Friday, May 02, 2014

Flip World

As many of my friends tie nuptial knots, others pump out children and others too break up, get divorced change facebook relationship statusi to 'It's complicated' and it gets me thinking.

Firstly, I'm almost inclined like a sucker to say that in the breakup the thought of being single is one of those situations where your intuition is wrong. Except that intuition is actually easily ignored, and it's hard for me to go the way back in hindsight necessary to do anything more than speculate on whether it's intuition or cognition that screws us.

Here's what I see, a flipped out paradox:

The thought of being single terrifies us, but paradoxically there's nobody there to hurt us. By contrast the thought of being back with our partner is comforting, yet they are the precise person that has hurt us. (hopefully unwittingly).

And let me be clear, even with my long standing singledom I think risking heartbreak is a risk worth taking. But at the end of a relationship, the conclusion that needs not just to be comprehended but felt, is that you are broken up because that person is no longer the person to bet on. The 'risk' is diminishing as how they treat you becomes more predictable, more certain.

One thing that I found hard to accept, even though I knew it cognitively was when a person just isn't the best building blocks for a relationship. 

Happiness requires risk, I believe that shit. But risk is one of the most misunderstood concepts out there. There's no risk being taken when we are doomed to fail. There's even dumb risks to take when the odds are low and the payoffs actually mediocre. 

When we break up we grieve. And grief demands relief. We don't want our ex's back in truth, we want our ex's to be different people, to be who we want them to be, immediately. But if our personalities, our character consist of our predictable behaviour patterns - hence expressions like 'that is so out of character' - we aren't likely to become a person we aren't just from the trauma of a break up. 

Sure there is such a thing as post traumatic growth, but generally a relationship is ground down to breaking point by incompatibilities in our sub-conscious preferences. Reprogramming those is a LOT of work, perhaps worth doing, but that work takes time and space and should be undertaken genuinely, that is under the presumption that there is no guarantee the relationship will resume. It's work each has to do for oneself. Over time.

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