In discussing some points that came out of the Unbalanced Masculine article, I’ve noticed how sticky memory can be.
For example, when we’ve had a long relationship with someone like a family member, we fall into certain styles of relating with them. We know things they enjoy and things they don’t, we avoid certain topics of conversation, or we don’t ask them to movies. These styles become habits and thus somewhat unconscious.
But if that person changes significantly, these habits can become glaring and clash with how they are now. Perhaps your long-single friend gets married or changes their sexual orientation. Or you break up with your long-term partner. Or you see someone you once knew well after a long absence.
Suddenly, old ways of being with them can be inappropriate and we can make social gaffs. We have to make the patterns conscious so we can change the program. We may have to reboot the relationship entirely. Relationships don’t always make it through such changes.
I can recall how many friends pulled away when we got divorced, for example.
An alternative is to suppress the old patterns and add a new overlay. This may be especially common if we don’t support their change. But if we suppress, the old patterns will pop up awkwardly and in less conscious ways.
Better to make it conscious and let the past go, however sticky it may be.