Podcast #79 Dealing With Change

Change is inevitable, and even with the best intention in the world, couples will grow closer and further apart because of it.

Are we taking on more than is reasonable when we couple-up with someone? Is all change acceptable? Are there better ways to make it work when we’re out of synch? What about discomfort created by one of us changing?

Kregg and I take a big-picture look.

Giving Up

Finding someone is easy, but finding the right person is not.

A friend recently pointed out to me that she knows of women who have given up completely on the idea of finding that right person. They don’t date, look, go out or in any way make an effort to attract men.

It’s pretty easy to understand how this happens. Whether we have been priorly married or not, or had children or not, time has a way of insulating us against the invasion of outside influence. We get comfortable; content in our habits and less able (willing?) to see the advantage of the new.

That’s what’s commonly called a rut. Meeting someone with intent to couple is all about acknowledging our own incompleteness, a bittersweet truth if ever there was one. Singlehood, if chosen deliberately, is about reinforcing the notion that we don’t need another to fill in the missing parts of us.

No question about it, relationships are work. They require us to change, and they also require us to process new ways of thinking and doing things. You’d think that we’d want to always have someone with whom to explore life, but that is often uncomfortable in the short-term, even if rewarding in the long.

Whether from fatigue, exasperation, boredom or sheer lack of engagement, the intellectual progression is easy enough. What’s more difficult is silencing the inner voice. Yes, we can live alone and surround ourselves with family and friends, but the specialness of being with someone drives much of our lives. Blocking that part of ourselves sounds horrid.

The question remains: Is a life lived without coupling as good as one lived in couplehood? Furthermore, can we just block out the possibility of finding someone and call it good?

Instantism

I want to be liked, and so do you.

I want to be one half of a strong, fulfilling, fun, connected couple.

This outcome relies on finding a person who can mesh with me, and I with her, without rounding too many edges.

A couple works best when the minimum amount of lubricant aka: accommodation keeps the gears whirring nicely. (Yes, mechanical lubricant, not the other one.)

Now: how likely is it that I’ll know if someone is right – and if I am right for them – after a few meetings? Small to negligible.

A digital/light-speed approach to finding couplehood might work…but only for a while. I prefer to think of tides, not terabytes; gravity, not Instagram; bound books, not downloads.

I am still a carbon animal, not a silicon robot.

Our Common Link

The one dating experience most of us have in common is that we have exes. Ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends…unless you hit the jackpot with the first person in whom you ever took an interest, you’re one of us.

The other person needed to take a shine to you, too. Another club of giant membership is the un-reciprocated attraction club. My first teenage interest (Catherine B, if you’re out there, this is you) had precisely zero interest in either me or romance. Homework and her violin were the only loves she had, no matter how many mornings I met her at the school gate. With gifts. Ah, fifteen, how I do not miss you.

Failing to make something stick, and failing to get close enough to apply the glue; this is the true nature of finding couplehood. But human drive being what it is, all of our past history is as nothing when that new person happens along.

New. Interesting. Interested. These are the caffeine equivalents for romance.