Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Do Opposites Attract?

Life is strange. Relationships are strange. We're strange in our own little ways. Bundled together and shared together, it becomes a 'thought to be' predictable venture, sometimes ending up to find out you were strangers all along, whether together for a year or for twenty. Change is good. Evolving from "one person" to "this person" is okay. When it involves someone else who is changing in a different direction, it might sever the ties that bind that particular relationship. Some people never leave a relationship that has taken two different paths because well, "they've invested so much into it" or "they have a history together". When it involves kids, it becomes more about being selfless or selfish. Whose happiness are you sacrificing besides your own? But, we all want to be happy. We all want that "perfect relationship" and I'm here to say there is no such animal. You either have to accept the imperfections to make it "perfect" or you have to decide whether or not to stay or leave. Ending a relationship or marriage that went beyond ten years, a house, some pets and maybe a kid or five means adapting to a whole new lifestyle - a whole new "life" in itself. It means moving out of your home, or having the people you love move out of your home --- whichever the case, the life is completely thrown up into the air with a bunch of uncertainties...and that scares us. So we stay. We try. We tolerate what we cannot stand. We grumble. We bitch and moan. We...are miserable.

The younger generation seems to think that you need the spark even after 5 or 10 years. In my opinion, this is why there are so many divorces. People give up so quickly once that fiery passion fades. I do believe that "passion" turns into a more loving experience in terms of intimacy, a "connection". And I dare the next person who says they still have butterflies in their tummy with their longtime spouse by taking a polygraph test. Sure, I believe there's love, but it's not like when they first met, or even the first year of dating. It's just different. Also, it's not a bad thing. There are stages of love.
  1. The courting stage (with the passion and butterflies we all want to keep forever)
  2. The planning stage (nesting and setting up for the future)
  3. The contentment stage (where you are comfortable, relaxed and have a newfound love - a "family" type of love for your partner) 

What happens when you're at stage 2 or 3 and your partner wants to trek it back to stage 1 again? Or, your partner or spouse goes through some midlife crisis, where he or she wants to live in a bar or go clubbing - a more "unsettled" life, as it was in stage 1, but for you, it's not so exciting anymore. Maybe an argument over that new convertible Porsche sitting in the garage or perhaps a night out with the boys becomes more of a daily happy hour venture that runs into all hours of the night. And of course, what if someone slips and has an affair because they found a "stage 1" type of feeling? The "stand by your man" statement was made in what --- the 1930's? Well, Hillary Clinton did it, but then again, maybe it was just to save her political career. I'm sure many women would have backed up her decision to divorce the feisty hubby in the oval office, but I think "traditional values" are more sought after when you're in such a high position. But what about for us little guys? We'd be shunned by our friends and family if we stayed with someone who cheated on us --- even once. I do believe in forgiveness and slip ups, but let's face it, a tiger never changes their stripes.

Commonality. It's rare to find. I am not a believer in "opposites attract" -- and I mean that in the sense of polar opposites. I also think you can't date your clone either. (At least for me, for good reason.) Now what I'm about to say needs to be taken with a grain of salt and an opened mind. A little more than 50 years ago, interracial couples weren't allowed to get married legally. It was also seen as a "sin" within society - or looked down upon for reasons of either 'not knowing their roots to the fullest extent' or just not adapting the culture whatsoever. People have overcome that and progressed so much throughout time. We've come together more, shared more, accepted more. But what happens when you date someone after a period of time and start to realize that you are still not adapting to their culture, to the ways that their family celebrates certain holidays or even, how they still feel tense around you due to your lack of knowledge of their race? You can't use the same terminology around them or perhaps you feel awkward talking at all, feeling judged and ridiculed over every word that goes against their accent or slang and lack thereof. On the up side, you have to be one helluva' confident person to keep plugging along in that relationship with all the challenges of the opposing cultures. It takes strength and determination to learn and share with people who maybe have no clue about your own heritage. They don't have to make an effort if they don't want to - it's all up to you to put your best foot forward, and sometimes that just isn't enough. If you're not "in" with their family, then half your partner's heart is elsewhere. If you don't combine your union with the extended family, it will be an eternal conflict, well at least until the relationship or marriage is over.

What's the glue that keeps your relationship or marriage together? Or, why do you think your relationship or marriage fell apart too soon?

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