Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I need a yenta!

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about marriage and what kind of marriage would work best for me.

Even though I do quite well alone and don't mind being alone all that much, when we get to a certain age, it's important to have a companion. That's just practical, if nothing else.

My recent attempt to "date" left more than a sour taste in my mouth. It really confirmed that it is something I don't want to do, can't do and see no reason to do.

Even though my previous marriage didn't work out for other reasons, we did do one thing right. We skipped the "dating". We were both looking for someone, we both wanted to be married and as soon as we realized we didn't dislike each other so much that leaving us in the same room would risk a visit from the Homicide Unit, we decided to get married.

There was no pressure on me to "put out". There was no pressure on him to perform his manly duty of giving me money and protect me. We were both a couple of nerds who liked science fiction and computers.

There was nothing but friendship. No fireworks. No "chemistry". Just friends.

And lately I've been thinking that's not an entirely bad thing. So, we didn't have sparks flying. You know what? Honestly? I don't even believe that happens. I believe there are many people who are in love with the idea of love but not the practicality of it. Some people want to have that feeling so they create it. It's sui generis. It wouldn't matter if it's you or me or a slab of venison. If someone wants to become infatuated, he will. She will. Blame all the Meg Ryan movies.

One of the things that occured with my last dating experience is the guy telling me that he adores me. He'd say "I adore you! I really adore you!" It didn't "melt my heart". It just scared the snot out of me.

He'd known me for three weeks. He didn't even know me well enough to know my favorite color, let alone my values, my customs, my way of life or my character. Adore me? Talk about crapping on a biscuit and trying to convince me it's a chocolate cake! He just wanted to be "in love". And he must have thought I have the IQ of an answering machine!


I don't believe we "adore" other human beings. Save that for God.

I don't believe in love at first sight, "chemistry" or any of those other romantic myths. I believe we find a decent person, someone who has a cool sense of humor, a sense of responsibility, a good heart and we choose to love that person.

When we choose to love, it means we choose to be honorable, trustworthy, kind, compassionate and helpful. It means we recognize the divine in another human being and we treat them with respect.

It's not all that complicated. At least not to this simple mind.

I want to marry a buddy. I want to be comfortable, secure, safe and know that the person I am with will care about me the way my friends care. I want to know that he will be able to accept that caring from me, the way I care for my friends. We will also accept each other the way friends do.

My friends have always been a more valued presence in my life than any "dating" relationship.

Dating customs in this culture are repulsive, demeaning and demoralizing. (I have some controversial beliefs on this which I will keep to myself.) It's a cattle call, people looking at each other with the goal-directed objective of finding another human being to fulfill all their fantasies.

Fantasies are fantasies for a reason.

The marketing aspect of it has completely alienated me. When I even think about trying it again, my stomach gets queasy. I'd rather visit the dentist than even think about trying it.

I need a yenta.

(Are there yentas in Thailand? Hm. I'll have to check on that.)

I want her to find a man for me, assure me that he's decent and kind, that he's responsible and reliable. If he cares more about character than body type, that would be great. Wow. What a concept, that!

Find him for me, Yenta. I'll make it work from there.




Lucia said...

I heard an interview last night about the success rate of arranged marriages in India that already had me thinking about these things.

Part of me wants to be adored, but I'm not sure if that's real. Another part of me wants comfort, familiarity and easiness. (The easy silence...thank you to my friend Dan Wilson for giving this the right words.)

And then, since I like being alone, does a companion add or detract? I guess it depends on who it is. I have a partner, and I love it when I'm along.

Anonymous said...

What you describe as a possible husband is only the portrait of a good friend, not a lover.

You make me think of the nuns in which schools I have been as a child, with your "one can only adore God."

I agree with you, your American custom of dating may be "repulsive, demeaning and demoralizing."

Love is not magic, sparks, chemistry etc, it is just an irresistible fervor and force from the soul and the body, towards someone that you want to share the life. And it is not something "created", neither an "idea." It is well real.

Anvilcloud said...

Yeah, I think that it's about choice. I guess it's not the total extent of it; there is some chemistry involved. We all have types that appeal to us, I suppose, both body and personality types, but I agree that we make a choice about commitment.

Susanne said...

I didn't believe in love at first sight until it happened to me. But that didn't mean I left my rational mind behind.

I would never have stayed with this man though, if we weren't best friends too. And lovers. Because I can have lots of friends but only one lover. Or husband.

This said I truly believe that the marketing aspect of dating is repulsive and the "romantic" is highly overrated.

Bob said...

Sparks flew for me. I was head over heels when I met my (future) wife. But I do agree that in order for a marriage to work you have to listen to your head as well as your heart. That's what courtship is (or used to be) about. Taking the time to get to know one another to make sure that you are compatible. The sparks thing just points you in the right direction. If you don't have them, then maybe a yenta is the solution to meeting someone - but all a yenta is is a dating service with extras and personalized service.

The biggest problem I see with marriage today is that too many people have the spark and immediately get hitched. They don't court each other, they aren't taking the time to make sure they are compatible.

I didn't meet Laura through any service or in a bar or anything like that. I met her on a stairway in the building we both lived in. There were sparks like crazy. That was 22 years ago, and the spark has turned into a banked fire of committed life-long friends and lovers.

Girlplustwo said...

I agree w/ Lucia's comments - in so many ways. I do like sparks though - with the understanding that over time it evolves to something else.

i know what you seek exists. i do.

thailandchani said...

Lucia, a friend of mine from India tells me the same thing. In many ways, I don't think it's an altogether bad idea. Of course it depends on who is doing the choosing and the reasons behind it. In most cases though, it makes some sense.

I don't think I am comfortable being "adored". Something about it sounds too over-the-top, too intense. I am not all that comfortable with intensity anyway.

The easy silence. That's just perfect.


G, regarding God, I was being sarcastic... but truly, I don't think that kind of craving of a thing or a person is healthy.


Anvil, I wonder if too many people confuse "sparks" with "recognition". We recognize those who are likeminded, who are compatible with ourselves.

I don't know the answers exactly. I just have questions. :)


Susanne, the marketing aspect is what has totally alienated me. I am not going to market myself that way ~ and I don't expect others to do it, either. There's too much commodification of everything, from products to human beings. I can't go there.


Bob, I agree with you about courting. I would also present the idea that such intensity is really looking to satisfy an internal need, rather than find a partner is a rational, reasoned way. Maybe it's just that so many people are numb that they look for that intensity.

Again, dunno. I just have questions :)


Jen, I think I am just incapable of "sparks". You'd probably be surprised by how little I "want". Check Andrea's post today about "wanting". It makes a lot of sense. It leads to a constant life of frustration. Sometimes the better way seems to be "acceptance".

I like many people. I even admire some. I have never craved.


Peace ~ and thanks everyone. This is really a topic worth exploring. :)


Pam said...

I think a few sparks are a good thing, but a partner should also be a trusted best friend, a confidant and a comfort.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

"Fantasies are fantasies for a reason." Yes. If only everyone realized that.

I learned yesterday that my cousin's son has become an orthodox Jew, moved to Israel, and has committed to an arranged marriage. Everything in me recoils from the very idea of allowing others to make the most important decision of ones life. A person would have to have complete trust in her parents and in the system to willingly submit to this, while I spent my entire early life rebelling against my parents' desire to control me completely.

Flip and I fell in love at first sight. We are also best friends, and after 15 years, that aspect of our relationship predominates. We wrote our own vows when we married, and agreed to always place our relationship above our individual wills.

There is someone out there for you, but he is incredibly special, like you, and will not be found in the usual places that people meet. I think that once you are very clear about the qualities you want in a partner, and it sounds as if you are now, he will manifest. That energy, sent out into the world, will attract the one who is perfect for you.

You will not need to compromise on this, which is good because I doubt that you are capable of it.

Susan as Herself said...

I agree that friendship is the most important thing, in that I believe it is necessary as a foundation to build anything more--I don't think it's possible to fully love someone without at least LIKING them first (and hopefully at the same time.)

However, I fear I would miss the chemistry if it weren't there. I mean, if I am gonna live with somebody the rest of my life, I'd better either A) be related to them or B) want to have sex with them, and the sex had better be good. And yes, I need to be their friend for (B) to happen.

Anonymous said...

I knew a guy once who started telling me he loved about three weeks into the relationship and I thought horseshit but I stayed. And it turned out to be horseshit and I wished I'd listened to my first instinct.

In one of the comments you said
"I wonder if too many people confuse "sparks" with "recognition". We recognize those who are likeminded, who are compatible with ourselves. "
I never thought of that before but I think you're right.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, there are "Yentas" in Thailand!

dmmgmfm said...

I thought that what you describe would be fine for me. I really did. And I am giving it my best shot. I really am. But it is starting to dawn on me that it is not enough. At least not for me.

I want sparks. Friendship and companionship, of course, but sparks too. Do I expect too much? Possibly. But I think I'd rather expect too much than too little.

I don't mean to say this kind of arrangement won't work for you. I'm just saying that I don't think it is going to continue working for me.

flutter said...

I don't believe love is the same for everyone.
For some sparks are necessary, for some they aren't. I am not someone who does well without companionship. Which is not to say that I require someone glued to my hip.
How do I know that love exists and not the "in love with love" for me? I am in love with someone that makes no sense, came out of the blue, when I could have cared less to have someone and absolutely blindsided me. He's my best friend...and I didn't ask for it.

SuperP. said...

"Dating customs in this culture are repulsive, demeaning and demoralizing. (I have some controversial beliefs on this which I will keep to myself.)"

Don't keep them to yourself! I love this post!!

KC said...

Falling in love- head over heels in love- is a universal, cross-cultural phenomenon. Researchers have studied this and relate it to specific neurotransmitters and areas of the brain that light up when we are "madly in love". This I think is the sparks. It's short-lived though. A different kind of love, attachment, is the kind that is familiar and comforting. Different neurohormonal systems have been implicated.

They are not mutually exclusive though and it's possible to keep those "sparks" alive by doing novel things that activate those first neural systems.

Sorry to sound like such a geek here. But I'm a big fan of love in all its forms! I know you can find what you're looking for.

Rachel Briggs said...

Love hit me like a bolt. Then came the hard work. We were living in separate countries, 1,000's of miles apart. We started as friends (online) and were lucky enough to realise very soon that there was gonig to be so much more. I love the fact we got to know each other through our written thoughts and values before we got into the physical side. But i don't agree with oyu concept of ONLY friends. I stil lget that kick in my stomach when I see my husband's name come up on my email, or his number come up on my phone. I can't wait to get home and see him in the evening, and the excitement of that is more than "just" friendship. for me, there HAS to be a sizzle!

Don't compromise, you can have it all...

LittlePea said...

I believe in love at first sight. Maybe not "LOVE" but a connection with someone. It happened to me. The sparks everyone talks about is the lust part. The excitement of something new and fresh. That's not exactly a bad or a good thing, it's just what happens. But when the sparks settle down, you're right, there has a to be a true freindship. In a successful relationship, love isn't enough. You have to also 'like' each other.

I would so love to hear your thoughts on the repulsive, demeaning and demoralizing stuff....

thailandchani said...

Pam, I'm definitely with you on the trust and good companion part. :)


Heart, I think a lot of it involves trust. In order to let someone make those kinds of decisions, we really have to be able to trust that person's motives (or those people's).

When I chose a new way of life, I also knew then that I accept a certain level of authority in my life from those who are the elders or the leaders within that framework.

It can be comforting in some ways to have a large decision be a community effort.

But.. in your case and in mine, I definitely think we're best off either having another trusted community or do it ourselves! :)


Susan, I believe ya! I can't relate.. but I think I understand what you mean. Some of us are probably better at that kind of thing than others. :)


Deb, I hope I am right on that. In my own experience, there have been people who passed through my life and I recognized them as significant. It's a past-life thing probably.

As for the guy with the horseshit, yeah.. I understand. That's the ugly underbelly of "romance" is the deception. Someone saying whatever he or she believes the other wants to hear, just to satisfy a selfish desire.

Makes me sick.


Melissa, not yenta fo. LOL .. Seriously though, I know there are. Finding one might be a challenge though. :)


Laurie, I have some comments about this but want your permission to express them ~ and also want to know if you would prefer I email you.


Flutter, if he's your best friend, that is what counts. In the final analysis, that is *all* that counts.


Penny, as time goes on, I will be more willing to be controversial. Right now, it's not entirely safe (for me personally.. not any external threat).


KC, I love the geek stuff. Hearing your lecture on this topic would be awesome! This kind of thing is right up my alley.


Rachel, thanks. :) I don't believe anyone can "have it all" but I do understand what you're saying and appreciate your confidence. I believe I will find the right person, too, but as Heart said, it will be someone as unusual as me. :)


MsPea, you have wisdom beyond your years. "Yep" to everything you said. I hope my posttoday extrapolates a bit on the repulsive, demeaning and demoralizing aspect.


Thanks all :)



dmmgmfm said...

Chani, please feel free to express your ideas here or in an email, whatever you prefer. I always learn from you and will eagerly await hearing your take on this.