Friday, March 23, 2012

Mercury rising. In which I get to sound off about SO many things.

For the record. I don't share either.

Humans are animals. With survival drives. We have instincts that go against the grain of 'civilised' society. Sometimes when we react to something we forget to look at that bigger picture, and see what wasn't done. The lengths gone to, to avoid breaking the rules of society. We only see what was.

Caution: this is a demented rant, caused by specific incidents. I have left out the names, though I really hope that they recognise themselves in it. I'm angry, so it'll womble about all over the place.

It shouldn't really be news to anyone, and yet somehow everyone seems surprised by it when it rears its ugly head and causes trouble: being in a relationship doesn't stop other people from being interesting to you. This basic truism is at the back of so many relationship fails it's almost hilarious. If I hadn't been bitten by it myself, more times than I care to remember. If you're genuinely happy and comfortable in your relationship it'll probably stop you from doing any more than just looking. But if you happen to meet someone that you 'click' with it can all get quite tricky. I guess there's a lot of people who would say, when that happens you should just back away from this new person so things can't get awkward. I feel differently about it. Being a socially awkward (let's just not talk about that statement right now o.k., I'll be doing enough baring of my soul without adding my social dysfunction in) nerdy type with major trust issues, I don't 'click' with all that many people. So having found someone with whom I share common interests, someone who's company I enjoy - I'd rather work at making it into something that is acceptable, than throw it away just because stupid hormones are getting all up in my grill to begin with. With all the other things we can do with our brains and our 'hearts', turning a love interest into a friend shouldn't be all that much to ask.

Of course, there's this complication. Jealousy. Trust. Guilt: Stupid. Irrational. Emotions. This is what has happened to me, and two people I care about. Bringing new people into your life is normal. I mean generally normal, I never claimed to be normal myself. I have this awkward situation now: a nice man whom I generally get along with much better than I do with other folk wandered into my life. On top of enjoying his company and the lame-ass banter we engage in, I am attracted to him. The feeling is somewhat mutual. But he has a girlfriend, so we agreed that we will just be friends and began to work on that (which I derp'd up any number of times – socially dysfunctional, remember?). But like it or not it is fairly apparent to less casual observers that we have complicated feelings. I knew that. To a more denial riddled extent he knew that. But to others it probably looked a bit like we were dancing around each other (we were, just not in the way that many people would have assumed). We were working at being friends. Which, of course, I make very hard because I like being affectionate with the people I care most about.

I don’t know exactly what happened, and I can’t find out for fear of making it worse. But some combination of bad things has blown up in our faces, and I am left standing over here feeling cold and alone. And angry, which I feel justified in, merely for the lack of decent communication. Is it too much to ask that one of them actually tell me what happened? Apparently. I’m angry that it seems that bad things are being given more weight than good. Jealousy is a terrible thing, I remember when it would rear its ugly head with my last partner - I would fight with myself over the rationality of it all. Oddly, I often thought that it wasn’t really him I didn’t trust but other people. There’s so much wrong with that train of thought. Did I think he was incapable of saying no? Possibly, given that our relationship didn’t start all that tidily. All of the reason I will never be a part of someone cheating again is tied up in that time. Maybe I thought that if he’d stray for someone as boring as me, what chance did I have that some other bird wouldn’t pull him? Low self esteem is also a killer. I actually think that my crappy self esteem was behind my ‘stealing’ him in the first place. To prove I could. That’s pretty fucking LAME when it comes down to it. It’s not like that this time. I’m not interested in stealing him, I accept that this is not one I can have – which is why it’s kind of blown all my circuits to have it all ripped out from under me.

While this time I am kind of writing about something that has happened to me. Explaining to my friends why I’m being such a giant headcase at the moment. Getting the angry and sad thoughts out of my head, because I don’t want them in my head any more. I’m also using it as a tool for wanking on about a pair of subjects near to my heart (such as it is). Communication, and the ways we deal (or don’t deal) with infidelities.

So there’s this theory, I’m not going to get into the boring details of what led to me thinking in this direction – here it is, the way I think maybe I see it. Civilisation happened because of women. Male survival imperative (you know, sleep with ALL THE WOMEN so your genetic material ‘goes long’) (yeah, I do love to throw in an inappropriate sports metaphor from time to time, what of it?), anyway, male survival imperative is not well suited to the way our society works. Buying a house, settling down with one partner, turning into a jealous monster every time anyone so much as looks at your partner, that’s all female survival imperative (find the best source of genetic material you can and hang on to him for dear life). Sometimes I wonder how any man manages to stick with it. And sometimes I feel bad for the ones who fail and are hung up to dry without any thought about what really happened. Cheating seldom happens in a vacuum. The whole thing would make a great deal more sense to me if civilisation had grown from a matriarchy. If women owned the homes and men could wander from place to place satisfying their seed spreading desires. The idea of where that might have led interests me a great deal. What would society be like if we had started on that footing. Different.

From the perspective of community structures and social nicety, fidelity: marriage: altruism, even love make sense. In a society where property ownership and stable family equal status it makes sense to settle down with one person, build a family, have a legacy to pass on. But our animal instincts sometimes rebel against it. Sometimes the wolf inside me sees an ‘upgrade’ and just wants to go get me some of that genetic material. It’s a decision based on community ethics to not go nail him. When you’re faced with your partner tripping at that hurdle it’s next to impossible to see past your own pain and sense of betrayal to realise that it probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘you bastard’ (or bitch, whatever) part of it and not go looking for more. Who wants to take the time to disassemble when it’s still a raw wound? But after you’ve told him to ‘get the fuck out’ it’s probably a bit late to bother. Do it anyway, it'll help you next time.

A long time ago, I did a small study into boundary setting within relationships. I had a feeling that people were ‘doing it wrong’ and I wanted to see if I could come up with plausible explanations for some of our stupider failings. A lot of people don’t really talk about the boundaries in their relationships. It’s sort of tacitly assumed that if you cheat you might as well not bother coming home and that’s all you need to know. But if you also assume that we have to fight our programming to NOT cheat then doesn’t it make sense to have actually TALKED about this? I realise that serious conversation with your partner is a hard concept to wrap your head around. But I have this feeling that if you actually love them then it’s in your best interests to know what your relationship is about.

The results of the study I did were interesting, well interesting to me, in that the way  men and women felt were quite different. I guess D’uh is the thing to say here. I mean it’s pretty obvious really that men and women have different interests within a relationship. As much as it’s a terrible generalisation that I wish wasn’t even a bit true, men are less interested in the emotional side of the relationship. I have to say I have a strong suspicion that a lot of that is nurture rather than nature. Boys don’t cry, right? And boys aren’t huggy (or they’re a poof) and boys don’t say I love you (or they’re a poof) and boys don’t make spontaneous romantic gestures (or they’re a poof). Sorry, but apparently I prefer my men a tad ‘poofy’. (As an aside I’d like to note that I find this whole ‘or you’re a poof’ bit very weird. My gay friends have basically the same range of behaviours as my straight friends. The only difference is the direction of their sexual attraction. Feel free to call me gay. It isn’t an insult.) All my best male friends, they’re all emotionally kind of broken. They find it difficult to express their ‘nicer’ feelings openly without feeling embarrassed. It’s ok to be an angry stupid douchebag, but telling your best friend you love them is totally out of order (unless you’re both really fucking drunk). That makes me sad for them. It’s nice to be able to tell someone that you care about how you feel, it feels nice for you AND it feels nice for them. The worst part about it is that I don’t tell them that I love them very often, because I know it makes them feel awkward. Except Mr. Chips, I can say I love you to him as often as I want. He's been repaired.

Sometimes the decisions we make when judging a situation don't make a lot of sense. Sometimes when we see someone we care about do something that hurts us we assume that we are the victim, and therefore someone else has to take the blame. Someone else is responsible. Sometimes it's a lot more complicated than that. And more often than not, where we put the blame isn't the only place it can go. Actions can have far reaching consequences, and the decision you make in the face of hurt and anger can lead to exactly the thing you want to avoid.

I'm not going to name names, I'm going to point a finger or two but without names most of the world can bugger off and get their gossip somewhere else.

Finger pointing: If you're going to distrust your partner, how about doing it properly and not then just believing whatever line of BS they feed you to get themselves off the hook. Either you trust them or you don't, if you don't, there's probably a reason why not. Not necessarily because they haven't earned that trust, my trust is very hard to earn (these days) the baggage I carry around with me makes me untrusting by default. If I don't trust someone, it may not be anything at all to do with them, but just that the situation is raising old monsters. As Doctor House regularly says, people LIE. Most people will, if a quick lie gets them out of immediate hot water, just lie and hope you move on without questioning it. If you got as far as not trusting them in the first place: QUESTION IT. Because that feeling of distrust you had right there, it isn't going to go away when your love tells you it was all a misunderstanding. Something else will happen and the distrust that was lurking will jump up and have another go. Because that's pretty much how it works. The bit of you that loves your partner WANTS to believe, but the bit of you that distrusts them (for whatever reason, be it your hang up or their behaviour) doesn't. That bit wants PROOF. And it doesn't go away just because the loving part of you is all happy again.

My back up for this opinion is simple. I was stupidly, blindly, in love. And every time I felt distrust for him, I would ask him about whatever it was and he would tell me whatever would make me stop asking. He would be just contrite enough, mixed with just ‘innocent’ enough that I would back away from the whole thing. No matter what my screaming trust beast was yelling at me, because the love monster’s desire to believe in this all consuming love was louder than the trust beast. I should have listened to my instincts. Because he was a lying cheating miserable bastard who will ALWAYS tell the easy lie. (/bitterness) So I can still love someone, even in the moment that their betrayal is crashing down around my ears, even when I know it's stupid. Even when I know I want nothing to do with them ever again. I wish I had questioned that douchebag's bullshit much earlier than I did. I might have saved myself a lot of angst. And things would be very different now.

And your own douchebag’s bullshit might not be nearly so terrible. In fact I’m pretty sure it isn’t. As much I’m sure there are worse bastards out there than mine, he is kind of in a league of his own. And for the longest time he could do no wrong in my eyes.

So, these people behind this, here’s what I think is going on. One thinks she's confrontational, but isn't - not about the things that matter. The other knows he avoids confrontation and knows that it's stupid but does very little about it. Doomed. And not for the reason they think. But it doesn’t have to be. Getting angry about stuff is not the same as confronting it. Smoothing things over (especially with bullshit) is not the same as dealing with it. So I think that she got mad, and he placated her to avoid the fight. And chucked me under the bus, it would seem. Not just me actually, but I’m not dragging anyone else through the mud with me. I’m having a miserable time, fuck making someone else go there.

Oh looky, we’ve come back to my favourite bugbear. Fucking communication. So many people SUCK at it, and it is so very important. If you have a problem in your relationship your choices are: ignore it, which will lead to either a relationship ending or a relationship turning into a stagnant pool of enduring. Fun. Or you can talk about it. Hey I’m not suggesting it’s a panacea that will instantly cure your relationship. Hell, talking about it could also lead to the relationship ending. But if it does then it would most likely be because you realised the problem was insurmountable. But if it leads to compromise, or some other real fix then you’ll both be happier for it.

Peace. Out.

* I'm not meaning to suggest that only men cheat, I couldn't possibly {hangs head in shame}

** I was going to include a complete history of what actually did and didn't happen with this guy, but you know what - that's nobody's business but mine and his and hers, she can ask me if she wants. I will pull no punches and I think she'll feel better for hearing it. It dawned on me that anyone else who read it would only doing so in the hopes of juicy details (or because for some bizarre reason they enjoy my writing and hope that it might be a 'good' story). If you want juicy details you only have to search 'soft porn stories' and you'll find everything you wanted and a whole lot you probably didn't. The bonus of this is it cuts this diatribe down to about 2800 words instead of a somewhat brain numbing 5000. 


  1. Another good read. I'm one of the ones who for some bizarre reason enjoys your writing. I do love how communication is so often a big part of the issues that you rant about. I'd like to think I'm good at it, because I often approach things honestly and directly, but I don't really know if that makes me a good communicator. Honestly, when things have gone wrong it could be my fault for not saying things properly, or not listening and understanding properly. On the flipside, it could be the other person's shortcomings in saying what they mean and understanding what I say that causes issues. It's really rather hard to tell from within the exchange where the shortcomings are, and I doubt it's likely to get any better magically.
    While I don't know whether my direct and honest approach is the best, I do think it helps me get better at communicating. It urges me to express things that aren't easy to get out, rather than smoothing things over or dodging or outright lying. I still tell plenty of "little white lies" but I've been getting better at digging out hard admissions, expressions and confessions. That has been.. interesting.

  2. Poor communication is a pet hate. I've alway had a bee in my bonnet about it, but my time with Nick coalesced it into something I feel the need to try to 'fix'.
    I think direct and honest is always the best approach. Even if does mean saying hard things sometimes. That's what's pissing me off most about my current awkward situation, it's forcing me to be uncommunicative in a situation I would usually be leaping into with both boots. I can't talk to them about it without risking blowing it up in my friends face >.< even if he's not being much of a friend right now. FUME.