by Laurice LaZebnik
Looking back at the list of 19 liaisons I’ve had over my lifetime I realized I’ve made some not-so-great choices. I wondered what it was that attracted me to some males and not others. Was there sort of magnet inside my head that pulled me towards tall men or pushed me towards football players? I did some research and found there is a gadget inside a girl’s head that leads her choices. Turns out, we are pre-programmed before we pop out of the womb.
The decider that directs our choices is our ever-developing brain. Studies published in “Psychology Today” maintain brains change at different stages in our life according to our needs. For instance, infant brains overproduce neurons and connecting synapses because newborns have so much to learn so fast — facial recognition, rolling, crawling, language. At two or three the infant brain prunes unneeded cells and grows new ones to deal with more complex learning, activities necessary for a child to survive. Growing and pruning repeats until around six when psychologists agree adolescent brains are 99% complete. But brain cell development doesn’t stop there. The brain continues giving us new tools for survival over our lifetime. It took me 25 years of practice and 19 boyfriends to finally sort out a keeper.
Boyfriend #1 William Hartman
My mother told me my first boyfriend was William Hartman. My father was 5’ 11.” Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Handsome. I adored my dad — how he smelled, the sound of his voice, and how safe he made me feel when he promised to shoot the bear living in my closet if it ever came out to eat me. She said I was four or five when I announced I would marry him. Psychologists say at this age our brain tells us to form relationships with those who are physically close to us, which makes sense because they will protect us. Another explanation might be Carl Jung’s Neo-Freudian phychological theory of the Electra complex in which a girl has a psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. My mother belonged to the Reader’s Digest Book of the Month Club. I know none of Carl Jung’s psychology books landed on her bookshelf. Much of my education came from reading those books when I eventually learned to read. Mom’s explanation to me was much simpler and filled with common sense. She said I could not marry my Daddy because he already had a wife, and she was his wife. She said she had promised to stay married to him until she died. Mom told me it took a moment before I asked when she thought that might happen. She said she had to keep a straight face when she replied, “not any time soon.” But then she was spooked when I told her I would wait.
Boyfriend #2 Arthur Miller
3’ tall. Blonde hair. Blue eyes, just like my dad. Arthur sat next to me in first grade, shared his crayons, and asked to be my boyfriend. He played with boys on the playground during recess and I played with girls. My crush must have ebbed because in fourth grade he wrote a note on the back of a valentine, “I don’t know what came between us but you are the only girl for me.” I still have the valentine. Full disclosure: The class project in February of 1954 was exchanging valentines, a learning tool for writing personal messages, addressing envelopes, and signing our names in cursive. Every student in class sent and received valentines on the 14th that month. Arthur may have sent that same message to every girl in my class. I moved on and so did Arthur.
Boyfriend #3 Tommy Torres
4’ 6”.Black hair. Dreamy dark eyes. Girls at school said they had boyfriends. I didn’t want to miss out. My brain must have been telling me to expand my social network outside my family. I lived on a farm. My choices were limited. Tommy was a migrant worker from Mexico working on a nearby farm. I saw him once playing ball in the diamond next to the Lutheran Church. I snapped his photo with my first Brownie Camera and developed it using equipment from my brother’s basement darkroom. I had recently finished reading “Love Is Eternal” by Irving Stone from my mother’s book shelf. The romantic lead was a tall, dark, handsome man from South America. When I saw Tommy’s image appear in the photo developer pan I decided he was the boyfriend for me. It was easy to fall for someone inside my head. I never met the boy, talked to him, or spoke to anyone who knew him. I was 9. My boyfriend never returned to work on our neighbor’s farm. My only connection to Tommy Torres was that click on my Brownie and this resulting snapshot.
Boyfriend #4 Jerry Lalone
3’ 6”. Black curly hair. Dark eyes. I don’t remember much about this handsome hunk other than I was infatuated with him around 1955 while the subcortical regions of my brain associated with basic drives must have been transitioning from being a child into being an adult. I was 10 and wearing my first brassier.
Boyfriend #5 Eugene Senske
3’ 2”. Dark hair. Brown eyes. This boy looked like the Sal Mineo photo pinned to my bedroom wall. I had seen the movie star in “Rebel Without a Cause,” where he played opposite James Dean. This must have been during the celebrity crush phase of my brain. Full disclosure: Around this time my cousin Carol and I wrote letters to movies stars asking for autographed photographs. It was a contest of sorts to see who could get the most pictures. Sal spelled my name wrong on his photo, but I didn’t care.
Eugene’s picture never made it to my bedroom wall. He was captain of our playground softball team and chose his players during recess. I was humiliated each time I stood waiting, only to be chosen dead last. It mattered little to me that I struck out at bat or that I released my pitch late and broke into an embarrassed giggle each time the ball flew up into the sky. About this time I had finished reading “Marjorie Morningstar,“ from Mom’s books I was forbidden to read. I figured true love should have triumphed on the softball diamond. In Herman Wouk’s story the heroine slapped the romantic lead’s face during a disagreement. He rubbed his cheek, apologized and they kissed. I thought that sounded so romantic, so I tried it out on Eugene. He slapped me back. My cheek stung worse than it did when I was bitten by a bee. No amount of rubbing took the sting away. And that was it for Eugene.
Boyfriend #6 Chuck Proulx
5’6”. Black hair. Brown eyes. Suave. A handsome dude of 13, and son of the only plumber in Standish. Chuck knew what to say to make me blush, flirted, and passed me notes during class. I never had a date with Chuck because my dad said I couldn’t date until I was 18, and I was only 12 at the time. My body was changing. I had my first period. My brain was changing too. I was beginning to think about sex. I could now have babies.
Boyfriend #7 Tom LaClair
5’7”. Brush cut black hair. Dark eyes. Tom nailed a starting position on the varsity football team as a sophomore. He was touted as possible college scout material. I performed with the high school marching band during half time and watched Tom during the game. He was as much a celebrity to me as Sal Mineo. Tom broke his collar bone during a game that year and was out for the remaining season. We never had a real date because I was only 13 and my dad would not budge on his “no dates before 18 rule.” My father warned me if I brought up this subject one more time I wouldn’t have a date until I was 30. Psychologists say that when a strong father/daughter relationship is present in a home the girls grow up with a better self-image and are independent thinkers, less inclined to need a male in their lives to feel complete. I remember thinking at the time that I was well on my way to becoming a nun.
Boyfriend #8 Roger LaClair
5’8”. Brown wavy hair. Blue eyes. No relation to Tom. I was 15 and wanted to go to the prom in the worst way. I told Mom all my friends were going and I would die if I couldn’t go. I told her I knew no one would ask me because everyone in the school knew my father wouldn’t let me go out until I was 18. I was surprised and then stressed when Roger asked. I told him I had to talk with my mother. Mom had a talk with my father. Dad had a talk with Roger, and I was finally released from the “no dates until 18 rule.”
Mom took me shopping. I picked out a strapless prom dress. My mother added a rabbit fur cape so I wouldn’t look so bare on top. Roger learned to dance from his sister. I learned to slow dance from my father, and the Twist and Hully Gully watching American Bandstand on TV. My strapless dress slipped down each time I raised my arms. I spent a good part of the evening pulling it up. I did have a wonderful time with Roger.
That prom date led to Roger taking me water skiing in his father’s boat. He drove out to show me his new Harley Davidson motorcycle. My brother was fascinated, and asked if he could take it for a spin. Reluctantly Roger agreed, but grew anxious when he didn’t come back. Mick eventually pushed the bike into our yard and up the driveway. He had taken a corner too fast, skidded in the gravel, and scratched paint off the side of the gas tank.
Roger was a good sport. He took me to drive-in movies on his repainted motor cycle and was thoughtful enough to bring an extra helmet for the ride and a blanket for the movie. He came out to our farm on his Harley around the time workers were repairing our barn roof. They had left a rope looped over the top of the building. The peak was nearly 100 feet off the ground. My boyfriend grabbed the rope, walked up the side of the barn and straddled the peak. I begged him to come down, but he said he had decided to sit there for a while. I knew he was showing off, so I went inside to do my homework. When Dad came home from work he asked why Roger was sitting on top the barn. Looking back, I think he may have been scared to come down. Dad went outside and talked him down. Roger got on his cycle and went home.
I still have the letters and cards Roger sent when he was on vacation with his family. He worked at the Standard Oil gas station in Standish his father owned, a business he hoped to inherit when his dad retired. This boy was probably the nicest, most thoughtful boy I ever dated. He told me I would make a good wife. He did come from a nice family and my parents liked him.
I thought about it. We would have to live with my parents because we couldn’t afford a house on his salary pumping gas. I couldn’t imagine myself living near a small town like Standish with a population of less than 2000 for the rest of my life. I wanted more out of life. I didn’t know what, but my gut told me not to settle for Roger. My brain was developing. I was beginning to think long term.
Boyfriend #9 Lavon Crowl
5’10. Curly blonde hair. Blue eyes. His age appealed to me. I was a sophomore. He was a senior, and a star on the football team. I felt like a celebrity by association when I danced with the quarterback postgame. Lavon invited me to his senior prom, a big deal for a farm girl of 16 in Standish, Michigan. I was grateful to have a date at all. When he brought me home and my dad noticed his car in our driveway he would turn the yard light on and off until I was inside. Lavon graduated and joined the Navy. Before he left town for basic training he said he wanted to marry me when his hitch with the Navy was over.
Lavon enrolled in Underwater Demolition school and became a Navy Frogman. I was invited to join his family in North Carolina for the graduation ceremony … his mom, dad and sister Penny. I saved the clipping from the 1962 Ledger-Dispatch and Star newspaper near his base. This is how the reporter described his graduating class: “They were lean and hard, and they knew it. They were proud and assured, and they had every right to be. For they had just finished the roughest toughest most grueling military training course know to any nation in the world. Given a pair of fins and a facemask, a knife and a few pounds of TNT and they were ready to go anywhere on the face of the earth. They had been taught how to lay out a course underwater at night or through the thickest swamps, how to blow a bridge or a coral reef how to kill a man with their bare hands or circle a battalion. They were members of a very special club an elite group that numbered less than 500 in a military establishment of 2 ½ million. There had been 91 in their class when they started out. When they stepped briskly up to receive their diplomas at the front of a small auditorium, they numbered only 23.”
This was pretty heady for a 17-year-old girl to have a boyfriend trained to blow things up and kill people. Nothing like that ever happened in Standish. A woman sitting next to me at the ceremony whispered that a Navy Frogman’s life expectancy in time of war was 2.5 seconds. And then Lavon warned me to keep away from his father, which was creepy. So I wondered if Lavon was a good choice for my future.
We saw each other after the graduation ceremony for dinner with his parents, a few brief kisses, and he had to report for duty. I wrote. He wrote. He was gone for the next two years. I forgot about Lavon.
Boyfriend #10 John McCready
5’10”. Brush cut brown hair. Blue eyes. My first experience as a cougar. John was two years younger than me. I was 17 and hired by his parents as a summer companion for his little sister Nancy, and to keep an eye on John while they were working. My duties were to swim with Nancy in their pool built next to Lake Huron, to fish with Nancy when the family took their cabin cruiser out to the Charity Islands, and play hide and seek on horseback with Nancy and John in the wooded acreage the family owned behind their family compound. I made them breakfast and lunch and helped their mother prepare and serve dinner. I actually was paid for having all this fun for two full summers during high school.
I had a few dates with John during my senior year. I drove. He didn’t have a license yet. But then Lavon came home on leave from the Navy. He was in the kitchen one afternoon when John showed up. “Who is this?” Lavon warned me I was his girlfriend or he was out of there. John came inside. He told me I was his girlfriend or it was over between us.
I was in a jamb. I did what any cowardly girl of 17 would do. I excused myself, and crept down into our basement to wait out the raised voices, the fist fight and the chairs overturning. I heard nothing but a car engine turnover, another one roar and drive away. I climbed the stairs expecting to find the winning boyfriend, but both were gone. And that was the end of Lavon and John.
Boyfriend #11 Neil Keeney
5’8”. Dishwater brown hair. Brown eyes. Skinny. I was 17. He hung out in the garage at our farm working on cars with my brother. I found some old love letters from him, romantic ones that I had tucked between the pages of my scrapbook. I’m sure I kept them for insurance, so just in case I never had another boyfriend in my entire life I could prove to myself that at one time I had been “a contender.” Neil’s letters were romantic with a twist. A 1961 letter came from jail where he was spending 10 days for smashing into someone’s car. “I’ll always be in love with you,” he wrote. “Boy, all I think of in jail is you and my convertible, and my problems. I hope you still like me. I may come over to your place someday when I feel brave enough.” He signed the letter, “Jailbird.”
Boyfriend #12 Wayne Anderson
5’10”. Brown hair. Squinty, slits for eyes over puffy sunburned cheeks. I was 17. He was another of my brother’s greasy friends working on cars in our garage. I found a note tucked through a hole in the farmhouse screen door. It was written on the back of a 1961 calendar, and read, “Laurie, I came over and you wasn’t here. I am reporting to Annapolis, Maryland in the morning. Wanted to tell you in person that I loved you. See you soon. Love, Wayne Anderson.” I received a second letter from Annapolis telling me he was being sent to Great Lakes Training Center near Chicago two months early because of “some darn Russian threat over Berlin,” which was probably classified material at the time. Wayne claimed that because he was an instructor at Great Lakes he could only receive one letter a week from his mother, so I should address my letters to him at his mother’s address in Standish. I thought the guy was more than likely in the brig. I didn’t answer his letter and never heard from Wayne again. He’s probably the governor of Montana by now.
Boyfriend #13 Steve Shaffer
5’10”. Dark hair. Dark eyes. I was 17 and over youngsters, frogmen and grease monkeys. I had no boyfriend at the time. My cerebral cortex, the gray outer layer in my brain associated with higher reasoning, was slowly maturing. Between the time old cells slough off and new ones develop, psychologists agree is a time of great risk. Teenagers have no manual to use for making important decisions, and get no direction from the gray mass between their ears. I had been enjoying the power I had over boys, without realizing the potential consequences of my actions.
I was attracted to Steve because he was valedictorian of his senior class, a nerd who had no experience with women. I figured I could help him round out his education. It was a challenge. I developed plans to get Steve to ask me for a date. I rushed to the school staircase when I saw him descend and dropped all my books. When I reached the landing, he handed me the stack. Next, during the crowd movement between classes, I dropped a notebook scattering papers near his locker. That time I asked him for help. I bumped into him between classes, excused myself, and so on and so on. I did mention to a friend of his that I found Steve Shaffer absolutely fascinating.
The scholar eventually got the message and asked me out. He borrowed his father’s car and took me to a movie. Steve was nervous on that first date. He had a hard time with simple conversation. On our second date I asked him to park his car beside a rural schoolhouse near where I lived. I told him I wanted to show him something, then pulled the key from the ignition so he couldn’t change his mind. I whipped around in the seat and put my arms around him. He didn’t know what to do.
I remember feeling him stiffen, so I kissed him. He asked me for the key, nicely, started the car and drove me home. At the door while he was shaking my hand he said that I was a nice girl but a little too fast for him. I looked down and will never forget he was wearing black rubber galoshes, the kind of barn boots with buckles that go all the way up to the knee. I remember thinking his mother probably made him put them on to keep his feet dry that night. I thanked him for the evening and went inside. A year later he came home from the University of Michigan and asked me out. I said “no.” I figured he had learned too much at school by then.
Boyfriend #14 Roger Bessinger
Roger was the sheriff’s son. His family lived in part of the building that held the sheriff’s office and Arenac County jail. He was two years older and already a college guy, so when Roger gave parties for his sophisticated crowd, I was surprised to be included. The highlight of the parties for me wasn’t the beer. It was crawling inside the dumb waiter that his mother used to send food up to the prisoners, pulling the ropes inside the box until I reached the second floor, and then jumping out into the secure area inside the jail. I remember Roger showing me through the empty cells and making me swear never to tell anyone I’d been inside. The guy offered to let me ride along with him to Mount Pleasant the next Fall when he learned I had been accepted at Central Michigan University.
Standish had a population of less than 2000. CMU had around 20,000 students at that time with classes in multiple buildings spread over more land than the 80 acres my father farmed. There was so much to learn. I frequently got lost walking from one end of campus to the other. I had one class in the auditorium and the next across campus in the natatorium. The classrooms sounded similar. I sat through ten minutes of class the first day before I realized I was in the wrong building. I was overwhelmed.
Roger, now a junior, found me wandering around campus confused and anxious. He was kind. He explained that natatorium was another word for swimming pool and it was near the football field. While he walked me to class he told me the auditorium was a huge classroom inside the largest building on campus, the same one that housed the student union. With his help I arrived in the right building on time for the right class.
Roger called me a few days later to ask me to a party at his fraternity. My two upperclassmen roommates who were put out by being stuck sharing a dorm room with two dorky freshmen, were now impressed with me. After being on campus for only one week I had a date with a Greek. It didn’t matter what the guy was like to them as long as he belonged to a fraternity. I had become cool. What they didn’t know was that it wasn’t a real date.
On our way to his fraternity house Roger explained my role. I was to be friendly to the young men rushing the fraternity, have no more than one beer, and under no circumstances go upstairs with anyone. He would take me home so I could make curfew. I didn’t mind being bait for future frat guys, so I attended lots of parties all through my freshman year. Roger and I became good friends, so good, in fact, that on our way from Standish to Mt Pleasant one weekend he asked me if I had ever had sex, and would I like to try it out? I remember thinking, what the heck. I haven’t tried that yet. Roger stopped the car, and I lost my virginity. I had no idea sex could feel that good. No wonder it was on my parent’s forbidden list.
Boyfriend #15 Tom Pfiffelman
Tom attended CMU. During the summer he returned to Mackinac Island to work in his father’s bike shop. I was a waitress at a restaurant on the island that summer. One afternoon after work I rented a bike from Tom. When he learned I was a CMU coed he asked me to a beach party and offered to pick me up in his speed boat after my late shift at nine and have me back before curfew. I attended parties on Bois Blanc Island all summer. Sometimes the guys would dig a firepit on the beach, grill chicken or burgers, and drink beer. Sometimes we would hop in an old car someone kept on the island and hunt racoons with the headlights. When I worked the breakfast/lunch shift, Tom picked me up at 5 and had me back by 9. We did something fun practically every day all summer long, until … I met a girl who said she also dated Tom Pfillelman.
She was a waitress from a different restaurant who spent time with Tom on the same days as I did, but on a different schedule. We put our heads together and learned there was a third girl who dated Tom Pfiffelman on the same days as we both did, but on a different schedule. This Lothario had an early, a mid-day and late date every day that summer each with a different woman. We all admitted we liked Tom. He showed each of us a good time. But the idea that he was gaming us didn’t settle with me. So, the next time Tom offered to pick me up, I asked him if he would mind coming an hour later because I wouldn’t be back from my early date by then. I remember him acting insulted. And that was the end of Tom Pfiffelman and the beach parties on Bois Blanc Island.
Boyfriend #16 Jack Kucera
Blonde hair. Gray eyes. Arrogant. Jack had deep dimples in his cheeks like his father had, dimples I had spent hours exploring with my eyes while his father worked on my teeth. He was the only dentist in town. Jack was an upperclassman in pre-med at the University of Michigan. He phoned me in Mount Pleasant to invite me to a fraternity party that weekend in Ann Arbor. His reason for calling, he said, was that the females at the University of Michigan were smart but ugly and the women at Central Michigan were pretty but dumb — and could I bring some of my pretty friends with me for the weekend. I knew men outnumbered women on the UM campus. It was the opposite at CMU. We had to compete for dates. I talked it over with friends and we all agreed Jack’s plan sounded perfectly reasonable. I remember five of us driving down and unloading at a girl’s dorm within walking distance of Jack’s prestigious fraternity house. We arrived at the ivy covered building and were welcomed with champagne. The future doctors showed us around the wood-paneled house and plied us with more champagne before a marble fireplace. It was my first champagne. I got dizzy. Jack walked me up to his bedroom to lie down, but I didn’t make it to his bed. I threw open his iron clad window with the stained-glass inserts. Before I puked down the side of his ivy-covered fraternity house I puked on him. And then I puked some more, this time on my dress. Disgusted, he walked the not-so-pretty co-ed from CMU to the girl’s dorm and I never saw Jack again. He was right about the girls from CMU.
Boyfriend #17 Tom Pelkey
Tom was a freshman on the CMU’s varsity basketball team, but I didn’t know it when he I tapped him on the shoulder in our freshman English class. He was tall, had great upper body muscles, and wore tight t-shirts to class. I was studying human anatomy for my figure drawing class and had to hand in a number of muscle studies by the end of the week. I invited Tom to our dorm co-ed study room to draw his muscles. I offered to make him popcorn. He laughed at first thinking it was a joke, but then agreed. He showed up, peeled off his shirt and ate the popcorn while I drew. He was impressed I could draw at all and that my sketches looked like him. Tom continued modeling for me off and on for the next few weeks. Then we starting meeting for a Coke at the student union, a study date at the library or a walk between classes. I became a CMU basketball fan. It was fun going out after a game. He walked me to my dorm where we stood outside kissing until the curfew buzzer rang and I had one minute to get inside before the front door was locked.
One afternoon I noticed a rip in the leg of his corduroy pants. He said he had torn the hole while crawling over a fence, an activity which sounded perfectly normal for a freshman on the varsity basketball team. I offered to mend the tear for him, so he dropped the pants off at the dorm reception desk. On my way to the student union to purchase a spool of thread I ran into Tom coming from the union holding the hand of a pretty coed who had been selected from my dorm to run for homecoming queen. I purchased the thread, went back to my dorm and mended the three-cornered tear, blind-stitched all four pockets shut and slip stitched the cuffs together at the end of each leg. He stopped by the reception desk later that day to pick up his pants. I learned from one of his friends Tom had nearly broken his leg when he fell trying to get into those pants. And that was it for Tom Pelkey.
Boyfriend #18 Tony Ehinger
Tony was 6’ 4” and I knew him from high school. He played basketball on a team in our conference and dated a cheerleader I knew. We bumped into each other on campus, accidently this time, and he invited me for a Coke. Drinking excessive amounts of beer around a campfire on the plains near Mount Pleasant was the social activity of students who were not in fraternities or sororities. Tony was a nice guy but not a beer drinker. His dry sense of humor and laid-back attitude reminded me of my dad. Our dates usually consisted of stopping by a grocery store to pick up a chunk of dark chocolate and a half-gallon of milk, and then sitting around the campfire chewing chocolate and chugging milk while everyone else got blasted on beer. The main topic of conversation on our dates was Vietnam. We sometimes double dated and talked about friends we both knew that had been deployed to Vietnam or had been killed there. We kissed, but the relationship was mainly one of friendship. By then I was a junior. Tony was a senior nearing graduation with the prospect of being drafted into the Vietnam war. At the time if guys were in college they were deferred. Tony planned to continue at CMU to get his Master’s degree, but President Johnson needed more bodies in Vietnam and the draft board changed the rules. Only married students in college could be deferred. Tony asked me what I thought about marrying him. I knew it was to avoid the draft. We were friends and I didn’t want him sent to the jungles of Southeast Asia to be blown apart, so I said, “I could do that. Sure.”
A recruiter convinced him that if he signed up for four years in the Army he could choose his job and deployment destination rather than be drafted for 2 years, issued a rifle and sent straight to Vietnam. We were married the summer after I finished my junior year. The first time I ever saw my dad cry was when he walked me down the aisle of the Lutheran church near our farm. I went back to college in the Fall while Tony was in basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. They sent him to Groton, Connecticut where he learned Morse code and was issued a top-secret crypto clearance and sent to Japan. I graduated and joined him on an American/Japanese army base in Chitose, on the northern-most island, Hokkaido. I was like a loaded gun, fresh out of college and ready to dig into the challenge of my first job. But there were no teaching positions on base or jobs for the wives of enlisted personnel. I was able to talk the base commander into reopening a defunct ceramic studio where I taught dependent wives and off-duty soldiers how to throw pots on the wheel, glaze and fire them.
My interest ebbed after a year and I’m embarrassed to tell you I grew bored. I’m embarrassed because it wasn’t my best friend/husband’s fault. After barely four years of marriage living on a private’s pay with nothing productive for me to do, I had had enough. He told me it was okay if I wanted a divorce. I went home, got an uncontested divorce, and a job teaching art and English at Northwestern High School in Flint Michigan. Still friends, we went out a few times after he finished his four-year stint. He did go back to get his master’s degree and married the daughter of a dean at CMU. I was single for two years and had time to think. Psychologists say the last to mature in the brain are the parts associated with cognitive control, including planning ahead, controlling impulses and regulating emotion. I was also lonely.
Boyfriend #19 Bob LaZebnik
I was 25 when I went back to CMU for continuing education classes required for teachers. My painting professor introduced me to his old friend, Bob LaZebnik. Our relationship started full of passion with intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety and affection — feelings that left me elated. Psychologists say being in love is like being high on cocaine. Elaine Hatfield suggested in her paper on Compassionate versus Passionate Love published in “Psychology Today,” that passionate love is transitive. Researchers say it lasts from 6 to 30 months. When the passionate love becomes less intense and leads to compassionate love it can be far more enduring. My attachment to my last boyfriend has endured for 47 years, almost a half century of mutual understanding, shared respect and trust.
Note: I saw my father cry for the second time in 2014 when my mother died. They had been married over 70 years. He died a month later at 92. I’m glad I didn’t wait to marry my dad.