Sunday, January 16, 2011

La Douleur Exquise: The Exquisite Pain

If you are a fan of Sex and the City you might remember this episode called La Douleur Exquise translated as The Exquisite Pain. This is one of my favorite episodes of the series because it equated that relationships can turn masochistic and not in the typical sense. In the beginning of the series it seemed like no matter what Big did to Carrie she would keep coming back to him. It is in this episode that she realizes she is in a masochistic relationship with him, and that she keeps hurting herself over and over. It reminds me of my own bittersweet relationship with my own Mr. Big. I think part of the reason you keep going back is you assume that your love is so powerful that the other person will change because of it. When they don’t a sense of disappointment sweeps over you and you try harder. However, there is a time and place when the realization takes over that the pain is not worth it. It’s like taking a razor blade to your arm and you keep cutting and cutting.

I like to use examples of other people I know, because I think you can relate and understand your own situation better when you look at it through a different prism. I have this one friend who has been dating this guy for over seven years. It has been on and off, but they would get back together. The last breakup he decided to leave her for another woman he met online. When it didn’t work out he came crawling back to her. She took him back, and she hasn’t been happy since. Part of the reason she took him back was because he bombarded her with roses and promises that he was willing to do anything to make the relationship work. That hasn’t happen and she is left with this nagging feeling that he will leave her again. She checks his emails and cell phone to see who he is talking to. If she can’t get a hold of him she assumes the worst. Most of you are probably thinking why doesn’t she give up on this guy already?

Maybe we watch too many romantic movies or Sex and the City episodes, because in those situations the guy changes. The reality seems far different. Men like Mr. Big don't change in real life. If they do, they don't keep you waiting for ten years. If they think you are the woman they want to settle down with they will change right away. Not talking dramatic overnight changes, but small things here and there. On a deeper level, I think most people stay in these painful relationships for several reasons. One being that they don't think they deserve better, and the other is it is easier to stay in a bad relationship they go back out into the dating world. Dating is extremely hard. It seems like you date twenty people just to find one good prospect. You then put all your time and energy and that one prospect doesn't work out. Then you start the cycle all over with another ride on the merry go round of dating.

This goes back to my New Year's resolution to get off the merry go round. I've been seeing a pattern in my own dating style. Staying too long, hoping the guy will change. I'm ready to accept the fact that it won't and move on. I realize it is hard to be alone, but I'd rather deal with that then the pain of a relationship that is not working.