March 21, 2013

Coupling and Relationships

A friend of mine posted recently on Facebook:
So, this is largely a rhetorical question without answer but I feel compelled to ask it anyway. Why are there so many people, myself included, with good hearts and souls who have so much trouble finding someone with whom to walk on this journey of life? I find it to be very frustrating.
Instead of responding there, I decided to spend some time mulling this over on the blog - part of my conscious attempt to keep social media from sucking the life force out of the blog!

First off, I think that some folks are simply incomplete without a partner. That incompleteness may be emotional, may be psychological, may be financial. But some folks are simply unsuited to live alone - and that both raises the incentive to couple, partner, and perhaps lowers the standards. Not that the found partners are substandard, but that things that might be deal-breakers or barriers for some are overlooked or minimized.

And I think that, for folks who truly need a partner to survive, who are incomplete uncoupled, there's a subtle signaling (similar to pheromones or color attractants) that gets put out there in a way that others do not. I have another friend who has had multiple relationships in the years that I have known her - and she rides the roller coaster of attraction, pursuit, commitment, and dissolution. It makes me kind of nervous to watch or listen, not sure I have the stomach for that. Yet she puts out a  very honest, heartfelt "I'm available, I'm approachable" vibe that gets her noticed and gets her attention (from both genders, even though she is straight)

On the other side, I think there are folks who are pretty much OK alone. I'm one of those folks. I fill my life - with work, with causes, with hobbies, with interests - in a way that does not leave a lot of room for another. And the life I have created is valuable to me - I'd have to think long and hard about picking up and moving (for a relationship) or clearing the decks of enough things to make room for a relationship. A potential partner is competing not so much with all the others out there, but with the busy, vibrant life I've crafted alone. My last counselor asked "...what are you prepared to give up to be in a relationship..." and I have to admit that more often than not, the answer is "nothing"

I have what I call the aircraft carrier model of relationship - wherein the partners travel together on the big boat, and each flies off to their own missions and tasks, returning to the ship to refuel, recharge, unwind. I do not think I could couple with someone who was not as busy and engaged as myself - I'd be less available than such a partner might want; I'd be bored by someone without a vibrant solo life. The downside of that is that neither of us is putting all that much effort into finding the other; and neither of us has a lot of time to hang out in spaces dedicated to meeting and mating.

So...I need to just chill out on the whole relationship thing. It will happen. Or it will not. But in the meantime, much life remains  to be lived.

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