Do you ever have one of those days when you want to say to someone, “Gaaaah! Get the fuck away from me, you piece of shit. I can’t stand the way you breathe, the way you eat, the way you talk, the way you sing, or the way you are just THERE!
You have a fucking weird laugh. You talk too much. You’re cynical and lazy and sloppy and fucking moody. You hog all the covers, and you toss and turn all night. I fucking HATE you! Get the fuck away from me!”
You’ve had that feeling, right? Well, what do you do if that feeling is directed towards yourself? I mean, I can’t just take a vacation from me. I can’t storm out of the house, hop into the car, and race across the state because I will still be fucking there. Even when I sleep, I can’t get away from me as most of my dreams have me prominently involved. I can understand why some people drink to oblivion in order to escape themselves.
I feel this way less and less, but I am feeling it right now. I just want to take a break from me–to get as far away as I possibly can. I don’t like being in my skin, though I am grateful that the weather is twenty degrees cooler this week than it was last week.
However, this post is not about my self-loathing, per se. It’s about relationships. “What the fuck, Minna?” I hear you say. “How the hell do you make THAT leap?” Like this. Sit back, relax, and connect the dots with me.
I cannot stand being around me all the time. I get on my last nerves, and I wince at some of the stupider things I do and say. I hate my obsessive thoughts, and I hate my clingy/push away dichotomous behavior. So, if I can’t stand me sometimes, then how the hell could someone else?
More to the point, I couldn’t stand being around someone else twenty-four/seven. I know me. I know the limits of my capability for companionship. Those limits stop weeeell short of twenty-four hours a day, seven hours a week. This becomes more and more important to me as I get older because I can still get tripped up in the ‘shoulds’ and ought tos’ when it comes to coupling. I ‘should’ want to live with someone. I ‘ought to’ want to be in a committed, monogamous relationship because–well, just because.
Now, I am usually good at keeping societal expectations at an arm’s length. I have learned to ignore the howling of the dogs for the most part because I know that for the most part, I do not peacefully coexist with mainstream values. However, the couple thing is so pervasive, it’s not easy to escape. I sometimes think there’s something wrong with me because I cannot maintain a healthy, loving relationship. What the hell is wrong with me, I query. What I neglect to question, though, is that many people are equally bad at maintaining relationships. It’s not uncommon for someone my age to be on a second or third marriage.
I think a more pertinent question is, what would a healthy, loving relationship look like to me? I mean, let’s strip out Hollywood movies (which I don’t watch) and Harlequin romances (which I used to read, much to my everlasting shame) and all the fairy tales we’re force-fed (I don’t need a prince to save me), and what do we have left?
We have, from what I’ve been told, something that takes work and effort to keep going. It’s difficult for me to look at a longterm monogamous relationship with anything akin to joy and expectation. I feel something more akin to dread and dismay. Yes, it’s the stereotypical ball-and-chain vision, but let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?
Let me digress for a moment. I have a best friend, Kiki, who has been my best friend for the last fifteen years. Over the years, our relationship has fluctuated and changed with the times and the demands of our lives. I see her once or twice a month, and we have a blast every time we get together. We email and call intermittently, and she is my best friend in the world. Every time we get together, it feels as if we’ve never left each other side. I have that kind of relationship with many of my friends, and I’ve come to realize how much I savor that kind of timelessness in a relationship.
Why the fuck am I babbling about friendships as I’m pontificating on relationships? Because I think we can learn something from friendships in application to romantic relationships. In this country, we tend to put a lot of pressure on our monogamous romantic relationships. To varying degrees, we believe that we should give our love to one person and one person only. Ideally, that person should be our best friend, our confidant/e, our everything. I know, that’s a gross simplification, but it’s basically true.
I am uneasy with that because there is no way one person can be everything to you. This is why I brought up friendships earlier in this post. I go to different friends for different things. When I want to drink, talk politics, dance, smoke, and maybe pick up someone, I hang out with Kiki–or when I want to be around a kid. When I want to eat good food, go to the library, take a walk around the park, or watch MST3K movies (or Depp movies or Potter movies or Batman movies), I chill with Natasha. Going to a ball game, any ball game where I will eat bad for you (but taste so good) ballpark food? I hook up with Marie and off we go. Taiji and shooting the shit about everything from relationships to politics? That would be Choolie’s department.
I wouldn’t expect to go to a ball game with Natasha or talk politics with Marie. Taiji and Kiki aren’t a natural match, and I can’t imagine hanging around kids with Choolie, especially since neither of us has any. I wouldn’t feel bad if Natasha went to a Potter movie without me (well, not much, anyway, as long as she also saw it with me). I let my friends be who they are, and I am content to see them when I see them.
However, when I am WITH someone, all of a sudden, everything is more serious. The one serious girlfriend I had taught me how NOT to play mind games since she was so good at them. She expected me to ask her to go with me every time I went out, even if it was something she didn’t want to do. She wouldn’t tell me why she was mad at me (I still hate that one), but expected me to KNOW.
All my ex-boyfriends were passive-aggressive, and it nearly drove me batty. It seems like everything that is good about me magnifies in a relationship as does everything that is bad.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Ideally, I would like to see someone once or twice a week. I do not want to cohabitate, and I like sleeping alone. I like IM’ing better than calling. I like having the window open during the night and periodically typing to the other person. I like dancing, going out to eat once in a while, sports, and lots of sex. The last one can’t be emphasized enough. I am tired of dating people who don’t want sex as much as I do, but who say they do.
The most important thing, though, is that I’m not strictly monogamous. However, I’m not a true polyamorous person, either. I like having a primary partner with the ability to have dalliances outside the main relationship. It’s not a very popular opinion, however, and I know it’s not easy to navigate an open relationship. In addition, I also know that I can be by turns irrationally jealousy and positively aloof.
In other words, I still have shit to figure out about myself before entangling with another. It makes me glum, though, to realize that what I’m looking for will be very difficult to find. Sometimes, I wish I could be content living in the mainstream.