My leopard-spotted gecko 🦎 lasted longer than my marriage

Mar 12, 2023
A leopard-spotted gecko with a huge cute eye.

Recently I’ve had a realization. One of my longest relationships is with a gecko.

In 2002, I purchased a leopard-spotted gecko. A guy needed to find a home for it, so he sold me the cage, bedding, heat lamp, and the critter, all for $50.* A deal, right?

That was twenty years ago.

And the f*ing thing is still alive.

My pet gecko has outlasted my cat, a boyfriend, a marriage, three jobs, and made it through nine moves. What has given this relationship such staying power?

Maybe it’s that this reptile and I don’t expect much from one another. Maybe it’s pure obligation. Maybe it’s the live mealworm diet. 🤢

If I had known then what I know now, would I have paid $50 for a twenty-plus year relationship? I did not make that kind of commitment intentionally, yet here we are.

In contrast, I went into my marriage thinking it would last forever. That was an intentional commitment, stated out loud in front of friends and family. And yet we did not last. (Ha, not to mention for sure I spent more than $50 on the wedding.)

How in heck are we supposed to tell the difference between a husband that will become an ex, and a lizard that will stick with you? (Hahaha, see what I did there?) How do we know what we’re getting into?

One thing is for sure: commitment is not the same thing as persistence.

If you’re in a relationship that’s separating, it may feel like everything else is ending too. But look around for your (metaphorical) gecko. Friends, family, children, hobbies—these things outside our marital relationship may offer us something enduring.

What about you? What is sticking around for you?


Sarah  🖖


* I actually bought two geckos from that guy in 2002. I named one Ella (after jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald) and the other Uhura (the Nichelle Nichols character in Star Trek). One of them died awhile ago, and I honestly couldn’t tell the animals apart, so I’m not sure which one has survived all these years.


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