I have found myself wondering a lot recently why the majority of relationships end. I mean, at best you get one relationship that works out in a “forever” way. While I’m with Lance that just because a relationship ended doesn’t mean that it failed, why are they all ending in the first place? My relationship with Jake has lasted far longer than any other I’ve had, and it’s going great – what makes this one so different?
I think the answer lies in video games.
See, in most first-person shooter games there are all sorts of weapons just lying around. Not only that, but you pick them up just in the ordinary course of walking around in the video landscape. The longer you are there the more you know where everything is, and sometimes you’re looking for something specific, but the fact remains that if you walk around long enough, you are going to pick up a bunch of shit that you can use to destroy the other characters in the game.
Being in a relationship is sort of like that because the longer and better you know someone, the more likely you are to have stumbled across ways to hurt them. Not only that, but as you learn the “lay of the land” as it were, you know exactly where the things that will hurt that person the most are located, and you can access them at a moment’s notice.
The longer you date someone, the easier it is to (in a moment of pettiness or overreaction) just pick up the emotional equivalent of a fully automatic machinegun or a flamethrower and completely destroy everything. Because, hey, why have you been walking around picking up all this stuff over the years if you aren’t going to use it when you feel wronged or slighted?
This means that one of the hardest things about being in a LTR is not picking up any of those weapons even when you are irritated about something – even when you are rightfully irritated. I mean, the odds are huge that if the other person has pissed you off for some reason, it wasn’t intentional (hopefully you do not date people who would intentionally hurt you). It’s far more likely that your SO either didn’t realize what they did or said would upset you, or it’s possible that they are upset about something that has nothing to do with you. In the latter case, what they actually need is a sympathetic ear to vent about what’s really on their mind. Regardless, lashing out at them isn’t going to make anything better, which is (hopefully) your goal. Instead, it’s going to prolong the situation and maybe even take something that wasn’t meant personally and turn it into an argument.
Jake and I get along great, but there are definitely things he does or says that bug the hell out of me. I know that I do and say things that irritate him, as well. And there are times that I’ve found myself thinking – I know exactly what to say that would hurt him the most, which belongings to destroy that mean the most to him and are irreplaceable. But what purpose would that serve? Either the issue is so bad that I should just break up with him – in which case the thing to do is move on, not seek vengeance – or it’s minor enough to be worked through. There’s nothing in between.
And so far, everything’s been minor. The fact that I think he is a bit materialistic or find his hatred of cops unreasonable and slightly immature is totally eclipsed by our shared political and religious values, our vegetarian lifestyle, our love of animals, his shocking intelligence, the fact that he’s unbelievably generous to me, our similar taste in books, tv, and movies, the fact that he is the best sex of my life and we still try new things in the bedroom even though we’ve been together almost four years…the list goes on and on.
There’s no need to break out the big guns.
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