Okay, so let's
just suppose that someone was accidentally involved in a relationship
that involved constant fighting that they can never win but would
not leave that relationship even after like, a long time of this crap,
Of course it does. If you do not have at least one friend who has
been in a relationship like this, you do not have enough friends.
The reason you don't have enough friends is probably because you are
too busy being in a relationship like this yourself.
So why do people
stay in relationships like this that make them miserable and make
their friends alarmed and parents disapproving and so on? Well, lots
of reasons actually, but Jesus Christ, I can't devote an entire eternity
to explaining all possible reasons so I will focus instead on the
reason I feel like focusing on.
this before, but what the hell. It's a biggie.
relationship is a losing war for love.
will stay in a relationship and fight with someone because you believe,
deep in your deluded little heart, that the person you are fighting
with loves you or should love you or will love you or had better love
you or would love you or...something else like that, when in fact,
the person you are fighting with doesn't really love you and has no
intention of doing anything stupid like that ever.
Some people like
to fight with people they do not love because it makes them feel powerful.
Correction: It doesn't just make them feel powerful, it makes them
powerful in actual fact. At least powerful with respect to the person
they do not love.
And some other
people put up with this because they absolutely positively cannot
stand the thought of someone not loving them. The thought feels
like death. Or the feeling feels like death. Sometimes it feels like
death because at one time it kinda sorta was like death. Sometimes
people are born to or grow up with adults who do not really love them
and statistically speaking that's actually pretty fucking dangerous.
Evolution is alert to this kind of danger and when it detects it,
it says things to itself like 'oh shit. this is bad. let's not tell
the youngster growing up with people who do not love him/her about
this danger because he/she will get all freaked out and not be able
to maintain. that would be even worse. we have a slim chance of survival
as it is, but we would have an even slimmer chance if major freaking
occurs. We will not be able to completely quell a persistent sensation
of Ominous Dread, but at the very least, we must pretend we don't
notice that Junior or Juniorette is attempting to grow up with a Dangerous
Lack of Love.'
circumstance is neither common nor uncommon. It occurs with Bell Curve
Like Frequency, which basically means that maybe 20% of people escape
it entirely and have no idea what Persistent Ominous Dread would feel
like. Another 20% of people grow up in Incredibly Deep Shit and laugh
at mere sensations of Ominous Dread as they merrily plow their ways
through Sensational Crime Sprees or whatever it is they do to cope.
And around half the people in the world, more or less depending on
god knows what, have various intermittent sensations of Ominous Dread
that come and go depending on circumstances.
Which means that
most people are at least somewhat vulnerable to accidentally hooking
up with someone who will push their Not Entirely Loved Ominous Dread
Buttons and make them not want to leave someone who doesn't love them
because their evolutionary brains really don't want to admit to the
existence of the whole Not Entirely Loved Phenomenon at all because
it brings up bad memories and the evolutionary brains keep whining
things to themselves like "Wouldn't it better if we would all
just pretend that everything's going to work out sooner or later and
love will appear? Doesn't that sound like a good plan?"
The answer is
that it seems like a good plan, but really, as plans go, by the time
you are let's say, 14, it's not really all that great a plan, at least
when it comes to boyfriend/girlfriend type relationship thingys.
Since most people
aren't that horrifically scarred by life, most people eventually figure
out, 'oh this is not fucking working out,' they bite the bullet eventually,
leave the person they fight with but don't receive love from and life
goes on. Actually, even people who are horrifically scarred by life
figure this out and move on.
people don't. Figure it out, I mean. Maybe they are Emotional
Scaredy-Cats. Maybe they are Stupid Optimists. Maybe they have become
Addicted to Fighting. Maybe they figure this relationship is a Good
Way to Avoid Actual Love. Maybe They Are Used to Life Being Like This
Anyway, So Who Cares? Maybe they believe that the Healing Power of
Their Own Intense Love Will Work Miracles. Maybe they are Economically
Dependent. Maybe they are Saddled With Children They Will Endure Anything
to Protect. And so on.
But even though
this constitutes a semi-decent list of Good Reasons to endure constant
fighting because you are unwilling to bear the reality that the person
you are fighting with does not love and never will...staying in a
relationship like this is still Not A Good Plan.
Which means we
now have to move on to the Brutal Advice portion of the page.
If you (or someone whose life you feel like interfering in) is engaging
in fights designed to Get That Other Person to Admit to Love, then
the relationship needs to end. Sometimes it needs to end very carefully,
but it needs to end. Sometimes people with power are not all that
enthusiastic about losing the object of their power, but still...the
relationship needs to end.
How can you tell
if you are fighting to get someone to love you who doesn't? Usually
the sheer intensity of the emotion will give you some solid clues.
Sensations of suicidal attachment are not uncommon, as in thinking
you will DIE if the person breaks up with you. If you start feeling
that way, then you should say to yourself "uh oh. that's pretty
fucked up. ooooops. i need to ratchet this situation down and start
inching backwards toward the door and then run like holy fucking hell.'
Because basically, that's exactly what you should do. Cautiously,
but expeditiously. You will not want to, because hello, you are thinking
you will die if you do so, but in fact, you are somewhat more likely
to die if you don't.
the clues are more subtle. Actual death sensations are not involved.
Sometimes you just feel like you want to refuse to end a fight
until the other person apologizes. Which seems perfectly normal,
right? And which, in fact, is pretty normal. But then, you gotta check.
Does the other person in fact apologize? How often? 50/50 ratio or
an always/never ratio to your disadvantage?
If the person
doesn't apologize, then can you say to yourself, 'hmmm, maybe this
person doesn't love me?' Refusal to apologize, of course, does
not always constitute Indisputable Proof that another person doesn't
love you. Sometimes the other person just thinks he or she is right.
Which is terrifically annoying but does happen sometimes.
But that's not
the point. The point is whether you can face the fact that lack o'love
is a possibility. And be williing to find out. And be willing to live
with the answer.
If you can't
live with the answer, then you've got yourself a one-way ticket to
Being Trapped Forever in Love Hell. Cuz you won't be able to leave
until you get what you want, which you're not going to get, cuz it
don't exist, ergo, voila and in cognito, you are completely fucking
trapped. And sometimes you are trapped while developing
a reputation as an asshole who cannot stand to lose a fight.
To add a serial
twist to the plot, some people who are otherwise seemingly quite successful
at everything else do not appear to be permanently trapped in Love
Hell and yet they are! They are just trapped in Serial
Love Hell instead of One Long Love Hell with the Same Person. In other
words, the person gets into a relationship in which he or she fights
like hell for love, doesn't get it, freaks out, pitches a fit, dumps
or gets dumped, and then amazingly rushes right back
into another relationship that is almost exactly the same!
If this is your
pattern, then you are just going to have to take the advice of my
new two favorite Love Gurus, Jim Carrey and Mike Myers, and get cool
with yourself. Or else rack up a lot of Highly Dramatic Relationships
That Always End in Bitter Heartbreak. Which you can certainly do if
If you don't want
or are just getting tired of things, then you get cool with yourself
by realizing that a) people don't really have to love you if they
don't want to and if you try to make them love you by constantly demanding
that they do it will often turn out that they still don't. That's
is that your life has already been horribly painful due to lack of
love and the discipline of not trying to get it from people who aren't
going to cough it up is not going to make it any more horribly
painful and eventually will make it less horribly painful.
Which is actually what your Evolutionary Brain Centers don't believe
but which is true.
They don't believe
it on the basis of an otherwise very sound theory, namely that pain
you put off experiencing until tomorrow is obviously and significantly
less painful than pain you are actually feeling now. Which in a way
is true. Because hello! any pain that you are feeling now is definitely
worse than not feeling it, although supposedly if you are going to
feel it later it will still be bad then. But hey, that's then, why
worry about it now?
This is the I'll
Have Surgery On My Knee Later, When It Gets Really Bad and I Can't
Walk theory of relationship management and evolution greatly favors
it. It would just as soon you put off relationship surgery until things
are really bad and you can't walk because it's afraid of going under
So how can you
tell if the fighting you are engaging in is a sign of Love Tenderly
Developing Through Conflict or a sign of Feeding the Hellacious
Greedy Love Hell Monster That is Your Life? Well, a certain amount
of attachment will develop in both cases, but a clue as to the nature
of the attachment lies in whether you are generating more tenderness
as you go along or whether you are generating more passion. Passion
is addictive, while tenderness sprouts uncertainly from understanding.
If your fights lead to understanding, then tender love is uncertainly
sprouting. If your fights lead to Desperate Frenzied Passion then
Desperation is developing.
Suppose you are
married and the fighting is incessant? Suppose things used to be good,
so you are reluctant to adopt the "He/She Never Loved Me"
theory and yet understanding does not seem to be occurring and perhaps
is fading semi-rapidly into the background seemingly never to be resurrected
again? Suppose you are completely fucking confused all the goddamn
time and not liking it all that much.
In this case,
you are simply Married.
Sometimes when two people love each other very much, they get married.
Often following this event, they will attempt to live with each other
for long periods of time. After about 7 years or so, give or take,
depending on circumstances, they will come to an Awful Realization.
The Awful Realization is that their lives are now completely entwined
and entangled with each other's and they can no longer fucking move
from the kitchen island to the kitchen sink without tripping over
the damnable and messy tangles of Unsorted Stuff that arises from
having lived for 7 years more or less with another person and his
or her messy Unsorted Stuff that is now getting in the way of you
navigating through your own messy Unsorted Stuff.
seemingly becomes impossible becasue it has to wend its way through
a booby-trapped Hell Zone of Unsorted Stuff and by the time it gets
to the other person it picks up all kinds of Unintended Meanings,
Bad Memories, and Explosive Friction Material. It will occur to you
that the two of you Do Not Agree on Anything.
There are two
cures for this.
Cure #1: Not
getting divorced even though you really really want to. This seems
like an odd cure, but it works eventually and then often ushers in
a Golden Era of Happy Marriage-ness.
Cure #2: Getting
a divorce even though you really really don't want to. This also
usually cures things, although in an extraordinarily painful manner.
you don't do what you want, things will turn out all right, although
I'm not telling you that they will do so in an easy or light-hearted
All right, let's
summarized what we learned today!
A) If you are
trying to get someone to love you who does not, leave. End the relationship.
Cautiously if necessary, but leave.
B) If you keep
getting involved with people who don't love you so that you can try
to force them to--quit it. Just cut out that shit and don't get into
another relationship until you can stand not being in one.
C) If you are
we're on the topic of love hell, why not explore the fascinating topic