Thursday, July 07, 2016

Talking About Love With Really Smart People

Him: "What happened with the engagement, if you don't mind my asking?"

Me: "I don't mind you asking! It was coming for awhile; we both agreed, when we had the Ending Discussion, that the relationship probably hadn't been working for almost a year. That doesn't mean it's easy. Or that the Ending Discussions, and associated emotions, are over. The relationship definitely didn't fade away, for better or worse. He and I are both not "throwing a scene" type people, fortunately, but there's some residual bad feeling. 

...I'm not trying to be cryptic. The short version is that we were growing apart, particularly in life goals and life styles. Neither of us wanted to admit that to ourselves or each other. Sadness ensued."

Him: "Oh I can only imagine. It's easy to split when one party does something definitively horrible, providing immediate justification for change if not a complete cessation of the relationship as a whole. Good that there aren't any slashed tires or restraining orders to report, but in some ways those kind of crazy (albeit human) reactions can make the decision all the more comfortable. To a much, much lesser degree I can certainly understand it relative to my last relationship. There was no huge fight or anything like that, we just weren't working in a way both parties were happy. ...I do wish we spent more time interacting.... The logic is all there and I maintain that if we had continued dating the outcome was all but inevitably going to be the same, but yeah- emotional soreness is natural."

Me: "Yes. The outcome wouldn't have been any different even if we had gone to couples therapy five times a week. After awhile, you compromise yourself so completely that you actually become someone else. That's never sustainable. The length of the relationship lives on as muscle memory, like when you see a band they like, or when you try to get on the wrong bus to go 'home'."

Him: "I think the fact that compromise is expected for a relationship to work makes it easy to justify a "keep trying" mentality and if at any point one party decides not to work on additional compromises they can be seen as giving up or quitting. Which ultimately ends up being completely unfair to both parties given that - as you said - you essentially compromise yourself into being a different person and the whole damn thing feels less like a relationship and more like a peace treaty between two culturally different nations."

Me: "...I'm so stealing that last line."

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