Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the trouble for couples

So I think recent (post wise) I already made this point, so if you're attentive you should blitz this test. If you know one of the 3 (or 4) basic concepts from which all my posts stem, you should blitz the test as well.

So you have 4 options:
1. good couple stay together
2. good couple split
3. bad couple split
4. bad couple stay together

Here's the quiz:

1. Which are the bad options?
2. Which are the errors?

Because this is a blog post - I'm going to put the answers in plane sight of the questions. The only truly 'bad' option is 4. Though it would be nice if 3 never happened in the first place. question twix the answer is 2 and 4.

I hope that's straight forward. If there's some 'ugh?' over the difference between 'bad' and 'error' let me put it in the flowery prose of Shakespeare for you:

"Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." you know what, that's probably paraphrased I'm too lazy to even copy and paste that shit.

So assuming no incredibly compelling extenuating circumstances, if a good couple split - it is an 'error' the wrong decision was made. But it's not 'bad' because the relationship was good. ie. you can look at it and say 'we had a good thing going on but it's over now.' It happens, a career can get prioritised, people can I believe even exit a good relationship to pursue a bad one.

That's all just preamble.

A friend of mine ended a bad relationship. I'm impressed. Because bad relationships are kind of like bad food. And food I believe is the most common substance people abuse. Like KFC, you know, you fucking know that it's bad for you. Yet, you keep eating it. You make a decision, Colonel, I'm leaving you tomorrow. Then the next day comes, there's nothing in your pantry, there's money in your wallet, you are suddenly hit by the physical withdrawel of sugar, salt, fat, caffeine. Every hit you can get in a value meal. And lo and behold, back you are at KFC.

Many relationships, particularly bad relationships are kind of functionally no different. People might be less good at realising that the relationship is bad for them, particularly if they have never had a good relationship. Which brings me to a side point:

"Tis better to have loved and lost..." If you've had a good relationship fail. You have a benchmark. It's very hard to enter or get stuck in a bad relationship after knowing what a good one consists of. Adolescence is generally where we have a string of bad relationships and bad sex until we figure out by trial and error what a good one consists of. Going from good to bad, generally only happens when somebody has never had a bad relationship to figure out what a good one consists of. My friend has a term that's probably useful called 'deferred adolescence' for people who haven't figured out 'not to date the dickheads we dated in highschool'.

Back to the main point, when you are in a relationship, any relationship you are going to get dollops of dopamine and hits of oxytocin from even your worst partner. Eddy Murphy does a bit in either Delirious or Raw about making a girl come real hard and then you get to say to her 'what have you done for me lately?'

Many of the couples around, not to be overly cynical, are actually just addictions. Not smack or crack or some shit, but your lazy garden variety fast food addiction, caffeine addiction.

It's why I kind of resent the advice 'dude you need to get laid' offered to people who are down in the dumps. Often this equates to 'just get drunk' (also often offered) or 'you know what will cheer you up? heroin' ridiculous, scandelous.

The thing is, that drugs work. Getting wasted will calm a lot of anxiety, taking heroin feels really great, and having sex will make you feel more in control of your life and less anxious about the people you are afraid of.

But to quote(ish) William Goldman 'one of the hollywood bullshit stories you can tell is "A Good Woman Fixes Everything"' and as he goes on to point out, in reality, there are plenty of men with good women that leave them still drinking and getting abusive.

I can't speak with any authority at all, but drugs are known to work, it's a chemical reaction. Exercise works, it hits the same receptors in the brain as morphine. Hugs work, sex works, all these things can do things to your brain that lift your mood. Unfortunately you can enjoy an intimate coupling with a man who you don't enjoy abusive verbal exchanges with regularly. A man can cuddle you as he whispers what a worthless piece of shit you are in your ear.

And those are just the extremes. You can get by for years on a ho-hum dose of dopamine with somebody who roles their eyes at you, or leaves you isolated at parties, or won't leave you alone at parties, or is never at fault for anything.

The thing is, you can only really know how good or bad a relationship is from the inside. Or can you? I'm currently being proven right in the Marxist hypothesis that 'if it looks like a disaster, walks like a disaster and sounds like a disaster, then it's probably a disaster.'

This poses the trouble we have with couples, a seperate topic altogether and one I know too little to write about. Maybe in 6 months time. Anyway, it's what to do. How to act with integrity when somebody is embroiled in a bad relationship.

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