Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–VIII. Compatibility and Covenant
Bob is now clean and sober and in recovery for the past 20 months. Neither he nor Jeannie are as committed to their relationship as they were previously. He used to live only for Jeannie and became socially isolated. Now in recovery, Bob has other interests and more balance in his life. He is now able to care for himself. Bob feels a great deal of resistance from Jeannie. Bob believes that she is threatened with his growing independence, having become a man who is less fearful, more outgoing, and ready to take on a new challenge. Jeannie indicates that she is confused about the changes that are occurring in Bob’s life. She feels excluded from his new life and can’t find a place for herself in Bob’s life. Although Jeannie says she is committed to the relationship, does not want it to end, and loves Bob, she has been considering separation.
Over a twenty three year period, we see three different versions of the relationship between Bob and Jeannie. Initially he was rebellious and she was a good girl. Then we see that she became more like him, and they both concentrated on each other, isolating themselves from other members of their family and their careers. In their third reincarnation, Jeannie has once again returned to a more “respectable” life style; Bob has also cleaned up and become more independent and outgoing. They started out quite different, became more alike, and now are trying to figure out how they can live with the changes that have occurred.
Gwen and Bernard are very articulate about the strengths and problems associated with their compatibility. Early in their relationship, Bernard controlled their activities and the selection of their friends. Gwen has a history of dropping everything whenever a potential mate came along:
I did the same thing when [Bernard] came along — wanting to please. I gave up road biking for mountain biking, pretending to like kayaking and made all his friends my friends too — simultaneously abandoning my own social circle. This worked. It got me a husband, but it has created some disappointments in [Bernard] when lately I have reasserted my own interests and goals.