Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May as well try and catch the wind.....

During the night, Cecileaux left the following comment that got me thinking.

I am much more sentimental than you, but I'm coming to think (especially after a long weekend with a woman) that I am better off not partnered, as all attempts to relate are full of craziness (lots of it mine).

Needless to say, I would like to hear more from him on this subject.

I've been giving more thought to this topic since the first of the year than I probably should. In some ways, it feels like some inexplicable thing, something that certainly no one would truly understand (which explains why I've had such a hard time finding it) or perhaps even wants to understand.

The realization finally sunk in that I will probably never be partnered in the conventional sense.

I would like a companion but I don't want romance. I don't want the craziness, the drama, the clingy togetherness, the expectations based on need. I'm too old for the roller coaster ride. I want friendship, loving friendship. I want what Alice Walker calls "quiet companionability". I want to get up in the morning, have coffee with someone, have pleasant conversation. Intelligent conversation over a Diet Coke in the back yard. Being comfortable together in silence. Caring support of each other in daily life. I want to have someone else's back and have someone have mine.

However, I am incapable of being a slave to other people's needs, especially someone's sexual needs.

Last February, my final walk through the labyrinth of dating confirmed all of this for me.

There are no words to describe how utterly sick that experience made me, how it repulsed me. This isn't a statement of simple bitterness from a woman who had a bad experience. I realized there was a common element to all the "romantic" relationships I've had over the years.

I felt objectified and it's been impossible to get beyond that. It doesn't seem to evolve beyond the sense of being an object of prey ~ for either party in a romantic context. Each comes with his or her laundry list of expectations and wants. Cecilieaux wrote an excellent post on this topic a few months back.

One of the best things about my ex-husband is that his mind was completely open to any configuration of relationship that two people can devise. He often quoted a book called 'The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress'. After reading it, I could see the logic in it. I wanted separate bedrooms. I had separate bedrooms. I wanted to write. He supported that. He never picked at me, trying to turn me into his ideal image of what I should be.

That is not to say we didn't have our problems. We did. Out of respect for his privacy, I won't go into all of them here but they were irreconcilable finally. In short, he was a cold fish and I couldn't live with that. I often felt emotionally abandoned which is something I can't live with .. and that's why I divorced him. He would have hung around forever out of inertia.

What are the chances of finding someone who is willing to have a primary relationship that is based on friendship and sharing of resources without getting caught up in the muck and mire that surrounds "romance"?

What is it about romance that brings out these worse qualities in us?

I'll be curious to hear from others.




Christine said...

I guess i know what you mean about the muck and mire that can surround a romantic relationship. Yet, it doesn't always have to be there. Maybe i'm being a silly romantic here, but after ten years of marriage my husband and i have really created a strong, loving, romantic relationship free of games, neediness, and the other crap that can be a big part of traditional relationships. Oh, we are certainly not perfect--we fight sometimes and annoy each other and get ticked off. But this happens within all types of human relationships (familial, friendship, work based, neighborly, etc.) All relationships can have highs and lows like that can leave us feeling unsatisfied or smothered or mad or frustrated.

I guess what i am saying is that i have seen the worse come out of people in relationships that aren't just romantic or sexual. Friendships, partnerships, etc. aren't free from the muck and mire.

OK, i am babbling now, but I do think there must be someone out there with whom you can share the type of companionship you desire. But maybe that is the silly romantic talking again. . . ;-p

Julie Pippert said...

It does not surprise me in the least that there are people---you---with this desire.

100 years ago this was not out of the ordinary.

My aunt, as it happens, gave marriage a try a couple of times and it just didn't work out. She has ultimately found a companion, like you describe. A wonderful person.

Of course there is a spectrum, and of course we move around it at different times in our lives, need different levels of interaction from different people. I imagine that at some point we sort of settle down and figure out what it is that we *need.* You are a nice model. :)

I think Christine makes a good point that on some level, it hardly matters if it is a romantic or platonic relationship: it has the potential for difficulty or ease either way.

I suppose the main difference is the level of expectation and investment.

I imagine we have more when it comes to a romantic relationship, but not always.

I've seen a lot of different types of relationships, luckily many when I was young and obnoxious enough to ask lots of questions. The upside to it is a gathered understanding of different needs and POVs.

I should think, Chani, that there are other people also wanting a companion. I know people who have found this.

Cecilieaux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cecilieaux said...

I was going to say we were on the same page, but I did not understand that you were replying to my post. Then I saw your comment and re-read the other post of mine to which you pointed (confusing typo in penultimate graf has now been fixed). And ...

... I'm with you and I'm not with you. I still want to believe in what you've totally given up.

Anonymous said...

I will not argue. Useless. I find only sad that you cannot have a glimpse of what romance is and that you can use the word "muck". But if you are happy so, no problem.

meno said...

I have had to give up the popular notion of romance before i could find comfort, companionship, sex and happiness within my marriage.

It has not been easy, and if i had to start again, i don't know if i would even try.

Separate houses, two blocks away, seems ideal to me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

In my first two marriages, I endured the tortures of hell but from this vantage point, it seems like a fair trade because I have three extraordinary children.

I had no desire to marry again when I met Flip. It was so clear that we fit together perfectly that I couldn't think of any reason not to.

The relationship was based at least as much on trust and friendship as on romance, and after 15 years, we are still best friends.

I think it works because neither of us has tried to impose limitations on the other. Our only expectations are loyalty, honesty, and support, and we share an absurd sense of humor.

In our vows, we promised to put our commitment to each other above our individual will. The effect of this has been that we both get what we want most of the time, and on important issues, always.

Lee said...

I had to stop dating in self defense. I have seriously bad taste in men. I am lucky to live with my best friend and we manage to have this companionship of which you write. It is wonderful to have a close friend who knows me well who I can share my thoughts with. Romantic relationships, on the other hand, bring out the insecure in me. I hate myself when I date. The idea of letting someone into my bed makes me cringe. Maybe someday, but not today.

QT said...

Oh Chani - I wish you could find what you wish for. I have to agree with what others have pointed out, even the friendships can get tangled - I no longer talk to a friend of mine (of 15 years) and she lives about 5 miles away. The reasons are many, but she just could not let me be anyone outside of the small picture she had of me in her brain.

As for the "romance", well, that is just a lure to keep you partnered. It pops its head back in the room every now and then, just to let you know it is still around. But the day to day things require (for me, anyway) someone with a head on their shoulders who can make me laugh and be silly, and be tender when I need it. Does any of that scream male or female? Not really.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want to give up sex. I like it too much. But it is hard, very, very hard to live with another person. There must be some people who do it and do it well though. Right?

KC said...

You speak of different forms of love: lust, attraction (falling in love), attachment (the companionship you desire.) The typical progression can take one through all stages or skip some. Can you have one without the others? Definitely yes.

Falling in love is a roller coaster ride. Neuroscience-wise it looks like OCD. Eventually all new loves quiet down from that manic level and settles into a quieter love.

I believe in soul mates and that everyone has one out there. The hard thing will be avoiding "romance" when you do find them. I think it would be an irrestible pull.

jen said...

i don't know if i think any one thing is better than the other. but what i am trying to believe is that if you want something earnestly, ask for it. and it will come to you.

just like thailand.

you can find this sort of partner, too.

flutter said...

You know it's interesting, I often think when you get to this point ( I call it the fuck it precipice) it is when you find what you seek.

thailandchani said...

Christine, I see your points. There will be muck and mire to a degree in any relationship because we're dealing with human beings. :) What amazed me is when people create difficulty for themselves!


Julie, exactly. This is something I have come to realize over the past few years. I am very, very old-fashioned in many ways. I haven't changed my attitudes with the times and I don't want to change them. It's not a matter of thinking I'm "right" and everyone else is going to hell in a handbasket or anything like that. It is just a realization that I think I came to the wrong place at the wrong time.


C and G, in the current configuration, there is no way I can believe in it. I just can't. It's emotionally and intellectually incomprehensible.


Meno, exactly! Separate houses, two blocks a way. Sometimes I think I would have been an ideal "minor wife". LOL


Susan, you and Flip have nailed the essence of it. Putting the relationship above individual will.


Lee, I feel very similarly to you. The companionship would be awesome.. and I "work" very well in community. When it becomes a contest of egos as relationships frequently are here, I just want to walk away.

When (and if) I ever invite anyone to my bed again, it will be because I truly feel intimacy and trust with that person ~ and that doesn't happen overnight.

The current attitudes toward sex just don't work for me at all.


QT, you've hit on an essential point. It isn't about male or female. It is about lovingkindness between human beings.


Deb, there are definitely people who do it right (and have done it right) for generations. I'm just not sure this social system is where it can be found most readily.


KC, I hope you're right. My mind is never closed... but I am fairly certain it will have to be with someone quite a bit older than me.. and someone who has the same old-fashioned values that I have.

How to find him in the mess that exists now would be a real challenge.

I want the things mentioned previously. Loyalty and trust. Lovingkindness and benevolence. With those things, the rest works itself out.


Jen, I've definitely got the "word out" to the spirit world... but I honestly believe it probably won't happen until I get to Thailand.

I "fit" very well with old-fashioned Thai values.. and I definitely need someone who would share that.

Guess I'd better get there before all my prospects die off. LOL


Flutter, yeah.. I've pulled the "fukkit switch" ~ at least for now. :)




Laurie said...

I wish you great luck, Chani. I've had the scenario you talked about and it didn't work for me, but it just might for you.

Lucia said...

I really believe that are all sorts of ways of having relationships in the world, and it's sad that many people are stuck on one form, one way. If I had to be in a conventional relationship, I surely wouldn't be able to stick it out. Unconventionality is the only thing that allows me to stay in a relationship.

Anonymous said...

The Law of Attraction states you will attract what you really want. Sooo...we will be reading (evantually) that you have what you are longing for. Just keep wanting it and ignoring what you DON'T want. If you continue focusing on what you don't want you'll keep getting it! I didn't believe it until I put it into practice and lo! I believe. It works every time! Shala B.

Anonymous said...

There is such a huge difference between romance and sex. Perhaps you have them filed in the same slot? God made men to copulate regularly. I'm sorry to break that news to you, Chani. So if you don't want it? It reminds me of what the mother said to Peggy Sue in the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married". "Peggy, honey. You know what a penis is, don't you?" "Stay away from them." Many a problem can be solved from that one action! Wish my Mum had told me that...Cece

Melissa said...

I love this quote from your post:

"I want friendship, loving friendship. I want what Alice Walker calls "quiet companionability". I want to get up in the morning, have coffee with someone, have pleasant conversation. Intelligent conversation over a Diet Coke in the back yard. Being comfortable together in silence. Caring support of each other in daily life. I want to have someone else's back and have someone have mine."

If only we all could find such a companion!

I haven't been able to read your blog in a long while, it's good to see it again and I like the new look!


Anvilcloud said...

Quiet companionship is great, but I fail to see how that must preclude romance, which in my experience doesn't have to be the way you describe ... although I guess it often is.

thailandchani said...

Laurie, I do think that basic model would work for me reasonably well. As I've gotten older, I really don't care much for emotional roller coasters. I like soft, gentle, predictable interaction.


Lucia, unconventional will be my only hope. LOL ~


Shala, your point is well-taken but I really don't think the universe is my personal vending machine. I believe that all things are impermanent though ~ so while I might not be attracting it right now, eventually I will ~ when the time is right.


Cece, I may have conflated it to a degree. It is hard for me to imagine one without the other. Also, I'm not a very sentimental person so it could be that I am conflating that, too.

Heaven knows, I have few answers... only more questions. :)

Peggy Sue's mom was right!


Melissa, it's possible. I do believe that. And, admittedly, that is an advantage of my age. As we get older, the roller coaster ride of mating is unappealing. We want something different. The challenge is in finding those others who have, like me, given up and stay at home. LOL

Thanks for the compliment. I will pass it along to Linda. :)


Anvil, in the ideal world, I think you're right. Perhaps your karma is different than mine... because you seem to have perfected that concept.




Tabba said...

I'm wondering, Chani.....why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Don't you think the possibility exists that if you found the companion that you desire, that the rest might follow if it is right?
Or as Jen said, if we want it, we should ask for it. You may be shutting doors that are opened if you never ask.......

Suzy said...

Chani, the the concept of romance you describe -- and which certainly seems to live in our collective awareness -- is really just marketing, isn't it? More lifestyle porn, like a Pottery Barn catalog.Every time I've tried to fit into that image, I end up feeling dissatisfied, unhappy, inadequate (and likewise for my dear partner/husband ...)

On the other hand, having a best friend/companion with whom I also have a decent sexual relationship is pretty nice.

I agree with Lucia that there are many models, many paths. may you find one that fits who you are.