It was a ho hum Tuesday morning, when five of us got together at a friend’s place. This vivacious lady played a gracious host, and put the eats on the table early on. Then, it was time for some chit chat.
After the banter about school, kids, routine, kids, weather, kids…and then some more banter about kids, the gloves came off and the fun came on. Anniversary gifts were discussed before the talk inevitably veered to fights. I realised that most momentous occasions usually bring out the worst in couples. What makes us do it? Expectations? Or egos? Or stress? Performance anxiety?
I was still wondering when one of the ladies said, “He just ruined everything on the second valentine’s day.”
“How?” We all asked.
So, apparently, this guy had pulled out all the stops and created a fabulous agenda for unstoppable romance – the day began with a diamond pendant, before proceeding to a buggy ride, and ended with a play on Broadway and much romance in between. What went wrong, then?
“Exactly that – he set the bar so high that I knew every valentine’s day after that would most definitely suck. Because, let’s face it – he’s just not the kind of make that kind of an effort year after year.”
Between a whole lot of guffaws, one of us asked, “Well, what did he do the year after that?”
“A USB Drive.”
More laughter followed.
“Every year after that, he just mumbles something about Happy Valentine’s Day, says flowers are a waste because they rot too soon, and then goes to work if it’s not a weekend.”
Everyone agreed and began to bring out their own stories. Between the laughs and mini scandals, I realised this: we talk in absolutes. He always does this, he never does this. Always, never, ever, every time. Every single time. And that’s where the fights usually land up – in the sour land of dejection and rejection, where the actual issue gets lost and the absolutes show a complete lack of faith, and opinions that seem difficult to break.
Needless to say, we end up preempting our partners because we already know they will always/never do something that we would actually want. And that is where the other side of the world of absolutes stares us in the face. Should it actually be as we “always” thought it would be, or is there a middle path called happily ever after in between? Could it be that beyond the land of absolutes lies a rainbow of opportunity from where we can slide right into a pot of golden, fine smelling acceptance – comfortable as an old sweatshirt, or that couch where we park ourselves to enjoy television watching?
Don’t forget to tell me what you think!