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Relationship Analysis: Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd (Grey’s Anatomy)

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction provides plenty of truth and life lessons when it comes to relationships. Let’s look at a popular relationship from Grey’s Anatomy and discover how you can learn from their mistakes.

Although it is a fictitious rendering of a rocky relationship, many can relate to the tempestuous tie-in of the lead characters, Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd, from Grey’s Anatomy, a witty medical dramedy that focuses more on the mischievous private lives than the medical practices within the hospital walls. Meredith and Derek’s fictional relationship offers many tips and remedies for real-life courtship struggles.

Relationship Synopsis: Meredith Grey, the daughter of a renowned surgeon, starts to work as an intern at her mother’s alma mater, the prestigious Seattle Grace Hospital. Before she knows who he is, Meredith falls for her boss, the esteemed neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd. The two engage in a forbidden relationship, until Derek’s adulterous wife resurfaces. Derek teeters between Meredith and his estranged wife, deals with an ex best friend who doled out the ultimate betrayal and tries to balance his responsibilities as an attending surgeon to boot. Although Derek and Meredith may truly love each other, the constant vacillation, the baggage of life and a gossipy forum threaten the relationship.

What You Can Learn from Their Relationship:

1. Dating the Boss/Higher-Up: Meredith was an intern involved in a relationship with Derek, the established surgeon/boss.

Solution: Dating the boss could give you an unkind reputation and lead to uncomfortable encounters if things go south. Should you insist on partnering up, clear things first with Human Resources and ask about reassignment to a different department or location. A relationship with a higher-up can breed resentment and engender whispers from fellow employees, defiling your character and creating an uncomfortable working environment. Sneaking around only perpetuates the idea that you are doing something wrong, making the whole relationship lose its respectability.

2. History of Infidelity/Betrayal: His wife and best friend betrayed Derek during their indulgent affair. Meredith’s mother cheated on her husband with the not-yet chief of staff, who was also married.

Solution: With examples of infidelity so rampant in the past, it’s no wonder that one can become gun-shy about the “heaviness” of trust and commitment. Discuss your feelings about commitment and the lessons or examples that you have witnessed. Remember that not everyone is a cheater. There are individuals out there who will disprove your theory and relish faithfulness. You will never garner a healthy relationship if you don’t treat each case as a fresh start. Sure, the pain of betrayal is hard to forget, but you must faithfully jump into the unknown to produce the big payoff.

3. Blurred Boundaries: Because Meredith and Derek can’t get it together, the terms of their relationship become blurred when it leads to intimacy. Through supply room hookups, Meredith covers up her childhood issues by looking for intimacy, and seemingly finds her Band-Aid with Derek.

Solution: Intimacy only complicates matters unless you are in a committed relationship. Familiar distractions provide an illusion of safety and connection that are only blurred by the hastiness of the here and now. It’s easy to let the physical closeness overshadow what is going on inside. But until you deal with the state of your relationship, you will be indulging in a psychological purgatory. Be open and up front with your mate, explaining your expectations and your terms. Until you can come up with a clear understanding, try to avoid physical intimacy.

4. Jealousy: Derek and Meredith each had to watch the other move on.

Solution: Even the most mature adults can find that ugly green monster creeping up into their psyche. Be aware that if you are no longer in the relationship, you no longer get to provide advice or commentary on the love life of your ex. Concentrate on why your relationship didn’t work. When you find yourself reminiscing with rose-colored glasses, have a friend or a rubber band snap you back to reality. It is called a “breakup” for a reason, and that is because your relationship is or was broken. Hopefully, you still wish your ex the best, even if that means it’s not with you. Keep busy, stay out of their business and work on your own independence.