It’s Always Something…..

Dan Wile, Ph.D. is a remarkably gifted – and funny – couples therapist who has written a number of fine books on the realities of joining our lives together.  Two of his classics are After the Fight and  After the Honeymoon.  Here is what Wile has to say about the inevitable differences that arise  between us in relationship:

                “Paul married Alice and Alice gets loud at parties and Paul, who is shy, hates that.  But if Paul had married Susan, he and Susan would have gotten into a fight before they even got to the party.  That’s because Paul is always late and Susan hates to be kept waiting.  She would feel taken for granted, which she is very sensitive about.  Paul would see her complaining about this as her attempt to dominate him, which he is very sensitive about.  If Paul had married Gail, they wouldn’t have even gone to the party because they would still be upset about an argument they had the day before about Paul’s not helping with the housework.  To Gail when Paul does not help she feels abandoned, which she is sensitive about, and to Paul, Gail’s complaining is an attempt at domination, which he is sensitive about.  The same is true about Alice.  If she had married Steve, she would have the opposite problem, because Steve gets drunk at parties and she would get so angry at his drinking that they would get into a fight about it.  If she had married Lou, she and Lou would have enjoyed the party but then when they got home the trouble would begin when Lou wanted sex because he always wants sex when he wants to feel closer, but sex is something Alice wants when she already feels close.”

 “…there is value, when choosing a long-term partner, in realizing that you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unsolvable problems that you’ll be grappling with for the next ten, twenty, or fifty years.”