Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story
Alice went on to mention that the two of them didn’t see each other again after that night for quite a long time. Alice went to France (the country where she was born) for a. while and when she returned to the Milwaukee area a year later, she gave Fred a call. They ended up going out to dinner and then she moved in with him twenty four hours later, which Fred corroborated: “after spending just a little time with her, I decided ‘this was it!’ I was going to pursue this to the end of the earth.” Alice noted that Fred “didn’t really know anything about my background, which is what surprised me the most. For example, the fact that I came from a family in France with quite a bit of money. Or even that much about me personally.” According to Fred (and the writers of many love songs): “It was fascination.” Alice countered that: “It was lust.” Fred corrected himself: “It was fascination and lust.” In their founding story, Fred and Alice clearly defined the feelings that were experienced by both partners in forming their relationship. Like many couples they spoke of fascination and lust. As in any good Hollywood movie, Fred and Alice interwove strong statements regarding their emerging passion for one another in their story of acquaintance and commitment.
A variant on the question of who tells the founding story is to what extent is the story the same whether told by one of the partners or the other partner? Has the story been told so many times that it has become the same for both partners;’ If there is only one story then this is often indicative of the loss of any individuality in the relationship. There is no room for alternative perspectives or deviation from the prescribed story. We wondered about this issue in several of the case studies. Reggie and Sara, for instance, offered very few corrections of the stories that either of them told, whether this was a story of their meeting or a later story regarding their children. As Sara was telling her stories, Reggie would nod agreement and provide encouragement by saying “yea, that’s right!” When Reggie took the lead in telling a story, Sara provided several asides. While Reggie only told one or two stories out of the eight or ten that were told to the interviewer, Reggie would always look to Sara while telling the story, as though he was inviting her to step in and take over the story-telling function.