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How can one tell if the relationship is about to crash and burn?

By Joel Pablo Salud Published Jan 06, 2023 7:41 pm

"The hottest love has the coldest end." 

I doubt if the philosopher Socrates actually said this, but whoever posited the theory must’ve loved so deeply, so lavishly, that ending it must’ve tasted like a hefty serving of revenge. Like having one’s stiletto heels in the mouth, that sort of revenge.

Recent Tinseltown ex-couples Roselle Vytiaco-Kevin Miranda and Elisse Joson-McCoy de Leon calling it quits must’ve left a pretty huge scar on both, that is, if the “love” they had for each other were even remotely true.

But Tinseltown break ups, given the need to peddle a new movie or teleserye, are little more than marketing spiels out to grab a few additional tickets at the booth. 

Of course, there’s always room for benefit of the doubt. Love is love in whatever shape or stripe, intensity or the lack of it. One should never presume it’s all a show. Relationships come in many crazy forms. One should not be too quick to judge any of it as either gold or baloney.  

Why do men cheat more than women? Statistics do show that 20% of men cheat on their partners or spouses more than women, the latter falling under 13%. Without the risk of mansplaining this rather outrageous reality in men’s lives, being a man, let me just say it sucks to be at the wrong end of the barrel of the gun—gender orientation aside.  

Men, women—hey, even gamers!—cheat, too, and in more understated ways than crocodiles are known to break relationship protocols in the wild. With the exception of snowy owls, turtle doves, black vultures, shingleback skinks, and California mice—they practice out-and-out monogamy. 

While for numerous males of the species, getting into relationships can also mean conquest, it bears mentioning that there are the distinctive few who find cheating a bit cumbersome. Not that it’s beneath them to emotionally swindle their partners or spouses, but bamboozling one’s mate, with only one short-brained phallus to wag around, makes for a ghastly a priori argument. 

Can a partner or spouse tell if the other is having les liaisons dangereuses? Ah, this is where life gets a tad too tricky. Believe me, you don’t want to end up nursing PTSD. Paranoia sucks. Like any other “truths,” one must first have solid evidence. Mere changes in behavior, especially observations spawned by gut-feel, do not amount to anything, save perhaps the need for a double-cheese pizza and a Coke float.  

But, having counseled couples before, there are surefire ways to know: 

Secrets. “No, you can’t have my phone!” In this highly-interconnected world of smart gadgets, computers and social media chat groups, and bare-breasted Tiktok models—men and women alike—cheating has become uncomplicated. A flick of a key and there you have it. A flirt here, a philander there, it’s almost as easy as pissing (if you’re below 40). One can certainly inspect a partner’s browsing history with timestamp to boot when the other is not looking. The same technology that allows secretive liaisons can also open the door for disclosure. Remember, while you shouldn’t break trust with someone by stealing a quick look into their private digital lives, insisting on having secrets doesn’t help.

Distance. An ever-widening space between you and your partner could be another sign. But make no mistake: it takes two to tango. You cannot drive your spouse or partner away and expect him or her to stay, to suck it up. Before giving a private detective a call to tail your partner, make sure you’re taking the needed daily bath. 

Silence. A breakdown in communications. No more sweet nothings. No more intimate moments. None of the conversations you’ve enjoyed with your spouse come Friday night. For some unknown reason, things you both share in common have become uncommon. The one in front of you has turned into a total stranger.

Take it from me: silence is the graveyard where love goes to die.

Shakespeare once said: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.” To preserve a relationship, one must keep the connection abuzz. Talk. Act your goddamn ages. That’s the secret. Listen to one another, that’s an even bigger achievement. Laugh at one another’s foibles. Never—NEVER—shape the other into your own image. Waking up in bed with your spouse bearing your face can be traumatic.  

Above all, never give up on the friendship. It’s the ultimate “F-word” you can’t do without.