Monday, June 20, 2011

Seeing anybody?

I am endlessly amused by every one's fascination with my relationship status.

"Seeing anybody?" is one of the first questions I get whenever I encounter a friend for the first time in a while. To me, it's a silly question. How can you think you know me and yet ask something so inappropriate?

But I know why. People ask me this because they care about me and are locked into the assumption that this is some significantly relevant factor toward my personal happiness. People believe in their fundamental normalcies. In a society where things are labelled legitimate not because they are sane, logical and truthful but because they are the norm, few question the legitimacy of the Western world's marriage/relationship model, which truly, can not be said to be legitimate or not. To be truthful, you have to break it down into its many components and judge them individually.

I can not support this all-pervading relationship model for many reasons. The mandatory reciprocity component goes against my personal instincts. Some components create flawed expectations and demand phony behaviour to compensate. Some demand exclusivity which become barriers to maximizing the other relationships in my life. And mostly, it fails to incorporate what is to me the most profound kind of love in existence that I know of - the state of radiating lovingness.

Surely there are useful components to the standard model: Financial security; stability; a useful framework within which children can be raised; the promise that you will not be left alone. And perhaps most notably: The feeling of having someone or something special.

But allow me to play devil's advocate:

Unfortunately all these good things above are to varying degrees tainted when I view them from outside the matrix of illusions. The level of financial circumstance we think we need is unnecessary, greedy, corrupt and undeserved when viewed from the global, not national, perspective. Stability is a solution to a problem that is largely illusory to begin with, and on the balance, one that stems from the very mindset that suppresses organic love and promotes marriage to begin with. There have been cultures in which children were raised more by communities then parents. Akin to the superior health of cross-bred dogs, might not such children emerge healthier mentally; freer from the particular biases and derelict views of the biological parents and exposed to greater volumes of ideas and with a capacity for choice? No matter. The biochemical programming that binds parents to children is currently far too powerful to mess with. Let's not even discuss the illusions that stem from it.
With regards to the remainder of the pro-marriage list, let me offer my own living experience; that from a marriage-type relationship that failed in its thirteenth year. Yes it failed ultimately but it was a successful, non-failing relationship for twelve years; full of good times and bad times; loving, fighting, negotiating and compromising.

Yet these days I am less alone. I'm surrounded by special people. And I am more guaranteed to not be alone precisely because I do not put all my eggs in one basket. I do not live in fear that divorce will topple my life. And there is no jealousy present within my home to temper my adorations with-out.

People in healthy marriages feel they are so lucky, their partner so special, partly because - well maybe those partners are! But partly because of the barren emotional landscape they were accustomed to prior. We come from an ass-backward society that says No, you can't love her. She's not the correct age. No, you can't love him, He's not the correct gender. No, you can't love her because she's already obligated to a relationship contract. No, You can't love her because you're already bound to a relationship contract. No, she's too rich. No, she's too poor. No. Wrong race. Wrong religion. Wrong social class.

No! You can't love her because she doesn't love you back!

How much organic love is suppressed because of our mandatory reciprocity model? 95%? 99%? And where it isn't, where someone brave speaks out - well, they're just creepy. You're a creep if you love when you're not supposed to. Shame on you.

Well, I don't listen to those rules anymore. If you know me personally, you might just want to watch the hell out. I might just say I love you any time now!

Am I saying marriage is wrong? No. If you feel marriage is right for you and yours, go for it. I will gladly come to the ceremony and celebrate your love. I'll even surrender a wad of cash and be oddly touched by your in-laws' goofy speeches. But if you dare to put me on the podium you will receive from me a healthy dose of loving sincerity; not an embarrassing good-time anecdote.

What I'm saying is that marriage should be understood for what it is and what the sacrifices are and most importantly - that your marriage is yours to custom design. Allow for organic legitimacy. Don't demand to be the number-one partner for all of a hundred categories every day. Don't redeem your contractual promise to be loved every day. Instead, earn it.


Andrew Rosenberg said...

So the answer

Crushed said...

I agree

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

The answer is yes. I see people all the time. Some of them don't even know that they're people.