During the week, I played the role of security blanket for a friend who had just broken up with her boyfriend. It wasn’t the first time I played such a role for her and I’m guessing that it won’t be the last.
After weeks of fighting, one-sided arguments, drunken nights and very little make-up sex, she finally had come to the realisation that her boyfriend was not worth the energy – something her closest friends and family had known from day one.
Despite the fact he was four years younger than her, even after he would throw tantrums and respond to her questions as if they were still in high school, she was convinced he was not as immature as we had all indicated. Although she could see all of his downfalls, she just could not give up on him so easily. That is until the straw finally broke the camels back and she said to him that she was ending it. He, as expected, reacted as any 10 year old would. Cue her teary call to me.
But after I hung up (doing the best I could), I started to wonder – when in a couple, do we gain pleasure from the pain? It would seem so.
A colleague of mine told me about her friend who was living with a man who could be best described as an abusive, lazy dole bludger who used his partner’s money and lifestyle to suit his life, a K-Fed if you like. But despite all her friends efforts, she remains with her K-Fed to this day even after realising he is worthless.
Does such reaction stem from the need to be in a relationship and not wanting to be alone? I would suggest so. But does it also stem from the fact that we hope to change someone to eliminate the bad bits and keep the good bits? Perhaps. The need to be with someone and not die alone is a major reason for many people, particularly women who are more emotionally involved than men, to remain in a relationship that is clearly not all peaches and cream. Yet women are not the only ones who fall into this trap.
A close friend of mine was in a long term relationship with a girl who became physically and mentally abusive towards him. You could be forgiven to think that she was a man. But despite the abuse, which culminated in a fully fledged fight in the foyer in one of Melbourne’s premier nightclubs and effectively ended the relationship, he maintained he loved her throughout their relationship. It was his first love. Thankfully, it wasn’t his last.
There is the old adage that love is blind, but I am sure that even Stevie Wonder could have seen that such abuse was not worth staying in any of the relationships that I have spoken of.
Sure, from the inside it’s seen as heaven on earth and from the outside it’s hell. But without our friends to warn us of the dangers up ahead in these toxic relationships where would we be? Miserable? Suicidal? Dead? I guess it’s all part of the endless search to find the ‘One’… if they ever exist.