We Crave Drama: Why An Intense Relationship Feels More Real
"So, you think that people who suffer together would be more connected than people who are content?"
Florence Welch uttered that thought-provoking statement driving down a scenic, overcast country road (complete with vintage leather car upholstery) in her latest music video, and I can’t help but have a kindred feeling to the sentence.
Now, I'm not sure if this is only me, but it seems that everywhere I go, I get assaulted by images or implications of tortured relationships and dramatic pairings.
From the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie to most of Taylor Swift’s 1989 (which is excellent, by the way), it seems that the general direction for love these days tends to be more taxing.
I couldn't help but turn what the Welsh singer so astutely pointed out over and over again in my head: Could it be true? Are we more inclined to believe that the harder a relationship is to maintain, the more exciting and more fulfilling it is?
The answer is yes, I think we are.
It has become quite apparent throughout the past couple of years that as a member of the ever-fluid Generation-Y, we tend to shun conventional ways of doing things.
We constantly ignore the mainstream in search of the underground, we tend to prefer coloring outside the lines as opposed to neatly inside them and, according to Taylor Swift’s "New Romantics," “heartbreak is our national anthem.”
While I think that overall, this may seem like a point in our favor, I can’t help but think it isn't the healthiest of generational traits.
There is a general glamorization of the star-crossed relationships and the winding dark alleyways that an all-consuming love can take you down.
I mean, just look at Elena and Damon on "The Vampire Diaries" (another trait I should have mentioned is Generation-Y is obsessed with TV shows.)
Now, instinctively, humans tend to run away from anything that could cause us pain. We flinch when something is thrown at us to protect our eyes and we withdraw our hands with lightning speed when exposed to fire.
Now, theoretically, this should mean that we possess the same primal survival instincts when it comes to matters of the heart.
If you approach a relationship that will obviously break you into a million pieces, your body should take charge and make you haul ass in the completely opposite direction.
Based on my own personal experience, I'm inclined to think that we don’t do this.
I was once put in the position of having to choose between two very different romantic situations.
One was warm, nice, caring and promising of a smooth sailing partnership that would, theoretically, add more to me as a person than I would have thought I needed at the time.
The other was fiery, passionate and left me all but utterly spent and consumed. It promised the bumpiest and loudest of roads, but would eventually add the right amount of thrill and excitement that I so desperately needed at such a young age.
I think it's obvious which one I ended up choosing.
Suffice it to say, I came out of that relationship a complete wreck. I was fairly surprised I managed to survive it at all.
Between the midnight fights, seething jealousy and the hair-pulling frustration, it took me awhile to heal from it. But, it ended up that I wasn't recovering from the aftermath of the drama but rather, from the end of the passion it seemed to have brought with it.
I couldn't help but wonder if I was so fundamentally f*cked up that I would much rather choose an exhausting journey to one where I could anticipate all the twists and turns, if they even existed.
Why would anyone choose such strife and conflict? Why not take the easier and much more charted path?
The answer became quite evident the longer I recuperated. It isn't the drama and the darkness that pulls us in toward those kinds of love interests, it’s the passion that ensues.
One the one hand, dramatic relationships force us to examine the darkest parts of ourselves and the most ignored corners of our minds. It pushes us to face our most jealous selves, our most angry personas and our deepest vulnerabilities.
But, on the other, it also allows us to feel at a much more intense level; it makes us love more, laugh more and give ourselves fully to someone, on a level akin to the fear Dante experienced while traveling down to the depths of hell.
Think of it like fireworks: dazzling and beautiful in its colors, but terribly painful and searing in intensity.
This is not to say that I discredit happy, healthy and functional relationships. On the contrary, this should be what we ultimately strive to achieve in our partnerships.
However, right now, at this age, just starting out in this big scary world, we need to explore the vulnerability these types of relationships allow us to reach.
When all is said and done, you end up stronger and more attuned to yourself.
Should you be lucky, however, and you manage to get past that storm, you will end up with one dazzling display of fireworks.