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It's not often discussed. We like to put on a sunny facade
but behind closed doors many of us go in for one of the most tragicomic behaviors of relationships.
A sulk typically starts over a disappointment. Most often over an objectively
rather small matter. Lars didn't ask Mille how her day was.
Christine forgot to notice Lauret's new haircut.
Woori wasn't paying Chung Ho enough attention at the party.
but what follows isn't an argument.
It's an eerie silence. A domestic cold-war where enquiries as to
"what's wrong?" are met with by one resolute stony word
What is a sulk? It's made up with two things;
disappointment and a deep-seated refusal to explain what the disappointment is about.
Why don't we tell our lovers what's upsetting us.
After all, we explain so many things to so many people in the course of our lives.
we don't explain because of a peculiar assumption
about the nature of love.
Even people who are very good with words might not when they're with their lover
be in the mood to explain very much. Where does this commitment silence come from?
It begins when we first learn about love.
When we were tiny we couldn't and didn't need to
make our intentions known directly to those you loved us best.
They knew what we wanted to eat just like that.
They made sure we were comfortable. They took the trouble to guess what we wanted.
This gave us a template
but a deeply unhelpful one about what adult love
might be like. In the early days of a new relationship
there are some blissful moments when two people understand each other without
needing to say very much.
They magically agree on things, they sense a connection
unlike any other but this is ultimately very misleading.
In truth all of us are
as adults bafflingly complicated.To expect someone to understand us long-term
without us having to explain is equivalent to expecting someone to work out
how nuclear fission works simply by looking at the outside a power station.
For others not to understand this without explanation
is no sign they're evil, just that they're human.
Before retreating into a sulk we should always do our partners the honour
of a small seminar. Part of love means accepting the need to teach
others in kind and patient ways about who we are.
At the same time, when we unwittingly unleash a sulk
we should realize that the sulker is being strange in silent
not because they're mean but because at heart they're scared.
They may be big and competent in many areas
yet inside they must be feeling like a defenseless baby in the hands of someone
who seems not to know how to look after them.
The greatest gift we can give our lovers are
explanations as calm as we can make them
using lots of words about what we're truly like
in all a madness complexity and strangeness.




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Christina Yang 2016 年 7 月 20 日 に公開
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