Unfortunately, I’ve had ringside seats as a relationship close to our family’s is coming apart due to financial pressures. It’s the same old story: both having big dreams, no one finishing school, treading water in a string of crappy jobs, never getting ahead, constantly feeling pressure of barely making it from one paycheck to the next, and no one wanting to adjust their lifestyle downward. Though this could be the beginning of part two of the role money issues play in relationships, this is also one example of love not being enough, cause love don’t pay the bills.

To put this in a bit of context, I try to lead as drama-free a life as possible and tend to surround myself with drama-free folks (and by “drama-free” I mean the self-created variety. Life has enough drama without me or my significant other stirring up needless drama, stressing the relationship to the breaking point).

I’ve been in relationships where I have to do a certain kind of relationship algebra, calculating the deal-breaking point with a different set of variables. In this case, it focused on when one partner is dragging the other into the spiral of their madness. Wondering when they bring enough negativity and drama to the relationship that it threatens to consume anything positive about them; poisoning the relationship with their bitterness and hate. When they are so negative, so frustrating, offering excuse after excuse for wanting to wallow in their own self-created misery that is seems that their love language vocabulary being reduced to “I, I, I. Me, me, me.”

One of the things I’ve come to realize is that how a significant other reacts during hard or bad times reveals a lot about their character. It’s easy to rationalize their bad behavior, ill-temper, or general negative intensity when it’s focused outside of your relationship, but you have to be careful because eventually it’s turned on you. There’s usually plenty of evidence supporting the fact that they seem to have a case of short relationship attention span: how many family members they’ve pissed off, how many communities they’ve quit, how many relationship bridges they’ve burned. If nothing else, their lack of people skills may prevent you from establishing roots and deepening relationships.

When you find yourself the babysitter in the relationship, the designated adult, there’s a problem. Relationships ought to be a coming together of equal partners. It’s the only way the business of relationships (from managing the finances to communicating in order to reconcile) can be done. What you don’t want is to let things deteriorate to the point where you’re grabbing a screwdriver ready to drive it into your partner to put an end to the madness. I’m not saying I’ve seen that happen in a relationship before, but sometimes these ringside seats are kinda rough.

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