We were sitting in a sunroom, swapping stories, news and updates when the question was asked, "Why did they get divorced?"
We leaned forward in anticipation of a standard response; "he was having an affair," or "she was having an affair," a possible "they've grown apart," or a more nebulous "it just wasn't working anymore." Instead the answer was more visceral and direct.
"She was sick of him."
I felt as though I had been punched in my stomach.
"Sick of him?" a passing feeling maybe, a temporary state of mind, but a reason to sever a marriage union?
The word "sick" means afflicted with disease or bad health. He was making her health bad? Possibly. Fatigue and chronic stress are detrimental to health and well-being.
Perhaps she had just had enough, could do no more, and had therefore given up on the relationship. Relationships that begin bright and shiny can fade into dark and gloomy when events occur that change one's interactions, perceptions and hope for the future. Hope was gone -- the relationship could get no better.
President Barack Obama, the man who campaigned on Hope and Change and who could once do no wrong, has fallen in approval rating and in stature in recent weeks. He has fallen furthest among 18- to 29-year-olds -- down 7 points within the last week to 42 percent.
More telling than his 40 percent overall approval rating (Gallup), is his disapproval rating, which has reached 53 percent. His approval rating had dipped to 39 percent in the summer of 2011, but the 53 percent disapproval rating marks a new high.
Simply put: More people than ever before disapprove of the job that Obama is doing.
Magazine covers no longer glorify Obama, but instead call into question his effectiveness as president. Newsweek's "Hit the Road Barack: Why We Need a New President," and The Economist's "The Man Who Could Walk on Water," (with a picture of Obama in the ocean with water up to his shoulders as if he is going under), reflect a president who is rapidly losing stature. Time's "Obama's Iran Gamble" cover depicts Obama walking off, shoulders hunched, as if he had been beaten.
The rollout of his health plan has created strained perceptions of the government's ability to get things done and lowered Obama's approval ratings and believability scores. The White House has moved recently from mixed labeling between Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act to a single label of the Affordable Care Act.
In response to this change, Gallup tested four different labels by reading the same basic question "to four randomly selected groups of the Gallup Daily tracking sample each night between Nov. 4-17 -- but with four different descriptions of the law. A total of 1,725 to 1,885 respondents received each version of the question."
The descriptions included the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, both the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare, and the use of no specific name for the health care law.
The results showed that, instead of creating a halo effect, the use of "Obama," i.e., the Obamacare label, resulted in lower support. "Only mentioning the Affordable Care Act yields the highest support (45 percent), while only mentioning Obamacare yields the lowest support (38 percent). Support for the law when using the other labels" (either both or neither) "falls in between, at 41 percent."
Can't feel good when the use of your name results in fewer people supporting your signature legislation.
This change did not come overnight. It occurred as promises were made (you can keep your health care, it will be as easy as buying a TV from Amazon), and those same promises were broken. It's taken a long time for the bright and shiny facade to rub away and for us to be left a bit darker and gloomier.
What can't be determined is if Obama can get back that loving feeling or if it's just that finally we're sick of him. Maybe we need a divorce.