If a Relationship is Hard Work, Why Bother (article)

If a Relationship is Hard Work, Why Bother (article)

Devil’s advocate or different perspective? Differences in degrees or in kinds? Ponder…


5 thoughts on “If a Relationship is Hard Work, Why Bother (article)

  1. If you’re asking….

    Sort of ambivalent on this one. I think people change, but at different speeds. At some point, one or the other will become unhappy. It’s inevitable, if you stay together long enough. Probably will happen several times. What used to work doesn’t any more. And no one’s perfect, so a conflict is likely sooner or later.

    Then the relationship has to be renegotiated, like a contract. I think that’s the real hard work, but both have to be willing to listen when the other says “hey, this isn’t working for me over here.” Just unhappiness, by itself, isn’t necessarily a deal-killer. I’m not that modern, I guess. But the partner has to be able to care enough about the relationship to say “Well, let’s talk about it. You have a right to how you’re feeling.” And then both have to bargain in good faith and fight fair. I guess that requires fundamental respect, seeing the other as a friend, despite differences.

    I just don’t think the author’s too-easy attitude about moving on is quite mature enough for me. Seems too self-indulgent around the edges. Or, maybe he’s not found the one. But my cynical self says he’s just found a convenient rationale for sleeping with a lot of women without commitment.

    • “Just unhappiness, by itself, isn’t necessarily a deal-killer.” Interesting. Unhappiness may be one thing, miserable is entirely another. Worse yet, silently miserable is indeed a deal killer [for me]. The assumptions, with all marriage interventions, is that there actually *is* a level playing field, whereas in life, the level playing field (i.e., no other pathologies or grudges, or [whatever] to get in the way of mature interactions) seems to be more of a myth.

      In other words, your theory assumes mature relationship capabilities on the part of both partners exists as part of the long-term relationship process. Sure, sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. In my marriage, fighting fair has repeatedly proven to be a losing proposition because I cannot “fight fair” with someone who refuses/is unable to operate on that level.

      That said, yes, I agree the author is a bit cavalier which was what I found to be compelling.

    • True. My takeaway was that well-meaning people can spend years trying to fix a relationship that perhaps cannot or should not be fixed. The notion of commitment and taking vows “until death do us part” simply do not leave room for caveats (“unless you abuse me, unless you treat me like doggie doo, unless you find that you cannot treat me at least as well as the cashier in the grocery…”). I think that part has done a number on my brain such that there IS a point where somebody has to call it (“He’s dead, Jim.”) and staying beyond that point is not only damaging, the damage can actually destroy someone – all in the name of “hanging in there”.

      Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  2. I didn’t know for the longest time that there WERE such relationships that did not require the ‘work’ I have put in… I think I am learning that relationship ‘work’ that feels too much like “work” too often is an indication that one or both people do not know what they REALLY want, or are not being honest with themselves about what they really want.

    I think that there are relationships that are just easy and fitting (I know people who say they have this) because two people have found each other and they are on the same page about some pretty basic views and perspectives on themselves and on life. I have been in ‘difficult’ relationships with people who hadn’t decided what they want and/or piggy-backed on what I wanted…and the same on my end. I had not really recognized who I am, what my basic positions are on lots of everyday relationship things… And the ‘difficulty’ in the relationship arose from us arguing about one or the both of us conforming to my or each other’s (conflicting) expectations (ideas) of relationships…expectations that have to do with some imaginary picture we each hold of what things are ‘supposed’ to be like, or none at all…Not what either of us had established were our personal views or preferences. When the basics are taken care of, I think the rest doesn’t feel like as much ‘work’… Well, that is what I’ve heard 😉

    And further to that, just to blather on for a little longer…

    Funny, as I think about where I am in my life these days…I am optimistic… but nervous, incredibly, about thinking about a new relationship, because I am so aware of the things I have learned about myself in the recent past that I have not entirely come to love yet. And a person who I might get lucky enough to meet and have a healthy relationship will certainly reflect and love those things about me… No wonder I have over-looked certain prospective partners or even friends in the past. I doubted or judged their genuine interest in me because I doubted or judged the attributes in me that they found attractive… Instead I took on those people who were as in denial as I was…(if not more…)

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