Thursday, July 19, 2007

Learning Love

The progress is painfully slow. But they are happy with it. As we talk she looks at him and grins a big happy grin, he looks over at her and puts his hand gently over hers, for just a second, then removes it. We continue to talk and they explain what's going on in their relationship. What each is learning to do to get along well with the other.

Having grown up with disabilities, neither of them had the opportunities to learn the ways of love and the rules of relationship. Living in same sex environments gives one precious little opportuntity to practice flirting, dating and enchating conversation.

I remember reading an article on a scientific animal study (though I don't really approve of animal studies) and in that study they took new borne mammals from the parents and the troop. The infant males were placed in one area, the infant females in another, they never interacted cross gender, they never saw their parents or indeed any member of their species, interact cross gender.

When they were grown they were placed together and researchers could see how much of sexual behaviour was learned and how much was instictual. What they found was that all those who went through the experiment had their sexuality destroyed. They had lost the art of heterosocial activity with some tragic consequences. The article ended by making a huge mistake. They made a claim.

"This of course would never happen within the human community."

Um, yeah, it did.

And I see the results of that separation in front of me. Two people tenuously working their way back to each other, back to the desire for human touch and comfort. Two people who are willing to work through their fears, their lact of experience, their sense of personal damage - just to be with one another.

They set groundrules in these sessions with their counsellor and talk about where they are and what they need to learn, to do, to change, in order to be better in relationship with one another. I had been there at the beginning of this process and helped to design it, now I'm here meeting them to review their process and see how it's going.

It's going.

And their acheivement shows in the light in her eyes.

And in the gentle touch of his hand on hers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think what I dislike most about animal studies is how much they get dismissed afterwards as not really applying. Why bother doing the experiment at all? Interaction with the opposite sex is learned as we grow. Why else do people who grow up in dysfunctional families end up dysfunctional themselves?