Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

How Deep Is Your Love?

How Deep Is Your Love?

 Belief in the success of marriage now requires a faith reserved in times past for religion. As a result, cohabitation and serial monogamy are at an all-time high. People are applying the mutated companionate courtship values of sexual attraction and contrived compatibility in choosing cohabitation partners. In an  interview with television and movie star George Clooney on his 1980s decision to move in with actress Kelly Preston on their first date, Clooney concluded, “I was always Mr. Full-On Spontaneous . . . then as you get older, you start to go, ‘you know what? Maybe we should go out a little bit first’” (quoted in Rochlin, 56). What—go out and get to know each other before moving in together? For many mirage men that is an unthinkable idea. But the results of this deceitful cohabitation  trend have been anything but encouraging, with a  break up rate for couples who cohabitate twice as high  as for married couples (Jayson 3A).

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Washington State University researcher Jan Stets reported that women who cohabitate are more than twice as likely to be victims of domestic violence than married women and data from the National Institute of Mental Health show that cohabitating women have three times the rate of depression as married women and twice as much as non-cohabitating single women (Popenoe: smartmarriage.com/cohabit.html)

Why isn’t cohabitation  working? The problem is that the male partner is often pretending to be emotionally compatible to achieve immediate sexual results and uses cohabitation to subvert the  dating process altogether (Wetzstein:1). By living together, the female partner often sees the real man behind the phony act and realizes she has been deceived by her man way before marriage. Thus, any cohabitation that limps into marriage is already weakened before the wedding ceremony by the already jaded bride.

An example of this crippled cohabitation is found in legendary Late Show host David Letterman, who used to joke regularly about the polar relationship he endured with his twenty-year live-in girlfriend before he married her in March 2009. Yet that low level of happiness was long before Letterman’s wife discovered he was having multiple sexual relationships with staffers at work. We can only imagine the subzero atmosphere now at Dave’s ranch in Montana inside  the main house in the middle of August.

Whether in cohabitation or marriage, healthy relationships between women and men are at an all-time low. The sad result of the decline in heterosexual relations in the last century is that today, in the new millennium, college women are faced with an all-or-nothing choice in relationships. The customs of even twenty years ago—when coeds would meet men, become friends, date, and only then become committed to each other in a monogamous relationship—no longer exist  (Girl A6).

The landmark study Hooking Up, Hanging Out and Hoping for Mr. Right, commissioned and funded by the Independent Women’s Focus and released by the Institute for American Values, reported that women in modern America are given the choice of two extreme models of romantic heterosexual relationships: “hooking up” or being “joined at the hip.” The hookup, practiced by 40 percent of women in the study, is “friends with benefits,” meaning casual sex without commitment. The other common relationship is “joined at the hip,” where a couple that doesn’t know each other very well commits to a sexual relationship and spends all their time together.

The authors of the study, University of Texas sociology professor Norval Glenn and Elizabeth Marquardt, associate scholar with the Institute for American Values, concluded that neither hooking up nor being joined at the hip is likely to lead college women to their goal of an intelligent, long-term, committed relationship that might lead to marriage (quoted in Wetzstein, “College Relationships,” 26). Yet the hookup and being joined at the hip are custom-made for the deceitful man who wants immediate gratification.

We have observed a terrible example of the degeneration of male-female relationships due to Tiger Woods Syndrome this very week. Bo Wyble and Sara Saco-Vertiz  were on a date, sitting in the cheap seats watching a New York Mets-Houston Astros baseball game when a foul ball headed straight at Sara. Now, in a different era the male escort would gallantly lay his coat in the mud so his lady could walk across the gutter and do whatever it took to protect her from any perceived threat. But this is  the 2010s. Bo ducked as the ball came near, and Sara was plunked on the arm.  

The incident immediately went viral and soon Bo and Sara were on national television, with Sara explaining to CBS-TV's Harry Smith that the couple had broken up after the incident but it "wasn't about the ball."

Next Bo posted on his Facebook page  the short history of  their classic "joined at the hip" relationship: "I can't believe Sara Saco Vertiz she is a stupid slut that I met at a rolling club and I f-d her within an hour of knowing her. I have naked pictures and videos of her ill be posting later so check back in a little while." 

Sara pre-emptively released a semi-nude picture of herself to regain the high ground in this mess and wrote back, "You the slut. he cheated on me and is trying to turn the situation around on me. I loved him and he broke my heart."

Ladies, this is the poisonous fruit of Tiger Woods Syndrome. Becoming joined at the hip with a stranger is not the way to an intelligent, long-term,  committed relationship that might some day lead to marriage. It isn't even the way to a short-term romance based on mutual respect. An errant baseball revealed to the world the shallowness of love based on artifical intimacy and approval seeking.

 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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