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nealthesmol

The concept of a relationship blows my mind

14 posts in this topic

So as of lately I've been thinking about relationships more than usual. This may be because almost all of my close friends are now in relationships, as of the past month or so (with each other). I've tried my best to understand them, watch them (in an only slightly creepy way), figure out what it's all about, but they just BLOW MY MIND AWAY.

 

I still share the same opinion as I always have - relationships are, when stripped to black and white, friendship destroying, ultimately sorrowful means of temporary enjoyment. You will have at most one successful relationship in your entire life - unless either one of you dies or you're doing it a bit wrong. To me this doesn't really compute as I have grown to love my group of friends who are all dating one another, and can't imagine a world in which I can only be friends with one of them, under so much pressure to sustain a friendship so exclusive that if it ended it would leave both of us in tears.

 

This next part may just be me being scared of sex and whatnot, but I can't really imagine what it must be like to interact with your partner. Like, what thoughts run through your mind the first time you look upon them in that way? What feelings do you experience? Every time you see their name, is it a strange kind of reminder that you will probably eventually be inside one another? That's weird as heck! But I find it weird that despite being surrounded by people whom, to put it un-delicately, have been inside each other, I still look upon sexual relationships as some kind of alternate lifestyle or something.

 

I don't really know what I want from this post, but feel free to either agree, disagree, or just ignore. :D

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Why do you only consider a relationship that doesn't end a success? What's wrong with temporary enjoyment? Lots of things ruin friendships, sometimes just getting older and/or growing can destroy them. And you can have multiple relationships and have it not even be a little bit wrong. Things don't have to be exclusive to end in tears.

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I can see where the OP is coming from. When your nature does not lead to having a SO, you tend to see the world that way. Personally, I see having a SO as just a compulsion for most people, abetted by cultural programming and pressure from everyone around them to have a SO. But you do end up at an age when the compulsion lessens (because, you know, age) and the pressure from other people becomes the exact opposite, to not be "a dirty old man" or "a cougar."

 

It actually gets worse when you're a bit older than it sounds like the OP is right now, when everyone starts getting married and planning to have a family with children. Friends who get married tend to stay friends with you only if you're married too. It can get very lonely if you're still single. But that shouldn't mean you should get married just to keep your friends, any more than you should throw money at them just to keep them.

 

What I'm hearing here is some pain about the fact that people can dive into their brand new connection with an SO and abandon everyone else they ever knew and everything else they ever did. But the OP doesn't say that, so I'm not going to say anything about it.

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'Abandon' is a bit strong in my experience. Friends become a lesser priority than your partner, obviously, but not abandoned. 

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2 hours ago, nealthesmol said:

relationships are, when stripped to black and white, friendship destroying, ultimately sorrowful means of temporary enjoyment.

*approves*

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4 hours ago, nealthesmol said:

You will have at most one successful relationship in your entire life - unless either one of you dies or you're doing it a bit wrong.

I disagree. Not everyone defines a successful relationship as one that lasts a lifetime. That would be a pretty narrow metric of success, in my opinion. Relationships of any kind - friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, etc. - are opportunities for mutual growth and learning. The ending of a relationship, even if it is heart-wrenching, can still be an opportunity for growth and reflection. All the shared good times and valuable lessons learned during the duration of the relationship don't just vanish when the relationship ends. If it was a positive experience for most of it's duration, it's still worth something in my book. 

 

4 hours ago, nealthesmol said:

This next part may just be me being scared of sex and whatnot, but I can't really imagine what it must be like to interact with your partner. Like, what thoughts run through your mind the first time you look upon them in that way? What feelings do you experience? Every time you see their name, is it a strange kind of reminder that you will probably eventually be inside one another?

I've experienced sexual desire in the context of a relationship a couple times, and at least for me, it's not like that. On the rare occasion I entertain the idea of having sex with another person, then usually there is some deeper emotional reason: trust, affection, emotional connection, and all the unique traits of that person that I find inspiring and attractive. The thought of exploring sex with someone comes more as a compliment to those feelings, not something that supersedes all other thoughts I have about them.

 

To put it another way, for me, when the interest starts, it's more like an occasional thought of "hey, I'm feeling really connected and happy with this person - I wonder what it would be like to explore that closeness in a sexual way" rather than just sex sex sex all the time. The desire might become more frequent if I find the other person reciprocates it. If I already know they don't though (e.g. if they're asexual) then I'm quite happy to keep the relationship in a nonsexual headspace, since I enjoy nonsexual intimate relationships too. I'm flexible that way.

 

Of course, everyone is different. Perhaps someone else will chime in with a different experience. But hopefully that gives you an idea that it's not always as simple as seeing someone attractive and immediately wanting to jump their bones. (Side note: sex isn't always about being "inside each other" either; there are a lot of other ways to explore sexuality with someone.)

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2 hours ago, nonne said:

 But you do end up at an age when the compulsion lessens (because, you know, age) and the pressure from other people becomes the exact opposite, to not be "a dirty old man" or "a cougar."

 

 

Rather, the compulsion goes away because you don't care what others think about your status, and the pressure from other people stops because they figure you're mature enough to make your own decisions about your life.  

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There are some things that blow my mind about relationships when I think of them too much, but that is rarely...sober. :P Well, I mean, if you include a solid caffeine buzz as less than sober. It's not so much that they don't make sense, but I just can't picture myself ever feeling that way.

 

I can see people enjoying many relationships in their lives, if they leave on good terms. It is possible. It's the more boring outcome, so you don't see as much representation of it in media and entertainment, but it happens. There's a lot of personal development and positive memories that can come from relationships, let alone children that may be a pleasure to continue to share the other parent you're no longer with. A lot of this ends up being your own choice in how you choose to frame a relationship after it happens. Some of that will inevitably depend on the kind of person your ex is, but your own experiences are yours to reflect on and reshape according to how you benefit from them the most.

 

Of course, this is coming from somebody who doesn't fall deeply in love like romantics do, so I'm likely overstating the ease of this option to interpret your own experiences. Trust the people around here who have had more relationships. They have a more realistic view of the likely retrospective outcome of ended relationships.

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As a fan of relationship anarchy, I agree that the way a lot of people prioritize their relationships over everything else can be quite damaging. Like, when a friendship of mine is adversely affected because my friend can't behave the way they used to in order to satisfy some emotional need of their partner, I'm not okay with that. But I do think it's perfectly possible to have a life-partner sort of relationship and still not allow it to negatively affect your other relationships (friendship or romantic). It's just a matter of not allowing your partner to control you in that way, and I know plenty of people who act on that principle.

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Thanks very much for the insight!

A few things:

22 hours ago, nonne said:

It actually gets worse when you're a bit older than it sounds like the OP is right now, when everyone starts getting married and planning to have a family with children. Friends who get married tend to stay friends with you only if you're married too. It can get very lonely if you're still single. But that shouldn't mean you should get married just to keep your friends, any more than you should throw money at them just to keep them.

 

What I'm hearing here is some pain about the fact that people can dive into their brand new connection with an SO and abandon everyone else they ever knew and everything else they ever did. But the OP doesn't say that, so I'm not going to say anything about it.

I never even considered having all your friends marry, but then I guess that is waaaaay in the future for me - like you say.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm experiencing pain about people abandoning everyone other than their SO, just in my head, when I think about it, relationships come from friendships that are already close. While this isn't actually realistic, I think if were to get into a relationship, it would be with someone I am already close with. But then if we broke it up, a friendship that was once amazing would be gone because of our relationship, and therefore, I see all relationships as slightly 'friendship destroying.'

 

22 hours ago, MangoBanana said:

Why do you only consider a relationship that doesn't end a success? What's wrong with temporary enjoyment? Lots of things ruin friendships, sometimes just getting older and/or growing can destroy them. And you can have multiple relationships and have it not even be a little bit wrong. Things don't have to be exclusive to end in tears.

I do understand where you're coming from, and obviously most enjoyment is temporary - but I also tend to focus on prolonging enjoyment, and it comes back to my previous point. If I think I've got a better chance of prolonged enjoyment in a friendship than a relationship, it seems a little strange to me to opt for the latter.

 

 

Thanks for your responses, my mind is not quite as blown as it was a day ago!

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If you are friends with someone over a period of decades they are likely to go through stages when they are less available to socialize due to things that are happening in their life. The first few months of an intense romance is usually such a stage. If the relationship lasts long term, probably your friend will reemerge and begin to socialize more again. Of course, if they have children, that's a much longer period of being too tied up with their own life stuff to hang out much.

 

I think the key is to have quite a few friends, and to keep making new friends. Once you get to an age where most of your friends are married, consider making friends of different ages so they aren't all going through the same life stage at the same time. An aro ace probably is not going to be any one person's primary relationship, unless they do the work of finding a compatible queer platonic partner who wants a marriage like level of commitment. So, friends may move when their spouse gets a new job or something. It happens. I think it's better not to be too dependent on one friend or a handful of friends. If you have a lot of friends, it's easier to weather periods when you are a little less close to one of them. Later in life you could become closer again when they move back or their kids are grown or whatever. Like the campfire song says, make new friends but keep the old.

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1 hour ago, nealthesmol said:

Thanks very much for the insight!

A few things:

I never even considered having all your friends marry, but then I guess that is waaaaay in the future for me - like you say.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm experiencing pain about people abandoning everyone other than their SO, just in my head, when I think about it, relationships come from friendships that are already close. While this isn't actually realistic, I think if were to get into a relationship, it would be with someone I am already close with. But then if we broke it up, a friendship that was once amazing would be gone because of our relationship, and therefore, I see all relationships as slightly 'friendship destroying.'

 

 

 

All of my relationships start as friendships and develop when I get close to people. It typically doesn't destroy the friendship for me. We just go back to being friends. Breaking up doesn't always mean never talking to someone again.

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11 hours ago, nealthesmol said:

But then if we broke it up, a friendship that was once amazing would be gone because of our relationship, and therefore, I see all relationships as slightly 'friendship destroying.'

Friendships can break up too not just a relationship. And both friendships and relationships can break up for the same reason. Going by your reasoning I could say friendships are unnecessary and it is 'self destroying' and that one can be happy by being alone. Simply put, this isn't true and neither is your belief that relationships are meant to 'destroy something'. You are focusing at just the negatives. The positives from any relationships, be it friendships, family relationships, etc, is always long lasting.

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Life is a series of changes. We meet a lot of great people, some become very good friends, but rarely is that dynamic forever. People move on due to jobs, creating a family, or trying to find greener pastures in another state or even another country. I know I wont stay in touch with more than half of the good people I meet in college, and the number of those I will keep in touch with I could count on one hand. But even than it wont be the same like the college days. And more likely than not, my close friends will marry and have kids, strengthening the separation. This is why I want a romantic asexual life partner. I can't do a thing to keep my friends the same, but I can try to find some commitment in my life. That is one of the reasons why people get married in the first place. Having someone to be their in the times where life take friends and family away, having a consistent presence around can really help to have some form of stability in life.

.

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