~ At coffee recently the subject of relationships came up, one of the young women sitting at our table was concerned that her boyfriend had no life outside of their relationship,
“All he does is go to work and spend time with me. He doesn’t ever hang out with any guy friends, he doesn’t seem to have any hobbies. He’s just so damn annoying! It’s not that I hate him, because I don’t, I really love him, he is so sweet to me. But I feel suffocated by him a lot lately” she said
The conversation reminded me of a client I used to have when I worked at a clinic. He had recently gotten out of jail for trying to murder his girlfriend. He fired five shots at her, all of them entered her body, and amazingly, she didn’t die.
The client was assigned to our clinic in the eight month program for drug and alcohol counseling. For weeks he never spoke in group counseling sessions, and in one-on-one sessions rarely offered much as way of conversation. About two or three months into the program he finally opened up during a group session and told us about trying to murder his girlfriend,
“I got really mad at her. I was convinced she was cheating on me, and she always knew how to get under my skin in arguments” he said
While trying to murder your girlfriend is on a whole different level than the average fare that most of us deal with on a daily basis, there is a consistent theme to what I keep seeing all across the Western World; men and women who are too obsessed with their relationship.
For some people, their obsession in the relationship borders on addiction. They use the other person for a “fix” to combat their feeling of incompleteness in life. Perhaps much of it is due to Hollywood and romance literature which reinforces the idea that the ultimate purpose in life is finding the perfect lover and living happily ever after. Unfortunately, life is not that easy, and Hollywood usually leaves out the rest of the story.
I recently fell victim to binge watching Season 7 of Mad Men, perhaps the most intelligent show television has ever produced in my lifetime. The main protagonist Don Draper constantly fails at trying to find meaning and purpose in women and in making money. Season after season he suffers intense breakups; both professionally and romantically. A severe sense of loneliness sweeps over him each time, and he attempts to combat it time and again with women, booze, or making money, but all of those fail at giving him what he is truly searching for; peace and purpose.
Each of us must figure out what our purpose is in life, the longer we put off searching for truth and purpose, the more prone we will find ourselves to attempting to satiate our emptiness through things that won’t truly satisfy our souls. Relationships can and are good things, friendships, romantic relationships, business relationships; community and connectivity are a positive element of culture. However, if any one person becomes our sole defining purpose in life, it is likely that we will one day find ourselves frustrated and alone.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society