Lately I’ve become very interested in Physics and how they relate to my marriage. Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion seem to coincide nicely with the nature of drama. Bear with me as I explore this further.
Newton’s 1st Law of Motion, called the Law of Inertia, says that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion (Force=mass x acceleration) says that an object with a certain velocity maintains that velocity unless a force acts on it to cause an acceleration, which means to me: Love=emotion x drama.
Here’s an example of how these first 2 laws apply to my relationship: When everything is going smoothly in my marriage, and I actually allow that to continue, my marriage is a happy one (at rest = no drama). However, my nature is to not let this last for very long. I can become quite an “unbalanced force” (thank you menopause!) and will abruptly change the speed and direction of our lives without any consultation, whatsoever, with my husband. This acceleration greatly changes the velocity of our relationship. He’s expected to just keep up, no questions asked. As you might imagine, this creates a wee bit of tension. I’m not entirely sure where this insatiable need for drama comes from. I get that a lot of it is just simple hormonal surges, but surely there’s more at play here. I know plenty of menopausal-aged women who seem quite balanced and content. Are they all great actors or is there a tendency toward drama that’s more pronounced in some and less in others?
I spend a great deal of time analysing this drama phenomenon. I’ve discussed this with a lot of my girlfriends, who all agree there is something quite seductive about a good dose of drama, although as grown women we’re not supposed to feel that way anymore. In the absence of any real drama in our own relationships, we find others’ drama quite delicious. I guess that helps to explain the gossip connection. But what is the actual (or perceived) payoff in engaging in a good dose of drama?
Historically, for me, it served many functions. It staved off boredom. I was taught well by chick flicks that contentment and an easy friendship with a man are NOT sexy. Nice guys who adore and cherish us are booorrring. I was trained to believe that lots of conflict and drama in a relationship creates passion, which in turn equates to true love. And let’s not forget the thrill of the chase. Being unsure about how someone feels about you and the insecurity that comes with it causes that flip-flopping feeling in the stomach which is often mistaken for love. When, suddenly, all that adoring and cherishing goes away, it is all you can think about and all you want. The animal-instinct to chase it ensues. Then there good old-fashioned self-doubt. I had the very wrong idea that I didn’t deserve adoration and cherishing. I thought, eventually, he’ll figure out that I’m not so great after all and split. I decided the best answer was to drive him away by being the worst version of myself and then I would get the added benefit of “victim” drama. This is where I get to whinge to all my friends about what a jerk he was (and they would all agree) and I never had to look at my own culpability.
I’d like to tell you I’ve matured and have no more need for all this drama. Well, that’s just not true. I don’t engage in it the same way I used to, but it’s still a factor. This leads me to Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I like to call this, “The Pissing Contest.” It looks something like this….. He’s being grumpy and I ask him why he’s so grumpy and he says he isn’t grumpy, that I’m being the grumpy one. I tell him I was perfectly happy until his grumpiness caused me to become grumpy. He says he was perfectly fine beforehand and is simply reacting to my grumpiness. On and on it goes until we’re not speaking to each other anymore. Hours turn to days and days turn to weeks. The drama phenomenon has been activated. My husband knows me all too well and that I’m likely packing my bags in my head. Old habits die hard, I reckon. He’s come to expect that and no longer really worries that I’ll actually leave. At this point, I’ve usually forgotten what I’m even angry about, probably because there was no good reason to begin with. In my head, of course, I’m using the tried and true anthem of the 4 year old…. “but HE started it!” My overdeveloped pride keeps me from just calling a truce and apologising, although for what I’m not really sure. I’m ashamed to admit that it’s generally him who puts down the sword and comes forward with all that annoying logic and reason saying that it doesn’t matter who started it. Isn’t is more important to just be happy? Isn’t that what we all want? Ironically enough, we were happy before all this unnecessary drama started. Why this ridiculous detour?
There’s only one answer…..Physics!