The Secrets of Other People’s Relationships – Free Ebook

A question that rarely leaves us alone in
love is: what exactly are other people’s

relationships like? The question is far from
disinterested sociological curiosity. What

we urgently seek to know is: are other people
in as much trouble as we are? After a furious

row over nothing very much at eleven at night
or after yet another month that has unfolded

with almost no sex, we wonder how statistically
normal our case might be – precisely because

it threatens to feel like a unique curse.
Most of us have a handful, maybe four or five,

relationships that we know and keep in mind
as standards of what we understand by normality.

Perhaps we met these couples at university
or they live on the street and are at a comparable

stage of life. Without knowing they are playing
this role, these sample couples function for

us as our secret spirit level of love. At
tennis, we notice how kind they are to one

another; as well as how energetic and lithe
they remain. Over dinner, we note how much

respect they show to their respective opinions.
In the taxi on the way home, we spot the tender

way they hold each other’s hands. And, naturally,
we feel both highly abnormal and very wretched

But our assessment of our love stories suffers

from a basic and unfair asymmetry: we know
our own relationships from the inside but

generally only encounter the relationships
of others in heavily edited and sanitised

form from the outside. We see other couples
chiefly in social situations where politeness

and cheeriness are the rule. We take on trust
their blithe summaries of their lives. But

we don’t have access to footage from the
bedroom, the uncut transcriptions of their

rows or their raw nighttime streams of consciousness.
However, we have all this and more about ourselves.

We can’t help but be intently aware of our
own relationships’ sorrows and absurdities:

the cold silences, harsh criticisms, furious
outbursts, episodes of door slamming, bitter

late night denunciations, simmering sexual
disappointments and times of aching loneliness

in the bedroom. Because of this asymmetry,
quite understandably, we come to the conclusion

that our own relationships are a great deal
darker and far more painful than is common.

In times of distress, we fling a definitive
accusation at our partner: ‘no-one else

has to put up with this.’ We need, to be fairer

on ourselves and our beloveds, to create space
in our minds for the scale of our ignorance.

We simply don’t know. We are lacking data.
We owe ourselves a richer picture of love

than we have yet secured. This isn’t prying
or cruel, we just need to better understand

the true nature of the task we’re undertaking.
The truth is that misery – or at least some

kinds of very serious longing and scratchiness
– is the rule, far more than public sources

will ever admit. It’s not that we as a couple
are strangely awful or damned: it’s that

relationships themselves are an essentially
and inescapably difficult project. Part of

the reason we get it so wrong is that we have
the wrong kind of art: the movies we watch

are oddly coy, the novels don’t tell it
how it is. It’s a marker of the problem

that we almost never leave a cinema or close
a novel thinking: that’s just like my life.

The dominant emotion of most relationships
is ambivalence; that is, a complex mixture

of love and hate, contentment and confinement,
loyalty and betrayal. Most loves are too good

to leave, yet too compromised to assure ongoing
profound contentment. They subsist in a grey

zone, where moments of joy bleed into stretches
of melancholy, where at points we sob and

are certain the partner has ruined our lives
and then, the following morning, assisted

by sunshine and black coffee, recover a feeling
of things being basically fine. Image result

for bergman marriage movie If we could properly
see – via tenderly accurate films and novels

and chats in group therapy or with older honest
couples – the reality of pretty much any

relationship we might arrive at a surprising
and deeply heartening conclusion: that our

own relationship is – in fact – two things
above all: very normal and good enough.

Love is a skill that we can learn. Our relationships book calmly guides us with calm and charm through the key issues of relationships to ensure that success in love need not be a matter of good luck. For more, click the link now.

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