters, John and Mary.

The first version has no conflict and they live happily ever after. Problems begin to present themselves in the second version. In this version of the story, Mary exists only to please John. John does not notice and does not care. Mary hurts inside and longs for him to notice her effort and appreciate her more. When she fails to express this to John, the situation gets out of control.

Like John and Mary, a few of the biggest problems I found in my relationship were the lack of communication and complete honesty. When I was annoyed with my husband for seemingly neglecting me, I would hold it in and not say anything about it until I became very overwhelmed and consumed with anger, which resulted in my lashing out. Because I refrained from talking about the first implication of my annoyance, my husband failed to see the justification of the magnitude of my displeasure when I did explode.

Another problem that is brought up in the second and third versions about John and Mary is the undefined relationship. This problem also usually connotes a lack of communication and honesty between partners. In this circumstance, Mary is more attracted to James, a wilder kind of guy. John is secretly seeing Mary despite his marriage to Madge. Mary did not level with John and tell him she is more interested in James. The result was John busting in on James and Mary. Finding the pair twisted like a pretzel causes him to go temporarily insane. His insanity causes him to shoot the two of them and himself. Madge marries Fred and lives happily ever after as in the first story.

What eventually caused my relationship to deteriorate was my husband's lack of regard for the commitment of marriage. This further exemplifies the need to have certain parameters. If an open relationship is going to be considered, it has to be agreed upon by both partners lest the relationship falter.

Conflict keeps us interested until the inevitable. It is inevitable that we will all die. Whether we die happily or not is another thing.