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07/09/2011

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Banana_the_poet

I can well understand how infuriating it must be to be misquoted. But...
although they are untrue about your marriage - I think the quotes they used sound very common to most long term married couples.

I for one would look back on my 21 year marriage with delirium if I could only point to difficult times as 'half-happy.' I am quite comfortable to admit I have had long periods of total misery while being married.

Because life has been hard for us. We've dealt with shattering family issues including inherited birth defects, the collapse of a business, the destruction by fire of our home. We're struggling with pulling ourselves out of poverty right now and it is no barrel of laughs - though we find humour wherever we can. Romantic and happy we are not.

We don't do romance. We're too busy supporting each other and surviving what life keeps throwing at us. We can't even afford to go out for a drink together or go to the cinema. Our treats are the occasional take-away. Our social life revolves around trying to get a new business off the ground.

I find it a little disconcerting that you automatically classify long term couples who suffered through bad times, and who don't spend time and money on romantic getaways (chance would be a fine thing) and who aren't trendy with a wardrobe of cool gear - as having boring unfulfilled marriages. Oh yes, and heaven forbid we might be middle aged and frumpy as well.

If the article had stated you had numerous affairs and only stayed together for the sake of the children I could see that you might be incandescent. But while the quotes were entirely wrong for your marriage - I'm guessing the reporter was trying to put you across in a sympathetic light for the readers and trying to portray a realistic description of long term marriages. After all couples who begin marriage expecting everything to be as plain sailing as you seem to have experienced it according to this blog post - are generally going get a big shock as most people get at least one of the experiences that were wrongly attributed to you.

I truly am sorry you have been misrepresented - but on behalf of boring, frumpy middle-aged people who have been through hard times - I have to say that dealing with sad times, learning to adapt to each others imperfections and going without holidays etc and nice clothes and still loving each other deeply and seeing beauty and sex appeal in each other when the rest of the world sees no such thing - is incredibly fulfilling and is certainly not boring.

Clair

Banana the poet, I can't see this post is about judging anyone else, just regret annd disbelief that the reporter 'adapted' what was said to make it fit the piece they were after!!!!

Karen

Thanks Banana the poet for sharing your story. I didn't intend my post to be a judgement on anyones life just upon the Daily Mail. We have had friends who have also had to face major upheavels and we know the difficulties that this creates upon a marriage. Good luck with everything you do.

Thanks Clair. You've hit the nail on the head!

Karen

Charlene

Banana the poet, I for one am sick of the stereotype of "old, boring, frumpy couples". I am sick of people assuming because I'm in a long term relationship I must be unhappy, bored and sexless. Since my twenties people have constantly made jokes about married couples; peddling stereotypes about bored husbands and out-of-shape wives who have fallen out of love and never have sex and only stay together because they're scared to split up (or for the sake of their kids).

Yes, not all long term couples are still romantic, sexy, trendy or exciting, and I'm sure there are lots of marriages which resemble yours, but I know from experience that not all do. You say that "I'm guessing the reporter was trying to put you across in a sympathetic light for the readers and trying to portray a realistic description of long term marriages", but to be honest I am completely fed up of constant magazine and newspaper articles which portray marriages in this "sympathetic light" and "realistic description", when I think they are contributing to a cliched stereotype.

I know several unhappy marriages, but I also know many happy marriages. I know couples who have been together for 20+ years, and who still behave like teenagers: going on dates and kissing and cuddling on the couch on a Friday night. These couples are completely ignored in the media, which is too preoccupied with unhappy marriages and affairs. When I tell people that I'm in a long term, incredibly happy relationship I can see in people's eyes that they are sceptical, and I think that so many people, having constantly read accounts of miserable marriages, don't believe that genuine happy long term love exists.

I can see why the writer of this article is very unhappy about being, not misquoted, but entirely fabricated. The Daily Mail clearly used her as a vehicle to peddle a cliched, overdone stereotype about marriage. Google marriage jokes and you'll see plenty of jokes which sum up the "typical marriage" which you describe. But not ALL marriages are the punchline to these jokes, and it's time that we stopped encouraging everyone to believe that it's impossible to have a happy, romantic, long term relationship.

Catherine Hughes

You are not alone, Karen. I am seriously ill and trying to build a career as a writer from home - the only thing I can do at this time as I am totally debilitated by an illness we suspect we are about to confirm is worse than we ever thought.

I picthed an article to the DM, wrote it, and then watched in disbelief as it was altered to portray me as a benefit scrounger who used incapacity benefit to (and I quote) top up her luxury lifestyle.

I live in an ex-mining village in North Wales, where most people (including us) are struggling terribly to survive. The fallout from the article was so great I had to have emergency medical help and my children were also horribly affected.

The article I actually wrote? It was about the courage and resolve it had taken to reject the benefits I was fully entitled to - being very ill and having paid into the system for many years - and about how I have tried to forge a career, even though I am now so sick I only usually leave the house for hospital appointments and can thus only work from home. We'd be much better off if I were still claiming benefits, but I want to work; I want to build some sort of identity beyond wife and mother - and desperately ill person.

The article pictures showed me sitting at our dining room table, wearing a ghastly dress and made up to cover the very visible signs of my illness. Some shots were taken of me standing, but when I almost collapsed, as I was so ill, the makeup artist made me a cup of tea in my kitchen (I felt like an intruder in my own home)then re-did my hair and makeup, and the photographer carried on shooting till he got the shot he wanted - one in which I looked well and happy and every bit as middle class as they said I was (I'm not, not by any criterion - income, upbringing, origins - middle class).

My blog is in disarray at the moment but I have republished the post I wrote about it at the time: http://www.catherinegracehughes.com/?p=465. The DM article was called 'middle class and hooked on benefits'. It's gone now; they took it down when I protested and reported them to the PCC.

I hope it will be of comfort to you to know that you are not the only one. And I know of others, too.

Best wishes, and well done on your measured response to what was done to you.

Catherine

PS: don't bother with the PCC. They don't care and won't stick up for you. Trust me.

Karen

Thank you for your comment Charlene. I completly agree with you. Happy long term marriages do exist and I thought the article was going to be a celebration of this.

Karen

Catherine I can't believe your story - how the Daily Mail can get away with this sort of behaviour is unbelievable. I really do feel for you - your story is so inspirational and I'm disgusted that the Daily Mail don't consider it the same way.

Thank you for taking the time to comment and all the best for the future.

Karen

Midlife Singlemum

Hi Karen - I can't believe I haven't found your blog before, I will be foillowing from now on. Re: the Daily Mail, is there anything you can do about it? Btw, I saw this article but didn't bother to read it as every relationship is different, so what if they may have found a half-happy one or a wildly romantic exciting one - it's not exactly news.

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This really answered my problem, thank you!

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