There are still romantics in the world; I should know I'm one of them. Romantics are a dying breed though. We are killed every day by assassination squads of cynicism, betrayal, denial and frustration. But some of us, the ones who hold onto hope against hope, still manage to carry the torch of the romantic. Some of us take it too far though; some of us are diehard romantics. Some of us are such diehard romantics that nothing can kill our spirits; nothing can make us drop our banner, even when we really should. I call those people Romasochists, because we hold onto our romantic notions unto the point of emotional pain. And yes, I have been among their number on occasion. And many of you have as well.
Romasochists first and foremost always believe in the Happy ending. They have usually watched too many movies on Turner Classic Movies for their own good. They believe everything that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have ever taught them. They know every line from almost every Jon Cusack movie you can name. Jon Hughes movies ushered them through many a hard time. As an aside, I personally believe that every single person who does outpatient mental health today in some part owes their livelihood to romantic comedies from the 80’s and 90’s. Those movies have given so many boys and girls such unrealistic expectations about the way relationships should be, and caused so much neurosis because of it, that I think we all would be a little poorer without those thrice-damned movies. I mean, come on, Pretty Woman? Really? This is what we, as impressionable human beings, are accepting into our romantic fantasies?
The inevitable outcome of believing too much in these fantasies is heartbreak. Repeated, inevitable heartbreak. Some people become bitter from this heartbreak and vow never to love again, to become crazy cat-ladies, or move out into the woods and live alone in a one room shack. But the ones who repeatedly go back for more are the Romasochists. This isn’t good for the psyche, like repeatedly smashing your forehead against jagged rocks isn’t good for your IQ. So, you are probably asking, how does one avoid, or in some cases stop, being a romasochist? Well, since romasochists are by definition passionate people, they tend to only engage in extremes. If they get hurt badly enough, they usually engage the other extreme and either become emotionless robots, or swear off love entirely. Neither of these approaches works, because eventually the rubber band snaps back, and we end not where we started, but someplace worse. The romasochist always falls in love again, only the next time the set point for love is a little lower because deep down we want it even more. We maybe successful in fending off most romantic stimuli, but eventually one will get through those white blood cells we developed to kill off any love bugs that come our way. The next time the Romasochist falls in love after a bad experience is likely to be far worse than the previous time, ostensibly because the stimuli will have to be far stronger to get through the thick scab of bitterness that the last disappointment left.
And so it goes. Love, Hurt, Reject, Repeat. Until we put the breaks on the entire process. The problem with this series of events is its rapidity. All of this happens so quickly that its progress generates a large amount of emotional friction, and we all know friction ultimately leads to fire. Problem is that fire doesn’t always end up in passion; it most times ends up in the person with the vulnerable heart just getting burned. So there are two ways to deal with this process, slow it down and reduce the friction. We can slow it down by doing just that; control the rate at which we fall for people. Put on the breaks. It may seem like an impossibility, but love at first sight, as I’ve covered in previous posts, is a myth, and you can take more than a few minutes to decide if you are meant for someone or not. That alone may help you avoid 50% of situations that would eventually end in heartache. The next thing is to lubricate the relationship so as to avoid friction. By this I mean when you enter into the preliminaries of meeting someone, don’t gush, don’t tell them everything about yourself, see if you are compatible, and even if things are going great, make sure that they go great at a slow pace. That way you cut down on friction and sparks. Do not invest more of yourself than the other person is. That is a sure way to get your heart broken.
No matter how conscientious you are about your relationships however, some are still bound to fail, and that is the real test; when you do everything “right” and still end up with a broken heart. That is when you rely on your friends to pick you up, dust you off, and get you back to your feet. Romance should not be a painful experience; if it is something is wrong, and chances are that something is not you. So do not take too much blame when things go wrong, and do not give too much either. Reduce the stress and strain of going between the extremes of love and hate by trying to maintain and learn from experience until the right one comes along. Try and accept what happened and make sure it does not happen again. Your Brain is your most important organ, but your Heart is your most important Muscle, so stop leaving it open to so much abuse. Be more careful and don’t play so fast and lose with your emotions Romasochists. At the end of the day, no one cares more about you than you do.
Special Crazy BF/GF Section
Unless you’re one of those like, crazy stalkers, then ignore all of this and when someone says no to you, just except it and move on. It probably is your fault. If there is a restraining order taken out against you, take a hint. If the person you love moves and doesn’t tell you, take a hint. If they call the police on you, take a hint. If you find that you have to threaten to kill you/him/her/all-of-the-above to get their attention, then give up and move on. In fact, never mind that, maybe you should try being single for a while… like 20-30 years.