We talk a lot about “drama” when it comes to relationships and how to avoid it. Drama – in this case, unnecessary or manufactured conflict – is frequently the boogieman of dating; go to any online dating site and you’ll see hordes of people declaring that they’re a “drama-free zone” or have “no time for drama”. We all realize how much drama can sabotage an otherwise healthy relationship and why it’s so important to establish and maintain healthy boundaries in order to drama-proof our lives.
But we rarely ever stop to think that we might be the ones causing drama.
It’s an easy thing to overlook. We tend to see drama as being something other people do. Men especially tend to see themselves as drama-free zones; even among otherwise egalitarian and feminist men, there’s a tendency to equate “drama” with women. But drama is gender agnostic; men are just as prone to creating unnecessary conflict as women… we just don’t get called on it as often. There’s a saying I’m fond of: if you encounter an asshole one day, you’ve met one asshole. If you’re constantly surrounded by assholes you’re probably the asshole. Similarly, if every woman you’ve ever dated is a drama-queen… well, let’s remember who’s the sole common denominator in those relationships.
Making sure your relationship is a drama-free zone is more than just making sure that you’re dating emotionally mature partners; it also means not creating that drama yourself.