The last thing anyone will admit to wanting is drama in their life, yet most relationships have drama at one time or another. When you’re dating it’s the “games” couples feel compelled to play, so they don’t “scare” the other person away. So instead you play along and wait a day or two to text when you’d rather text back as soon as you get home, or you tell them you’re busy so they won’t think you’re desperate and alone. This game playing or “chase” doesn’t end after dating. In fact, even stable marriages can’t entirely escape drama.
According to experts, minor drama can help couples work through unresolved issues. As a licensed therapist, I work with it daily with my single as well as married clients. Psychologists would go out of business if it weren’t for drama, and it seems as though technology is playing along. Texting, Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram, as well as dating sites and Twitter are masters at “helping” couples create drama within their home. Where does this come from, and why do we need drama to keep our relationships fun?
There are psychological reasons people create drama. Some of them are related to mental illness, but the majority of them are non-direct ways to seek attention or deal with unresolved issues.
Creating drama helps you feel noticed or loved. If you feel unloved you may create drama just to get attention. Threatening to leave or harm yourself, or sending yourself flowers may be a way for you to get attention from your partner. You may try making them feel jealous or guilty for not being a good boyfriend or girlfriend.
Creating drama can help you deal with boredom. If you’re in a stable relationship but on Facebook, you may begin feeling as though your relationship is in trouble. So rather than talk to your partner about it directly, you begin creating a story accusing them of cheating, or you tell them how someone is pursuing you. You know fully what you’re doing, but you get so caught up in the excitement of what your partner is going through that it begins bringing out information and validation kept silent before. This makes you feel better and more in control of your partner’s love.
Creating drama can help with intimacy. People who feel undesired may openly flirt, causing drama in their relationship. Their partner may react with being jealous, angry, and more romantically attentive.
A little bit of drama is expected in stable relationships and dating. However, when drama becomes excessive and leaves you guilty, angry, or stressed out every day, that’s a warning sign in your relationship. Feeling insecure and needing to play games in order to get attention, validation or feel worthy is indicative of someone suffering from extremely low self-worth, and counseling is necessary for those individuals or couples. When or if you notice your partner or yourself playing more games it’s time to sit down and get honest. No one deserves to be a pawn in the game of love. –Mary Jo Rapini