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love patterns

Recently my friend texted me that he had broken up with his girlfriend so I called him straight away. He tells me she seemed to be unsure about what she wanted and he was tired of being the diligent boyfriend doing his best but never quite meeting expectation.

I wrote about this recently; the complications inherent in relationships and mentioned him in that entry.

He, like me, is the oldest in a large family and for him doing things for others is a way to show love. So, he would mow her lawn when she wasn’t there and would take things in stride when she found some reason not to be available to get together but then complain they didn't see each other enough. They each have a child and both being divorced it seemed like a balanced pairing but then it wasn’t. He never could quite measure up so in the end it was he who cut the cord realizing that this was going to be a steady state condition going forward: the boyfriend who couldn’t quite meet expectations.

This bit of news reinforced my skepticism regarding the nature of pairings. So many seem to tread on thin ice and be prewired to expire like a ticking time bomb; the baggage we carry around like Jacob Marley almost invariably making its presence known once the pheromones wear off and reality settles in. For the record, I think he did the right thing because this was the second time this happened. They reunited only to see a return to a pattern of her pretending in being interested in a loyalty which never quite made the grade. Her method of scolding was limiting her availability.

Then yesterday another friend and colleague tells me his 10 year relationship is over; in many ways the victim to much the same type of situation where there is no meeting of the minds and where misalignment seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. I was even less surprised in this case than in the first.

It takes two people to prop up this sometimes tenuous balancing act we call romantic love and we suffer when we (rightly or wrongly) detect unevenness. We find ourselves repeatedly walking around aimlessly after a skirmish asking why we don’t understand our partner.

I might be wrong but it seems to me that the more one reaches ambivalence on entering a romantic relationship the more one is primed to enter into one; that is provided one still has the energy and the desire.


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