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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Last summer I was visiting a notoriously melodramatic couple in West Palm Beach. Seated at a bar in Bradley’s, the couple’s most recent quarrel had us on the edge of our bar stools. Downing another Tequila Sunrise in a futile attempt to tune out the awkwardness, I listened to my friends trade barbed insults. They passionately disputed whether it’s appropriate to boast about their previous sexcapades in front of one another (by the way, it’s really, really not). Now imagine this: The guy, who resembles a Jewish version of The Hulk, becomes inexplicably jealous and tears up underneath his oversized dark shades while the girl coolly rolls her eyes and says, “If you don’t stop crying, we’re leaving.”

As the aforementioned coupling attests, not all relationships are entirely healthy. To the contrary, some should be entitled “True Life: I’m Bat-Shit Crazy” and may require severed ties before the relationship devolves so maliciously that tears, vases and fists are thrown Chris Brown-style. Those fists of fury are not the only indicators of an unhealthy union.

One of the most vicious pairings is the type that can create argument fodder out of even the most mundane topics. Maybe these lovers have gone long-distance, or maybe they’re just dysfunctional. They gain perverse kicks through expletive-filled screaming matches that would put the “South Park” censors to shame. One screeches at the other, “You know what? I hope you break a leg so you can’t work out and you get fat. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Have at it heffer!”

Another is the couple that inadvertently gives each other herpes because monogamy is too challenging a concept. At least one of these partners has cheated in the past week and will probably be playing musical beds tonight as well. They don’t inform of their infidelities, nor do they tell their significant other how they’ve grown tired of assuming the missionary position every time they have sex (which is once a month).

There’s also the twosome that breaks up so compulsively you could set your class schedule to it. Every week, “It’s over” is declared and they are unleashed into the wild. After three days of being single in this city, they realize it’s not as glamorous as expected and come crawling back to one another while whimpering, “Baby, I love you.”

Further desperate is the one-sided pairing in which one half loves the other more, or their partner is so self-obsessed that they resemble the next Rachel Zoe. This couple is only together because one person pleads, “Please don’t leave me” so many times that their partner actually pities them. I cannot stress how fruitless this relationship is – it’s like studying for an exam you know you’re going to fail.

Why do these couples stay together? Is being single really that bad? It’s as if they’re seeking some type of fulfillment, despite it coming in the form of a problematic relationship. They cling to one another, even though opposites attract and they repel each other. And then there are the crazies who, despite everything, really do just love each other and their sadomasochistic tendencies.

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