We expect love to be the source of our greatest joys. But, in practice, it is one of the most reliable routes to misery. Few forms of suffering are ever as intense as those we experience in relationships. An estimated 42% of marriages in Britain end in divorce; 30% of people in couples describe themselves as “actively unhappy but unable to leave”.
- The new year can be gloomy – one in five divorces are filed in January. But we can at least try to understand our sorrows.
- The problems begin because, despite all the statistics, we are inveterate optimists about how love should go.
- We should accept from the outset that anyone we could be with will be very far from perfect.
“When difficulties strike in relationships, we often fall prey to the idea that we are going out with a particularly cretinous human. The sadness must be someone’s fault: and, naturally enough, we conclude that the blame has to lie with the partner.”