D told me about a friend who is in couples therapy with her boyfriend of eight years because he won’t marry her. She’s broken up with him many times but has always gone back. I asked if the boyfriend has given any indication of wanting to marry her, and D said no.
“Well, she’s an idiot,” I said.
“Actually she’s smarter than you think,” said D. “She doesn’t want to marry him either, so she has him play the role of refuser. That’s why she picked him and why she keeps going back – because he’ll never agree to marry her.”
I asked D if her friend realizes any of this, and D said no, adding that the boyfriend doesn’t realize anything either.
We agreed that this is intensely, albeit perversely, romantic.