Friday, September 14, 2012

Othello: Seven Signs That You Aren’t in a Healthy Relationship

Othello page by Elizabeth E. Schuch for Immortal Longings Ltd.
Shakespeare had beaten our contemporary self-help magazine articles to the punch with The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice. The play deals less with race than it does with relationships, and there a lot of cautions here that modern would-be lovebirds would do well to watch out for. So, if you find yourself wondering if there are any romantic red flags in your current interpersonal entanglement, Shakespeare is here to help. Here are seven key relationship problems from Othello that, if you are experiencing currently, should be causing you substantial alarm:

[I here make the conscious choice to address the ladies, as I am unconvinced that most dudes are willing to be self-reflective about their dating lives. A blogger needs to make these tough choices about how to help the most readers he can.]

1. Your Family Doesn’t Approve 
While your freedom to choose your love interest is certainly your own, and inevitably opinionated family members will test and complicate your relationship, remember that these are the people who have proven over time to love, or at least to tolerate, you. They are the people most likely to act in your best interest. If there is something about your significant other that concerns them, it’s probably at least worth your consideration.

Of even more concern, as is the case with Desdemona and Othello, is your unwillingness to let your family weigh in on the issue. Here in Othello, Desdemona marries Othello in secret, sans consultation with Dad, who then has to find out from some shady heckler in the street (more on Iago later). Does this build trust? Does it earn your new husband any points with the family? Certainly not. Furthermore, it shows a decided lack of confidence in your guy’s credentials, whether such little confidence is warranted or not.

2. You Need to Travel Just to Get Time with Him 
Does your man’s command of a military action in Cyprus mean that you need to sail out from your Venice hometown to even try for some quality time? Didn’t you guys just get married in secret? Geez. In this sense, Desdemona makes the classic “being too available” mistake – why does she need to follow him around? Okay, Desdemona, so you’re going to go ahead and give all the power in the relationship to him, and let him know that he’s way more important than you. This girl is so 0 for 2.