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Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Unequal relationships

Recently, a conversation about someone's relationship issues led to the unnerving topic of unequal relationships. Unnerving because I recognised myself in her story. Her issues have 1 single source: her partner tolerates her presence. In the final years of my marriage, I felt the same: my presence was being tolerated, with barely veiled hostility.

Relationships are never equal because of differences in character, looks, intelligence, money, talents, and so on. I have written before on this issue: Equality (2015), Equality and Respect - part 2 (2015), Equality comes at a prize (2017), From #MeToo to unequal relationships (2018), a Dutch interview about gender equality (2019), and my other blogs on equality vs inequality.

The fact that relationships are never equal does not make them unequal. A main reason is - probably - that opposites attract (my blogs of 2018 and 2019) and make curious (my blogs). Moreover, (fully) equal relationships must be boring (eg, my 2019 blog, PT-2013, DM-2014, Mix-2016). So, what does make relationships unequal?

The common reason is - as usual - time: "[] each partner's value in the other's eyes fades, and not necessarily at the same rate. If this happens, eventually one person will value the other more than he or she is valued [by] the other." (PT-2010).

Another reason is space: "the relationship may have [begun] at this point if one person "settled" for the other from the outset" (PT-2010). In this situation, one partner tolerates the presence of the other partner. Remarkably, the PT-2010 article also uses my advice to her: "Suck it up and make the best out of the situation."

In (very) specific situations, an unequal relationship is a voluntary choice (eg, female submission). Also see my 2015 blog 50 Shades, following the E.L. James' novels of the same name. Several novels are about involuntary choices for an unequal relationship (eg, RootsThe Price of Sugar).

I suppose that I "sucked it up and made the best out of the situation". My tolerance for my unequal relationship increased along the way. It took me 10 years to arrive at my "Bend or Break" situation. I did not bend and told her that I wanted a divorce. She never saw it coming.

I suppose that unequal relationships are doomed; perhaps even the voluntary ones. PT-2010: "One may say that such a relationship is doomed—and, in a way, it is, whether the relationship lasts or not. This kind of asymmetry is a crack in a couple's bond, and one that will only grow if it is not repaired, or at least acknowledged, addressed, and discussed."

“If you allow people to make more [withdrawals] than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance & in the negative! Know when to close the account.” A quote by Christie Williams.

Suck It Up (2019) by The Pearl Harts

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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