Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"You should stop bugging me."

One of the pleasures of strolling around Manhattan is getting to eavesdrop on other people's conversations. Sometimes it's a long dialogue on the subway, or sometimes it's just hearing snippets of an argument while passing on the sidewalk. The latter happened for me yesterday on 49th street.

I was heading down the street and passed a young man and woman who appeared to be engaging in a round of fooling around / horseplay, with a mixture of affection and anger mixed in. He kept trying to touch her, she laughed while pulling away from him and complaining, "You should stop bugging me!" Yet every time she pulled away, she moved right back toward him.

Was I seeing a couple in love? A couple in hate? A couple in heat? Or some combination thereof? It occurred to me that in so many relationships these elements are intertwined. Clearly she carried "shoulds" about him not bugging her, then did every thing in her power to make sure he would bug her. I was reminded how common it is for so many to use "shoulds" to complain about their significant other, then use their behavior to ensure that the action continues.

Is this a "healthy" way to be with another person? I certainly can't say what works for anyone else, but it sure doesn't seem like a peaceful way to me. My next book discusses how "should-less" relationships can bring fun, peace, and enjoyment to every day interactions, as opposed to stress, attack, and annoyance. Which one do you prefer?


Irene said...

I love the words "my next book"!

Anonymous said...

mixed messages?
1. why people don't know when NO means NO.
2. why people are insecure in their relationships (they don't know if their partner means what they say, or says what they mean)

I agree. Not healthy (for me anyway).