giovedì, novembre 02, 2006

Developing a tolerance

Most of last night's analysis was about internal problems, but Monsieur did make a point of general interest late in the session after I launched into a minor tirade about how annoyed I am people complain about being single when it's so easy - no worries about hurting feelings, no worries about over-reacting to minor annoyances, no questionable sense of dependency, et cetera. His answer could have gone straight on a Hallmark card: being in relationships helps secular Westerners improve their comprehension of the human condition. Okay, maybe it would need a little editting but nonetheless I found the idea cloyingly icky.

But then he pointed out that the annoyances to which our lovers subject us, which we can't walk away from because of our emotional attachment, force us to confront ourselves by witnessing our reactions, and force us to ask questions about our lovers because we care enough to want to understand. The difficulties of romantic or reproductive relationships translate into better comprehension of the self and the human condition. That means single people get to skip lots of annoyance but by so doing skip parts of the learning process, since the second they're annoyed they can withdraw from the situation instead of asking questions about how it came to be.

Other relationships that may have picked up the learning-through-annoyance slack, like with the church, extended family, or community groups, have eroded in modern secular society to the degree that people don't learn from them the way they used to, since it's so much easier (thank god!) to walk away from them now. And so, people who want to learn about themselves and their race want to be in relationships.

It makes sense, I guess. When I think back on being single, it seemed like a pleasant but fairly boring tropical holiday with too much lying down on the beach and not enough trekking through a savage jungle full of hallucinogenic plants, mysterious ziggurats, and silly monkeys. That's not bad, but it's not good either. So I'll try to stop complaining about people who complain about being single. No promises, though.

16 commenti:

Masonic Boom ha detto...

how annoyed I am people complain about being single when it's so easy - no worries about hurting feelings, no worries about over-reacting to minor annoyances

Bullshit, Spliffe, and you know it.

You act as if Single Persons do not have friends, family members, colleagues, housemates, etc. with whom we must perform the intimate dance of *getting along* which makes us more fully human.

No person is an island. Even us singletons.

And we don't have the delights of cuddling and/or make-up sex to smooth the difficulties of those relationships.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Boom, I *sort of* know it's bullshit. But there's more room in those relationships to draw back, without getting into the ridiculous come-hither-now-fuck-off dance which is so big a part of so many romantic relationships.

I can't cool down in the same way with a lover as with the other sort of relationships you mention because of the way lovers measure their time together. I can't just not call him for a few weeks until I get over whatever's bugging me, or go out with another group of lovers for awhile instead. I can't count the days until the lease I share with my lover runs out so that I can get my own place.

A romantic relationship is fucking crowded. And for that, it has a special degree of annoyance to it, and challenge. Which is good, but also a very particular pain in the ass.

Anonimo ha detto...

ah relationships. i've been re-reading some of my old journals in order to understand 1) how i used to think about relationships, 2) why they all went so horribly wrong, 3) what the fuck i was thinking (which is reeeeeally interesting), and 4) what i want from having another person be such a huge part of my life.

i think that's what singletons (sounds like simpleton) are aching for, that closeness with ONE person - searching for that one soul who desperately wants to know everything about you, who thinks you are the bestest.

i quote from May of 2005, "I think of all the boys I've dated - all the men I've been with: it's always been about experiencing new things, and having fun." relationships change the focus of our lives. it changes the focus from "me" to "he" or "us". it allows us to stop feeling so selfish all the time... which is the mistake we make.

when we get into a relationship we feel like we have to think about the other person and make them happy, when really, if we stop thinking of ourselves, we'll hate him for it later. it's because the two lives become so entwined that it becomes so difficult...

hm. i'm still working through my theories and thoughts...

do you wanna go out on a date with me? i want some (wink wink) alone time with you, baby. we'll get cake.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Sure. We can have alone time tonight, if you want - while the cat's away this mouse'll play. Or rather, while Figaro's at t'ai chi, I can get freaky.

Yeah. I just made that up. RIGHT NOW. Wow, eh?

Melbine ha detto...

I like lady's paragraph about wanting closeness with ONE person. It's very true, at least in my experience...

Anonimo ha detto...

I don't remember what it was like to be single. What I do remember is how retarded the men I dated were. I remember thinking that I would never find anyone unretarded to spend time with - not that I was looking for a lifelong relationship.

My question is - and I am not questioning that the dude is the ultimate man for me - is the dude the first man I came accross who wasn't retarded (or the "r" word or "Sugarplum's favourite word" as he calls it now that he is training to be a teacher and sensors my language) or did my understanding of the human condition evolve through these bad relationships to the point where I was finally able to have a functional relationship with the dude when he came along (because it was so easy to fall in love with him).

I think it's the dude's fault not an intellectual evolution on my part.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yeah. I don't think it's an intellectual evolution either. You *should* blame him, like I blame Figaro, because I just wouldn't subject myself to being in a relationship if he wasn't the man he was.

He's so much better than the men I messed around with while I was single. Probably we had an attraction to a certain disposable type at that stage in our lives because we wanted to be single.

Anonimo ha detto...

You're right. I knew I wanted the dude for a while but I resisted for a long time because I was afraid of getting in too deep. Thank the good old booze for clearing up THAT mess.

Anonimo ha detto...

"resisted for a long time"... how long? cuz i've been resisting my crush for um, almost a year. eek!

Anonimo ha detto...

ps - spliffe, tonight i can't... not until later anyway. i have a NINE meeting.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Lady, I have alone time for you on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Next Tuesday, maybe

Also, 'resist' isn't the verb I'd use for your crush.

Masonic Boom ha detto...

This thread just makes me realise that it's true, what my bandmate was saying the other day, about how Smug Marrieds really just *do not* get it about single life.

Either they have totally forgotten what it was like, the horror, and the loneliness, and the awful bits of it - or else it aquires this rose-tinted sugar-coated glow of nostalgia.

I think I have learned more about "we-ness" and about managing close relationships without being subsumed from A) my mother and B) my long-term housemate/best friend then I ever learned from a partner.

Or maybe I learned the lessons too well, and allowed myself to be totally subsumbed by the two long-term co-habiting relationships I've ever had. Dunno.

Masonic Boom ha detto...

I just *can't* think that romantic relationships are the be-all and end-all of our growth potential and our experience as human beings.

Because if they are, well, I'm fucked, aren't I?

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Boom, people tell me me alot that you-don't-remember-being-single-thing. People who didn't know me said it to me WHILE I was single because I never stopped believing in the awesomeness of singleness.

The thing is the times in my adult life when I've been single have either been ones of intense relief I wasn't in the last relationship I'd been in or a damn good time. If I have a rose-tinted sugary glow of a view of singleness, I had it while I was single too.

So, you know, I understand your *Smug Married* thing, but I don't like it. There hasn't yet been a time in my life where I even thought I believed there's any reason to be in a relationship except there being no choice.

As for thinking romantic relationships are the be-all and end-all of our growth potential and our experience as human beings, I don't, I don't think my analyst did either, and I don't even think I suggested my analyst did.

But I do think you can compare being in a romantic relationship to writing a doctoral thesis, and compare being single to having the four free years it would take to write a doctoral thesis to do whatever-the-fuck instead.

Once you're in the doctoral stream, your energy is focussed in one direction in a way that can really drive you around the fucking bend and seems to go on for way too long. But at least all that energy is focussed and gets used in a structured way.

When you're single and can use your energy however you want - well, some people just don't use it at all. Or they use it to play over old routines and paranoias that don't get them anywhere and that wouldn't be allowed by a partner in a healthy romantic relationship.

Of course, if a single person chooses clever alternative ways to focus their energy, they're much better off in terms of educational development than someone who's chosen a mediocre doctoral stream. And someone who goes into a shitty doctoral stream is worse off than someone who doesn't do anything at all.

So - there's that.

Anonimo ha detto...

I only "resisted" for a matter of months before I got drunk enough to not deny myself any further.

I don't think I have a rosy nostagic view of my life as a singleton. There were times when it was really lonely - travelling really amplifies this. I enjoy having a soulmate that shares my passions but now that we are living as a couple, we can't afford to travel anymore and our lives have moved into another direction. Hence the nostalgia.

Being single is a pretty rigid label to put on oneself. The relationship gap that we talk about can be filled in a number of ways by an equally committed other person. That can be just as rewarding as a romantic relationship (except for the sex side unless there is a sex side then you wouldn't be single).

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yeah, I think about that travel thing too, but then Figaro is older than the Dude and already has his licenses, and one of my degrees is European, so we can think a little proactively about it, by which I mean, a few days after your wedding, D.V..