A recent article was published in the New York Times that I found really interesting. It’s called “Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person”; catchy title, I know, but I don’t think it’s a depressing read. The premise of the article is basically that we go into relationships with unrealistic expectations of love, marriage and compatibility, and consequently end up feeling disappointed and conclude that it must be because the spouse was the “wrong” person to marry.
The final paragraph really resonated with me and made me think about how it may be related to the fear of getting help for relationship and sexual issues:
“Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy. It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling. We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not “normal.” We should learn to accommodate ourselves to “wrongness,” striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners.”
It’s scary to reach out for help when things aren’t going well in a relationship. Perhaps underneath the fear and resistance is the aforementioned notion that whatever is going on is beyond “normal”, which inevitably brings a sense of blame, shame, and sometimes paralysis in making positive moment. I often hear patients talk about this stuck feeling; a feeling like things are so helplessly and hopelessly wrong and nothing like anyone else experiences. Thus, I’m glad this article came out and addressed a dimension of relationships that defies the photoshopped version of relationships we see in movies, TV, and social media. The more people realize their issues and normal and common, the less shame there is in admitting it, reaching out for help, and committing to work on things.