Do you know the joke about the man who goes to get a new suit made? The tailor measures him and says come back in two weeks. The guy returns and puts on the suit. It looks terrible. The left cuff comes down five inches too long, the lapels are completely uneven, the crotch hangs like harem pants…
It’s the worst suit in the world; ridiculous looking. The guy complains but the tailor says he’s *seeing* it all wrong: ‘What you’ve got to do is pull up the left sleeve and hold it there with your chin. Then ooch your right shoulder up five inches so the lapels are even. Next, put your right hand in the pocket of the pants and pull up the crotch…’ You get the idea.
So the man follows all the tailor’s insane instructions and ends up contorted like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But when he glances in the mirror again the suit fits him wonderfully. The tailor says triumphantly, That’s the new style these days.’
So the idiot buys the suit and walks out of the store wearing it.
Staggering down the street like Quasimodo, he passes two men. They turn around and watch him limp away.
The first guy says, ‘I feel so sorry for the handicapped.’
The other says, ‘Yeah, but what a fabulous suit!’
That is the best metaphor I’ve ever heard for how we try to make bad relationships work. Or what we do to ourselves to make anything important work, even when it’s obvious it’s wrong or not meant to be.