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A Response to Forever Alone Guy About Relationships (Possibly NSFW)

April 9th, 2012 | Posted by MatronEdea in Attitudes

Someone I follow on twitter wrote a blog about relationships. He has never been in one, so it was more about what kind of relationship he would want, and how he sees the idea of marriage. It can be read here.

I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve been in several relationships, and have regretted a few of them. There was one that I really wish I could just erase. I can’t, though, and I guess that’s a good thing, since I figured out everything I don’t want in a relationship. It’s awesome.

This is not about me, though. This is about the advice that Forever Alone Guy (who’s probably not so forever alone) gave.

In his blog, AnchormanMazda said:

Whether its sticking together because of the burden it would place on the kids or the need for financial support, it seems the attitude of Generation X and before is of the ‘deal with it’ nature. It sure seems that marriages are lasting longer but does it mean anything if those involved aren’t in love?

A lot of the people I know now have more of a “you only live once” attitude. They want everything, all the time, and don’t want to compromise. The people I know around our age want to be happy, and don’t care what happens on the way. It’s a selfish way to live, but at the same time, what’s the point of living if you’re just going to trudge through it? I’m sure that if both of the people in a relationship resent the relationship, they could separate amicably. They rarely do, though, maybe because the way they feel about their relationship quickly envelopes any positive feelings they had toward one another.

In regards to beauty, “beautiful” people actually are seen as better “marriage” material in the long run. We judge physical beauty based on how symmetrical people are, the fullness of their lips, their waist to hip ratios, their skin and hair health, and their overall health. People with better genes (better baby makers, really) are more attractive. For the same reasons, people who are taller and more attractive tend to get hired and promoted more easily than those who are short and covered in acne or something. They also earn trust more easily. So, whether or not we like it, we’re wired to like the attractive people more. They can provide healthier babies.

And yes, I do realize that many people will rage over the last few things I’ve said. Blame this book:

It was the main source material for the Family and Intimate Relationships class I took a few years ago at Portland Community College. We learned how to be attractive. Feelings for a person also feel stronger than usual if you go through a scary experience with them. As in, if your first date involves skydiving, you’re probably going to feel more passionately about your significant other than you would be if you went to a movie. Go, forth. Do all the dangerous things and feel heightened emotions!

The blog also said this:

How often to people decide to get married without really spending enough time to really get to know each other? How about even live with each other? It’s all good and fine that you can hug and get that warm fuzzy feeling when you go to the movies together, but hugs and cuddles don’t exactly lead to long-term relationships when you eventually realise you don’t know this partner any better than the neighbours of your new house you just moved into.

Living with a partner actually lessens a couple’s chances of working for more than a couple years after marriage. You would think that their chances would improve because they know exactly what they’re getting into, but it has the opposite effect. Either it makes them take marriage less seriously (“Oh, we live together and can split up still” is quite similar to, “Oh, we live together and have a certificate and can split up still”) or the couples who move in together -after- marriage are more traditional, and therefore more against divorce, regardless of how happy or unhappy they might be.

Another thing is, couples who know couples who are divorced or divorcing have a higher chance of getting a divorce. So, it spreads. It could be because people spend less time with their spouse to support a divorcing friend, or maybe because they start thinking about how great the single life is, or anything else, but we find it easier to divorce if we have divorced friends. Divorce is like a disease.

If a couple does take the time to communicate and everything, it should succeed, but that doesn’t mean that the couple will be happy either way. Being in a relationship with no passion, or in a relationship without attraction, is difficult. I’m watching a couple of relationships fall apart because the people involved are not attracted to one another anymore, and one of the people has changed dramatically from what she was when they married. People change. If a person marries someone, and that someone disappears and is replaced by a crazy, overweight person who won’t communicate, why stay in that relationship? On the other hand, people sometimes try to change themselves to please their partner more. I don’t think this ever really works — we are what we are. Regardless how much I want someone to love me, changing myself completely will not make them love me. It could make them love what I’m trying to become, but that’s all.

Something else I’ve noticed is that Australia (or, at least, Victoria) is different with its attitudes toward marriage. People aren’t looked down on as much here if you have kids outside of marriage, whereas in the US, an unmarried couple with a child (or just a woman with a child from a one night stand) is thought of as a burden on society. Here, I think I’ve seen as many single moms, teen moms, and all around trashy moms as I have married or stable couples with kids. I’ve overheard guys talking about girls they’ve slept with trying to get pregnant even though they’re not even in a relationship, poking holes in condoms and stuff. It’s ridiculous.

In the US, though, I’ve also seen couples get married for a lot of non-traditional reasons: to get citizenship for one of them, or health insurance, or to cover up their sexuality. They go into the marriage planning to only be together for a few years, and divorce after their agreement isn’t necessary anymore. I feel like part of this is due to the failure of the healthcare system in the US, since it’s easier to get healthcare for a spouse than it is for a family member, but still… it happens. It’s sad.

AnchormanMazda’s blog made sense — it really is how marriage should be. Everyone knows that marrying someone for their looks is stupid; looks don’t last forever. The thing is, personalities aren’t guaranteed to, either. We agree to marry this person — as they are, and as they have been, but rarely assume that they could be a drastically different person in a decade or two. And… I really think that’s okay. I’m happy that my parents were together when they had me, but I’m also really happy that they divorced. Without their divorce, I wouldn’t have my step dad or brothers, and I would have two very, very unhappy parents.

So, sometimes relationships should end. The most we can do is work for healthy relationships by communicating openly and honestly with our partner, and hope that they respect us enough to reciprocate.

“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.”
― Thich Nhat HanhTeachings on Love

Everyone has traits that make them worth loving, but no one will ever have all the traits. Because of this, no relationship is “immune” to separation, divorce, or breaking up… but no relationship is 100% doomed to fail, either. If everyone went into their relationship thinking, “We’re both going to have to work at this to make it work” instead of “We’re going to get married and live happily ever after,” more couples really would live happily ever after.

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