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When it comes to a happy marriage, absence makes the heart grow fonder

Bless. Only two years married and Cat Deeley is already telling people that the "secret of her happy marriage" to Irish comedian Patrick Kielty is "plenty of time apart".

After only two years? But aren't the first few years of marriage supposed to be when young love is still at its most passionate?

When you can't bear to be separated and every hour spent apart is an hour wasted? Do you recall the agony of it? The ecstasy? The mental and physical exhaustion?

No? Hmmm. Neither do I. "No offence" - as my ten year old would say - but if you've been married as long as I have you may have some difficulty recalling what it was that attracted you to your partner in the first place.

There must have been a reason - quite possibly more than one - that you stood in front of people and swore to stay with him through thick and thin, sick and sin, but you're damned if you can remember it now.

Don't worry, such forgetfulness comes with long marriages.

But indulge me. Try to recall those first few years of marriage when you were still so madly in love that you stressed out if you saw your beloved chatting animatedly with another woman, when you wouldn't even let him pop out to the loo in a nightclub without you.

Do you remember when you worried about things like that? Yes, I'm flabbergasted I did too. What innocence!

These early, blissful yet terrifying years are the time when the last thing you want is time apart from each other.

This is when, if one of you mentions that you need your "space", the other immediately falls into a paranoid panic that they're about to be dumped for the new gym instructor (yes, I did see the way you looked at her!).

If you already want to "be alone" before your first five-year anniversary, what on earth will you have to look forward to in later years.

To be fair to Ms Deeley, herself and Patrick have been best buddies for about twenty years, so they know each other pretty well.

Which is why they seem to have cottoned on to the secret of a happy marriage much quicker than the rest of us.

Many of us, who marry within a few years of meeting our partners, usually have to go through a lot of tears, tension and terror before we realise marriage doesn't mean our status as individuals with different likes, dislikes and interests, has been permanently eradicated.

It takes us a while to realise that doing everything together is a recipe for disaster. The longer you are in a marriage, the more space you need to give to each other.

He wants to go play golf and you'd rather sear your eyeball in lighter fluid than follow him around an excruciatingly boring 18-holes?

Fine. He goes off with his mates while you go for a spa weekend with your sister.

If he insists you at least make an effort to be interested in his golf game, start drooling over Tiger Wood's fine physique and that will soon shut him up.

Ditto, don't even think of asking your bloke to come out with you and your mates. I mean why would you? What's the point in meeting your friends if you can't moan about your husband to them in peace?


We wouldn't expect our best friends to do everything with us, so why should we think our partners should?

And if we spend all our time together, what on earth are we supposed to talk about later on? There's nothing more boring than a woman who has no secrets. Or a man who wants his wife at his side 24/7.

And it's only at a distance that you realise what it was attracted you both in the first place. Ah yes, it's all coming back to me now.