October 8th, 2012
What makes a relationship work? Some of us like chasing people, some like being chased.
I like being chased down the street and over the mountains. I like being chased up hills. And into the ocean. If I get on a sailboat to sail away, I want someone to get in the Black Pearl and chase me down.
But I want to be caught too.
The question is what makes a relationship thrive? Some really like the drama. They are constantly breaking up and getting back together. Or cheating and apologizing. I wouldn’t like that kind of drama.
Some like the kind of relationship where you barely ever see each other. That works for a lot of people. Saturday night dinner and maybe a movie and the little reconnect with the wife. Maybe a little kissing and cuddling.
What about the relationship with the person who constantly travels? You never see them so you get to fall back in love when you do?
What about the person who is a firefighter or a policeman? You know they could die. That can’t be relaxing.
Or the military relationship? They’re gone all the time, and you left at home with Jodi. They talk about the Jodi because one could be a man or a woman. If my spouse were in the military and were gone for months at a time, I would want to break it off while they’re gone so I could feel my life moving forward.
The academic marriage where you live in different states. That’s too crazy for me.
Some people really like arguing all the time. And so they do.
I know a couple who have been married twenty years or so and he treats her cruelly and she responds by “buying him the wrong presents.” Seriously, woman, considering all the cheating and cruelty he does, I could do better than that. The wrong presents? Be creative. What about having pictures taken of him with the girlfriends, blowing them up to poster size and plastering his place of work. Send them out electronically too.
But she chooses suffering.
The point is that you get to choose. If you like to be enmeshed, choose someone where you can be all entangled in each other’s thoughts and dreams. That’s what I’ve got.
If you want to be mostly alone, choose someone who will leave you alone.
If you want someone to treat you like a god, choose someone who isn’t as smart as you.
If you want to grow up, be challenged, be your own best person, then choose someone who is your equal. It’s wonderful to be able to be a kid with your partner, but it’s also wonderful to hear your brain ticking. I like the exchange. I like the ticking. I like the relationship to challenge me to be my own best self, my most creative and intellectual self, my most alive self. The self that isn’t sleepwalking but is acting on the world.