Yesterday, I heard that two more couples I know have split. In that past six months, there have been five separations in my wider social group; in the past year, nine.
Now, you'd think that as a divorced woman I'd be delighted to hear of more women and men joining my ranks. More people like me! We're everywhere!
But in fact it deeply saddens me. I still very much want to believe that relationships can last the distance, that some people are gloriously happy in their marriages - or, at least, happy enough.
It's strange that this is so important to me. I am someone who fiercely believes that the value of relationships is not related to their length. A relationship is not invalid because it doesn't last forever. Some of my greatest friendships, and indeed my greatest romantic love, did not last forever. The fact that they had a shelf life doesn't at all change the profound impact those people had on my life, the tears and the laughter we exchanged, the support we offered each other, the experiences we shared together.
And yet I still want to know that some loves can last forever. I adore the idea of friendships spanning an entire life. I feel happy when I see an elderly couple holding hands and learn they have been together for seventy years.
I know some very happily married people and their happiness really does elevate me. There is something almost magical about a couple happily in love after twenty, thirty years. They are like a touchstone, proof to me that love can endure over time.
And every time I learn of another separation I feel pained, particularly when they are a couple I had thought were well suited. I feel sad for the kids, I feel sad for another lost touchstone, and, most of all, I feel sad for the partners. I know what they're about to go through. I know how rough it is.
Sometimes I even feel frustrated. When a person tells me that their ex is still their 'best friend', I don't quite understand why they would split. Wouldn't it be brilliant to be married to your best friend? Isn't everything else fixable? But I know - or at least, I remind myself - that separation is never the easy alternative. It comes at a huge price - socially, emotionally, and financially. No-one chooses separation without very good reason.
So tell me. Are you in a long term happy marriage? Do you know someone who has been happily married forever? Is there hope for marriage? And - most significantly - does it even matter???