Succeed

Given the choice between comfort and pain, our tendency is toward comfort. It’s natural; why endure suffering, torment or pain when there’s another choice?

Not as natural is the uncomfortable learned truth that effort and discomfort are the ways to somewhere better. We see this all over our history as a species and in individual lives. Someone had to set sail over the horizon to find what lay beyond. We had to dismember human cadavers to learn about our own bodies, and we have to push ourselves in exercise, business and relationships to make them succeed too.

The latter is of interest, because a kind of sluggish fug lies over how to behave in relationships. Weddings appear to signal some kind of end-point, which I believe is the opposite of the truth. Routine and ruts typify many couples who share a life but gradually revert to being individuals without the elastic glue couplehood requires.

Meshing is work. It means facing up to yourself in the light of another’s wellbeing. It often means extending yourself beyond the point at which you thought you might stop. The irony is that if we want comfortable relationships, accepting – or even seeking – the painful recesses of ourselves is the necessary route. No pain, no gain.

Podcast #91 Celebrate This

Meshing is an arcane and chaotic art, so when there’s a milestone to celebrate it’s smart to do so, even if it’s merely the six month anniversary of your first dog-walk together. (Presuming someone other than the dog remembers.)

Kregg and I dismantle and then rebuild coupling and making whoopee.

Inside Straight

Dating, courting and all that stuff revolves around figuring out what the other person’s thinking.

We cannot do this directly, in the sense of plugging in a computer, downloading what’s inside and riffling through the contents at our leisure. What we do is talk, listen, prompt, observe, react, note and synthesize. Problem is that all of these methods are indirect at best, and mostly misleading.

Talking is the way we communicate for the most part. Unfortunately this is the least reliable route to accurate assessment of someone. That’s because much of what we see is filtered through the higher, complex mechanisms of the brain. Every bias, mood, emotion, predisposition, experience, love, hatred, miff, disappointment, triumph and childhood disaster has an input to our communication. Motives are masked, truths cloaked. Deception is a part of the thrust and parry of conversation. Irony too. Sarcasm. Attempts at wit. None of these helps to gain much insight into what’s really going on.

Eventually we build a picture of the person standing opposite, but it does take time. The camouflage of language is imperfect and can be stripped away, which is why it takes years – yes, years – to figure the risk-worthiness of a potential mate.

Podcast #90 Be Happy!

Dark and moody might work in movies and fashion models, but who wants to couple with dark and moody? Especially those fashion models; they seem overstrung and underfed to me. Ahem.

Happy people do better than those with a gloom-cloud sitting over their head, not least when attracting and keeping someone close. There. That’s the answer to everything. Unless you want to hear Kregg and me expand a little upon that idea…

Animal, Mineral, Vegetable

Animals live in a moment-to-moment world of surviving. Right now.

We, on the other hand, mildly live in that world, but we also live in a future world. We can look forward and visualize what we’ll need to survive (and thrive) three days, three weeks and three years from now.

That raises the tricky question of trade-offs. Sometimes we must sacrifice something in the present in order to make a more certain future.

Relationships, – especially marriage – are an example of this. Male nature is to satisfy sexual hunger with less than perfect discrimination. To forgo that drive in the interest of creating something valuable is a choice to trust that higher goals are worthy of giving up short term pleasure.

That choice also pushes back the chaos, the chaos of unrestricted gratification. It also demonstrates faith in our ability to maintain those long-term advantages, but like any investment in the future it requires conscious maintenance. That’s the hard part.