When the song in your head rings true in your heart...
The song “Clarity” by Zedd is maintaining a strong spot on America’s Top Forty, with its powerful waves of Zedd’s electronic current surging beneath Foxes’ heart-wrenching vocals:
If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?
If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?
There’s an honesty in the lyrics that can be rare in pop music. Something about them cuts through the superficiality of the lovelorn pop songs we hear these days. It hits a true note with the power of a freight train. A desperate plea for clarity.
Lack of clarity is one of the common complaints brought up by my friends regarding their relationships. In today’s murky dating world, clarity can be as hard to find as it is deeply sought. “I just want clarity,” we exclaim to girlfriends.
So in the spirit of Zedd’s hit song, here are some concrete tips to help clear things up if you’re one of those people.
1) “If our love is tragedy . . .”
How much of your relationship feels like tragedy?
Be honest with yourself. What proportion of the time you spend together is quality time, as opposed to difficult times? How often do you feel happy and fulfilled and most yourself in his presence? If it’s any less than 80/20, you have reason to stop and ask yourself the question in Zedd’s refrain.
Here’s another helpful trick: Do you have a different guy friend who gets you more than your current beau? That may be a clear sign that your current partner isn’t the best match for you.
2) “If our love’s insanity . . .”
How much of your relationship feels like insanity?
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It can be tempting to expect others to change and improve in ways we’d like. Ask yourself… is there something about your relationship you want to change?
Take care not to become the cliché of the woman who waits in vain for her man or for something in their relationship to radically change. Identify if either of you have become a crutch for the other. The hard truth is it’s fair to neither of you to continue a relationship that doesn’t lead to the flourishing of you both.
3) “ . . . why are you my clarity?”
Lack of clarity can be a red flag in a relationship, especially for women.
Sometimes when you feel unsure, it’s a signal that something’s not right. Something’s not quite right and it’s hard to say exactly what. Even while it’s unclear, the persistent feeling of uncertainty itself can be a clear sign to take a break—point being to reevaluate if you’re falling into to an all-too-common risk for many women: settling.
This is borne out in social science. A recent UCLA study reveals that for women doubts about their relationship, and in particular pre-wedding jitters, are “not benign” and increasingly lead to relationship dissatisfaction and divorce.
Justin Lavner, a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study explains:
“Newlywed wives who had doubts about getting married before their wedding were two-and-a-half times more likely to divorce four years later than wives without these doubts. . . .You know yourself, your partner and your relationship better than anybody else does; if you’re feeling nervous about it, pay attention to that. . . . It’s worth exploring what you’re nervous about.”
It can be the hardest thing to face. Inertia is strong! It’s hard to stop something that’s currently progressing at a steady speed. It’s hard to de-attach once we’ve become attached to a person, a habit, a relationship.
If you determine you need to break it off, take a deep breath. If that’s what you feel is the right thing to do, keep in mind these two things: 1)It’s possible to care deeply for someone who nonetheless isn’t best for you, and 2) breaking up doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, just that you may not be the best match.
What makes the song so powerful is that its answer is embedded in the question. If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? We listeners know the answer—you really aren’t my remedy—and that realization, while heartbreaking, can direct your steps to the clarity you desire.