Friday, November 7, 2008

Understanding Marriage

Bizarro is brought to you today by Dual Purpose Household Appliances Corporation.
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.)


Jeremy said...

Sorry to hear that, Dan. I am currently doing some counseling. I would like to start counseling with my wife because she has grown distant. Thank you for showing me that even smart funny people like you need marriage counseling.

Julian. said...

I'm glad things are fine now Dan. I'm amazed you were able to continue to draw quality and funny strips even while on the "precipice of divorce," but I guess that's what separates the Professionals from the Amateurs.

derekamalo said...

hahaha dan you know my motto for anyone who thinks your a dick..

its cause your the syndiacted bizarro man with a hot wife

they are jealous end of fucken story fuck em

Penny Mitchell said...

Hey Dan, all the best to you and CHNW. My husband and I have been married almost 25 years...very happily for the most part, but we have certainly had our times when the professionals had to step in and send us to our respective corners. I've never known any long-term couple to not have issues...except the ones where one or the other of the pair is lying or in utter denial. I have one family member who is truthful when she says that she and her husband have never, ever had an argument...but it's because he is always right and always gets his way, no matter what. She's a seething cauldron of anger inside, but happy on the outside. It's insane. What a stupid way to live!!!

Congrats on going for counseling; I swear EVERY couple can benefit from it.

Here's to a much better 2009 for everyone...I see this past Tuesday as being a proclamation on the fact that it's going to be a KICK ASS YEAR!!!!!

ldisme said...

lol, good to laugh. got to udnretsand before i udnretsood. and your Napoleon

Anonymous said...

What?! No way! Vegan couples are perfect.

Okay on the real side here my boyfriend and I are both vegan and before we started dating I had this super magical image of a vegan couple never ever fighting and agreeing on everything because duh the basics are there but heh little did I know.

Anyway I'm glad to hear everything has calmed down now and I hope you stick it through the WHOLE way. Remember how hard it is dating omnis *that scares me into happiness* and how hard it is to find a vegan significant other as matchable as the one you already have. Every time I think of those two things I appreciate my boyfriend more than ever.

untamedblogger said...

my parents dont know what "bizarro" is but the funny thing is they have two of your comic strips on their fridge!

my personal favourite is the evolution pic with the guy in the front saying "stop following me, im a creationist" awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, if you both are willing to work on the relationship together, as it sounds like, you guys will be fine.

You guys will be fine. :)

SAYOTTE316 said...


Im so sick of your virgin ass pretending he has a family. For christ sake remove your brothers kids.

Anonymous said...

jeremy, you didn't think funny people needed marraige counseling? then you'll be shocked to hear they also go poopoo like you and i...

Jym said...

=v= FWIW, this avid reader thinks the both of you are tops (redeemable non-jerks) and wishes all the best.

Your couples counselor looks hot, could you refer me to her? Or would I have to bring an SO of some sort to see her?

Rebecca C. Brown said...

My family enjoys something close to an 80% divorce rate (they're exceptional in every way!), which somehow made my decision to get married easier, actually. I think I've had a chance to learn from their mistakes, and learn when a bad marriage is worth saving (about 20% of the time, apparently). The marriages I've seen survive are those where both partners trust and admire each other, and are willing to communicate even if it means showing some vulnerability. Everything I've read on your blog and in your comic shows intuition, sensitivity, appreciation, and, yes, vulnerability. I think, based on what little I've seen, you and CHNW are in love and lucky to have each other. I wish both of you well.

thanh n said...

oof. that must be pretty crappy, but at least things are looking up. haha, when i saw this comic, i laughed soooo hard. because my friend, he used that method of writing just a couple of days before you posted this, and it was such a coincidence.