Gene Otto – Commitment

“It’s not just kissing a lot of toads.

When we were about seven, eight years into [our relationship], we knew couples that had been together 10, 15 years, 20 years. If you have role models, you get it ingrained in you that this is possible. You make [the relationship] better, you work on it. There’s a lot of luck into it—the right people coming together at the right time. It’s not just kissing a lot of toads and finding a prince. There are a lot of toads still out there that are staying toads. At one point we looked around ourselves—I think we’d been together 10, 12 years at that point—and we had a number of single friends. Me, being a Yenta, I’m always trying to go, “Oh, why don’t you guys date? You’re two really neat people. Why aren’t you guys getting together?” And they go, “Oh, no, we don’t have that in common, like you have it in common.” You still keep trying to say, “Find someone that has something in common with you. Values are especially important. Come on, you’re all out there looking for somebody. Why are you ignoring the person right in front of you?” They’re still looking. Most of them are still single, they’ve been in and out of relationships, and I don’t know if it’s how they view themselves, or how they view other people. They did look at us as weird, and we were weird. We were not the norm. Probably [we] still aren’t the norm.

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Sources: Interview with Susan Williams on 3 December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture; interview with Laura S. Hodgman on 27 November 2012.