The Danger of Relationship Overconfidence

Lately on TV, I have been noting a number of shows are dealing with individuals in couples who are taking their relationships for granted and suffer as a consequence of this overconfidence in their partner’s affections. In discussing this I am going to have to acknowledge I watch a lot of ”chick TV”, but be nice – it is entertaining.

On Grey’s Anatomy – the couple in question are Drs. Arizona Robbins and Callie Torres. They have been a couple for a number of years and have experienced a number of struggles (Google the show if you need specifics – or just trust me), but throughout it all it has been Callie who has been fighting to keep this relationship afloat. Recently, Arizona asked for a “break” to figure things out and the ladies took 30 days apart. Imagine Arizona’s surprise at returning to the relationship ready to re-commit only to find Callie’s discovery she was happier apart and ready to move on.

On Parenthood – the couple in question are Joel and Julia Braverman. Again, this couple had been through their share of trials and tribulations (again Google it) culminating in Joel leaving and refusing to “work on it” despite Julia’s pleas. What happens? Julia moves on and finds new happiness, which rocks Joel’s world and now he is begging for her back.

There is an inherent danger in being overly confident your partner will always want you. It can cause you to behave recklessly and to jeopardize that love. I’ve obviously seen it on TV, but I have also observed it professionally. Too many of my clients (after the break-up) acknowledge there were things they could have (relatively) easily done to please their partner and only refused to do so out of laziness and/or spite. Our relationships (not just our intimate ones) require love, care and tending much like a garden. When you become complacent in a garden, it becomes overrun with weeds and your fruit, vegetables, flowers, whatever you are growing get choked off and begin to die. Relationships are much the same way. Do not assume everything will always be OK just because it is now. Don’t assume your partner will always love you, just because they do now. Work at your relationships much in the ways you did early on – dress with care, woo each other, make your partner a priority, listen when he/she speaks, hold hands, snuggle – the list could go on forever. You worked to get together, now you must work to stay together.

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