powercompanyclimbing.comThere are times when I’m caught off guard by people.  They seem rational, upbeat, only the usual amount of unhappy, doing things with their lives that are interesting and being generally good people out in the world and then they start talking about some relationship they are having or trying to have.  I don’t notice at first that anything is out of the ordinary because they are chirping along with the same upbeat normal tone of voice, but the conversation turns into a slow motion train wreck.  Car upon car plows into each other and crumples things until there is nothing but a twisted mass of steel and destruction which is mesmerizing because their voice keeps going on describing this as if it’s a trip to the mall.

“It could be great if it was just like this…”  That’s the first crunching sound of things going off the rails.  If the person they are attracted to or in relationship with weren’t in relationship with someone else who is their primary partner.  If they weren’t a bad yet pathological liar, or a victim needing to be rescued, or committment averse while having committed to others in drastic and permanent ways, if they weren’t suffering from the well deserved jail time and felony record, if they weren’t abusive physically and emotionally…  The train wreck goes on and on and I find myself murmuring monosyllable responses because after the description of these small things which are an impediment to a full relationship with the person the conversation continues with how great it could be.

I listen as castles are built out of thin air, dreams and fantasies spun with amazing grace.  The person becomes the key to all happiness and “happily every after” is within grasp if only things would be a little different.  Which would be fine, fantasies are healthy and we all have them for many reasons including a momentary escape from mundane tasks and long-term goals, if these didn’t bleed into real life by affecting the choices of the person spinning them.  Like relationship dysmorphia they warp the reality of the person adding to the train wreck in progress.  They take on a reality that prevents other healthy relationships from forming or even starting, damage current relationships that could be in good standing, keep the person from working on relationships that are faltering but could be saved and made healthy.  They become an escape is addictive as drugs and just as self medicating.

It is true that the only people we can change is ourselves and that entering into a relationship with the object of changing the other into what we want is doomed to fail.  What is less obvious is the long-term personal loss and possible collateral damage from entertaining relationships or pseudo relationships which have nothing to them but the ability to wreck.