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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grey’s Anatomy: I Love You Even When I Hate You

As I readied for my weekly Grey’s fix, I realized I couldn’t shake something that happened on an episode a few weeks ago.

What happens when you’ve been betrayed by someone you love? Grey’s Anatomy has been exploring that in great detail as season 8 ramps up. Derek is having trouble forgiving Meredith for ruining his clinical trial and the chief’s reputation and is wondering if he can ever trust her again.

But here’s the problem: He’s married to her. And here’s the solution: He’s married to her. He made promises on a post-it and those promises are, in some ways, more real than their marriage vows.

“I have no reason to trust you,” he says.

“Well, then why are you with me,” Mer counters.

“Because of that,” he says, pointing to their marriage post-it note framed above their bed. “Because I meant that. I promised I wouldn’t run. I promised I would love you. Even when I hate you.” (Watch the scene.)

I really loved Derek in this interaction, and get why he’s having a hard time letting this go.

What’s missing here is a sincere apology. Apologies can be tricky, and I’m a big fan of receiving a good one. Giving them is much harder. Like when Meredith puts on her petulant child voice and says, “I said I’m sorry.” Derek responds, in my favorite line of the episode: “I want you to be sorry.”

Meredith feels justified in her actions, no matter the fallout, and Derek is reacting to that lack of honest remorse. P.S. to Meredith: “I’m sorry” doesn’t always sweep everything under the rug.

A wise person – ok, my former therapist – once told me that a proper apology includes 1) taking full responsibility for your part in what happened, 2) acknowledging the impact of your behavior, 3) offering to do what you can to make the situation right again, and then 4) asking – gulp –  “Can you forgive me?”

It’s not a magic bullet, but I bet if Meredith would stop for a second and try a little honest communicating, we’d see the tide turn for these two.

Tell Us What You Think
Knowing how to offer a solid apology is one relationship skill we’d all be wise to master, but what’s YOUR secret method to keeping a relationship healthy? How have you shown your commitment to someone you loved even when you didn’t like them? Share your thoughts below.

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Posted by: Lucas Miré at 12:26 pm