We have all seen really bad relationships. Men beating up their wives. Bitchy women always screaming at their husbands. People cheating on their partner – kisses, sex, looks and desires involving a new and more interesting product than the one at home. Children neglected by parents who are too busy to notice them. People who take each other for granted and hurt each other – maybe without ever truly noticing it. People who always punish their partner for their shortcomings for no other reason than because they can. Relationships with no love in them and painful divorces.
And whenever we experience these relationships – whenever we see them among our friends, on the street, at work or on TV – then we tell ourselves and our partner the same thing:
“We will not be like that, right?”
And the partner replies:
“Of course we won’t. We are going to have a great life together.”
And we believe it. We believe our own words and the words of our partner. Of course we will not end up like that. Our case is different. We are going to live happily ever after.
But what I wonder is this: I am sure no person or couple ever dream of ending up like the above mentioned examples. No one would in their right minds wish for beatings, cheating, emotional torture, ignorance, apathy and plain indifference in their relationships. Only a true masochist would wish for something like that. So why do we believe that we are any different?
I am sure the wife beater’s wife, the cheater, the career minded father, the neglecter and all the other people involved in bad relationships did not wish for that to be their fate when they first started out. I am sure they did not wish for misery and hurt. I am sure they also dreamt of eternal love, passion, loyalty, respect and friendship – just like we do.
So why do we do it? Why do we tell ourselves this little lie at any given time? Of course it turns out to be the truth for some people. Some relationships (hopefully many) do not become fucked up – some of them do actually persist in a good and harmonious way – but how can we ever know beforehand? How can we sincerely look our partner in the eyes and tell them that we will make it work and be great together?