Why relationships fail

I just spent the weekend with someone that I have been friends with for nearly 30 years so I feel like I know a thing or two about how to make relationships last… but I don’t. I do however know a thing or two about how to make relationships fail. I’m been sitting on this knowledge for a while because I’ve been thinking, “Who the fuck am I to be giving relationship advice?”

I really thought it would be a great post. I even had a great title, “The Three C’s of Relationship Failure”. But then, today, I learned of another C and decided I might as well put this out there now before I get any smarter and it becomes too much to write about. Relationships are way too complicated to put in a blog post anyway. By the way, complicated is not one of the C’s that I had thought of.  To me that is not an issue, that should just be a given if you plan on getting into a relationship.

So here are my three C’s: Communication, Compatibility and Control.

I’m going to take on Compatibility first because it’s the easiest. Some people are just not meant to be together. You want different things, you believe different things, you want to do different things; maybe you want to be with different people. That’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad people. It just may mean that you don’t want to be with each other… at least not in that way. So don’t. If you do work in another way then do that. Not everybody can be everything to everybody but everyone has something to give.

I know that there are many relationships that survive between people who never talk but they are probable between people that never should have been together in the first place. Sorry, some relationships suck even if they stay together. Communication is key to any relationship and communication is not easy. Read my post Lost In Translation. I think that more relationships end because of problems with communication than anything else. I’m sure that there are other problems but the problems wouldn’t seem so big if we could just understand each other. People just want to be heard, to be seen, to matter and if there is bad communication, that is not happening.

The other one is Control and this one is big. We have control over ourselves but when we try to control others, problems are guaranteed to happen. Believe me, I get it. Shit is out of control and so the natural response is to try and control it. It just doesn’t actually make things better. Well, it may make things better for you, but this is a relationship which means it’s not all about you! You can’t MAKE a relationship work. You need to step back and LET a relationship work. I’m sorry if that’s a little Zen for you but it’s true. There are a lot of things that you can make work but a relationship is not one of them.

Okay, and then today I learned about another reason and it really makes sense to me. I call this one Competition. I know that historically relationships have been held between people of unequal status with defined roles. I think that is a totally fucked up concept but it doesn’t matter what I think; that shit just doesn’t fly these days. But competition can still occur in a relationship between equals especially if you are in the same field. In the example that I heard today they were both competing to be the best parent. Yeah, I can totally see that a being a problem. Seriously people, if you both are trying to do your best to care for a child that should be a good thing. Don’t let competition screw it up!

As I’ve been thinking about this subject I’ve come to the realization that there is another issue that is probably bigger than all the others combined. We all mess up in these areas. None of use are perfectly compatible with each other. We all struggle at communication and we all have control issues. It is in our nature to be competitive. If we want to make it work we need to learn to accept our faults and the faults of our partner. I’m not saying that every couple should just suck it up and deal but if you have found someone that you really love… then work on it.

If you have compatibility issues then work on them.

If you have communication issues them work on them.

If you have control issues then work on them.

If you have competition issues then work on them.

Love is worth it!

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Alone again

So last night was amazing. I didn’t stay sober but that was expected. In that respect everything went as expected. I woke up this morning on my couch in the living room, a spoon in an open jar of peanut-butter, still wearing my clothes from the night before and one combat boot.

And I was alone. I don’t know if I expected that to be different but I was certainly open to the possibility. I’m really starting to wonder if that is a realistic possibility. I’m seriously starting to doubt whether anyone is getting laid these days. I ran into a friend of mine, a totally hot, horny, polyamorous, bisexual married woman who is not having sex. Seriously, if she’s not getting any then who the fuck is?

I somehow feel like this is partly my fault. I’m trying. I’m doing everything in my power to make myself as sexually desirable as possible. I want there to be more sex in the world. I certainly want there to be more sex for me but I feel like the traditional avenues have been cut off. All of my life goals are completely contrary to being in a relationship so it’s not going to happen that way. The drunk hookup clearly isn’t happening but I don’t think that is really what I want either. Prostitution, although I don’t have any moral objection to it, has never been a turn on for me.

So I’m left with the sober hookup or having sex with friends. The sober hookup is only going to happen if I am really, really horny and kind of desperate. As much as I love, want and need sex my sober self still finds it kind of gross. It’s smelly and sweaty and I don’t care how hot a person is, the human body is just inherently kind of disgusting. Alcohol can help me look past all of that but really what allows me to be attracted to someone is being able to see inside that person. I need to connect with their soul.

That means that I need to deal with all of the emotional complications that come with having sex. I’m okay with that. In fact I’m more than okay with that. It’s actually the emotional connection that I’m seeking. If it was just physical I would totally be happy with masterbation but I’m not. I still feel like there is something missing. I want to be able to share that pleasure with somebody but it needs to be somebody that I deeply care about.

Fortunately I care about a lot of people. I just need to take the time to do the caring. If I’m going to have the kind of sex that I want it’s going to take an investment of time. Since a romantic relationship is not something that I have to offer and what most people are seeking in sexual situations it’s also going to take a lot of clear communication. I think it’s natural for the heart to turn to romance when sex and emotions are brought together. I just don’t want to create any false expectations. I know how bad that can turn out.

So it’s going to be a challenge. That’s okay, I’m always up for a challenge. At least now I have some clear and realistic expectations. I know it’s not going to “just happen”. I know it’s not just a matter of luck. It’s going to take work and it’s going to take time. At least I don’t have to feel like a loser for not getting any.

Mixed emotions

I’m still high on hippie love from Project Earth at Harmony Park. It was an incredible weekend. I worked hard and I played hard. I interacted will all sorts of amazing and beautiful people but what just blows my mind is how much I felt appreciated for just being me. I was asked to participate in this event. I was wanted. I just showed up and did what I do. I helped set up and tear down the Kiddie Village and I played some of my own songs on the Kiddie Village stage. It really wasn’t that much but I was made to feel like I had contributed something meaningful. I mean, people actually really liked my songs which still kind of freaks me out. Other than that I just dressed in my usual crazy clothes and pranced around enjoying the music and talking to random people at the festival.  This is just what I do but everywhere I went I was met with hugs and smiles. It’s empowering and makes you feel like you could change the world.

But then I returned home to message containing  this quote by Danielle Koepke:

“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend or new acquaintance- You don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behaviour and makes an effort to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and “continues” to treat you in a harmful way, they have to go.”

I really like this quote; I even wrote her to let her know. I don’t like it so much when someone uses it to refer to me as a toxic person who has to go. That really hurts.

So today has been spent doing a lot of soul searching. How is it that all of these people who barely know me at all can show me so much love and then someone who knows me as well as anyone thinks that I’m toxic? Logic would suggest that I really am a toxic person. Logic would suggest that if I want people to like me I probably shouldn’t let them get to know me that well. Logic would suggest that writing this “tell all” blog is probably the worst idea in the world.

But logic does have it’s limitations. There is something deeper than logic and that is the truth. The truth is not always logical, nor is it always pleasant, desirable or even practical. My quest is for the truth, even when it is not pretty, even when it doesn’t benefit my self interest and without regard for whether it makes any fucking sense at all.

I actually don’t believe that there are toxic people. I believe that people can be in toxic relationships and that the relationship has to go but I don’t believe that people are inherently toxic or nontoxic. The truth is we all have toxic elements to us or elements that are toxic under certain conditions.

I really liked that part of Danielle’s quote where she talks about owning up to your behavior and making an effort to change. I think that this is an important component in any healthy relationship but you also need to personally believe in the change that you are making. It needs to be a change that makes you a better person, not just a person who is better able to live in a toxic relationship.

When I wrote Danielle I included these thoughts of my own:

If you don’t want to change, if you are comfortable with your behavior and are let go because of it – that’s okay too. You are being let go to go be yourself. Embrace your freedom!

I try to have the best relationship I can with every person in my life. I love everyone with all my heart but everyone is different so every relationship is different. It’s sad when it happens but some relationships are toxic and in those cases, the best relationship is no relationship at all.

 

I suck, so what

I feel like I have been putting off writing this post for an eternity. That’s probably because I’ve been doing nothing but thinking about it for the past few of days while finding all sorts of other things to do instead. To be fair, they were also things that needed to get done but I can tell when I’m avoiding something.

It all started Saturday night. After driving pedicab all afternoon I figured I had done enough damage for one day and decided to take the night off. I thought it would be fun to check out some of the downtown clubs that my my pedicab customers frequent. While not my scene, I’ve got to tell you that these places sure know how to throw a party. It didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the action. It was fun seeing life from the other side of the fence. I even took a drunken pedicab ride three blocks between club stops. Pedicab rides are fucking awesome. Totally worth the twenty bucks I gave him.

When the last club I tried to get into had a line around the corner I decided that I had had enough and retreated to more comfortable surrounding. I headed to the Brass Rail, a small gay club on Hennepin Ave. There I ran into this super cute boy that I have had a crush on for a couple years. We had one amazing date but nothing since. We run into each other from time to time but it always feels a bit awkward.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that awesome of a date. Maybe it was pretty bad, or as he put it to me that night, “THE WORST DATE EVER”.

Yeah, I suck at dating. I really have no idea how it works. I’ve probably had twelve first dates in my entire life. I can’t remember how many turned into second dates but if it was two I’d be surprised. All of my relationships have been either love at first sight or friends first situations -no dating required.

That’s fine. I don’t need to date. I’m not even sure I’m that good of a boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a good guy and I try hard but there is something to the whole relationship thing that I appear to be missing.

At least I’m a good friend… or so I thought.

Sunday I got a text from close friend saying that she was needing to pull away from me. We had just started to reestablish contact after a year of separation. I guess it was too much or too soon but it made her uncomfortable. “Okay,” I thought, “do what you need to do to take care of yourself.”

On top of that, the most important person in the world to me, except for my children, hasn’t spoken to me in two weeks. I guess everyone needs a break from me from time to time. I get it. I’m kind of intense; I can be a lot to deal with and from time to time I downright suck!

Last week I was having drinks with a friend. He thought my post about the 5 Secrets for a Happy Life was a bit harsh. I responded, “My blog is called Life Sucks, So What?!?“. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that tone is a somewhat harsh.”

His response was that life doesn’t suck, people do. He makes a good point. People do suck. I suck, you suck, we all suck in one way or another at one time or another. I just also see the amazing things that people are capable of doing for one another. For me, the only salvation from this sucky life is in the kindness and generosity of others.

I also have a hard time judging others for how much they suck without being equally judgemental towards myself. But maybe that’s just me. When I see someone doing something that annoys me my first response it to look at myself. More times than not I find myself going, “Oh yeah, I’ve done that.”

One of my pet peeves is when people leave their turn signal on after making a lane change – something I do all the time. I will pull ahead of them and put my turn signal on. They idea is that they will get annoyed with me and then realize that they have their turn signal on. This never works though. The other night I was heading back to the pedicab garage. I was following another driver who just so happened to have his turn signal on. We actually do this all the time. They don’t release like a car turn signal. I was just about to get on the radio to let him know when I realized that I too had my turn signal on. In fact, that is why he had his on. He was signalling to me to turn off my turn signal. I was amazed to learn that someone else actually used this technique. I was also amazed to see it work!

So I suck at dating, I suck at relationships, I suck as a friend and I suck at turning off my turn signal. In the past few days I have managed to piss of a co-worker and the owner’s mom (not a good idea). I suck at just about everything I try to do.

So what? So what do I do?

I do my best and I work everyday, every moment to do better. That is the gift of sucking – there is always room for improvement. Some people appreciate this. In fact a lot of people really like me. More than I probably deserve think that I am amazing. Are they wrong? I don’t think so. I think that I am pretty amazing but even so, sooner or later, I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to do something that rubs you the wrong way, I’m going to piss you off.

I’m going to use that as an opportunity to grow. The question is… are you?

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