When I was 13 years old my parents got divorced and my world was struck. At the time I couldn’t believe that something seemingly so stable was about to change. In hindsight, I have to say that it was good for them to separate. But with my parents divorced, failed at the relationship, so to speak, where do I turn to for relationship role models?
In a world with Tinder, OkCupid and other fast-moving dating sites casual sex is everywhere but stable relationships are the exception. I see couples and I wonder why they treat each other the way they do.
And then I look at myself and my past relationships. I have said hurtful words and done hurtful acts. I should have ended relationships earlier that weren’t right but didn’t because I was scared. All of these were mistakes, no doubt. But where should we learn the right behavior in relationships?
In our society these things are implicit. You’re simply supposed to know. School won’t teach you, university won’t teach you. And if you are the rule rather than the exception your parents also won’t teach you (the divorce rate in Germany is 41%, and this does not include the unhappy ongoing marriages or life partnerships).
So we’re left with muddling through. We do our best in our current relationships and try to learn from our mistakes. And that’s honorable because in most cases no one has ever shown us how.
If we’re lucky, we have someone we can look up to. Maybe we can find a role model in a friend, parent or relative, who knows about respect, trust and devoted love.
What’s obvious is that we have a crying need for people to show us the way.