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This cartoon is a personal favorite of mine of late. It's simple, it's a new twist on a cartoon cliche, and it makes me smile.
I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Way WAY more than I've wanted to, actually. CHNW and I had a very rough year which required a good deal of counseling and self-help-book reading to survive. (Avid readers might notice I haven't mentioned her here in many months.)
We've finally turned the corner and are doing fine now, thanks, but in the process of dancing on the edge of the precipice of divorce I learned a lot more about relationships than I previously knew. Having been through a divorce in the nineties, and many subsequent months of counseling, support groups and self-help books, I thought I knew a lot. But there's always more. (For instance, I learned that modern wallboard does not stand up very well to heavy objects thrown with fair velocity from across the room.)
I've long believed that the only path to a healthy relationship is to be healthy yourself. If you're screwy in the head, you attract (and are attracted to) screwy people, and there go your chances for a sane relationship. Emotional health isn't easy to achieve, of course, it takes a lot of work on an ongoing basis and because no one is perfect (especially if you were raised by humans), mistakes will inevitably be made. Our couples counselor calls those mistakes "AFGOs". (Another F*cking Growth Opportunity)
We've all had the experience of watching friends and acquaintances struggling with their relationships. One hard and fast rule of romance that I've seen over and over again is that if the person you are in a relationship with is an irredeemable jerk that your friends can't stand, you're probably not going to succeed. At this point you should give up, do a lot of work on yourself, and head into the marketplace again with a renewed self image. I know I've said this of some of my own friends, so now that CHNW and I were the couple under the microscope, I can't help but wonder if any of our friends or acquaintances have said similar things about us.
"I always thought he was a dick, she's well rid of him."
"I've never liked the way she laughs, I don't know how he lasted this long."
"What's with that stupid hat and cigar? Does he think he's Jimmy Durante? Who is she kidding with that phony smile? It's obvious she's miserable inside. I hate both of them and hope they perish in a fight to the death." (Okay, that last set of comments came from one of her ex-boyfriends who never got over her.)
Sorry to those of you who think I'm a dick, she's not rid of me yet. And sorry to you laugh-hating hypocrites who pretended all these years to accept us as we are, you'll have to deal with it or get lost. And sorry bitter ex-boyfriend who needs to admit that he's got a serious drinking problem and is very likely bisexual, you need to put down the bottle, come out of the closet, and get on with your life.
(The "friends" mentioned in this email are fictional and are in no way meant to represent anyone that CHNW and I actually know or have dated. Any similarity between the descriptions and comments in this posting and our actual friends and acquaintances and the things they might have said, are strictly coincidental.)