Tool Academy makes me sad on so many levels. If you haven't caught the show, it is a reality show based on girlfriends who are dating 'tools', and they go through a sort of group therapy retreat, to try and teach the men how to be better boyfriends.
The girls break my heart. They are all young and gorgeous and yet somehow believe relationships are full of pain, cheating, being let down and not being put first. They discover on the show that their boyfriend didn't just cheat the three times that they knew about, but actually six times. Yet they stay. They watch their boyfriends on video flirting or kissing other girls, and yet they stay.
The girls talk the talk. They talk about the lack of respect, how terrible the behaviour is and how much their boyfriends disgust them, and yet they stay. They cry and they stay.
But actually, the boys break my heart too. They somehow have so little self respect for themselves and the girlfriends they say they love, that they behave with next to zero moral direction. They somehow live in the here-and-now and seek pleasure at any cost. They have girlfriends who accept and tolerate their behaviours, so have little reason to face up to what they are doing. The boys profess to love their girlfriends, many say they want to marry them one day - do they have so little experience of love that they believe these negative patterns are what love looks like?
How do we teach these young people that it really is better to be alone than to be with someone who treats you so badly? That love should be positive, enriching and enhancing?