Heather Havrilesky on the 'divine tedium' of a long marriage

“Foreverland” by Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky is a popular advice columnist and essayist. Her new book is “Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage.”
Author photo by Willy Somma | Book cover courtesy of Harper Collins

Advice columnist and essayist Heather Havrilesky started a media firestorm late last year when she published her opinion piece: “Why Marriage Requires Amnesia.”

It was adapted from her new book, “Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage.” And as you might expect, if you want to read a romantic, shiny, passionate book about how marriage is the best thing to happen to humanity, “Foreverland” isn’t it.

Instead Havrilesky writes that marriage is both amazing and amazingly awful.

“So much of a marriage is two people asking very explicitly for what they need — which is the opposite of falling in love,” says Havrilesky. “Falling in love is, ‘Oh, you’re going to read my mind and know everything I want, magically, and I’ll never have to deign to say it.’ But marriage is — OK, slow down, I’m going to have to tell you in extreme detail what I need here, and I need you to listen.”

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Her honest take on what it means to be married to the same person for a long time is both bracing and refreshing.

Host Kerri Miller talked with Havrilesky about how our parents influence our choice in a mate, how we tend to be afraid to talk about the hard stretches of long relationships, and how our view of marriage today affects the next generation.


  • Heather Havrilesky writes the Ask Polly advice column on Substack. She’s also the author of several books. Her latest is “Foreverland.”

Use the audio player above to listen to the author interview.

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