Friday, March 11, 2016

Possession Is 9/10 Of The Flaw

Possession Is 9/10 Of The Flaw

It's curious how love sometimes oversteps the mark.

Sometimes, a relationship becomes so overly romantic that you have a couple spending all their time and money on ensuring the other is bombarded by little lovey-dovey cards and trinkets. Such couples are predisposed to wearing matching outfits, drinking from gushy heart-shaped, personalized coffee mugs, or going out dressed in t-shirts that proclaim "I'm With Her" or "He's With Me." Sure, it's cute, but you have to wonder if "cute" will survive beyond next Christmas, when each of the lovers runs out of gift ideas.

Sometimes, a relationship is virtually the opposite. Instead of being gaudily obvious, our couple meets in absolute secrecy. The relationship is invisible. Such a scenario often occurs when the couple is having one of those clandestine "affairs," meeting after work in a secret location to have sex while watching The Price Is Right. Such affairs may last years, but generally speaking (not from personal experience, mind you), affairs have a Best Before Date of about three months. Why three months? I have no idea. Perhaps by that time, The Price Is Right has moved on to showing reruns.

Sometimes, a relationship seems a tad out of kilter with regards to the ages of the participants.

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Consider the late Anna Nicole Smith's marriage to business magnate J. Howard Marshall II. At the time of their nuptials, she was 26 years old, and he was 89. They were together 13 months, until his death in 1995. Now, don't get me wrong. I applaud Mr Marshall's moxy, but you have to admit, there does seem something rather outlandish about these two "lovebirds." I won't speak ill of the dead, but Ms Smith may have been feathering her lovebird's nest. Unfortunately for Anna Nicole, however, Marshall left his entire estate of $1.6 billion to his son, literally disinheriting his young wife. Even after much legal wrangling, the terms of the will were upheld.

Hands down, the most destructive type of relationship is characterized by one individual's need to possess and control his or her partner. Jealousy is a fairly common emotion, but sometimes jealousy turns into a kind of runaway, sociopathic paranoia. Rather than love someone freely, some people turn their affection into an infection. Such an individual believes that his or her partner is not unlike a prized possession, which all the world seems intent on stealing away. The partner's friends, colleagues, neighbours, and even family members are suspect. Because of some deep insecurity and likely fears of abandonment, the "control-freak" has to regulate and dictate how the relationship will proceed. Instead of seeking a lover, this personality type seeks a victim.

Sadly, the obsessively "dominant" partner may become abusive — verbally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. In fact, the abuse can be so subtle and demeaning that the "submissive" partner may actually become accepting of such behaviour and literally adopts the persona that the dominant partner deems appropriate. Rather than recoiling from the world of the abuser, the victimized partner becomes acclimatized to the abuse, and in the worst cases, the victim literally depends on that abuse to maintain some kind of distorted personality, not only as it applies to the relationship, but in life as a whole.

Once this mutually destructive behaviour has a stranglehold on the relationship, the end result is, more often than not, tragic. Breaking free from an abusive relationship is never easy, and any attempt to return to a "normal" lifestyle, as a self-validating individual, runs the risk of great peril. The abuser meets the victim's defiance with increasingly obsessive demands and further malevolence, often engaging in stalking, as well as public denunciation and bullying. It's a dark, dark world, and quite frankly, a very dangerous world.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. People have their quirks and quarks, their bumps and blemishes, but so it goes. Most couples learn to adapt to each other's idiosyncrasies. The ability to compromise and understand the needs of one's partner will carry a relationship a long ways. After all, a relationship is just that, a cooperative effort for some better and more satisfying good, an intimately allied effort to find that enigmatic dessert — love and happiness — slathered with whipped cream and a cherry on top.



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