Back in the 1990s, I was an unabashed Gilmore Girls fan. I grew up together with Rory, Paris, and Lane, cheering their triumphs and lamenting their missteps. For those of you not versed in 90’s melodrama, The Gilmore Girls was a series about the trials and tribulations surrounding the relationship between Rory and her mother Lorelai, which featured three main rivals for Rory’s affection. With the revival that debuted on Netflix recently, the age old question, are you Team Dean, Team Jess, or Team Logan reared its ugly head. Surprisingly, Team Logan retains a lot of support. It got me thinking, why are we so attracted to people like Logan, and how might examining that improve our romantic relationships?
- Logan represents the classic trope of the bad guy gone good, the commitmentphobe who learns the error of his ways: From increasingly early ages, we are exposed to a litany of movies and television shows that celebrate this archetype; the guy or gal who can’t commit. They usually come to represent some sort of holy grail for the beleaguered protagonist, who after being subjected to sometimes years of psychological torment, manages to show their reluctant love object the error of his or her ways. It’s no wonder that so many relationship seekers out there fall prey to the fallacy that one day your frog will change into a prince or princess. Read on to find out what might make you particularly vulnerable to someone like Logan’s trap.
- You attend to your partner’s words but not his or her actions: Two weeks ago, you had a blissful date. There were flowers, champagne, and endless hours of staring into one another’s eyes. You were told that you were perfect, you were the one, true love had never been experienced by any two living creatures in the way that it’s being experienced now. That was two weeks ago. You’ve called: “Hey, um, just wanted to see what’s up. Call me when you get a chance.” You’ve sent a couple of casual texts: “Just thinking about you, had a great time last week.” “Hey, just picked up a copy of War and Peace, I know it’s your fav, so thought you could help me through the boring bits, LOL.” Radio silence, yet you can’t get those honey lacquered words out of your head. While no one communicates and behaves lovingly 100% of the time, truly healthy, loving partners back up their loving words with loving behaviors.
- You have a core belief that you are unlovable: In cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, we talk a lot about how negative core beliefs distort your view of yourself, others, and the world. If you hold onto the core belief that you are inherently unlovable, it’s likely that you will seek out experiences and partners which reinforce this belief. A skilled cognitive behavioral therapist can help you figure out how your negative core beliefs are impacting your day to day choices, behaviors, and relationships. Check out this article from the The Beck Institute to learn more about CBT!
- You have distorted beliefs that romantic relationships should be fraught with drama and pain: From Twilight to Beauty and the Beast, we are raising children to believe that in order to be exciting and real, romantic relationships should be fraught with psychic pain. If you find yourself caught in this trap over and over again, it might be time to examine your beliefs about romantic relationships themselves. While drama and pain may seem exciting at first, over time, they can erode your self esteem, and even trigger depression. Experts agree that they are not ingredients for a happy relationship. Check out this blog from the Gottman Institute for more information about forming and maintaining healthy and happy relationships.
- You forgot to join Team YOU first! Are you so caught up in your search for a romantic partner that you’ve neglected yourself? If you consistently jump from one relationship to another with little break in between, or base your self-worth on your current partner or lack-thereof, it’s time to revisit the most important relationship that you will ever have, the one that you cultivate with yourself. It may be time to take a romantox and learn more about yourself. Explore your own interests, spend quality time with yourself; you might just learn that you’re pretty terrific company. Team Rory all the way!
Dr. Scrivani specializes in the Cognitive Behavioral treatment of anxiety and related disorders, behavioral parent training, and provides tele-mental health services to residents of New York, Florida, and internationally. Call (888) 535-5671 or email [email protected], or visit Dr. Scrivani’s iTherapy Webpage to learn more.