Writing Your Love Story

Where do you find all those great blogs you link to?” someone asked me today.

Good question. Like most successful bloggers, I have inserted a special biofeedback chip in my right trapezius that goes “Ping-WhaZOOM!” whenever anything cool is posted on the web,* and like a spidey-sense I know that somewhere, there is Neat Stuff to be shared.

For example, Niall Doherty expounded on a nifty little technique he called “Rewrite Your Life.” You’ll never guess what that’s about.

Well, maybe you can. You oughta read about it anyway, the guy tells a good story himself. But it got me thinking, on this Friday of Love (and the return of the Blog from the Hackerz uv Dooooommm):

What kind of love stories do we write?

Tragicomic Dramedy

I know that I’ve played many roles in my various relationships, and in the stories I tell myself about them. It’s all subject to memory, of course, and mine especially has a fallible nature. Sometimes I am the Sensitive New Age Guy; sometimes the Clueless but Well-Meaning White Knight. There was a period of time when I was the Plucky Single Dad, and when I was the Providing Patriarch of the Clan. There have been occasions when I’ve felt the Foolish Victim, though thankfully few, and even a time or two, I’m ashamed to say, the Wounded Tragic Gothic Antihero Who Shall Never Love Again (complete with Byronic hair).

Thing is, none of those is entirely true. And at the same time they are just as true as any other role we give ourselves. Humans love stories, it’s how we make sense of otherwise unrelated facts, and by cherry-picking the parts that support the role we’ve chosen, we can justify almost any role we like. It’s how that person you just met becomes The One, because of a particular eye color, middle name, and choice of beer. It’s how that breakup becomes the Blessing in Disguise, the Narrow Escape that you convince yourself you’re better off without.

Shades of Gray

Courtesy "G" (Flickr CC)
Just a white-hat clown in the Rodeo of Love...ok, metaphor fail.

Unfortunately for our comfortable paradigms, reality is not that tidy. The fact is that while yes, he never did the dishes, he was good in bed. Or she was lousy in bed but you miss the conversations. Or the conversations were great, the sex was great, but there’s some other aspect of life – religion, politics, some core value – that keeps things from working. Yes, you may be lucky to have escaped, but the odds are you were also lucky to have been with them in the first place, and vice versa.

The roles are never all black hat/white hat either. The fact is, I can be both Grieving Ex and New Lover and Supportive Significant Other all at the same time. Put a more realistic way: we are who we are at any given time, based on our own particular experiences and behaviors.

That’s pretty liberating! It means we can write ourselves into whatever kind of character we like! And once that character is fleshed out, we can wear it like a supportive suit of armor, letting it help us sort through the difficulties and helping us be the person we would like to be.

Characters in Search of a Plot

Once you have interesting roles, though, you have to do something with them (Wheel of Time series notwithstanding). That’s where it really gets interesting: collaboratively creating the story of you and  as opposed to just the story of you.

What kind of story do you want to be in? If you don’t know, it might be worth examining.

And once you’ve gotten that figured out, might I suggest you let your partner(s) know, too? It just might make it easier for everybody to know their lines, understand the blocking, and catch the cues.

Ah, if only there were Stage Managers of Love. How much easier would affairs of the heart be then?


* Not really.

1 thought on “Writing Your Love Story”

  1. Ha! I’ve had the “Stage Manager of Love” role a couple times actually. It frequently goes along with my “loving ex-partner” role. It involves a balance of “You’re doing that thing again…” and “They love you out there! Keep up the good work”

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