Conversations have to be the life blood of a blogger’s inspiration. I want to revisit the discussion I had on Twitter yesterday regarding relationships. Romantic relationships to be exact. As a disclaimer, and I truly feel that writings like this should have a caveat: I’m not a relationship guru, I don’t claim to be one, and I don’t particularly feel the need to have my words taken in that context. Furthermore, as most you have gathered, I’m pretty much a relativist in my thinking, and romantic relationships tend to span the spectrum from swingers to polyamorous couples. I have my own beliefs about relationships, and I don’t want to impose on another person’s choice–within a certain context of social responsibility, of course.
That out the way…
Alright, I’d like to freestyle a bit and hopefully I don’t diverge into too many varying directions. From what I’m reading, observing, and hearing from others,it seems to me that there is a lot of fear with regard to intimate relationships and committed romantic involvements. From the discussion of ready made families, fears about games, fears about committing, fears about being with someone with a sordid past, and sexual insecurities in general. I’ve pretty much heard the same sorts of discussions on both sides of the gender aisle: guys saying women have unrealistic expectations, or they don’t want to date a woman who used to only date “thugs” and now that they are older they want to settle down with someone who is a little less aggressive. Women saying men don’t know what they want from a woman, and the guys they are meeting have children with multiple women, or just don’t seem like they are ready to settle down. There does seem to be a certain generational divide, where younger people are a little less prone to want to commit.
With hip hop promoting not only a promiscuous life style, but one in which men are “pimps” or “super players” and women are “gold diggers” or only wanting to be involved with men that are only there to provide finances for their material exploits, there is going to be a difficulty to trust those in the dating pool. With the human propensity for novelty and security figured into that emotional miasma, you can expect a high level of relationships that aren’t, in my opinion, really aren’t worthy of the definition of exclusive.
You’ve got two different social paradigms at play here. On the one hand, you’ve got people who can’t find a mate, or aren’t pleased with their prospects. On the other hand, you’ve got people supposedly committed to someone, and yet they are either not really happy, cheating, sharing themselves openly with others(I might actually tackle that at some point in time), or just in what I call a “professional relationship”. By “professional relationship” I mean, two people basically just together to provide financial support, a good showing at social gatherings, and every now and then, a warm body. The type of scenario in which the parties involved have lost a considerable amount of respect for the bond, a lot of times aren’t even friends and have grown so far apart that their lifestyles could possible be in conflict, ie, he hates her friends, she hates his hobbies, they don’t interact well, well, because they have no common interests and actually despise the type of person the other has become. Those types of situations can get ugly, meaning violent, depending on the persons involved. Plus, there is going to be a difficulty in compromising on a vision for the relationship(an idea of what the couple should be striving for in the future) if their lifestyles are so divergent that their concepts of what a relationship should be like are incompatible. Works for some, it tends to sound like a waste of my time to me.
Which sort of brings us full circle. If we aren’t seeing many healthy relationships, and the ones we have been in weren’t experiences we’d like to repeat, we are bringing negative emotions into the dating pool. The direction that I’m hearing a lot of people going is the “cuddy buddy with emotional investments route”. Let me describe this…its a commitment that isn’t a commitment. It’s sex, dinner, movies, and social gatherings with hand holding…but no formal agreement between the two people involved that they are actually a couple. It’s the “we are exclusive but not exclusive enough for you to obligate me to anything relationship-y…” route. Its the “you can’t claim me” game. From my experience, observations, and discussions, these tend to be pretty messy. There is no definition! It’s Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” for intimates! I’ve personally learned that, for me, I’d rather take my chances on a break up than an emotional investment that doesn’t really exist. I tend be better suited for situations the have some sort of rules of engagement. And another thing, I’ve had a lot of experiences with people testing boundaries, it is my practice in most social involvements to lay down some sort of understanding of “this far, and no further”. Of course, I tend to be quite old school in my views regarding intimate bonds.
Per the earlier disclaimer…these are simply my expressed ruminations about romantic coupling. However, in a society where wealth and power are controlled by families that don’t seem to want to ease up on their stranglehold, you’re probably going to want other people to at least be accepting of the idea of a committed relationship. I personally would hope that they are loving couples, because loving couples tend to rear emotionally nourished children. Friends tend to make time more enjoyable, so it seems logical that two people who are sharing the sort of intimate space that couples routinely do, they should probably have some common interests and enjoy a healthy loyalty to one another.