Fuck You! No, Fuck You!

pissed-off catDo 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.

15 Responses to Fuck You! No, Fuck You!

  1. It seems like you have a pretty good handle on what you want.

    And if it’s not easy to find that, it’s not easy for anyone to fine what they really want!

    Don’t beat yourself up about it — and don’t be afraid to think that what you want me change over time (or not) and then you’ll just adjust to it.

    (Just my two cents…)

  2. Alex, hah! You said “what you want me”–Freudian slip? But it should be, “what you want, me”.

    No, I know I get too wedded to my own ideas. What I want from a relationship now is light years away from what I wanted when I had my first boyfriend. I have no reason to think it might not change again.

    I know that relationships are not easy, no matter what. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

  3. My last ten years in a nutshell is this line:
    “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.”
    It’s been worth it to have the down time, though I never meant to take ten years off my dating life.
    Maybe you should throw all the fucking rules you have out the window and screw the “woulds and shoulds”. One thing a relationship isn’t is 24/7 WITH another person. Fuck that! I still have MY life and the things I like doing for ME! That can never stop. I’ll never be 100% “we” 24/7. I can be committed to someone but I won’t ever stop existing as me or being myself!

  4. Best not to let yourself think that someday you will magically arrive at a decision about what you definitively want in a relationship — as you grow/change/evolve, so will your wants & needs. Then there’s the quandary of any relationship that you’re in changing as well. Kind of sucks, but there it is.

    The number one thing about relationships that I’ve taken away from my zillions of dates & several long-term relationships: they must be a friend to you! Number two? That instant steamy chemistry/sparks/fireworks thing is a myth. I’ve had incendiary instant chemistry with some that fizzled out more or less immediately (as soon as they open their mouth!), and then there’s my husband, just a guy friend that I’d not have dated for a million dollars and yet I gave in to his pleas, and wow, what a first kiss (and second and millionth)…

    I look around at all of the people screwing up their relationships, marriages, families, etc, for the sake of sex and I cannot believe that some of them have not realized yet that nobody gets those butterflies & fireworks in their relationships forever! It’s chemicals in the brain guys & gals! (although maybe those hypocritical religious weirdos cheating on their wives discount the brain chemical stuff just like they do the earth being more than 6000 yrs old) So anyway, if you’re really really lucky and have picked the right partner, what you get in the long-term is much much better than the fireworks & butterflies 24/7, you get friendship & trust & respect & love, and sometimes in the bedroom you get the butterflies & fireworks too.

    And if you’ve not made it there yet, well, you & probably about 75% of the rest of the world — based on my personal experience, I’d say that there are plenty of sub-par relationships out there! One thing that you can be sure of: not being in a relationship is much better than being in the wrong relationship.

    And you’ve got to get out there & do things you love, meet more people while doing it, happiness will follow — with or without a romantic partner.

    If you feel like driving to get away from yourself, drive on up, the guest room is nearly cleared!

  5. whabs, I know that many of my own shoulds and ought-tos are a way of pushing away any possibility of any kind of relationship.

    SMR, I agree with you that a lover has to be a friend first. However, I don’t agree that monogamy (sexual) has to be the only way to have a relationship. That’s part of the issue with which I struggle.

    I do agree, though, that I need to do activities that get me jazzed up because I will most likely meet like-minded people there. In other words, get off my ass and get into politics, theatre (not that the two are mutually-exclusive), maybe a book group or two. All the musing I do in my head is fine–in theory. Who the hell knows how my hypotheses will play out in real life?

  6. I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way about yourself, Minna. Judging from the well-deserved admiration you receive online, I suspect you’re less accepting of yourself than your friends are.

    But I am glad you know what you want. It’s hard to meet someone’s needs if one doesn’t know what they are, or if they keep changing. That specific a Venn diagram might be relatively small, but I’m sure there are people out there who would read what you wrote and say, “Perfect!” I hope you find someone, or several someones, like that.

    I don’t know if I completely agree that a lover has to be a friend. I’ve had some relationships that were entirely physical. But of course that’s only good when one’s other needs are pretty much met; it wouldn’t be god in isolation. Truth be told, I’ve had such relationships with women I didn’t particularly even like when we weren’t, ah, together, and it was probably mutual. That isn’t my recipe for long term happiness, but there were times when I didn’t want a relationship but did want the physical bit.

    You’re very wise to understand that one person can’t be everything to you. You may not know that my lovely wife and I are among the statistically insignificant set of people who married for the first time after 30. Before that, for more than a decade, I had no interest in marriage, and only occasional interest in a monogamous relationship. But one of the reasons we chose each other was that we knew we had long histories of friendships, that all those people, even if they’re ex-lovers, are important to us, and that we’d never demand a choice. We had the bit from Kahlil Gibran about spaces in our togetherness read at our wedding. And since my lovely wife doesn’t enjoy clubbing, she’s fine when I occasionally go out with my long time clubbing friend Kim, for example.

    Please — don’t worry about “shoulds” and “ought tos.” Your relationships should and ought to help make yourself and the other happy; if they do, it doesn’t matter a bit what form it takes.

  7. …and off topic, may I just say:

    Senator Al Franken, thank you very much.

    I quit collecting autographs ages ago, but I may just have to write in and request a copy of his official Senate portrait.

  8. Greg, I used to feel that way about myself all the time. Now, it only flares up like that once in a while. I have to clarify something. When I said that it’s best if a lover is a friend as well, I meant a long-term lover. I don’t have a handy word to call such a person as I don’t care for boyfriend/girlfriend or SO. I used to use partner, but eh.

    Anyway, if it’s mostly physical, then I agree. There is no need to be friends first. If it’s more a long-term thing, then it is helpful to have a few things in common.

    Venn diagram–yeah, I usually am pretty dang specific about what I want and don’t want. My brother and I have an ongoing joke because we have vastly differing search styles. If he’s looking for an answer online, he will put it in the broadest terms possible to return as many answers as possible. He prefers to cull through the replies himself. I, on the other hand, put in very specific terms because I can’t be bothered with the chaff.

    I do that with personals as well. Sigh. I really shouldn’t be focusing on this when I have so much other shit with which to deal.

    Oh, and Senator Al Franken! Can you guess what my entry is going to be about today?

  9. I used to feel that way about myself all the time. Now, it only flares up like that once in a while.

    I’m glad it’s more rare now.

    Y’know, you mentioned your various friends in your post. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, because I only know them through blog posts and comments — which is to say only in a narrow sense — but your friends strike me as intelligent and discerning people. Having so many intelligent and discerning people value you must say something good about you, even if you don’t see it as often and you might.

    if it’s mostly physical, then I agree. There is no need to be friends first. If it’s more a long-term thing, then it is helpful to have a few things in common.

    Absolutely, I agree.

    I dunno, though; needs are needs, they don’t go away even if others take a higher priority.

    Your post today? Hmmm hmm, I can’t imagine. But I can’t wait. I’d better get some DDR ddone so I can read it later.

  10. Greg, you do Dance, Dance Revolution? My ex was mad about it.

    My friends are intelligent, warm, fun, loving people. Why they put up with me, I’ll never know.

    Needs ARE needs, especially when, um, one is in one’s sexual peak. Not naming names, mind you, but you can read between the lines.

    As for what I’m writing about today, come on! You gotta know what’s on my mind.

  11. you do Dance, Dance Revolution?

    Poorly, but it keeps me somewhat active. Don’t be fooled by the fatness.

    My friends are intelligent, warm, fun, loving people. Why they put up with me, I’ll never know.

    Obviously, you have a lot in common.

    Needs ARE needs, especially when, um, one is in one’s sexual peak. Not naming names, mind you, but you can read between the lines.

    I’m trying mighty hard not to. 😉

    As for what I’m writing about today, come on! You gotta know what’s on my mind.

    Oh, of course, I was being silly. On to your Franken post!

  12. Greg, you are not fat. Please.

    If you want to know about someone’s sexual peak, you can just search through my archives using that phrase. It might be illuminating.

    Senator Al Franken!

  13. You’re very kind. I’m not fat in any out of hand sort of way, but I’m a middle-aged man who works a desk job, so I’m not in the same trim I was when I was younger, and I could stand to drop ten pounds or so of spare tire.

    Of course, if I wanted to lose ten pounds that badly, I’d spend time I currently use for movies and noodling around on the computer in the gym. I just choose not to, so I’m OK with things as they are.

  14. Greg, you may not believe this, but it’s better to be ten pounds overweight than ten pounds underweight. In addition, as you grow older, it’s better to gain weight. I heard that on MPR, and the doctor said it’s been well-established. If so, how come we never hear about it?

  15. I’d have less of a problem with my weight if it were more muscle and less flab. Being on the road, I don’t work out as often as I used to — I could, but I just don’t push myself — and I can tell the difference.

    If I get really dissatisfied, though, I’ll do something about it. DDoing DDR is one step I’ve taken, for example.