"It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired." --Robert Heinlein

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Relationship Ending Events ... and Finally Succeeding

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Sometimes we get no choice in the matter. A friend or relative dies. A romantic interest tells us he is breaking it off. A person we care about stops responding to e-mails or phone calls.

Other times, we have to make the decisions ourselves. Those are the difficult moments -- when somebody we care about does something that violates our deeply held values, or when we realize that a relationship no longer brings us the pleasures it once did. Many of us hold on for a long time, hoping to wait out the problems or resolve the issues. Others of us become enraged and break things off precipitously. Either way, the end of a relationship hurts, leaves scars, and often distracts us for months.


People will come and go, whether we want them to or not. More confusing to deal with are the people who want to stick around, yet violate our internal standards of conduct. For example, the supposedly monogamous husband who "cheats" ... the live-in partner who keeps falling behind on his agreed portion of the rent & utility payments ... the boyfriend who becomes verbally or physically abusive ... the hot guy who doesn't seem interested in sex anymore ... the chronically stressed-out companion who is too worn out to make good company ... the man who wants to socialize too much with his friends, or too little with ours ...

The "issues" range from the profound -- lying about sexual safety -- to the mundane -- failing to do his share of the chores. And they happen to everybody who tries to have a long-term relationship. At some point our vision of what we want from our mate will collide with reality, and we'll have to decide whether to muddle through, or flush the toilet.

There is no perfect mate. There are imperfect mates, and there are single people.


It seems to me, from my 18 years of romantic experience, and from my 35 years of watching the rest of y'all ... that there are two basic routes to a truly successful long-term relationship. One of those is the religious route, in which the two people share the same religious programming and commit to stay with each other no matter what. The other is what I'll call the "I'm tired of all this crap" route, in which two relatively mature individuals have been through enough relationship crap with other people, so that when they "finally" find each other they know how to build a successful relationship together.

I doubt I'm intellectually capable of the religious programming route ... I think too much ;-)

However, I might finally be ready for the "tired of all this crap" route. The trick is to find somebody else who is "tired of all this crap" ... and is attractive to me, and who finds me attractive, and who is single.

Whoever this fella is, he probably has to be older than 21. He's probably tried more than one long-term relationship, as well as one or more periods of sluthood and chastity. He's probably made some big mistakes and been kicked out for them, and he's probably kicked out some other guys for making big mistakes. He'll have baggage, but he'll know how to unpack that baggage in the light of day, so that others may inspect it with him and know what to avoid.

Where will this fella hang out? How will I find him? He'll hang out where he enjoys hanging out, and he'll be enjoying himself there, and he won't be "on the make" or looking for anything in particular. And I'll notice he's smiling, and I'll say hello.

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