There seem to be (at least) two kinds of relationships in use. The one kind is the caring, sharing (rare) type that O`Henry wrote about in the ‘Gift of the Messiah’. Then there are the exploitive relationships — where one partner describes the other in terms of how much money they make (never enough) and how much unquestioned slave work they do, for which they are never thanked, of course. And the other party is always complaining that their ‘partner’ never does enough (for them) and treats whatever is done with dismissive contempt.

This has been on my mind because I recently read an attempt at humor that came across as a very nasty encapsulation of an exploitive relationship. There was regret about the loss of a relationship because now the author had to do the slave work that was formerly done by the now departed ‘partner’.

This hit a nerve because I have been in both kinds of relationships, and know first hand that the first kind just goes on and on — while the second kind end badly with an unevenly distributed amount of suffering. Pity, the world would be a better place if there was more of the first and much less of the second — but then the divorce lawyers would starve, and we could not have that…


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