Have you ever caught yourself staring out the window, maybe your office window, watching someone younger than you get into their car up the street, or unloading groceries from their trunk, wishing for a little more peace, happiness, respect, joy, sex, love, agape, laughs, intimacy, happiness and peace in your relationship? Or perhaps, instead of giving mutual support you find yourself stuck (unstuck) inside a negative feedback loop itself unstuck (stuck) within a chronographic experiential time cycle in which you zoom around your life in circles, or figure eights, back and forth and around and around, experiencing the same pathetic, depressing conflicts over and over.
If that is the case, and for many of us it is, there is a good chance that you sometimes wonder why your relationships, and life in general, suck so bad while other people’s lives and relationships seem so awesome. And, statistically, you have at least three feet of shelf space in your home library devoted to self-help relationship books promising clarity about all the ways relationships fail, but look here’s the problem:
Smoothly functioning, harmonious relationships are only possible if one or more of the participants settle for less than they need, hold back, suffer in silence, give in all the time, or all of the above, or get even through indulging their bad habits.
While popular entertainment, and pretty much everything else about modern capitalist society seems desperate to convince people that people stay in love their whole life long and there’s something wrong with you if you feel differently, real relationships are more complicated than that.
Take John and Rebecca. John listens to 80s hair bands and plays air guitar. Rebecca farts before leaving elevators if she’s riding alone.
Or Max and Peter. Max bites his nails, Peter checks whether the front and back doors are locked about ten times every night before going to bed.
George can’t stop putting empty containers back into the refrigerator, no matter how much Jamie yells at him, while Jamie clips coupons and spends more on gas running to multiple stores to cash in the coupons than the coupons actually save.
Mike has a drinking problem and is addicted to internet porn. Martha is attending group therapy as part of a plea bargain following her arrest for shoplifting.
Home alone while her husband Donald is a coma following an opiate overdose, Gretchen steals packages delivered to her neighbors’ houses and stacks them in the spare bedroom and when it is full she drives them out to the desert and sets them on fire.