“Both suffering for love and being addicted to a relationship are romanticized by our culture… Very few models exist of people relating as peers in healthy, mature, honest, nonmanipulative, and nonexploitative ways, probably for two reasons: First, in all honesty, such relationships in real life are fairly rare. Second, since the quality of emotional interplay in healthy relationships is often much subtler than the blatant drama of unhealthy relationships, its dramatic potential is usually overlooked in literature, drama, and songs. If unhealthy styles of relating plague us, perhaps it is because that is very nearly all we see and all we know.”
-Robin Norwood, Women Who Love Too Much
I talked about the difficulty of nuanced communication in my relationship with Skyspook in a former blog entry. For months, even though we’re patient, articulate people with nothing but good intentions and love for one another, we struggled to resist interpreting statements the other was making as passive-aggressive, sarcastic, bitter, indirect.
Happily, as time has gone on, this has become worlds easier.
Now I find myself watching other couples, both real and fictional, interacting with markedly dysfunctional emotional patterns, and I can’t help but feel disgusted that we make it so hard for ourselves.