Song Reflections: Pet Shop Boys “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”

We’ve all been in that dysfunctional, unstable relationships.  One where you’re tip-toeing around the other person wondering, “is this working out? Is he what I perceive himto be?  Am I safe here?”  And you’re tossed about like a leaf on a stormy sea, with every flip-flop of the other party’s whims sending you spiraling down in every which direction.  Is it me or is he just in a bad mood?  All the wondering and straining, trying to figure out what’s going on inside somebody else’s head.  It’s taxing and stressful.  Some people give up and choose to be alone instead.

To look at it on a positive way, my perception is that being drunk is more revealing than concealing of truths.  Pretending takes more finesse and control, and you have less of those resources when you’re compromised from substance.   So the good news may be that he loves you, but then the question is — how often is he drunk?  Which person are you with more?  If he shows his affection to you only when he’s drunk, then you may be temped to keep him drunk more often — but I’m sure there are downsides to that.

Sadly, as much as we’d like to think that we are consistent, same person all the time, in truth we are not.  I am a different person when I’m in a bad mood.  I will not be the same when I have had 2 hours of sleep the night before or a raging headache or digestive problems.  It’s a bit like everybody has a very minor form of multiple personality disorder.  The grumpy me may not remember what a happy me feels like, how he thinks about things, how he treats other people.  The same is true on the receiving end, too.  Your perceptions and assessment of other people are colored by your own past experience, fears, and stories.  It’s hard to see everything clearly, all the time.

So it’s a dynamic, ever-changing landscape, this thing called relationship.  There are best practices, of course, but some of it just comes from accepting it for what it is.  This song is a bittersweet reminder of the changing nature of a relationship.  It may not offer solutions or ray of hope — but it’s nice to know, that someone other than myself knows what it’s really like.