Dave Worthen

2 years ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Love & Always-Never


Let’s start at the beginning...

Always: (def) “Every time; on every occasion; without exception:

Cathy: “Will you always love me?”

Michael: “Always.”

Always means without exception.

Cathy asks the question because she has experienced Not Always.

Because there was an exception.

And an emotionally shocking exception.

Exception: from Latin except- ‘taken out.’

Everyone can watch this movie except those who are not 18 or older.

Not everyone.

Take out those who are under 18.

There is an exception.

At one end of the spectrum there is Right and at the other end there is Wrong.

What is at the other end of Always?


Never: “At no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not for a moment; not ever.”

Not for a moment.

Not ever.


There was a moment.

So Always is Not Always.

When except enters your emotional bloodstream you can feel it.


Because it’s not ever supposed be there.

Not ever.

The security of Always is fractured.

Someone broke into your house while you were gone.”

That can’t be. We have 24/7 security.”

You must of forgot to turn it on.”

That’s impossible. It’s always on.”

The exception is a mental and emotional virus that begins to spread doubt into the security of Always.

You may need to read that again.

Cathy: “Will you always love me?”

Michael: “Always.”

Cathy: “Promise?”


We want always.

We want the security of Always.


Your kid comes home from school at 3:30 p.m.


Comes in. His head bent down staring at his phone. Throws his backpack on the couch, says, “Hi Mom” and continues to be hypnotized by his cell phone screen.


You know this because you make him a snack and he says, “No thanks.” You try to talk to him about his day and he has monosyllabic answers. It’s frustrating.

And then one day he doesn’t come home at 3:30 p.m.

All of a sudden you miss those monosyllabic answers.

Your Always just got shattered.

When Always Drifts towards Never.

In a relationship there are things that each person feels gives them security.

“My wife is always at home cooking dinner when I get home.”

“My husband is always at his office working. Often until 7:00 p.m.”

Cathy: (Calling Michael at work) “Hi Mrs. Richards, sorry Michael left the office about an hour ago.”


Cathy checks her cellphone for a text message. Twice.

Because Michael always calls.

Or texts. Or both.

But no voicemail and no text messages.

Cathy and Michael have an argument. It happens.

But, they always get through them even after both sides losing their temper or getting frustrated and walking away.

They always get through it.

They even laugh about great “make-up sex.”

Except when?

Except with this last argument they’re not getting through it.

Except when there is no make-up or make-up sex. Period.

Now their relationship is sliding towards Never.

There has been no moment in the past where they could not repair their upset.

Not ever.

Except now they have a moment that is a “not ever.”

At a Party:

“Did you hear that Michael and Cathy are divorcing?” 


“No. This cannot be. They were made for each other. I thought they would always be together.”


Always is at the moment of creation.

Always is the security you put into your relationship.

It’s your original postulate or decision. 

“Until death do us part…”


A being wants Always. Not because it’s the Fairy Tale. Not because of anything other than there are so many destabilizing things and events in life that you want to know when your boat capsizes, that your life preserver, preserves, right? You grab that baby and stay afloat.


You cannot grab something that has been represented as Always, and then experience a not-ever moment.


Relationships are not stitched together like life preservers.

They are stitched together by two beings with a commitment to one another.  


So what is the Always that Cathy and Michael are looking for?

They are looking for the other to keep their word once given.

Because in this vessel called a relationship, that is the only strap they can pull over their shoulders and tighten around their waist.

They have to have some assurance there is an always if they are going to jump in this relationship and not drown.

“But no relationship is perfect. There are always going to be mistakes and miscommunications and misunderstandings.”

That’s an always that is true.

But these miscommunications and misunderstandings are exactly that.

They are the never ever moments that are never ever supposed to happen.

But they do.

And unfortunately what happens is the fracture of the security of always begins to breed:

Cathy: “I’m never again going to believe anything thing you say.”

Not ever?

Michael: “I was wrong. I apologize. I did a stupid thing.”

Where is this going now?

Back towards Always?

Or drifting towards Never?

When we do wrong things in the Right/Wrong spectrum, each of us know when we did something wrong. Even if it’s hard to confront and even harder to communicate, we know we were more wrong than right because there’s an upset staring us in the face.

When we are depending on Always and the Always gets fractured it begins a process of breaking trust.

Because Always in essence is trust.

I trust that you will be faithful.

I trust that my son will be home when he gets out of class.

When the trust of Always is breached, the Never moves in with a vengeance.


Never means No moment. Not ever.

Yet there is this moment where your wife admits to kissing her boss in the elevator at the sales convention she attended over the weekend.

This is a not ever. See?

What do you do with a “no moment, not ever?”

The actual moment is staring you in the face.

“But this not ever supposed to happen. Not in our marriage. It can’t be.”

Except when?

Except when the no moment is dictated by hormones and chemistry and flirting and wantingness, and a slip of one’s personal ethics, right?

This is the anatomy of the Not-Ever Virus.

Now what?

“I’m calling my attorney. I’m going to file for a divorce.”

Hmmmm...That’s a pretty immediate plunge into Never.

“I could never be with a woman who did that.”


Have you never-ever done something that violated the trust of your partner?”


And really what is the purpose of a vow like, “For better or worse?”

I mean, isn’t this a commitment to Always, no matter what?

“Yes, but you can’t stay together when this is going on.”


But was it always like that?


So someplace back down the train track the Always derailed and the Never occurred and now you’re judging the longevity of the relationship by a Not Ever event?


The truth is that Not Evers happen because life is messy.

Always makes us feel safe because they are not messy.

Everyone likes Always.

The Mom is shaken to her core when her son does not show up.

That is a soul shattering “Where is Tim???!” messy.

Your husband was flirting with his secretary and making out with her after hours.

That’s fucking messy.

But it’s not Never.

Never just reminds you that there are going to be these no moment/not evers.

Like running a red light.

Sometimes you run a red light and nobody knows.

And sometimes you get busted.

And you get busted not because cops are bad and red lights are stupid.

You get busted because you should not run a red light.

Or flirt with your boss. Not ever.

But when you do, own up.

Take responsibility for running that red light.

Take responsibility for kissing your secretary.

Move back towards restoring Always.


Because if you cannot put your trust in each other you will only have never’s that haunt all the days of your lives.

If you cannot trust that your partner can correct themselves and be more ethical, then you are dooming you and your partner to a “she will-never-change” or “he will-never-improve” life sentence.

The Always of “for better or worse,” is for both better or worse.

And really, it can get messy.

But if you defiantly say, “No, not ever again” and move on, then your next relationship will look like this:

Cathy: “Will you always love me?”

Steve: “Always.”

Cathy: “Promise?”

Steve: “Promise.”

Except when?

Except when life gets messy.

Dave Worthen

Author. Consultant. International Speaker.

Dave Worthen Books


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CityVP Manjit

2 years ago #5

I should always go to bed early on a work day, but the except is this piece - it gets even better when I have the discipline to slow the reading - and then this writing is insightful, that it feels like the gift that is always giving - well worth losing sleep this night.

Dave Worthen

2 years ago #4

Hi Jerry Fletcher! Thank you so much!

Dave Worthen

2 years ago #3

Thank you very much, Debasish Majumder!!

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #2

Dave, Brilliant!. As usual.

Debasish Majumder

2 years ago #1

'Always' fascinating to read your buzz Dave Worthen! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz. momentarily it strikes the chord with a never ending reverberation!

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