Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should-less Relationships

Relationships don’t have to be THAT hard. We are all walking around on this earth trying to connect with others, trying to build meaningful and satisfying bonds with others. But for so many there is something getting in the way of this experience, something preventing individuals and couples from having the joyful life they want and deserve.

You would think it would be different by now. After all, humans have been roaming the planet for billions of years, SOMEHOW we’ve made it this far. We now have more ways than ever to stay connected: cell phones, e-mails, text messaging, access to travel. Go to any bookstore and you’ll find dozens of books which instruct people how to stay in fulfilling relationships. Turn on any daytime talk show and you’ll see “experts” sharing how to have better communication, more sex, happier unions. More and more American states and worldwide governments are recognizing same sex marriages and as valid and legally sanctified unions. Given all this, why do we keep screwing things up?

This next major topic for this blog will be navigating the waters of should-less relationships. This is a course many have traveled, but never quite like this. Please keep reading for observations, tips, and strategies for making all your relationships free of destructive "shoulds."

6 comments:

Roger said...

Very timely!

Matt said...

i'm sitting on the edge of my seat for this one! boy you know how to make things exciting!!

nikker said...

This is a tough nut to crack. Most folks have a list of shoulds in their mind regarding their potential mate.
Let's face it, a lot of guys have not developed a high degree of communication or intimacy skills. Most guys don't have the "sex in the city" brunch where they talk about what they feel with their friends and talk about how to approach issues in relationships.
As such, men are often viewed as fixer uppers. "Oh well, he lacks these skills but I will teach him those." This type of imbalance happens in heterosexual and homosexual coupling. So guess what, the person who is more evolved in the relationship pulls out the shoulds as a guide.
There is a great scene in Friends where Monica and Chandler are having relationship troubles and he asks her to please tell him what to do to fix it. She essentially says she is through being his relationship guide and he has to figure it out.
You see after a while, the more evolved one who thought they could fix up the fixer upper gets tired. They also feel frustrated because they don't have someone to challenge them and be an equal match. It can lead to a very lonely relationship. Resentment abounds in this type of relationship in both directions.
At the core of the problem is the socialization of young boys that leads to them lashing out with bullets instead of tears. Homophobia also ensures that a lot of men feel uncomfortable reaching out to other men to talk about relationship issues.
Of course, this is just one piece of the puzzle.

Damon L. Jacobs said...

I have to wonder, Nikker, if someone finds themselves attracted to "fixer uppers" and subsequently winds up frustrated or disappointed, then what does that say about that person's choices?

Or to put it another way, if one is attracted solely to others that he or she needs to "Should" all the time, then I have to wonder why?

Good stuff ! More to follow...

nikker said...

Well, I think there are folks that are attracted to fixer uppers but let's face facts and realize that sometimes folks end up with fixer uppers by default just because that is what's out there or worse yet, they don't realize certain things until they are into the marriage.
Of course, we must also realize that during the falling in love period, individuals are not thinking clearly. The endorphins allow you to overlook the fact that he shuts down every time there is a disagreement or that he dodges certain topics of intimacy or commitment. The red flags are there but we are so enraptured with finally fulfilling our concept of love that we choose to ignore those signs.
Your point is that what does that say about the person picking a fixer upper. Obviously it can mean a number of things. If I am being honest with myself, subconsciously for me it always leaves me an escape hatch in the relationship. "Oh well, it didn't work out but you know he wasn't a great communicator".
For me, having experienced the loss of a relationship in my life, I feel I will never open myself up to that kind of devastation again. As such, I run away from anyone who could potentially be great and compatible.

nikker said...

Oddly enough I was reading a quote from Bette Davis on men which was interesting "When I was young, I could see a man who looked beautiful to me, and I could fall in love at first sight. When I met someone, I'd say it was his 'personality,' his sense of humor,' but it was always really his looks.....I would imbue this 'man of my dreams' with every other quality I imagined I wanted in a man. Later, I started to see the way he really was. Suddenly, I could see all of his faults. There he was , the same face and body that had appealed to me, but with none of the other qualities I required. He became like a store dummy, only one that talked and said the wrong things."