Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Service Plan

There are a handful of firsts in every girl's life that she will never forget. The first time she gets kissed, the first time she falls in love, the first time she has great sex and the first time she gets behind the wheel. There's no greater sense of freedom than the one that comes with hitting the open road in a brand new car especially if the car in question is officially yours. It's the ultimate accessory, a beacon of  independence and liberation, a gateway to never-ending adventures where speed, loud music and the wind in your hair are all just a key-turn away.

Sadly, the novelty of owning a car can wear off just as quickly as the vehicle's value. Forget what the hunky salesman tells you, no car was built for a lifetime. The cost and energy spent on routine maintenance can be altogether exhausting especially when you don't have a solid warranty plan in place. And even then you're screwed, what with all those limitations that go hand in hand with the manufacturer's manifesto. There's always some kind of catch. I'm sure the late, great Isabel Jones would agree with me when I say that half the warranties these days aren't even worth the paper they're printed on. 

My own frustrations with Carrie the Tata-mobile got me thinking about service plans and warranties and its relation to long-term relationships. The thrill of being in a brand new relationship can be just as exhilarating especially if you've been searching the market for a while. There's no greater feeling than that spark and  chemistry that comes with falling in love, not to mention the new smell and va-va-vroom that goes with the ride. But what happens when a relationship reaches a certain mileage point? What happens when the most crucial parts of a relationship start falling to pieces? Trust, passion, communication. Do long-term relationships need some kind of service plan in order to survive, and if so, where does one begin to find a mechanic skilled enough to take on such an incredible feat?

Nikaela and Giles were just days away from celebrating their three year anniversary. Instead of splashing out on some fabulous weekend away, they had decided to go for couples therapy after a severe break down in their fragile relationship. Right from the very beginning, "Gikaela" had been everybody's favorite couple. They got on well with everyone, had sex for days and their affection for one another was seriously painful to the single eye. One day, Giles had done the unthinkable and cheated on Nikaela. It would have been one thing if it were some unknown slag in a bar but like the story often goes, it was a case of the ex. What's worse is that he had kept this from her for the first ten months of their relationship, a betrayal that Nikaela stupidly chose to live with for the next two years of her life.

Instead of returning this faulty man back to her dealership, Nikaela had decided to forgive him and take matters into her own hands. The anger and resentment had already reached boiling point so Nikaela devised a service plan for their relationship, one that incorporated lots of raw communication under the objective guidance of a couples counsellor. The process was designed to repair the damage that had not been seen to back in 2010. Even though the most rational answer was staring them in the face, neither of them wanted to trade in just yet. Instead, they decided to spend every Friday afternoon in hourly workshops taking apart the pieces of their broken relationship in order to salvage the vehicle of their love.    

You cannot avoid the unexpected breakdowns and electrical malfunctions that come with being in a relationship. As frustrating as it may be, we need to accept that there are certain things in life that don't come with a warranty. Trust is not something you can fix on your own so seeking the help of a professional love mechanic may just be all it takes to get that spark back on track. And then there are times when the damage done is way beyond repair. Either way, you need to be prepared for the worst possible outcome, that a relationship may just be a complete write off.    

When it comes to long-term relationships, do we need to disconnect in order to reconnect?

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