But you’ve got to be able to say that [‘If you want to work the street alone / I’ll disappear for you’ from I’m Your Man] to someone you love. A man has to let another man bring gifts to his wife. That goes for us all. And the notion that a thing is fixed and doesn’t admit of any need for change or modification, that’s the sure formula for suffering. People have to decide between themselves whether they’re going to be true to one another, and what ‘being true’ means, they have to define for themselves. You may decide to share that thing exclusively with each other. But there’s a whole range of friendships that are available to people, and perhaps you suffer a great deal if you refuse them. Maybe I have a more radical view of the thing, which is private and even inarticulate to myself. But I know in myself there are times when that line is true. At times you have to disappear for your lover, and you have to let them cook by themselves and in whatever way they want. Otherwise you can’t hold it.
From As a New Generation Discovers Leonard Cohen’s Dark Humour Kris Kirk Ruffles the Great Man’s Back Pages by Kris Kirk in Poetry Commotion, June 18, 1988. More Leonard Cohen quotations about relationships can be found at Leonard Cohen on Relationships. Originally posted April 26, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric