Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Partnership Pablum

[ Click the image to read the article in its' entirety ]

As I was reading the newspaper the other day, this article caught my attention. The column is written by a woman named Amy Alkon, whose dubbed herself the "Advice Goddess." Though her title is relatively hokey, I always enjoy her columns. Sometimes I disagree with her and I find her advice too bogged down in humor to execute any real-life advice, and sometimes she's right on the money. This is one of those articles that is right on the money. Overall, she never ceases to make me laugh outloud.

I've highlighted the passages that rang particularly true for me. I, too, am one of those people that doesn't understand the whole obsession with being "completed." Lord knows I'm all for people finding love and/or someone they can relate to. However, on the flip side of that, I can't tell you how many friendships I have lost because a friend has gotten tunnelvision once they "found someone," only to magically have newfound interest in our friendship once the relationship has cooled off, or ended altogether. I guess I just don't understand why one has to forsake all sense of self once "coupled." Free-thinking, intelligent, fun-loving individuals who had previously been able to think for themselves, now have to confer with their "significant other" on the simplest of things. I actually used (emphasis on used) to be friends with a couple that made the Geneva Conference seem simple, every time I asked them (gone were the days of singular pronouns) if they wanted to get together sometime and play Boggle. For this they needed to sit and have a meeting of the minds for several minutes in hushed tones, while I pretended to busy myself with refreshing their drinks or paying a visit to the bathroom. For Christ's sake, it's a casual invitation to play a board game. It's not like I'm asking you for one of your kidneys! Personally, I find the whole coupledom mentality all very mystifying and more than a little disheartenting.

With all the talk of the "Covenant Marriage" that seems to be the GOP's latest religion-based delusion, you may also be interested in reading more about it:

What is a 'covenant?'
New Type of Marriage Would Be Tougher to Get Into, Out of
Covenant Marriage is Just a Bad Deal
Promoting the Tougher Vows of 'Covenant Marriage'


Blogger Mariana said...

About the article, it's very shocking to read a person so superficial that she will actually see it as an "embarrassment" to still be single, as if marriage was something just for show, instead of something you do for yourself. How superficial can you get? And the way the writer puts it it's like unhappiness is the price one must pay for a long-lasting marriage. Not getting a divorce in such a circumstance would indeed be stupid, irrational, like a self-inflicted prison sentence. No wonder most people either get a divorce, or find happiness instead, like me and my husband did, and our parents before us -- and millions upon millions of other people besides that, whom she strangely never mentions, as if there was no such thing, and the very idea of marriage was therefore absurd.

Regarding your post, if a friend only sees you between relationships he/she is the sort of "friend" who is only using you for company, and is not a true friend who appreciates you for who you are. It has nothing to do with what steady relationships do to people, and everything to do with that "friendship" being little more than a way for them to escape the emptiness of solitude.

As for whispering in front of other people, it is rude, and unacceptable behaviour. But I'm sure none of this is news to you. So why did you put up with it? Was it out of loneliness?

I think that having good friends is a lot about luck, and I'm sorry you had to put up with such a bad lot. It's great that you are now enough of a complete, self-sufficient person that you no longer put up with rude and mean people -- whether they're married or single -- who use you and abuse you. Not everybody is strong enough to do the same.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 3:52:00 AM  
Blogger littlehedgehog said...

I think that columnist is just incredibly bitter about couples and marriage and it makes me sad to see such bile and cynicism spread with an air of authority like that.

It's not healthy nor would it be remotely accurate to cast a blanket statement like she did onto every single long term couple. It's impossible to keep the fresh bloom on romance - and a lasting relationship would frankly be boring if it did keep that "new car smell" of romance all the time. I think the expectation that marriage is supposed to contain that crazy romantic nervousness encapsulated in a tragic play like Romeo and Juliet all the time *is* the direct cause of such a high divorce rate, or the rate of so many unhappy marriages. Romeo and Juliet were adolescent children - I don't want the same relationship I did at friggin fifteen years old. And I would be kind of sad to watch if I tried.

To have the expectation that not only the man I met and fell in love with at twenty-five would remain exactly the same is just as unrealistic as the thought that our relationship would not grow and change over the years. And that would be a retardation of our growth - as individuals and as a couple. I'm not the same person I was at fifteen or twenty-five. And neither are my relationships with my parents, sister, friends, or husband. We've all matured over the years.

As far as people not being considered whole until they meet their "soulmate" - well, that's just crap. That attaches a whole other unrealistic ideal to the person you're dating and your relationship with them and I think unrealistic expectations in any form are unhealthy and doomed to failure.

I'm sorry that you've had crappy friends who have behaved badly towards you when they've gotten in relationships. That's happened to me as well. And I worked really hard to not do that when I found Mr. Man. But I'm sure some of my friends would say I gave up some of my individuality when we were married. And maybe that's true to a certain extent. But there were some changes I had to make in my life in order to start a happy life with this guy and I've done my best to not begrudge my friends when they've made life decisions I haven't always agreed with either.

I'm sorry that woman has clearly had such bad experiences to cause her to become so bitter towards all relationships. And I'm extremely sorry to see her giving people advice on a subject about which she clearly has personal issues to work through before throwing any stones.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Wow, it looks like I finally blogged about something that people were interested enough in to get fired up about. Yippee!

I agree with the whole "embarrassment" factor. What's THAT about? I never understood the whole mind set behind someone's sense of self worth being wrapped up in someone else.

Ooh, your second paragraph made me rethink about the whole friendship thing. It never dawned on me that friends who "magically" had time for me when they were single, yet were forever "busy" once they became part of a couple, as staving off solitude. Food for thought and very insightful.

And to answer your question about why I put up with such behavior from married "friends"/couples, it WAS because of loneliness, pure and simple. I'll admit that. Once you reach a certain age friends get harder to come by and I guess I settled for what I could get at the time. However, in all honesty, it was a somewhat symbiotic relationship. They made time for me when THEY got bored or felt obligated to and I, in turn, used them as a loneliness fix, once I saw what kind of "friends" they were turning out to be. Think of it as Dial-A-Date.

Though I do still get lonely periodically, I am proud that I (unlike a lot of my friends) am just as comfortable eating lunch alone in a restaurant as I am having lunch with a friend. This also applies to going to the movies, events, holidays, etc. To most of the populous it's probably seen as "sad" or pitiful, but I'm comfortable in the knowledge that I can exist with or without the crutches that increasingly more and more people seem to have come to rely on these days.

Thanks for commenting!

You seem to not be alone in your opinion of the columnist. Due to my past experiences with people, I too must admit to being one of those people who fluffs the ol' blanket statement when it comes to certain topics. Coupledom being one of them. However, I couldn't agree more that if a relationship never changed and was forever sealed in some kind of timeless vacuum, it WOULD be boring. And, at the risk of sounding sappy, neither one of you would "grow" as individuals. Also boring.

I'll admit because of my personal experiences with "coupledom" I too am quite cynical when it comes to surrendering my independence. AND I'll also admit I do have a tendency to project my expectations on to friendships, who when they aren't met, I eventually lose interest in. But in my defense, I don't consider common courtesy to be a "luxury" that I must earn. I have gone through a lot of "friends" in the past 15 years and one can't help but become somewhat bitter over that experience. I've often wondered what I could have done to "save" some of them, but in most cases, it simply wasn't my fault. This isn't to say I'm perfect, but I am also insightful and realistic enough to know when I am on the receiving end of a one-way friendship. Like it or not, it's shaped my perception of people and my expectations.

I'm willing to take the blame for failed friendships, and have on more than one occasion (5 to be exact) extended the ol' olive branch all in the name of saving what I considered a worthwhile friendship. And even though, I wasn't the instigator of the problem, I've been shot down all 5 times. I'm simply at a point in my life where I'm not content to be the one making all the phone calls, hosting all the get-togethers, sending all the special-occasion cards, remembering all the birthdays and/or being the one to wait and wonder if someone is going to actually be on time, call and let me know they're running late and/or show up at all. I deserve just as much consideration and common courtesy as any boyfriend/girlfriend/husband and/or wife does.

Now if I could only get my own column in the local newspaper... lol!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2005 1:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mariana said...

You know Kirk, now YOU have given me food for thought -- why don't you make you own agony column on your blog? People could ask you questions on how you would solve their problems if you were in their shoes. Now that's something I'd like to see, Kirk the agony uncle... ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2005 7:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005 2:22:00 AM  

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