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Like many, I was surprised when Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins had split back in 2009. They seemed like a pretty solid couple, although they’re celebrities so who really knows. But I was more surprised by her recent statement that their parting made her “feel like a failure.”

We like to believe that relationships will last forever and some do, but for various reasons they often don’t; why does that mean we should feel like a failure when one ends?  

Granted, it was the second long-term relationship for the 65-year-old actress. She was married to actor Chris Sarandon, from 1968 to 1979. Of that split, she said:

“At the end of my first marriage, it was about the loss of ideal, about who you thought this person was. I thought love conquered all and I had to reevaluate everything. … Then you get another chance.”

Her second chance, which lasted 23 years and produced two children, Jack, 22, and Miles, 19, did not come in the form of marriage, however. She and Robbins cohabited and since just 10 percent of all cohabiting couples make it past five years (let alone that they’re a Hollywood couple), they were anything but a failure to me; they raised their boys to adulthood. That is something to celebrate, not find fault with.

But what really surprised me was Sarandon’s comment about her perceived difference between marriage and cohabitation: “I thought that if you didn’t get married you wouldn’t take each other for granted as easily. I don’t know if after twenty-something years that was still true.”

Which is an odd (and somewhat naive) thing to say. Marriage, the institution, doesn’t make someone do or not do anything; the people involved in the marriage do things in their marriage. Taking each other for granted is not part of a marriage vow as far as I know, thankfully. Living with someone for many years, however, whether married or not, might — might — just cause some people to take each other for granted.

As a now supposedly older and wiser Sarandon says, “The one thing that’s been really clear to me is that you have to think of your own life and your relationship and everything as a living organism. It’s constantly moving, changing, growing. I think long-term relationships need to be constantly reevaluated and talked about.”

I’m not sure if she means each person separately needs to reevaluate the relationship or whether the couple does it together. Either way, I think the bigger take-home message is to stop taking each other for granted — whether you’re married or just living together.

  • Do you think people are able to live together for decades and not take each other for granted?


2 Responses to “What makes people take each other for granted?”

  1. sharon says:

    i have been with my soon to be husband for 20 years.we have two children,18 and 15.
    i feel we have been through what married people have been through(good and bad)we have seperated a couple times and we have taken each other for granted at times,and i think we always will sometimes.we catch ourselves when we do or we bring it to each other attention and fix it.
    there are times when we do need a little break from each other,mostly just a few hours by ourselves or doing our hobby separately with our loved ones.

    we are getting married in june 2013.we for once are both excited.
    usually one of us were ready and the other wasnt,but for the first time we are both ready for marriage,its something we both really want.

    we know marriage takes work,we know that we will face hard times and we look forward to the wonderful times we will have.
    we will be the couple who lived together for years and then got married until death do us part.
    why do i know that?
    we know what to exspect,we know we will face hardship and we have already faced alot.
    we already faced and went through what many married couples go through being married for 40 to 50 years such as death of a parent,death of many family members from different things(most deaths they were 20 and 40 yrs old),gun voilence due to an adult not locking the gun away,the victims were 12 years old ,a house fire that destroyed just about everything,car accident which resulted in surgery with 2 years unable to work,inlaws,rasing children,ect…)

    we almost gave up a couple of times,the last time was bad,real bad,we didnt think we would have made it back to each other,resentment was thick,stress of life was getting the best of us.but we did find our way back to each other with no outside help.and from that we realized what we almost lost and we now know what to do and not do to let our relationship get to the point it did.we fought to keep our family together and we will continue to fight to keep it strong and loving.

    getting married now after all the years we been together means so much to us,not because it makes us commited legallly or any of that stuff,but its a new chapter in our life,a new start for us after all we been through,that our family been through.
    one were we know we have each others back,we are each others soft place to fall,we look forward to our life together and we are ready for whatever comes our way until death do we part♥

  2. Michael Juliano says:

    Susan Sarandon should find a young woman to share her time with. I think sometimes we take the other person for granted because we expect them to be there for us. Expectations lead to disappointment and requirements or prerequisites for the other to meet.

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