Ever met a couple that instinctively makes you cringe even if you hate to admit it?
From how we look and behave, to the products we are expected to procure, marketers and the media ensure that we remain fastened to their treadmill of aspiration This even applies to our notions of coupledom.
But the reality is not all romantic unions can be adventures in intellectual rapport and sexual friction played out across a backdrop of flat stomachs, career success, prestige postcodes, witty repartee and Scandinavian homewares.
Inner Westies’ expectations of coupledom can be particularly high, given they live in an environment disproportionately blessed with accomplished/artistic/creative/educated/iconoclastic individuals.
Alas, even in the Inner West there are no shortage of partnerships which would have Robinson Crusoe choosing to stay marooned on that island forever. And in the dark recesses of our minds where we can’t help but judge others even though we know we shouldn’t, we not only question what some people see in each other but, more tellingly, mark them down as a cautionary example.
The object of our scorn may be a long-distance relationship where the ratio of Skyping to sexing seems way off. Or couples dealing with hostile kids from their previous relationships creating ongoing mayhem.
And it doesn’t end there. Though cross cultural relationships can seem exotic from the outside, surely the vast cultural gulf must become tiresome? And then there is the all too common issue of mismatched libidos. Who can continue to love a partner indifferent to sex (except a person indifferent to sex themselves)?
Life’s harsh edges ensure that all relationships are a test and juggling work and family commitments is a modern phenomena – especially for women – that only esxcerbates the potential for conflict.
Observing uninspiring relationships can be almost as disheartening as being in one. It’s bad enough if just one partner has mentally checked out of the partnership but if both are unhappy it creates a synergestic gloom that threatens to depress anybody either party comes in contact with.
And as well as the couples that put on their game faces in public while tearing each other to shreds behind closed doors, there are also those couples who make us question what is really going on. Why is that buff guy going out with that morbidly obese woman? Why is that PhD-qualified woman shacking up with a tradesman?
Then there are the overly couply couples, resplendent in his and hers outfits, constantly engaging in saccharine displays of public affection and forever adding to their brood of real or fur babies.
That said, there is one upside to being in the presence of an uninspiring couple – it makes you glad you and your better half are not them.
Words: Jason Dunne, Inner West columnist and author of Everyone is Henry Miller.