David Brooks is writing about his divorce again:
If you are like me you know a lot of relationships in which people haven’t managed this sort of transition well. Communication that was once honest and life-enhancing has become perverted — after a transition — by resentment, neediness or narcissism.Or maybe about his former employer, Bloody Bill Kristol, whose profound influence on his career Mr. Brooks actively avoids mentioning:
We all know men and women who stalk ex-lovers online; people who bombard a friend with emails even though that friendship has evidently cooled; mentors who resent their former protégés when their emails are no longer instantly returned; people who post faux glam pictures on Instagram so they can “win the breakup” against their ex.Or maybe it's about Bibi Netanyahu. Or Barack Obama no longer returning his calls. Or some coed. Or...whatever.
It's 800 words of real estate on the op-ed page of the New York Times about breaking up being hard to do what with the Twitter and the Instagrams and the Tinder and such.Instant communication creates a new sort of challenge. How do you gracefully change your communication patterns when one person legitimately wants to step back or is entering another life phase?The paradox is that the person doing the leaving controls the situation, but greater heroism is demanded of the one being left behind. The person left in the vapor trail is hurt and probably craves contact. It’s amazing how much pain there is when what was once intimate conversation turns into unnaturally casual banter, emotional distance or just a void.The person left behind also probably thinks that the leaver is making a big mistake. She probably thinks that it’s stupid to leave or change the bond; that the other person is driven by selfishness, shortsightedness or popularity.Yet if the whole transition is going to be managed with any dignity, the person being left has to swallow the pain and accept the decision....