Coupling has a side-effect: de-coupling. Until we find the one with whom we want to spend our lives meshing energy, emotion and mind, we’ll make false starts, and false starts inevitably lead to real ends.
Ending relationships is a rite of passage. Knowing how inept we are at the beginning is the way this journey begins. Gradually we learn what we need to know about ourselves and the nature of coupling to make them stick…at least for a while.
Or not. Kregg and I bat the breakup blues around in this week’s podcast.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Do our exes accurately represent who we are?
Gosh, I hope not. They’re exes for a reason, so to judge me by the yardstick of people with whom I no longer have contact seems particularly unfair. It’s like assessing my palate by noting that I ate baby food at one point; it’s absurd.
On the other hand, exes are are a useful aid to figure out what didn’t work. If we’re sufficiently emotionally detached, explaining why this or that relationship failed, and what made us think it might flourish in the first place, is useful information.
Key is the phrase “emotionally detached”. The cooler a person is when talking about their past, the more logical and analytical, the better. Relationships are like enriched uranium, in that we can measure their half-life as a guide to their energy…and possible toxicity.
What we’re looking for is someone whose priors are depleted uranium, and if not quite lead, then well on the way. Dating and coupling with residual relationship nuclear activity in the vicinity is a danger to your health.
And that works the other way around. Best to find someone who can look at our past without the heat of their past affecting their view. If that person isn’t available, there’s no choice but to wait.
I am woman, hear me roar!
I am man, hear me…umm…take a selfie?
Where have all the men gone? Is male behaviour failing to keep pace with what women want? Is there room in the sky for both of us to shine? What should we do – if anything – to keep up with the changed dynamics between sexes? Where did male mojo go?
Kregg and I put on a jacket and tie and polish our shoes to discuss.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
In a time of digital reproduction and near-perfect quality, relating to other humans appears increasingly anachronistic.
My iPhone updates with a new operating system as technology changes. Automatically. My personal operating system was cast at birth and set by the time I was seven.
Our cars tell us when something’s wrong, what it is, and what to do next. No-one even considers tinkering with them any more. Most of the time I can barely tell you what I’m feeling, and definitely not what caused the emotion, nor how to fix it. Every day is different, no one internal reaction the same.
Social media tell us who our friends are, why, and the last fast-food meal they ate. Everyone is neatly categorized and graded. I’m still wondering why my Grade 2 girlfriend, Jane Phillips, wanted to bring me lunch every day. It’s a mystery decades later.
A binary world of yes/no on/off outcomes is great for some parts of life, and not so good for others. Consider a computer-based romance. Such a thing would leave no room for surprise, or delight, or unexpected change, or anger, or the resolution of such a thing. Or direction shift, or kindness, or renewal of long-lost friendships.
Silicon romance lacks the chaos of biological romance. Which means that if we want real romance, we should probably learn to like the chaos, or, at a minimum, figure out how to accept it.
Likely as not it’s a natural tendency for both sexes, although because we are significantly different from each other, we go about it in different ways.
Males learn early on that some behaviours work in their favor when it comes to attracting females. Extroversion, willingness to accept risk and physical prowess are amongst the characteristics worth cultivating. Of course we’re mostly talking about early on in our adult lives, which means that we’re still teenagers and barely meeting the minimum grown-up requirements, but it continues in albeit muted form until we die.
We’re also talking extremely generally; exceptions are as thick as bamboo, but guys understand that even if you have hidden charms, the more obvious ones – such as those listed above – get you places quicker.
Which gets me to my point. Although we rarely see it this way, we modify and accentuate the stuff we think the other wants. So desperate are (in this case) guys to be attractive, they’ll go way beyond the boundaries of their character and values to be the person they believe will attract (insert female name here).
It’s a semi-conscious/instinctive project. I overheard Hortense mentioning to a friend that she liked guys who rode motorcycles, therefore I must get a motorcycle. Thoughtless and ultimately ridiculous (who knows whether it’s really what she thinks?) we are driven to do almost whatever it takes.
Such is the need to couple.