The current fashion for proceeding through life seems to revolve around floating along on a cloud of shared trivia and shiftless experience. We’re completely up-to-date on everyone else and they’re likewise up to speed with us, no matter the depth or value of our experiences.
As someone else (I forgot) said (and I’m paraphrasing), never have lives so unlived been so well recorded.
I think it’s true with coupling, too. Linking with another person is not simply about choosing to link with them, as per online social networks. If we’re to give ourselves a chance of lasting, we need structures, both individually and as a meshed unit. Discipline implies self-control, which leads to being the best we can, which eventually leads to freedom.
By freedom, I mean the kind of joyous interaction rooted in an accurate knowledge of ourselves and our nature. Without the strictures implicit in gaining a solid grip on our place, feckless coupling and its consequences are our destiny, and our children’s, too.
This is what I call personal geolocation; locating our place on biological, intellectual and spiritual planes. Think of it as a kind of 4-D map. (Time is the 4th plane.)
Where are you? Only when we find – and maintain – a known position should we think of co-locating with another. This doesn’t mean our place is fixed. Far from it. Change is inevitable and should always be anticipated and planned for. In life and relationships, those who know how to deal with change put themselves that much closer to success.
One thing I’ve learned this process is that we’ll never precisely share the same space on the planes as another. The best we can work towards is keeping relatively close…which is where the discipline and self-control comes in.
It’s the fault of McDonalds. The fast food “restaurant” people taught us that we can have the same food – precisely the same food – no matter where we are and irrespective of the time of day. Everything that comes out of that place will look, feel, smell and taste the same, reliably and at an acceptable cost.
Even the downside of the whole experience doesn’t matter that much. Pink slime, underpaid staff and questionable ice machine cleanliness are realities we all accept because food is only the vehicle for what they sell. Their real game is safety and an anchorage. When everything else is changing, THIS remains the same.
Finding couplehood is at least in part about the same thing. A best friend, a lover, a confidante: the ideal yin to our yang is – or should be – a safe port and refuge from a world where change is unavoidable. We accept some of the downsides of relationships to gain the repose of certainty in at least one person.
Trouble is that unlike your favourite drive-thru burger joint, people do change. Like a ship’s captain sleeping soundly in his or her cabin, content in the knowledge that the anchor is holding firm, we merrily carry on. But what is really happening on the sea floor? Is the anchor hooked tight or one big wave away from slipping?
The question becomes: Can we ever think that we’re in a safe harbour, or will we always be steaming?
Lots of men find themselves stuck in high school when it comes to relating to women. This, a consequence of poor attention to knowledge about relationships, detrimentally affects both sexes, creating misunderstanding and resentment.
Here’s the problem: when guys are beginning to date and relate to females, they learn specific behaviours. Teenaged females react to certain modes of bloke communication and interaction, so our typical young man learns those lessons.
Women then grow older and change. Experience modifies the way they look at life and themselves, and as a consequence they expect men to provide different inputs accordingly. Unfortunately, men don’t apply the lessons of change they’ve seen in their lives, and don’t stay up with the updated female view of the universe.
Move on a few years, and the dating scene looks dire. Grown men applying the same techniques they learned as callow youths find themselves rejected by mature women looking for something else entirely. We can call this a mismatch; I prefer disaster.
It wouldn’t be so bad if we’re just talking dating. Sadly, we’re also talking marriage, and those who feel the most stinging repercussions are the children.
Guys get stuck – early on – and women are on the move – all the time. That’s what we are all dealing with.
We’re under the misapprehension that change can come quickly. Here I’m talking about altering the way we humans observe, synthesize and react to each other.
My opinion is that much of how that works is set very early in life; before puberty, certainly.
Yes, if we choose to change ourselves – to make in internal makeover – things can happen. That, however, can modify the way we view people and circumstance, and how we react to people and circumstance. That’s all.
What self-delta doesn’t do is to change our DNA, our modelling, our prior experience and our previous reactions. All of these mitigate against big change, now.
So leopards don’t change their spots, you say, what’s new? What can be new is noting that fact. Acknowledgment of what’s pretty much set inside our head leaves us with realistic expectation of ourselves…and others.
Self-change change is not so much changing as manoeuvring around what’s already fixed. Doesn’t that sound more do-able?
A couple of weeks ago we posited that women are changing, heading towards being more like men.
In this podcast, Kregg and I explore the other side of that phenomenon, namely, are men morphing to be more like womenfolk? And if so, what’s the impact on us finding each other, and remaining coupled? Can we survive this shift in our relationships, or will the entire coupling scene change?
Find out what fun lies ahead for us all by listening!
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