Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

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By definition, a relationship is “a connection between persons by blood or marriage.”  This is the definition based on the concept of the male/female relationship in which love is involved.  There are other definitions of the word, of course, but this is the one I want to focus on.

The definition I listed above is a bit weak on details that make a relationship what it is.  Oddly enough, most definitions of the word that I have found on various sites (including dictionary.com and the Merriam-Webster website) are lacking in fundamentally spelling out what a “relationship” entails.

I am not pretending, in any way, to even begin to understand what makes a relationship between two people successful, because I have been in very few relationships and none of them have been successful or overly enjoyable for either party.  However, due to this lack of success and lack of happiness and enjoyment, I think that puts me in a unique position to talk about my ideas.

The most important part of a relationship would have to be love, as this is what the entire relationship is built on.  This is also a bit problematic for me as I have never been in love, and have never been afraid to admit it, so again, I’m behind the 8-ball a little when discussing this aspect.

If you love someone, I am assuming you would want to spend most of your time with them.  I see this as problematic given that most people don’t have enough in common to spend that much time with someone.  In my personal experience, a perfect February evening for me would be an episode or three or four of Forensic Files, a nice dinner and then listen to a Megadeth CD before going to bed.  There are exactly zero women on the face of the earth that would enjoy that.

Now, the other option is to sell yourself out and do whatever your significant other wants to do.  But what if you have no interests shared with that person?  Do you just sit back and say “what’s one wasted evening?”  But if you’re in a relationship, how many evenings are you willing to waste?  Isn’t your life and your time worth anything to you?  Why would you just give it away to someone?

Also, to have a relationship you have to have a mutual attraction.  This is pretty standard and straightforward, you can’t be in a relationship with someone you aren’t attracted to, unless you’re the type of woman who is only after a man for his money.  Luckily, I think most guys would catch on to that kind of thing.

But is attraction and love enough?  Maybe if you’re in high school.  But once you hit the real world, could a relationship last strictly on love and a mutual attraction?  Or does there have to be a lot more involved?

I was always smart enough to keep my relationships at arm’s length.  Part of this was due to the lack of love between both parties and the fact that I went into every relationship prepared for it to end.  I never looked at a relationship as a potentially full-life scenario, because that was ridiculous.  I have looked at each relationship as a war, a series of battles to be fought until the war was over.

I’m now 40, a little older and a little wiser than I was in my youth.  Cynical but not to the point of being ridiculous.  I have finally figured out, however, that relationships aren’t for me.  I’m not saying I’m against dating, or sex, I’m just saying I’m against the idea of chaining myself to one person for any length of time and suffering all the aggravations and misery that goes along with being in a relationship.

A perfect example of how I feel was vocalized in a 1974 episode of Columbo titled “Negative Reaction,” starring Dick Van Dyke as Paul Galesko.  In one scene, during an argument with his wife, Galesko says “I have nothing to face that day, but another 24 hours with a domineering, nagging, suffocating woman who took all the joy out of my life.”    That’s what I think when I imagine a relationship.

This is where the big difference between “dating” and being in a “relationship” really hits home for me.  When dating someone, you can go out and have a nice time, or spend an occasional evening together and enjoy each other’s company and then go your own way.  You aren’t chained to this person.  When you’re in a relationship, you are stuck with this person 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.

This is where I realize that I have never been in love or been in a successful relationship, because I have never met anyone I could spend more than a couple of days around without wanting to jump out a window or drink the nearest poisonous liquid I could find.  Yes, I’m a loner and proud of it, and that will never change.  I need quiet, alone time to reboot myself and do things I enjoy doing.

There are undoubtedly a lot of people out there enjoying their relationship or their marriage, and I’m not trying to ruin it for you; you may very well be happy and it may very well last for the rest of your life.  But that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.  I am far happier being able to do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want than having anyone tell me what to do.

This is especially true when the person I’m with, and that counts every one I have ever been with, didn’t love me in the first place and the feeling was mutual.  As I mentioned earlier, love is the most important part of a relationship.  If you don’t have love, what you have is a joke, and it’s fake.  You’re accomplishing nothing by being in a fake relationship that has no love in it.  It’s bad news.

Instead of wasting your life on that kind of nonsense, do what I have done and swear off relationships for good.  It doesn’t mean you have to stop dating or playing the field or any of those kinds of things, just don’t tie yourself down to one person and let them make you miserable for the rest of your life.

As Benny Hill sang, “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”  It works the other way around, too.

I know some people will say “you just haven’t met the right person yet.”  Well, as I mentioned, I’m 40.  The dating pool is pretty shallow on this end.  That’s not a complaint, its just a fact.  And in the event I were to find someone that I had even 80% compatibility with, I might be willing to make some adjustments, but as I have not met anyone even close to 50% compatibility at this point, I’m not exactly hopeful that such a woman is suddenly going to materialize out of thin air.

In closing, I want to share three of my favorite anti-relationship quotes.

“I am not searching for my other half, because I am not a half.”

“Getting into a relationship may seem like a good idea, but so was getting on the Titanic and look what happened there.”

And finally, my all-time favorite:

“Marriage basically consists of three rings:  Engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.”

Peace

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My Thoughts On The Anti-Valentine’s Day Sentiment…

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There seems to be more and more anti-Valentine’s Day backlash every year by the single community, to the point of calling it “Singles Awareness Day.”  With this being my first single Valentine’s Day in seven years (and only the second in the past 12 years) I think I am in a bit of a unique position to see things from a very different perspective.

Yes, Valentine’s Day reeks of commercialism and it puts a lot of people on the spot who normally wouldn’t want to do the things that Valentine’s Day requires.  Some people hate to spend money on anyone but themselves.  Some people hate to spend money.

But you know what’s worse than spending Valentine’s Day single?  Spending Valentine’s Day in a relationship with someone who hates you and that you hate in return.

Imagine being in an unhappy relationship when V-Day rolls around.  Imagine that no matter what you do, it’s wrong and unappreciated.  Of course, you get used to that when everything you do every day is wrong and unappreciated, but it has a little extra sting on Valentine’s Day.  Add the requisite complaining and that makes for a great holiday.

Naturally, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be spent with someone you love who loves you in return, and those of us who are single won’t have that.  But spending the day and night alone is a lot better than some of the other options, you can take that to the bank.

Take my advice, and be happy if you’re single on Valentine’s Day.  It’s not perfect, but it’s not the worst situation you could find yourself in.  Appreciate yourself and be glad there’s no one around to ruin February 14th for you, year in and year out.  If you’re legitimately happy being single, be your own Valentine.  If you’re miserable being single, quit complaining about it and do something about it.  Meet someone.  Fall in love.

But if you’re like me, and you’re just happy to be alive and you’re happy for those who are in love and have someone to share their lives with, don’t take away anyone else’s enjoyment of the day.  I’ll take single V-Day over miserable V-Day every single year.

Peace.

Me First: Why I Like Being Incompatible With Everyone Else

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Over the years I have been called selfish, obstinate, sometimes even hateful and weird.  Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what I don’t do; I don’t “fit in” with most people.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.  I am true to myself, and I am true to what I love.  Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, and I don’t have to live with anyone else.  So, the idea of altering anything about myself to try to “fit in” with someone else is not only phony, it’s disgraceful.  But a lot of people seem to do it.

Relationships have been dreadful for me,  for this very reason.  I have never had anything in common with anyone I’ve been in a relationship with.  The closest would probably be my girlfriend in high school, and what we had in common could be counted on one hand.  I mean, we liked to watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and we were both big Garfield marks, and we liked a few similar movies, but other than that, nothing.

My most recent relationship, though.  Whew.  I was in a relationship for a few years with someone that, I can say with all honesty, had nothing in common with me other than the fact that we both ate food and breathed in oxygen.  You couldn’t have found two more mismatched people if you sat me down beside a cannibal from New Guinea.  This woman was many years older than me, which meant we were dealing with a generation gap, but it was in the wrong direction.  She wanted to be “hip,” so she told me once that “anything (movies, music, TV shows, etc.) older than two years old is garbage.”  I, meanwhile, hate most everything current and crave classic music, movies and shows.  So, the upshot of this is we spent every evening watching two different TV’s, or doing everything we did apart from each other.  Most times, not even in the same room at the same time.  It was beyond ridiculous, and stupid.  It was a complete waste of time for both of us.

In situations like those, you can choose to stay with this person who brings nothing positive into your life, and its basically like having a hanger-on because a lot of times they keep you from doing things you enjoy in life just because they don’t like it.  This has been a consistent problem for me.  And a lot of it is based on the fact that I am selfish and obstinate.  I am not changing for anyone.  Isn’t the fact that you would need to change who you are to fit someone else being completely dishonest to yourself?  Why do that?

Here are some examples of me being “obstinate” and “selfish:”

1.  I am a Chicago White Sox fan living in North Central West Virginia.  I am an island unto myself in that respect.  This area is Pittsburgh Pirates country, since I live around 90 miles from “The ‘Burgh.”  So, naturally, anyone I meet who is a sports fan will ask me “why are you a White Sox fan” and “why are you not a Pirates fan?”  Well, because that’s who I am.  I started following the White Sox in 1991.  I’ve invested nearly 27 years of my life into my team, not to mention thousands of dollars.  I’m not about to throw it all away just because there are no other White Sox fans in my area.  That’s not being true to me.

2.  I like classic movies and TV shows, and I haven’t watched anything really “current” since the mid-1990s.  Also, I never watched “Friends” or “ER” or “Seinfeld” or any of the shows that everyone else seems to have spent their lives watching.  I also don’t watch anything currently on TV, other than White Sox games on MLB.TV.  People look at me with disbelief and disdain when I mention “no, I don’t watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ or ‘I don’t watch ‘The Walking Dead.'”  This is amusing when I meet people who begin conversations with “oh, my God, did you see…” to which I can shut them down right there and say “no, I didn’t.”  Ask me who won the White Sox game.  That, I know.

3.  I’m my own man and don’t need anyone to “complete” me.  I can enjoy my own company, ad infinitum.  I’ve really never experienced this concept of being “lonely” because I have so many things that I enjoy doing, and that are things I do alone.  I don’t need anyone’s “help,” because nine times out of 10, it’s more of a hindrance than anything else.  I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of people wanting to help in certain situations, but most of the time I prefer to do things myself and do them in my way.

4.  I’m happiest when I am in solitude.  When I can think.  When people aren’t yelling at me or trying to make me do things I don’t want to do, or screwing up my schedule and ruining my day.  I rarely ever ask anyone for anything.  I wish that were the other way around sometimes.  And I’m not talking about friends asking friends for an occasional favor, I’m talking about a constant stream of noise and directives and demands.

Looking at it from an outside perspective, I think I would be hard to live with.  Of course, I have never been in love before so that could make a lot of difference in how I would feel about the situation.  If I loved someone, maybe I could make some adjustments.  But just from looking at me and where I stand now, I just like things the way they are, and I don’t need any interference.  And because I like things this way, I see no reason that I would need to change them, whatsoever.  As Sammy Davis, Jr. sang, “I gotta be me.”

Ultimately, I have no issue growing old alone and enjoying my own company.  In the event that I would ever meet someone who has more in common with me than those I have dealt with previously (and that wouldn’t take much), I might have an interest in looking in that direction.  I also have no trouble with social dating, a night out, dinner and a movie, with a girl who I may have absolutely nothing in common with because when the night is over, she can leave and my life continues, nothing has to change.

In closing, I just want to say that there are more important things in life than whether or not you are compatible with other people.  Be true to yourself first.  If you never have anything in common with anyone, that means that you are more unique than the people you are dealing with.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s a world out there, just because you are an army of one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.  I’ve had dinner alone, watched movies alone (in the theater and at home) and that’s just part of my every day life.  You should live it.  Enjoy it.  Because you will always have yourself to share it with.

Peace.