To Stay or Not To Stay?
In a relationship that’s struggling at some point or another we all wonder if the pros of staying really outweigh the daily stress, fights, and emotional weight of a troubled relationship. We may even decide to pull out a piece of paper and write out a pro and con list. I can think back to the 90’s sitcom “Friends” and the list that got the character Ross in so much trouble when it was found by Rachel. But this is actually a really good example of what I want to discuss today.
If you can remember the episode, Ross was trying to decide between staying in his current happy relationship or leaving for the girl he has had a crush on since he was a teen. On his current girlfriend’s pro column there were items like good communication, we have fun together, similar career and education level. The con’s for Rachel were things like we don’t have much in common, she is a waitress (implying that there was a vast educational and level of career drive difference), and different opinions and values. The obvious implication would be that he should stay in his current happy relationship and let go of the idea of being with Rachel. This would have been obvious except for one item on Rachel’s pro list, that item was “It’s Rachel.”
So why do we do this? Why against all evidence to the contrary we allow our heart to overrule all rational explanation? Is it really allowing our hearts to guide us, or is it a trick of the mind that takes over and leads us down a familiar unhealthy path that will end up in repeating old pain and feelings of rejection.