Depress Me

Number one on my list of prospective mates to avoid is anyone with any kind of chronic or recurring mental illness.

Sadly, this counts out a lot of women, but counting out a lot of women is the idea of such a list. Mental disorders are rife, and, from what I understand, wholly under-diagnosed. Even if that’s not true, we rarely think of not dating such people for precisely that reason, because we figure that therapy or drugs will mitigate any problems. We overlook this stuff on the way to the bedroom.

Wrong.

I had coffee this morning with a women who is dating (read: shacking up with) a guy who is a depressive. We’re not talking someone who is maudlin or down a lot. He’s capital D Depressed for much of the time.

She is clearly having second thoughts about this dude. As m’colleague Kregg repeatedly says, women are attracted to men with ambition and voice; a man continually in tears living on the couch doesn’t have much of either.

The question I could see bugging her is just why she’s involved with a guy who is failing to live up to her expectations. The best she could come up with was that he “…helps changing the sheets, oh, and does some work around the yard”.

Mismatch, much?

Comforting someone who sobs themselves to sleep might fulfill some need you have, but that’s not a need you should satisfy. There are other ways. We’d all like to help that person, but attempts to do so for misguided ideas of “love” or “being there” are foolish and create two people falling down a well.

Sometimes saving ourselves from mistakes is the best possible outcome.

Siege Engine

The middle ages must have been a boom time for Home Depot and Lowes. Royalty of every rank built castles; castles with strong walls, moats and general defence in mind.

If you were a sufficiently wealthy royal, you’d join with your king or queen and they would find castles of other royals – loyal to other kings or queens – that he or she figured were vulnerable. Or had in some way interfered with their estates or bruised their knee or something.

The point is that alliances were constantly shifting. Intrigue and grasping for power was the way they operated, the drive that kept those with the resources motivated.

Being a royal subject anchored a lot of everyday folk. Allegiance wasn’t lightly undertaken, and often the cost was high. Fighting for the perceived common aim formed the backbone of many lives, particularly the men.

This might come as a surprise to women, but men still want to ally themselves, and with one special woman…one they consider to be special. Men are commonly thought to be flighty when it comes to loyalty, but evidence is mounting (if you’ll pardon the expression) that this is not an accurate characterization. We want to be an equal and different half in an equal relationship, but the whole idea appears to be slipping away from us. We’re under siege, and we’re not quite sure why, nor what happened.

Yes, men must be admirable to be admired, but that effort is only worth the sacrifice if we’re admired by someone we think will be there for us.

Does Instant “Love” Last?: Podcast #77

Stories about life to which we want to attach stick in our memory.  If you’d like to fall in love once and live happily with that person forever, you’ll find and remember examples of just that, thereby providing yourself with proof of what you want.

This has a name: confirmation bias. We tend to see what we are looking for, and it keeps us from being more rational than we otherwise might. But that’s all psycho-babble, which does not begin to describe this podcast.

All Change

Coupling up is an optimistic act for the future, moderated by expectations. No matter how clear our vision of the ideal mate, we still have to deal with the reality, a real person.

Real people change. Time and events modify the way we see pretty much everything, including ourselves, and part of sticking with someone is awareness of actual and perceived change.

One of my hopes is for someone who understands this change phenomenon, and how we’re both going to be different tomorrow from today, next year from this. Life is deceptive in this area, because we think we view life changing around us while we remain solidly anchored, like someone watching a movie.  In fact, we’re all changing in different ways all the time, at different speeds. No material entity has a permanent mooring; that’s the job of spiritual pursuits.

Not all change will be good, naturally. Finding ways to communicate that we’re noticing things move along, both inside and outside the relationship, might be one of those critical foundational functions that make it easier to stick together.

Notice and report. Communication and feedback.

Needs and Wants: Podcast #76

In this podcast, Kregg quizzes me about my understanding of men’s and women’s needs and wants, today and in the past.

It sounds complicated, but isn’t. If we can’t put ourselves in our potential coupling partner’s head at least a little, and channel them for a while, for what can we hope in any potential couplehood?

Let’s see how well I do.