Dysfunction dying out

As we continue our efforts this week to find the good in thesetight-money times, it only makes sense to contemplate the unbuyables —health, happiness and, of course, love.

As we continue our efforts this week to find the good in these tight-money times, it only makes sense to contemplate the unbuyables — health, happiness and, of course, love.

On the relationship front, I could offer tips on romantic outings to the local Service Canada office to file for employment insurance together, or getting reacquainted with your parents as you move back into their basement, but the secret to the SunnySide Method™ is perspective.

If your job or savings don’t bear unpanicked scrutiny these days, you might find it reassuring to take stock of your personal life.

Then again, maybe this is the last thing you want to think about.

There is, after all, when considering one’s relationships, a tendency to dwell on the problems and the irritants, no matter how minor.

Relationship columnists, always in search of a conflict on which to hang the story, are doubly guilty of this.

Chances are, though, if you really think about it, things are more right than wrong.

For every one of your love’s grating eccentricities, there are probably three everyday kindnesses you forgot that you take for granted. If not, what are you twits still doing together?

And some of us are better at this than others, but it might even be appropriate while taking stock to spare a thankful thought for your exes.

No matter how badly it ended, you’ve still got the memories, whether bittersweet or giddily pornographic, and everything you learned from each other — even if in the end it had to be learned the hard way.

Your important relationships aren’t limited to the romantic, either.

Your friends and family, the softball team or the co-workers (if you still have co-workers, of course) all populate that vital non-economic part of life.

For every small way these people drive you crazy, they make up for it by lending a hand, sharing a laugh, making you see things differently.

If brute optimism isn’t enough to get you through, the occasional piece of statistical evidence pops up to suggest we’re getting better at getting along.

For example, in new research from the University of Lethbridge, Canadian teenagers are reporting better relationships with their parents today than any teens in the last 30 years.

Arguments are down, and mutual enjoyment and understanding up, according to the national survey.

Less dysfunction at home should mean less mess later, as it’s striking how much the dynamics of future relationships resemble those first ones within your family, so this is an encouraging trend.

 
 
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