Methinks Marriage Ain’t for Everyone

Sometimes, while standing in my bathroom waiting to potentially throw-up, my mind wanders down the weirdest paths.

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Maybe I should have a Slim Jim and a bag of baby carrots for lunch more often? Not my most brilliant nutritional pairing… ah… that’s how I got here. I was thinking about bad pairings.

Luckily the Slim Jim never stood at an altar with the bag of baby carrots. Can you blame him? Who wants to be responsible for all those babies… and all he will be left with is some old bag?

Wow. This metaphor is working way better than I expected, from a humor standpoint. Although, I am still nauseated.

But on a more serious note, I think I have come to grips….after a long and winding road…. with my beliefs on marriage and relationships.

As usual, I am not trying to script any choices here. I am just sharing perspective. And I admit, I am probably a weeeeee ittybit embittered on some of this stuff because my ideology doesn’t align well with reality.

In fact, I have had friend after friend wag their head and say,”It just doesn’t work that way, buddy ol’ chap!” I’m faced with a choice… do I bend my ideology to fit reality? Or do I attempt to influence reality by championing my ideology?

Yup, you guessed correctly. Why won’t I bend? Fact is I am human and I do bend. Sometimes I break, too. But ultimately, I heal and try to live from my ideologies because life is short, and if we don’t at least try to live from our beliefs, I think we are doing ourselves a disfavor.

That’s why I encourage people to vote based on their beliefs. And beyond voting, I encourage people to live from their beliefs.

What are my beliefs on marriage and relationships, then? Let’s start with marriage. I think the institution is a broken model. It’s a huge production, it is a commitment that can force two people staying in an unhealthy relationship and then there was this perspective shared by one of my friends: these two people who want to be together are turning to some outside party – to make their decision ‘real’. As though this external representative makes their union legitimate.

I’ve been in two failed marriages. In both cases I thought it would last a life time, but it did not. Sad, but it underscores the reality that no outside entity can tell me when my relationship begins, and no outside entity can ensure it will last. So it makes no sense to involve an outside authority or go through all this pomp.

Folks in the more religious camps will talk about the ‘covenant’ of marriage. They will say it is a union before God, but  as wonderful as that sounds, I simply don’t subscribe to it. In the bible there are references that can be used to both support and debunk the concept of marriage… so I will leave that choice of interpretation up for debate, and politely excuse myself from believing marriage is for everyone.

Marriage works for some, and for them I am truly happy. For me, however… I just want something mutual, I want a best effort, and I want it to end  if it truly is not working or becomes unhealthy.  I want to give and receive a solid, monogamous commitment to that approach, and I don’t need the law or the church to ratify or otherwise bless this decision!

The next topic is relationships. My perspective has been more or less the same since I was in high school, but truly coming to terms with it, finding the right mix of people to talk to, and then writing about it has taken a lot of time. In some cases I have scared off perfectly good friendships over it all.

The arc of discovery that leads to this post started with a good old-fashioned crush that hit me about a year ago. I was stunned on many levels… crushes are for kids, I thought. Crushes are the most unhealthy way to approach a relationship, I wrote about it later in a journal entry. I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere, but I was excited because I had been sleep walking through my marriage and realized now it was time to dust myself off and face certain facets of my life head on…. that’s what I have done, and through that exercise I have met a bunch of fantastic people.

Through them, I have come to terms with the differences between the dating game, and what I believe in….which looks similar, but comes from a different perspective.  I know I have written about it before, but I think it is clearer now.

Where would I be without my caveats? I have them in every post… so the caveat for this subject is…. I am still heavily scripted by society in the ‘dating’ lingo. I find myself using  it but when I use those terms I mean something different from most people I have talked to so far.

First off, I don’t believe in dating, I believe in friendships.  So in mainstream world, a friendship is where relationships that aren’t going anywhere get dead-ended.

That’s broken to me. It’s basically saying you have to screw someone to have a relationship, but true friendships are somehow of a lesser status. Ferp.

But let’s rewind a little bit, because one of my friends made a good point. She said,”You know, at first sight, which people you are attracted to.”

She’s right. Whether going with the current reality or my ideals, I can walk into a club, bar, grocery store, library, etc and when I see someone attractive, there is a ‘click.’  That happens at the brain stem level. But that ‘click or no-click’ evaluation is constant… it is baser nature and just happens without much thought.

The difference is in what you DO with your ‘click.’ (Wow, that sounds risqué, no? I digress). In the traditional meat market, people put on a facade and begin doing or saying what they think the other person wants to see or hear. It’s a mating dance…really. There are varying levels of distortion applied to this approach, but the crux is based on a game, and the rules of the game are to get laid before you know the person too well and risk them becoming a friend. … O_o Really? 2012, iPhones and spaceships and this is the best we got for relationships?

Bleh on that. It is completely backasswards and I refuse to play. Don’t get me wrong, some people like that game, or are just comfy with the dysfunction it brings to the table. Enjoy that! Also know that my marriages have failed, so there is still something cosmically funky with my approach, but I will go into that later.

What I do with a ‘click’ is much much different. First, I always present myself as who I am. Just be candid. Second, I get to know the other person… if it goes anywhere, it ain’t the bedroom. This person is on a 3 – 6 month or more journey to becoming my friend. I want to like them, respect them and understand them.  That alone used to be enough, but I have realized my folly in the past, and its gotta be mutual.

Yes, this approach sucks because if there is physical energy, it all gets tabled. But getting physical distorts the picture too soon for me. I really want a mutual friendship in place beforehand. Friendships aren’t a dead end, they are the cornerstone.

Today’s relationships can get complicated. Exclusive, polyamorous, NSA, LTR… what expectations are being set that first kiss or that first passionate night? We are told to set expectations in business transactions, in school, and in our personal lives. But mahhhhgically, setting expectations about what romance means in a relationship gets frowned upon. “That kills the mystery or  spontaneity.” I disagree. Before adding anything physical, I want to talk about it.

I watched an episode of Le Femme Nikita tonight and this  dude asks, his first visit to her house “is there a place for me in your life?”

OK, that was contrived because Hollywood can’t spend weeks allowing relationships to mature (hmmm perhaps ADHD -TV has catered to the problem), but if the characters really knew each other well as friends, an honest dialog like that is exactly what I’d be looking for, before even the first kiss!

So in my opinion, two things can be added to a friendship, if it is mutual: romance and companionship. I don’t think either one of those things takes a friendship to a new level… if I love and respect a person enough to consider romance or companionship, then it’s not like I love and respect them MORE after I add those things. If romance gets added, we simply are agreeing to add that dimension to our relationship for as long as it is mutual, and we define expectations before we do anything. If companionship gets added, it means we add a dimension of being their for each other as life partners – helping each other reach for our life goals. Again this lasts as long as it is mutual and expectations should be defined. Defined, I say!! Put it in a Service Agreement!! OK, that might be going too far… or is it?

That’s all there is to it! That’s how I think, and how I want it to work. Some people won’t be able to do it because there is likely too much talk and not enough action. No worries…those people simply aren’t a good fit for me! Heck, I may not be able to stick to it either… that would be a drag, but there are worse things… like, waking up naked in the Wal-Mart lobster tank. Not like that’s ever happened to meeeeee before!

And this is the ideal… I know it might never work this way in my lifetime. But then, that is why I am TheRage3K and not TheRage2012. These things take time to sink in!

3 thoughts on “Methinks Marriage Ain’t for Everyone”

  1. Tedly, it is insanely hard to approach friendship when hormones get in the way, BUT I completely agree that friendship-first relationships are probably better fro the long haul.

    1. Yeah – I think my approach goes against how the species is wired, but… ain’t that kinda what evolution is about? Maybe? Sometimes? No. I guess not. Evolution would be if people who practice “friendship first” in longer term relationships have higher survive-ability vs people who don’t practice that approach. Where were we again? :-/

  2. Eh, I’m not saying your wrong. I’m saying as a human your — are there children reading this? — tends to get in the way of your logical brain. ‘Cause procreation is not the wisest thing to do, but the process insemination process is fun. Crazy fun.

    But don’t give up on dating! It’s fun on its own. It can be low stress and relaxed and doesn’t need to lead to a romantic relationship.

    Try dating for friendship, K?

    And to give some credence to your view? It’s my friendship with Betsy that works. Without that our marriage would fail.

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