Domestic Conflict, Explained By Stock Photos

Kevin Nguyen imagines the backstories behind the stock photos he found of couples fighting.

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The economic downturn had left Paul struggling to find work. After a year of burning through their savings, he and his wife Claire realized that they would have to sell the house to make ends meet. But can we even sell the house in this market? Claire thought to herself. If only I could touch my face as dramatically as possible, things might be okay.


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For months, Caitlin has suspected that Sean might leave her for an even dumber-looking scarf.


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The metaphorical wall that once separated Amanda and Geoff has suddenly become literal. Also, they’re confused about the wall. Like, where the fuck did it come from?


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Lily and Peter were supposed to have a romantic night in, but Peter and a few coworkers went out for happy hour drinks. Peter got drunk, missed dinner, and passed out on the couch.

This actually happens all the time, and Lily is pretty understanding. She’s crying about the ending of Toy Story 3, which they saw four weeks ago.


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Nancy is upset because she is being haunted by the ghost of Jim Belushi.


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Even though Cheryl forgave Jim for the affair, things haven’t been the same since. Jim has done everything he can to make it up to her, but is infidelity something that can ever truly be forgiven? How can Cheryl trust Jim anymore?

Also, Cheryl is pretty sure he just farted.


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Shannon just found out that Derrick’s email address is titty_farm_l69@hotmail.com. Who still uses Hotmail?


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With his big promotion, Jeremy has been working at the office late. The long hours and the added stress of his new position have left him incapable of pleasing his wife, Anya, in bed.

“You’re a disappointment of a man,” Anya says, before turning the other direction. “How can you not make love to me in this all-white room with white bedding while I wear white underwear?”


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Jessica has been cold and distant for weeks. Whenever Jacob asks what’s wrong, she just brushes it off or ignores him entirely. The hand on her chin symbolizes a spiritual emptiness, brought on by years of deteriorating intimacy and the slow realization that the life Jessica had always dreamed of is as vacant and meaningless as their suburban existence.

Or she’s posing for a high school portrait.


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Conflicts are even more difficult when more than two people involved. Here, Ellen and Andrew argue about what to do with the small girl that wandered in their home.

Kevin Nguyen is a founding editor of The Bygone Bureau. His only marketable skill is an above-average knowledge of European geography. He has been useless since the introduction of the atlas in 1477. Reach him by email or follow his Twitter account.