I've been told by a few people (okay, two) recently that I need to blog more. So, here's the effort to do so.

The thing is, I don't often feel I'm especially funny in text. Off-the-cuff remarks, angry rants, sure, I seem to amuse that way. But in text? Much more challenging. I don't know, some people seem to relate to what I have to say, and goodness knows I like to hear myself speak -- metaphorically speaking.

I had coffee with the girlfriend of a high school acquaintance yesterday (how's that for unwieldy explanations?). She's commented on here a few times, so I don't feel too guilty if I use her name, Sarah. I'm trying to make this as simple as possible.

Anyhow, we had a good chat, covering all kinds of topics, including but not limited to relationships. I then had another conversation about relationships with a coworker today, so suffice it to say the subject matter's on my mind. Add this to one of the songs that came up on my playlist, and I figure I have a subject to discuss.

For those who are curious, the song was Cupid's Chokehold -- the singer is telling his dad about the girl he's in love with, and there's a line to the effect of "I know you've heard me say I've met The One before, but this time it's for real"; I can relate. I do think that his saying that his girl has her very own ringtone on his cell as an example of Tru Wuv is a bit goofy, but hey -- it's a song.

So, how do you know when you've met The One? And how do you remind your fingers where the characters are on a QWERTY keyboard when you work all day on a French keyboard and your muscle memory has both stuck in there. Kinda cool, makes me wonder how I'd do on a Dvorak keyboard, and is a slight deviation from the subject at hand.

Relationships. The One. Is there really a One for anyone, or do we end up just settling? Where do the compromises get made?

I have a number of friends in committed relationships of differing types: some are married; some are married in an open relationship; some are living together but not married; some are living together, not married, and don't plan on getting married; and some are in a long-term relationship but not living together. In essence, they cover the basic spectrum of heterosexual partnerships (yes, I'm limiting myself, but I just don't have that many gay friends at the moment, curse my luck).

I've always been open about my support for all kinds of different pairings, and I try to be honest about what would work for me. In the past, I was openly dating two guys at the same time; in the past, I was also not-openly dating two guys at the same time. In the present, I'm living with someone with whom I share a committed, monogamous relationship. I've also had friends with benefits.

I have found, through trial and error, that what works best for me, provided the relationship is good, is the situation in which I now find myself. However, in the past, when I was in relationships that weren't good, it was not unknown for me to ... alter the circumstances (see above re: not-openly dating two guys at the same time). In short, yes, I cheated. I don't condone it, I don't feel it was the best course of action at the time, but it was what it was and that was that.

The motivations behind the actions were varied, and often tied to sex (duh, right?). I had a lot of bad sex in my past. Unsatisfying, boring, with partners that couldn't seem to learn regardless of the direction, and so on. Sometimes, I was just looking for something different.

At one point, I discovered that someone that I was spending time with (who shall remain nameless, unless he wants to out himself), had similar kinky interests to my own, and we explored those together. I was open with the DB about my kinky interests (without going into gory details of who and what, a policy we've kept with regards to past relationships over all), and one evening on a drive home, he basically asked me if I was going to want an open relationship to allow me to explore my kinky interests, which he doesn't share.

Because the DB doesn't share these interests, an acquaintance who is kinky called him boring. I guess in that regard, he could be perceived as such. However, on the grand scale of relationships, one must weigh what one's priorities are in regards to said relationship -- and even on a personal level, how highly said priorities rate.

I was a fairly curious sexual adventurer, and as such tried a lot of different things. My overarching philosophy was always one of, "how can I know I don't like it unless I try it?" -- with some limitations for things that were simply a flat-out no from the start. Through trial-and-error I learned what I find to be a turn-on, and what I feel works best in fantasy.

Now, combine fantasy with my tendency to ... romanticize, for lack of a better word, elements of sex -- leaving out the awkward parts, the uncomfortable moments, or the times when I was just plain bored -- and I can come up with some pretty hot scenarios. Maybe my more kinky tendencies would be enjoyable were they to take place with the right person, someone I feel committed to, cared for by, in love with, whatever, but my experience taught me that a lot of it was just more enjoyable in my brain than in real life.

Lots of things were still very hot in real life, in case you're wondering.

So, do I want to go elsewhere to explore my kinky side? No, I really don't. Am I unhappy with my sex life? I have my grumbles of which the DB is aware, but overall, I'm pleased.

If we return to our original subject matter, the question of The One -- how do I feel about that? Do I believe there's one special person out there for each of us? I honestly don't know. I think there are a small number of people with whom we're compatible, and therein lies individual choices about the sacrifices or priorities we have to make.

For some people, smoking is a total deal-breaker, for example. For others, it's not a selling point, but it's tolerable, and the last group, it's irrelevant to their decision. Sex lives are also like this -- some people just don't have a large sex drive, whereas others do. Individuals have to determine for themselves whether they can tolerate having more or less sex than their own personal preference.

And now I've rambled enough that I feel I can get into some more salacious information without getting into too much trouble.

I've seen a number of my friends pair up. I readily admit that the aspects of the relationship I see will a) be coloured based on my worldview and/or knowledge of the couple/individuals; b) never be the full picture, even if I'm speaking to one member of the couple about the details of said relationship.

I can say this because we do have a tendency to complain more than we praise our partners, in general. And when we do tend to gush about our partners, it generally evokes something similar to a gag or vomit reflex in those unfortunate souls subjected to said gushing. I experienced this with a new hire at one place of business -- she went on about how her and her partner were SO in love (a direct quote) and how it was just as passionate as when they first started dating, etc., etc., complete with effusive hand gestures and the clasping of the hands to her ample bosom. I wish I was kidding. She was also only one year my junior. She was later mocked fairly mercilessly by myself and another who were subject to this display -- and it was shared and reenacted for others. I've never claimed to be especially nice, particularly when I'm being egged on by others with similar opinions.

So yes, it can be challenging to speak in glowing terms on a regular basis about our chosen victims. Especially because ultimately we're all human and we do get on one another's nerves. I've lived with the DB for nearly a year now, and there are plenty of times that we piss one another off -- do notice I said that's mutual behaviour. And sometimes, we feel the need to vent about our partner's behaviour(s) to sympathetic ears. Sometimes, said sympathetic ears may get the wrong impression of our significant others, and may start to question just what it is that you, the complainer, sees in such an aggravating person -- so venting can require balance.

Or, the sympathetic ear has to weigh the complaints and the frequency of complaints if they're going to say something. Some sympathetic ears simply recognize that they're only getting one small piece of the puzzle, made grander by the immediacy of the frustration, and say nothing. That said, some people are more inclined to take sides and, especially if they are only ever hearing one side of the complaining, refuse to believe that the person being complained about has any redeeming qualities. Not that I'm bitter at all, no, of course not. Good riddance to that so-called friend, certainly.

There are some complaints that warrant action or concern -- namely, abuse. Physical, mental, emotional, even abuse of pets or children in place of the partner; these are major concerns. I have a male friend who related to me an instance when his girlfriend attempted to throw a lamp at his head -- I told him to get out and not look back. I listened to him attempt to explain the situation, tell me how his girlfriend was being overly emotional and didn't mean it, etc., etc., and I asked him what he'd tell me if this situation was playing out in reverse. Sure, maybe I was being too cut-and-dried, maybe she really was affected by medication she was on and all that, but seriously -- if someone tries to throw a lamp at your head, it may be time to rethink the relationship.

I have another male friend who used to relate to me domestic tales that were extremely overwrought and over dramatic and so on. I used to ask how things were going in crazytown, and other equally supportive questions (I'm a peach). He once told me that yes, while his partner was crazy, she wasn't as crazy as his past partners, so it was good. Again, let's change this up a little -- if someone tells me that yes, their partner is abusive, but not as abusive as their past partners, I'm not sure I'm telling them that this relationship is an improvement. And yes, here was a case where I was definitely only getting one side of the story and in select pieces, but... I've never claimed to lack for opinions. And contrary to popular belief, I share only a fraction of them.

Oh yeah, people would have trouble in my head. :/

Sometimes, opinions are formed just from exposure to or general knowledge of the couple. Even in long-term relationships, outsiders can form and share the opinion that the people in the couple either aren't meant to be together or just shouldn't be -- either because of how they interact as a couple, or maybe from genuine dislike of one half of the couple. Sometimes people stay together or take steps together because it's the next thing to do on the Grand Checklist of Life -- and not because they should take those steps together. Sometimes this results in divorce shortly after marriage; sometimes it shouldn't even result in marriage.

But once again, those are outsiders looking in. I've witnessed couples who interacted as though they were barely more than passing acquaintances -- how was I to know how they acted together in private? In this instance, they pretty much hadn't had sex together in two years (and this was maybe a 2 1/2 year relationship), but for all I knew they swung from the chandeliers the minute everyone else left. I've had boyfriends who didn't care to kiss in front of others, who didn't hold my hand, who would grab my boobs in front of my friends... I've witnessed couples who probably would've had sex in front of me if I was okay with it. I know of one couple where the guy masturbated the girl to orgasm behind their friend who was using the computer; there are couples who don't even like to acknowledge to others the frequency of their sexual encounters.

My point being, sure, I can and routinely do form opinions on relationships, and maybe I'm completely correct in my belief that said couple isn't meant to be together -- but in the end, what I know amounts to a pile of very little, no matter how verbosely I may say it.

And you know what? I think I'm going to continue this mental diarrhea on another occasion. While I do have a point, and I'm trying to get at it, the little bastard seems particularly elusive this evening -- and I think I want to do a bit of reading before bed.


Anonymous said...

What does it say about me that I feel somewhat bad that my antics were not wild enough to make this post? ;)

Jen said...

Well, if you're gonna be all anonymous and such, what am I to say about you? :)

Jamie said...

Was this at Billings? I'm pretty sure I saw you there, but I didn't say hi because you seemed deep in conversation.

And then I chopped off my hair.

Sarah said...

It was a good chat. You can tell by the amount of food for thought you're left with and I'm personally stuffed.

It is hard to really understand the real dynamic of any couple. Public persona is often so far removed from the private and most only share that with their partner, if anyone. I'm extremely cautious of passing judgment on relationships because I see how wrong, misinformed maybe is more accurate, others are about mine. Friends and family vary in their opinions from those who think we are the perfect couple to those who are completely baffled by what we possibly see in each other. And I can usually tell why they would think so, what piece of information they are missing.

Sometimes seeing how others see you can be very helpful though, a good way to check what you see.

Phil said...

And you misquote me!
I didn't say he was boring because he wasn't kinky, I said he was boring because he appears by all stretches, to be boring.

Jen said...

Actually, given that your comment about him being boring came after a discussion of kinky interests, I would say there was no misquote.

Phil said...

Only a misinterpretation which lead to such libel.