Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

WhatIsLove

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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A Manifesto On Marriage

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This blog entry is going to offend some people, especially those who are in a happy marriage.  I want to preface this piece by saying that these opinions are mine, and mine alone.  I have carried these beliefs with me since I was at least 15 years old, regardless of what life may have been putting in front of me and what mistakes I made, or was able to avoid, for that matter, over the ensuing 25 years.

There are a couple of quotes that helped to craft my views of marriage.  The first was in the film North To Alaska, when John Wayne’s character, Sam McCord, said “a wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn’t hit up here yet.  Let’s keep it a free country.”  The second was compliments of legendary British comedian Benny Hill, who sang “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”

I do need to point out that I have never been married, so this is not going to be a hit piece about an unhappy marriage.  This is simply going to be my thoughts on the institution of marriage, and why, deep down, I would have never even consider marrying.

There have been three times that I have had marriage pushed at me, and all three times were ludicrous, in their own way.  And together, they brought me to this point in my life.

My first experience with marriage began when I was 17 years old.  Yes, 17.  I was having marriage pushed at me by a 15 year old I was dating at the time.  Fortunately, I was kicked to the curb at 19 and was able to avoid that situation before it would have been feasible.  But it was a bad omen.

The second time I had to deal with this was in 2005, and this is where not getting married was cast in stone for me, though I didn’t realize that until just recently.  The woman in this case lived nearly four hours away, and we were not dating or in any kind of relationship whatsoever.  She wanted a husband, period.  Didn’t matter who, didn’t matter where.  When I told her I did not love her and did not want to marry her, she simply said “you’ll learn to love me.”  Luckily for me, some idiot did finally marry her and I can only imagine the hell he must be living.

My final experience started well enough, I had just had sex with a woman nine years older than me (she was 37, I was 28) and as we lay there she said “I’m just going to tell you now, I’m never getting married again.”  This, of course, allured my interest, as we knew nothing about each other and had met only three hours earlier.  So, if she was not interested in marriage, to the extent that I was not as well, we definitely had solid footing beneath us in terms of our futures.  However, that was short-lived and within six months I was having ads from jewelry stores shoved in my face on a daily basis.

Now I don’t want to just outline my own experiences as to why I think marriage is dreadful, I want to look at some actual facts and figures that support my theory.

First, let’s remember that half of all marriages end in divorce.  That is mathematical fact.  Let’s also remember that a majority of women marry men of a higher economic status.  That means that in a community property state, women are coming out of the marriage a lot better off than they went into it and men are coming out a lot worse off.  And in an unhappy marriage, remember this:  If you leave, you pay.  If she leaves, you pay.  This was especially significant to me, as all four of my “marriage experiences” were of a lower economic status than I, which left me to wonder if their interest in me was real, or if it was purely mercenary.

Second, people change over time.  There’s a reason the early, happy days of anything are known as the “honeymoon” period.  In today’s world, the honeymoon period can be over before the marriage even begins.  The days of people rushing into marriage, while still happening, are not as prevalent as they were in previous generations.  We know more about each other for longer periods of time than we did in the past.  And that can be a blessing.  It allows us to not make the mistakes that may have been made in days gone by.

Third, and probably most important, takes me back to my younger days.  I believed (and still do) in the concept of “social dating.”  Rather than dating someone exclusively and letting numerous other opportunities pass by, date someone new every time you go out.  I did this and it was the happiest year of my life.  I got to spend time with a lot of different women, I had a lot of great experiences and lived a lifetime in one year.

However, I found this is frowned upon by society in general.  My sister, who lives beside of me, called me one Sunday afternoon after seeing four different cars with four different women in my driveway over a 36-hour period.  She told me how horrible this was and that I should go out with one girl and see if I “fell in love” with her and if not, then move onto the next one, and so on.

This sounded absolutely absurd to me.  I likened it to test driving a car.  You don’t go out and buy a car and drive it for a couple of weeks and then decide if you like it.  You test drive it, as well as other cars that catch your interest, and then decide which one is best for you.  To me, the idea of dating someone exclusively to see if you like them or not is like walking in a circle and wondering why you haven’t left the room.

Yes, this idea flies in the face of conventional thinking.  But I always made my intentions known from the beginning.  We were going on a date, or we were having an evening at my place.  Everything was open and aboveboard, and the only thing that was ruled out was a relationship, especially after one date, regardless of how well everything went.  I was told at the time, however, that women would try to “stake a claim” on me, and that did, in fact, happen, in spite of my directives.

Sex played a role in this, of course, but it went far beyond that.  As long as there is a mutual physical attraction, sex can happen regardless of the circumstances.  You don’t have to have anything in common, or even have a good time with them outside of the bedroom, to have a good time sexually.  But spending time together on a platonic level put me in a position to want to meet more and more women.  The sex was a given; I wanted to also enjoy myself sitting and watching a movie with someone and then know that, when the date was over, they were walking out the door and leaving.

The concept of socially dating is completely at odds with the concept of marriage, but in my opinion, so is the concept of being happy.  Unless you believe in soulmates, and you happen to somehow meet yours, and you are truly, 100% totally in love with them, and you can stand being around them between 12 and 24 hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life or you can stand the idea of half of everything you own walking out the door with them when the marriage fails, then I don’t see anything to be gained from getting married, at least from the male point of view.

From personal experience, I have yet to meet anyone that I could spend so much time with that I would not have to get away from them at some point.  The man cave came into existence for this very reason.  The very definition of a man cave is “a male retreat or sanctuary,” which is specifically for getting away from the man’s wife.  When you need to get away from your wife, and have a special room to do so, that tells you that you may need to look into getting away from her permanently.  Women can be insufferable, so why invite one into your life on a permanent basis which is legally binding and may cost you dearly when she leaves or you ask her to leave?

I prefer solitude, I like my own company much, much more than the company of anyone else.  Now, don’t misunderstand, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy anyone’s company, because I do enjoy the company of friends from time to time and that can be either platonically or sexually.  But at the end of the day, if it came down to being alone or being with anyone else, anyone of my choosing even if they were completely out of my league, I would choose to be alone.

Though if Rihanna asked if she could move in, I may make an exception in that case…

I jest, of course.  Though an extended stay would certainly not be out of the question.

I see marriage very similarly to a prison.  You lose your freedom.  You lose your possessions.  You lose your ability to think for yourself.  You lose your ability to make the most basic of decisions because you have someone else standing over you whose one goal in life, is to mold you into the person they want you to be, not to accept you for the person you are.  I find that whole idea to be nothing short of horrifying.

Looking back, had I ever gotten married, I don’t think I would be alive today.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine married life.  I would have basically given up everything, and to make matters worse, I would have been marrying someone I was not in love with and who didn’t love me for me, the upshot of which was I would have had to change.  And I have no desire to do so, now or in the future.  Any of those three options would have been horrible, and I am so fortunate that the concept of marriage hasn’t been breached in my life since 2009.  I intend to keep it that way for as long as I walk this Earth.

Through the grace of God, luck and intelligence on my behalf, my record is clean and “divorce” will never be a word that will have to run through my life’s story.  And neither will “marriage.”  I have no problem with relationships, even long-term relationships.  But once you sign your life over to someone, once you put in writing that you are now someone’s “property” until you die or they decide to toss you over for a better offer, you have put yourself into a position that there is no positive outcome with, and several negatives outcomes that far outweigh any happiness you would find.

In closing, let me say that, if you are married and happy, God bless you.  Ignorance is bliss.  If you are married and unhappy, then you have fallen into the trap and I hope you have a good prenuptial agreement, and even then, they are not necessarily binding, so when the end comes, be ready to lose your shirt and a lot more.  If you are not married and considering it, please read and re-read this post.  Take into account everything I have said, everything that could happen going forward.  You think before you step in front of a moving car, because we know what the result of that will be.  Well, “walking down the aisle” has an end result as well, and we know the chances that it will end badly are equal to the chances it will end well.  And if you’re like me, and you haven’t been married and are not going to in the future, then congratulations, you’re on the right track in life.  Keep going, and enjoy yourself.  There’s a world out there, don’t tie yourself down and miss it.  Don’t look back on your life with regrets about choices that you didn’t have to make in the first place.  Make the most of your life and of yourself.  Live it up.

Peace.