boyfriend chronicles – settling, deciding, lucking out

this is one of my more annoying, rubbing-it-in SO entries.  sorry/you have been warned.  i really try to stay cognizant of coming across that way and trying to be balanced.  i’ll write an entry about why dating/daniel sucks later.

tl;dr: decide to be your best in the relationship.  hopefully the decision isn’t difficult.

—————SETTLING——————

i was chatting with a guy on the pride ski trip. i could tell that he was generally not happy with gay culture/people, and i asked him (early 30’s) about his dating life:

“i haven’t dated anyone longer than 3 months…. i dated a guy when i was younger, and i thought i could do better, so i broke up with him. but i’ve since dated a bunch of people and nothing has lasted. i think that i would now be able to live without certain things and want to just settle down in a relationship.”

he also shared this story about dating a guy and liking him, and then the guy being weird and cold and breaking up with him, but then coming back and saying “i would date you if it were nonexclusive”. and then the guy agreed!!! and then of course just broke up with him soon thereafter.

Jezebel – Here is a single woman’s list of what she’s looking for in a man. Is it too long? (okay, sort of longish and similar to mine)

Talking to a friend of mine who was frustrated for not having found anyone I asked her what she was looking for in a man. I specifically asked for a short list. She gave me this.  Note that it says, “Qualities I love about my husband.” She wasn’t and isn’t married!  Here’s the list:

Qualities I love about my husband

  • Thinks I’m beautiful!!
  • Considerate
  • Sensitive
  • Intelligent
  • Humble
  • Great (“innocent”) sense of humor
  • multi-lingual/facility to pick up languages
  • kind
  • romantic
  • loving
  • Ever faithful
  • loves to travel
  • Generous
  • patient
  • calm/even tempered
  • compassionate
  • musically inclined
  • adventurous
  • ambitious
  • loves children (family oriented)
  • Enjoys all foods!!
  • educated
  • polite
  • cultured
  • healthy/physically fit
  • fun/fun loving
  • makes me laugh… from the gut
  • positive/happy
  • passionate
  • great amazing lover
  • likes animals (especially cats)

Quora – My ideal girl/boy is out of my reach, should I settle for what I can get?
How many people after all actually get what they wish for in terms of life partner?
Is the doubt or feeling of me settling, a sign that its wrong?
Will my notion of the perfect one change when I meet her?

the answers, more or less, which i agree with are that, 1) no two people are a perfect match, meaning there will be conflict and non-idealness, but 2) you should not, under any circumstances, stay with a person who you think you are “too good for” or someone who leaves you unsatisfied.  it’s an outlook thing, it’s a “it’s the journey, not the destination” thing.

The moment you call it “settling”, you’re fucked.  No human deserves such a hackneyed description, especially by you.

—————DECIDING——————

homeland. context, for those who don’t watch THE BEST DRAMA ON TELEVISION: carrie is talking to mike. mike is trying to downplay how much he cares about jess, a woman he used to sleep with. mike’s relationship with jess was cut short when the jess’s husband (presumed dead) came back from iraq.

Mike: It’s been a long time [since I’ve been with Jess].
Carrie: Not really. Not when you’ve chosen someone.

that scene sort of made me realize that… you have to choose your SO, like capital C, Choose your significant other.  and i get it, everyone sort of chooses their significant other, but there really is a difference between deciding and “sliding” into a relationship.  like, it’s not really a novel point, but 1) everything is a decision, and 2) deciding who your SO should be is extremely difficult.

NYTimes – Dangers of Cohabitating
She was talking about what researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.

Sliding into cohabitation wouldn’t be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn’t. Too often, young adults enter into what they imagine will be low-cost, low-risk living situations only to find themselves unable to get out months, even years, later. It’s like signing up for a credit card with 0 percent interest. At the end of 12 months when the interest goes up to 23 percent you feel stuck because your balance is too high to pay off. In fact, cohabitation can be exactly like that. In behavioral economics, it’s called consumer lock-in.

Quora – What is it like to be an adult and not have kids
If you really hate kids, the choice is easier. If you can’t imagine life without kids, the choice is easier. But I think for most of us, it’s a balance of advantages and disadvantages. Whatever choice you make, I hope you make the best of it. This is probably one place where looking back isn’t such a good idea.

i really like this answer.  everyone is different, everyone’s situations are different.  sometimes the decision is easy, but most of the time, it’s really fucking hard and difficult to decide.  live and decide thoughtfully.

the gas station question. each year, my high school friends reunite around xmas time. and each year, we revisit two questions: 1) the smartness/hotness potential tradeoff (discussed here), and 2) the gas station question.

the prompt is this: you are driving from san jose to san francisco, and you need to fill up on gas. you want to spend the cheapest amount on gas, and all the gas prices are distributed in a way that you don’t know much about. once you pass a gas station, you can’t go back to use that gas station. how far along your journey will you know a “good” price for gas vs. a “bad” price for gas? and when should you buy gas?

the correlation to dating life is: you have a dating lifespan of 15 to 45, let’s say. you might see a good price, but maybe there is cheaper gas farther along. but at some point, you have to decide to “get gas” and choose someone. watch out though, don’t wait too long because you might be waiting until the last gas station–which may be the most expensive.

so it turns out that THIS QUESTION HAS ALREADY BEEN EXTENSIVELY DISCUSSED. Wikipedia – Secretary Problem. and basically, after 37% of the relevant time, you know enough about the distribution that you should be able to make an educated decision and you should choose the next good option that comes up, and don’t pass it up because a better one may not come along. (so choose someone at around 27yo.)

—————LUCKING OUT——————

i was at the race this weekend and was talking to a guy who was married for 35 years:

me: so what’s the secret?! were you guys just lucky? or was it something totally different?
guy: [looks at me, pauses] I’M the lucky one.


dan savage – price of admission.
  i am a devout follower of the church of dan savage.  one of his many really great theories is the price of admission.  and the price of admission is ostensibly about not yelling at your SO to do the dishes.  because the “price of admission” is that you basically have to do some things that you don’t like and put up with things you don’t enjoy to be with the love of your life.

more generally, he talks about how in a relationship, we need to maintain the lie that we told when we started dating, like when we put our best foot forward and i pretended like i was a great guy.  and i am honestly so appreciative that i still have that with daniel (with a few exceptions), that even almost one year in, that we both feel the genuine need and desire to put our best foot forward, that we both feel fortunate that we found each other, that we still need to impress and woo the other person. not necessarily because it’s fear-driven, but because we know not to take the other person for granted.

My boyfriend and I have a solid relationship built on lies and deceit.  When you think about it, when you meet someone for the first time, they’re not presenting their warts and all self to you.  They’re presenting their idealized self to you, they’re leading with their best.  And then eventually you’re farting in front of each other, eventually, you get to see the person who is behind that facade, of their best.  And they get to see the person behind YOUR facade, behind your lie self, this lie that you presented them about who you really are. And what’s beautiful about a long term relationship and what can be transformative about it is I pretend that, everyday, my boyfriend is the lie that I met, when I first met him.  And he does the same favor for me, he pretends that I’m that better person that I actually I am, even though he knows I’m not, even though I know he’s not.  And we then are obligated to live up to the lies we told each other about who we are.  We are forced to be BETTER people than we actually are, because it is expected of each other.  And you can, in a long term relationship, really make your lie-self come true.  If you’re smart.  If you demand it of them.  And you’re willing to give it to them… And that’s the only way you become “the one”.  Is if someone is willing to pretend you are.  “The one” that you were waiting for, “the one” they wanted, “their” one.  Because you’re not, nobody is.  No two people are perfect for each other, ever.  No two people are 100% sexually compatible, no two people are 100% emotionally compatible, no two people want the same things. 

i don’t know whether it’s sustainable past initial phases of dating, but, i think it’s helpful in the realm of conflict resolution and compromise and not losing your threshold of yelling at your significant other.  i personally find “i’m lucky” way more flattering than “i love you” (which everyone knows that i find a little cheapened).  (and i do feel extraordinarily lucky that the decision was not difficult.) (to clarify, two different types of luck: 1) randomly running into a soul mate who likes you back, and 2) being lucky that a decision isn’t difficult.  which are sort of one in the same and sort of different)

OBLIGATORY SMBC REFERENCE:

20130105

Daniel: ugh, I love you, but I won’t truly know the meaning of the word until year 3! but until then, it’s my greeting!!

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