A vocabulary lesson for my ex-wives

Webster’s definition of forever is simple.

: for an endless time

: for all time

: for a very long time

: at all times

Twice I’ve said forever. Both times I meant it.

But twice now forever came up well short.

The textualist screams: “But you said forever!”

It turns out that vows are not literal. They are just optimistic poetry recited at weddings. Full of metaphor and romance, but not to be taken too seriously.

Forever doesn’t mean what you think.

Forever really means:

: until you are fed up

: until it hurts too much

: until you decide I’m not good enough

: until you give up

And both of you gave up.

Perhaps we are all better off, but the word “forever” is gravely wounded. So wounded that in a wicked twist of irony, the lexicographers may have to divorce it from the dictionary, and cut it free to find a new context and a new meaning somewhere else.

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