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.”