Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The No-Epidural Husband, Edward Cullen, and My Relationship Scale

(Offspring Spoiler warning)

On the fourth episode of season 3's Offspring, there's a father who's overly involved in the birthing process. Although it's his wife with the pregnancy, he's the one who's written out a very detailed birth plan. He's the one who has said absolutely no epidurals. His wife is in horrible pain, the labor has been very long; yet he still refuses the epidural.  

The mum-to-be ends up vomiting on him.  He reluctantly exits to get himself cleaned up. With her husband out of the room, the mum accepts the epidural.  Later the husband expresses his fury to Nina's boyfriend, Patrick...well, because Patrick's the anesthetist who administered the epidural.

The no-epidural husband is extremely controlling.  He might be abusive. I say might, because there's a chance he's a lovely man outside the birth issue.  Maybe he's just a bit passionate about natural birth.  Maybe he got a bit carried away.

It deals with a subject I've been thinking about lately, though.   

Part of it deals with Edward Cullen from Twilight, and the fact that some people have accused him of being abusive.  I disagree with this sentiment.  I think he's very passionate and protective. To me that doesn't equal abuse. I actually think it's quite lovely. I think he's a lovely character.

However, I do think someone CAN be overly passionate and protective to the point that they are abusive.

So in my mind I came up with a scale for romantic partners.  It would be a 1-10 thing.

A 10 would be the classic abusive partner.  They keep their significant other a prisoner.   They do this with physical abuse and belittlement.   They make their partner feel that they're worthless. I think the basic attitude is, you are nothing without me.  No one else could love you.   And there's the idea I can't live without you.   If you leave me, I'll kill you (or me).  This is where a murder might happen.  

I'd say 9 would be abusive too, but to a lesser degree.  Maybe they belittle their partner, but they don't physically harm them.  Or they cause physical harm, but not death.  

Maybe 8 would be over-controlling, but not necessarily abusive.  They're just a little too involved with their partner's life. I think most people would find it annoying.   Other people might be okay with it.

I'm trying to think of an example....

How about a man who insists his wife doesn't read romance novels because he thinks it's a waste of time and she needs to spend her time learning how to cook.  

The guy's an asshole, but maybe not an abusive asshole.

I think Edward Cullen would be a 7.  This is the partner that's very much in love and their love can be a bit intense and overpowering.   They're very protective, but not too controlling.   They can also be reasoned with.  Cullen doesn't like Belle hanging out with werewolves, and if I recall correctly, he tries to prevent a liaison.  But later he changes his tune and is more open to human-werewolf friendships.

He allows his girlfriend to have a deep friendship with another man....a werewolf man. If Edward was an abusive partner; I can't imagine he'd go along with all that. He'd forbid the friendship, and would probably do so violently.

Is Edward jealous of Jacob the werewolf?  Yes.  Probably.  And I think some people equate jealousy with abuse.  I can understand this to some degree.  Abusive partners are known to be extremely jealous.  They don't want their partners having anyone in their lives besides them.

But equating all levels of jealousy with abuse is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I think moderate levels of jealousy are sweet. It's about love and recognizing that relationships are fragile.    Too much insecurity in a relationship is unattractive, but so is excessive confidence.

Back to my scale.....

I won't go over each number, but as you get lower and lower the partner becomes more apathetic.

A 1 partner would show no signs of caring.  There's be no jealousy.  There'd be no passion.   If his partner went out with her old high school boyfriend, he wouldn't care. If she called from Tahiti three days later and said, Hey....Tony and I decided to go on a little cruise together, he wouldn't freak out.   He would have barely realized she was missing.

As a 8-10 tries to run their partner's life, a 1 doesn't know what's going on in his partner's life.  He's completely ignorant by choice. He doesn't care.  

A 2-3 would be neglectful, but less so than the 1.

I think the ideal partner would be a 4-7.  In that range, there's a sense that you're cared for, but you'd get enough space to feel free. 

If you subtract the physical violence,  I think a 1 might be as bad as a 10.  In either relationship, it would be very hard to have a healthy self-esteem.

A 2-3 is probably as bad as a 8-9.  I guess it would also depend on the person with the partner. Some people are better at handling controlling partners. Other people are better at handing neglect.