8 Ways the Marriage in 'Gone Girl' Is Exactly Like Your Own

gone girlSo. Like almost everyone else in the country I saw Gone Girl this weekend. ZOMG!!! Right? That was! Whoa. I stayed up half the night talking it all over with my boyfriend. Because it's twisted, but it's more than that. What makes Gone Girl so utterly creepy is how relatable it is.

SPOILER ALERT! Imma stop myself right here and let you know this post is filled with spoilers. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW and go read this post about a young newlywed planning to die around her husband's birthday instead.

The rest of you: Let's talk.


As I was saying: What I found creepiest about Gone Girl is how much Amy and Nick Dunne's marriage seemed like anyone else's. I'm not saying any of us are psychotic like Amy -- or sociopaths like Nick. (He's hardly innocent in this story.) I'm just saying, there was just enough there that felt awfully familiar.

Just like how there was just enough truth in Amy's fake journal to make it sound believable. At least on first read.

1. They're not going to be "that couple."

Remember how they keep telling each other that in the beginning? The Dunnes had high expectations for their marriage. Amy wasn't going to be the nag. Nick wasn't going to treat her like a trophy.

Everybody starts out feeling like their relationship is special, their love is somehow stronger, they're smarter. Hell, I've said this. When you're deeply in love, it's hard to imagine that anyone else could possibly have anything as special as what you have. Which makes you a little bit insane, if you think about it.

More from The Stir: 10 Ways to Know Very Quickly if Your Man Is a Psychopath

2. They start off with big passion.

Having sex in a bookshop? Kissing under sugar snowfalls? I mean ... My God, the heat of a young relationship. Is there anything else like it? But that fire is so hard to sustain, long-term. And it can be such a let-down when you notice it's wanted. I think Amy took it very hard. And Nick? Well, we saw what he did.

And speaking of big passion -- where was this Ben Affleck full-frontal scene? Was it supposed to be that split second when he gets into the shower? Did I blink at the wrong moment, or was I too busy listening to the dialogue and dumb stuff like that?

3. Amy tries to change Nick.

Amy has a history of attempting to make-over her men. Just like her parents tried to make-over her by creating her fictional doppelganger. Ladies, we've been warned against taking on men as "fixer-uppers" and trying to turn them into the men we really want. It never works. And yet, so many people do it anyway.

4. Amy and Nick both try to become someone they think their spouse wants.

Amy isn't the only one who has trouble accepting her spouse for who he is. She tries to be "the cool girl" -- a version of herself she thinks Nick wants. They both try, for a while, to become each other's fantasies. And honestly, how many of us try the same thing?

In almost any relationship you're trying to be the best version of yourself, a version you think your partner wants. And to a certain extent you should try hard to give your spouse the best of you. But in order to have a whole and fulfilling relationship, you need to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to expose your weaknesses, your flaws. Which brings me to the next thing ...

5. Amy is afraid of being vulnerable in her relationship.

She doesn't want to seem like a nag, so she doesn't communicate her needs and desires -- not explicitly, anyway. Everything is a treasure hunt for her. She wants Nick to guess what she wants. She wants him to figure it out without ever having to actually ask for anything.

Asking for what you want, admitting when you feel lonely, saying you need a stronger sense of connection -- these things make us feel vulnerable. But they are ESSENTIAL to a healthy relationship. Failing to do so will cause you both to carry an increasing load of resentment and disappointment.

6. Nick takes Amy for granted.

I think that's one of the reasons why she's always provoking him. She just wants him to pay attention to her.

7. Nick and Amy confuse drama with passion and engagement.

Remember, at the end, when Amy taunts Nick and tells her she's exactly what he wants? SHE'S RIGHT! Fighting with his wife makes Nick feel alive. He craves the drama just like she does. And I've made that same mistake.

I remember hearing almost that same thing from a couple's counselor: "Well, maybe you're just the kind of person who craves a more challenging, difficult relationship." In retrospect? That is pure bovine poop.

Having a lot of drama in your marriage doesn't mean you're SO PASSIONATE. That's artificial passion. That's lack of impulse control. Isn't life itself challenging enough in itself without your having to manufacture crises? True passion and engagement go deep, and they're quiet. Everything else is just noise.

8. They feel contempt for each other.

Contempt: The death knell of every failed relationship. Been there? I've done that.

None of this means you're psychotic. It just means you're flawed. We all are. What's psycho is when you completely disconnect from each other and ... Well, actually, what's psycho is when one or more of you is technically, literally psychotic. And fortunately very few of us are. But that's doesn't mean we can't still relate in a few small ways to Nick and Amy. And that's why Gone Girl kept me up all night.

Can you relate to the Dunnes? Come on, you know you can ...


Image via 20th Century Fox

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