Reading Chemistry

Interesting, the places you can find inspiration. I’ve been home all morning in the company of cleaning products, being domestic, keeping half an eye on Netflix re-runs of this series.

The house transformations are fun to watch, but what’s more telling is the interaction of the couples.

Sidebar:

The premise of the show is that a couple looking for a perfect turn-key home are shocked into the reality that their budget won’t accommodate their dream. Renovating a dump is the way to get what they want. We follow that journey.

End sidebar.

Forget the real-estate; look at the people. You can see within a few seconds the nature of the relationship. Some couples are distant, some are perfunctory, others unbalanced, a few are fraught. Of course the editing process will slant what we see. Nonetheless, something about way these folks are highlighted reveals a lot. My theory is that because everyone’s focus is on the house and the work being done, they forget their usual personae. Stress leaves them emotionally naked to we the viewer, giving us a window into their emotional state.

Let me tie things up this way: Couples who are completely occupied thinking about something else exhibit behavior much closer to how they feel and who they are. Even with a tv production crew as their shadow, they forget they’re being observed as a couple. The focus on the giant house renovation fools them into thinking that no-one is watching.

* wrong *

The latest episode is particularly clear-cut. As a great example of a couple that you know will succeed together, the woman sits next to her husband with her arm tucked casually inside his. She occasionally touches his thigh and looks at him when he talks. Such tiny non-verbal statements of “…he’s my man…” and “…we’re a team…” shout togetherness and unity.

For men, of such consideration from their woman is undying devotion made.

Check or Carry-On?

The last day of 2014 is a good time to visit the idea of emotional baggage. In the spirit of a fresh start tomorrow, I plan to kiss mine good-bye, leaving it behind the unclaimed desk…forever. If the lost luggage people don’t find me that is. (If they do, I shall ignore the phone.)

Just what is baggage? For our purposes, baggage is memory of events past detrimental to events current and future. In the relationship/dating world, baggage is a kind of catch-call term for people stuck on sour past loves. I like this shorthand approach. You can find lots of online stuff about the clinical details, such as they are, but for you and me, baggage is about what holds us back.

And that’s the key. Baggage prevents progress. There is no such thing as good baggage. Good baggage we call memory, or experience; these are positive qualities. Nobody is weighed down and stuck on good past life actions.

My difference with the “oh dear, he comes with baggage” attitude is that it’s all a matter of how you view things. Life isn’t all about sweetness. Sucky stuff happens. Lots of sucky stuff happens in relationships because, what….?

People suck. We visit horrid stuff on each other. A lot.

Not all the time, of course. I have done awful things. You have too. By keeping a calm perspective of our imperfection and that of those around us, we can all take a view that good and bad events create the person we are. Not-so-nice episodes (once we’ve established the lessons they teach us) are one decision away from being nothing but “teachable moments”. In other words, we decide not to carry those bags around.

If you fancy joining me, here’s my plan: When you feel that you are (or told you are) road-blocked by a past misadventure, choose to look upon it as a life-lesson that has no effect on the outcome of what’s happening now. Remove the energy it has over you. Don’t grant it the power to change anything about your life except as a pathway to a better one.

Beauty Parade

In business they call it a beauty parade.

I have a product or service I’d like your company to buy. Others offer a similar product or service. The purchaser arranges what amounts to a play-off, pitting likely suppliers against each other – not directly, but in some quasi-civilized lions and gladiators way.

As it is with dating. The twist in dating is that it is (almost) always the woman who must be wooed. She advertises for suppliers for the contract that any number of blokes might want to fulfill. Few are likely deemed acceptable to even bid. Depending upon the factors involved, maybe none of them will make the grade.

At which point the request for tender/contract application cycle begins afresh.

This, single men, is the beauty parade of which you are a part. Is your PowerPoint presentation up to snuff?

Going Steady

We have a few different expressions for it:

+ going steady

+ exclusively going out with

+ seeing

+ she’s my girlfriend

All of these are round-about ways of telling the world something about our monogamy…something that doesn’t exist? From the Urban Dictionary:

“…when you are in a non-commit(ted) relationship, but are both still there until the next best thing comes along…”

Maturity and/or age don’t change our thinking about this. We like to hold on to the person currently closest to our ideal, even as we are alert for other, shall we say, opportunities.

We want what we have, and don’t want anyone else to have it, but we also want the option to bug-out, even as we don’t want to be bugged-out on. Make no mistake: this is a convoluted construct only the human brain could invent.

Which brings us to the heart of the dilemma; marriage is the only real commitment. Outside of that, do we have the right or ability to prevent a person we like or love from seeing other people?

1 + 1 is still 1 + 1

A perennial source of friction in relationships is Couples Expectation Syndrome.

Couples Expectation Syndrome is the discord felt in a marriage when one side thinks being married requires specific behavior in the spouse. An example is when wives (and it is overwhelmingly wives) expect husbands to do whatever the wife wants to do. The justification goes alone the lines of:

“Well, I thought we could go antiquing and then take tea at that cute place with the cottage-y decor.”

Of course, that’s fine if he is happy doing those activities, at that time. However, when his pattern would usually be for a game of squash or mowing the lawn at that time, changing his schedule unilaterally is disrespectful.

The expectation  of sig. oths. acceding to your wish without the courtesy of asking them is a sure-fire way to create distance.

Husbands. They are not another limb.