Hard truths about relationships

(Supposedly less biased as I am technically single at the moment. Of course, since practically no one else here is single, I’m writing these for myself, as usual.)
Some of these are obvious, but they need to be said…

  • Every girl can be, at moments, devastatingly cute in her own way. There is nothing you can do to combat this: you will be utterly charmed. Just keep it in perspective.
  • Relationships manufacture coincidence. Each small similarity (as in: “we both like the same cereals! We’re so alike!”) is magnified and irrationally treasured. Even if you’re cynically aware of this phenomenon, you are still subject to it. Don’t let a sea of small similarities obscure bigger problems.
  • It’s never easy: even the dream girls have problems. Don’t be tricked into thinking that this new, interesting girl is somehow less problematic, unless you have concrete evidence.
  • It’s nearly impossible to avoid liking someone at first if she’s good “by the numbers”. Clearly this says nothing about long-term potential, but unless you have an iron will you can only find that out the hard way.
  • Similarly, you may like the idea of someone more than you like the person herself. Watch out…
  • Rarely do things “get better”. If you find yourself unhappy early on, there is probably good reason. (This from someone who tries very hard to make things work… I’m finally realizing that mostly it’s a lost cause.)
  • Sometimes self-interest can masquerade as kindness and goodwill. It’s hard not to be fooled at first.

Perhaps more to come…

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5 Responses to Hard truths about relationships

  1. ngj says:

    Don’t let a sea of small similarities obscure bigger problems.

    I concur that similarities are looked for, perhaps more than differences. But I’m curious what you mean by bigger problems–these seem to imply that differences are problems. Do you think they are? Only certain kinds/degrees of differences?

    • ratatosksv says:

      I think what he means is don’t let the fact that you can list 50 cute little similarities blind you to the fact that you have a couple of very serious fundamental problems with your relationship. It doesn’t matter if you both ate nothing but Lucky Charms and watched Tailspin every day and had My Little Pony’s and a Magna-Doodle if you can’t trust each other most of the time or have issues communicating your real feelings.

      • aj says:

        Yeah, this is exactly right.

        Also, I guess I should make it clear that I like dating, of course ;).

        • ngj says:

          Well… I did understand this point–I was actually being a bit digressive and trying to ask your opinion(s) on the age-old question of similarity vs. differences, and if differences==problems. And maybe now a second digression, inquiring “what makes things not work?”

          I personally have pretty little relationship experience compared to everyone else here(who’s had multiple-relationships, is engaged, married, etc.) I don’t really know what causes them to break or not-break, and would like to know.

          • aj says:

            Haha. Well I’m not married, so I don’t know what causes relationships to not-break… so I’m no help there :).

            I’m a bit loathe to talk about particular breakups, even though this is a friends-only post, so instead I’ll spew out some generalizations.

            I think breakups often occur due to a lack of respect (there are definitely other reasons, but I think this is a common one). This can manifest itself as boredom: “my s.o. has nothing interesting to say anymore”, etc.

            To maximize respect, I think there are two main parts:
            1. Differing abilities, and interest in the other person’s abilities. Trivially, say I am good at cooking and my s.o. is good at rock climbing — and she likes cooking and I like climbing. That breeds respect. I suppose there are these uber-dominant relationships in which one person is the alpha — smarter, funnier, better, whatever. I guess that works for some people… but not often.

            2. Similar personalities, motivations, and goals. It’s a lot easier to scoff at character “flaws” (differences) if you don’t have them/understand them yourself. Even if you think you’re nice, over time it’s the lack of understanding that will make you lose respect.. e.g. if you are ambitious and your s.o. is not, I think inevitably you may start to associate that with laziness, etc.

            So basically opposites attract… might be true, I dunno. Opposites work out… bunk.