To Each His or Her Own

I’m a monogamous person. I don’t care what you are (unless you want to date me); I don’t judge what other people do. I do ask that the person I am in a relationship with honor it. If he feels he can’t, just call it quits first. I don’t cheat (to be honest, have not been even tempted once) and don’t find it difficult to avoid encouraging situations that might enable that sort of thing. I realize that not everyone acts like I do, but I am not interested in being in a committed relationship with someone who doesn’t. Which is why, once it looks like I’m about to be in a steady relationship, I prefer that we both sit down and make sure we’re on the same page. I make sure that when he asks for an exclusive relationship (in the past, it has always been my wannabe-boyfriend who has asked, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t in the future) that he is really sincerely asking for one, serious about it, and not just trying to make sure I don’t date someone else.

Look, I just take relationships of all kinds very seriously and try to respect other folks. My preference is not to worry about STDs or crazy third party drama and such. Again, I realize I’m a bit of an odd duck.

Like I said, I’ve never been the one in the past to initiate these “let’s be a couple,” “let’s be exclusive” or “let’s move in together” discussions, but when they do come up, I make my points of view clear. I suggest that he make sure that he’s asking for what he actually wants, and, if not, the status quo is cool by me for now.

When I am in a relationship, there’s my partner, and my brain sees him as a man, and then there’s every other male, and they are just guys. I can appreciate the attractive ones and have male friends and all that, but only one is the man that holds my interest. I don’t know how else to explain that. I’m also not jealous (occasional twinges of insecurity like all human beings, but that’s on me and something I need to get over and not on anyone else). My partner can have female friends, hang with exes, whatever. Until something actually happens to break my trust, I don’t go hunting for something.

Is this the One True Way? Of course not. It’s what works for me, at least right now. If it works for someone else who wants to be partnered with me, then great. If not, it is better know that ASAP rather than later on, so there are no hurt feelings and misunderstandings (at least on that topic).

It may or may not be significant that I have remained friends with all my exes, including those who have gotten married. The only one I don’t communicate with (though I don’t speak ill of him) is the one who chose to cheat on me and lie about it. I have made a point not to encourage any contact. (Long story short: He emailed, called and bugged both me and my friends for YEARS, unable to accept that I meant it when I said I wouldn’t talk to him after we broke up if he chose to handle the break-up badly. Still, he was not a bad human being, just one who chose poorly and when he was given a couple of months to choose to work on any relationship issues we may have had together or to break up, he chose to break up. Sadly for him, he got dumped by the woman he cheated on me with a couple of weeks after I moved out and moved on. Unsurprisingly, he had serious regrets at that point. What a surprise.)

I’m comfortable in my own company, have never felt lonely a day in my life, and would honestly rather be alone until I die and am eaten by Alsatians than partnered up with someone who has a radically different idea about fidelity and communication than I do. I have too many other areas of stress in my life to add that to my list.

Again, I must clarify, this is what works for me. Your mileage may vary. I’m not judging.

 

Here’s the counterpoint to my opinion, for variety:

The Fake Will Smith Account Needs to SFTU with the Stupid Platitudes

I’ve shared this before, and it annoys me each time I see it. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea: Don’t spend a lot of time thinking or feeling negatively about unworthy people. Okay, cool, I can try that out.

 

Fake Fresh Prince is Fake.

 

Once you start thinking about what that quote is actually saying, though, it becomes more problematic.

1. Will Smith and his wife have been dabbling in Scientology, going so far as to be involved in a Scientology tech-based school. Scientology is ALL ABOUT doing nothing without getting something in return (that is “out-exchange”, so charity and being a Good Samaritan is not part of their creed) and, further, Scientology is all about controlling customers’ minds through Training Routines which teach its customers how to obey orders and give orders without questioning them, and Auditing which encourages its customers to reveal deeply personal (blackmail) material and then unburden themselves to an auditor who functions as a psychology-averse pseudo-therapist, Knowledge Reports (grass forms / tattletale sheets), diktats from Source (4th-rate sci-fi author and cult leader, L. Ron Hubbard) on every conceivable area of one’s life that must be adhered to without deviation or question, bans on non-Scientology media, websites, books and unapproved entertainments (they used to go as far as to install “Net Nannies” on customers’ computers which would block access to “entheta” (negative data) websites), thought-stopping use of a special language rife with acronyms and what used to be perfectly good words in English (like “ethics”) which are twisted into unrecognizable Hubbardese, and mistrust of any competing technological advances or information (psychology is supposedly evil, medications are supposedly unnecessary because all you need is touch assisting or auditing or medically unsound concoctions like CalMag (a special Hubbard brew) or barley water instead of baby formula and any number of similar idiocies).

So, the idea of (real) Will Smith–who has AT THE VERY LEAST, chosen not to investigate Scientology before supporting a Scientology tech-based school–speaking about people wanting to “control your mind” is laughably disingenuous.

Clearly, Fake Will Smith shouldn’t pick quotes like this one. Bad form, Fake Will Smith.

2. You will also notice that Fake Will Smith’s advice depends on you carefully keeping some kind of scoresheet in your head, and making sure that “people who do so little for you” receive no thoughtful contemplation or emotional feeling from you unless they pass the “what have you done for me lately?” test.

This kind of attitude about relationships is infantile and self-centered, and the opposite of being genuinely kind and charitable towards everyone without regard for whether they “do” anything for you first.

This is not to say that people who are abusive or selfish deserve to be forgiven endlessly. Far from it. It is not a bad thing to examine a problematic relationship and determine whether it is healthy for you to remain in it. It is OK to say “no” to people. If you are dealing with an abusive, manipulative or passive aggressive person in a relationship, then thinking about the one-sided-ness and negative emotional impact of that relationship is healthy and a good idea.

If you are, however, keeping some kind of tabs on whether every person you are in some kind of relationship with, in your opinion, has done enough for you to “deserve” basic kindness or thoughtful consideration, then you are an asshole. Healthy relationships do not require scorekeeping.

Just my humble opinion.