Under Microscope

It's another world under the microscope.

Tug of War: Stability of Relationships

Relationships are difficult. The closer the relationship the harder it is to maintain. Romantic relationships that commonly evolve into a marriage are the most consequential. People live most of their lives with their significant others. Nevertheless, these relationships are the most likely to turn into something toxic or even dangerous. Why is this? Why do people end up separating more often than not?
The stability of marriages or other forms of romantic relationships involves a paradox. One must accept being a fool just for the happiness of the other person and the strength of the relationship. If both parties adopt this mentality, the relationship can last. However, if the parties are seeking a just relationship, the relationship will not last. This may initially sound unjust and maybe even wrong. After all, what is wrong with an individual who wants a relationship where both parties are contributing to the union equally or equitably?
Consider, for instance, the case of finances, which is one of the most common root causes of conflict in a relationship. When the couple starts measuring and weighing the responsibilities and contributions of each other, they have already lost the battle. Not because there is something wrong with the idea of justice but because it is almost impossible for both parties to agree on what is just. Measuring and calculating is like pulling the rope in a tug of war. If everybody is pulling with a similar strength nobody will find themselves faceplanting the mud. If the couple is seeking justice, balance is not impossible. However, it is a delicate balance, and certainly not stable. In the case of slight injustices, the tension can last a lifetime.
If, on the other hand, one person is pulling the rope while the other is not, the compromising party will fall, and the relationship will collapse immediately. There is no way of establishing a balance if one party is pulling and the other is not. It will not be long before the relationship collapses. Yes. This type of relationship is not stable either, but it is short lived. Therefore, the relationship will not turn toxic or hostile. Nobody will have the time to invest too much into it anyway.
Finally, let us consider a couple where nobody is measuring, weighing, observing, judging, recording, calculating, etc. This case would be like a tug of war where nobody is pulling. It goes without saying that if nobody is pulling, nobody will end up in the mud. Therefore, the relationship is entirely stable. This is the rarest type of relationship but certainly not impossible or unheard of.
To save a relationship, one must be the person that does not pull anymore. This is a foolish position to take. One can expect and anticipate a recognition of this foolish compromise and see if this leads to a reproachment. Reproachment can be recognized and rewarded by more foolish compromises. If the relationship continues down this foolish path the couple should keep this in mind: the path of compromise is much more stable than trying to convince the other person that you were right, and they were wrong. Establishing this foolish mentality will continue to reinforce the relationship and at times of distress it will protect it. Today’s foolish compromises will allow everyone to overlook the small issues of the future.
Of course, a foolish compromise is only possible when both parties are foolish.