Friday, January 29, 2010

"Perfect Love"

Through discussion with a few friends this week I have identified a few viewpoints/perspectives/paradigms that are not negotiable for me, within the context of a relationship. To begin with, I operate within a framework that may be considered "a life long-learner." This means that I value personal growth and am constantly striving to become a better version of myself (attempting to become the person God intends for me to be). As such, I strive to become a more balanced individual. In many ways, I seek people who have opposite personality traits than I do (specifically using the Myers-Briggs temperament) who can challenge me to become more balanced. However, it is not enough to find someone who may be opposite me in temperament, that person must respect and value our differences. If we do not both operate within a framework that recognizes that both of our temperaments/interests/etc. are valuable, the relationship and individuals will not thrive. It really just comes down to respecting and valuing one another and recognizing how eachother's differences compliment each individual. People who operate within a framework of self-righteousness (which may be a strong word to use here, but nonetheless conveys my point) and views their own temperament/interests/beliefs as superior to others are incapable of this kind of relationship. These kind of people often view themselves as "perfect" and have no desire to identify or develop their weaknesses or critically reflect on their beliefs and values. I refuse to be in a relationship with an individual who is unwilling to engage in critical reflection on himself and who does not value and respect our differences.

I have also recently determined the important role that "theories of compatibility" play within the context of dating and relationships. I operate from the "80-20 rule of relationships." I believe that you will only find about 80% of what you are looking for in a companion/spouse/mate. I believe it is extremely unrealistic to believe that you will find someone 100% "perfect" for you. And honestly, why would you want to find someone "perfect?" Isn't the amount of variation in humanity what makes the human experience unique? Personally, I do not want to be in a relationship where my companion expects me to be perfect. Think of how much pressure that would be! Also, I believe that a lack of awareness or acceptance of the 80/20 rule contributes to the occurrence of cheating. People often will find the 20% they may be "missing" in their relationship in someone else. The problem is, if they choose to act on that (either by cheating or ending the relationship, etc.) they essentially are losing the 80% and end up with the 20%. I hypothesize that people who expect to find the "perfect" person are MORE likely to fall victim to this situation. Of course this would need to be empirically tested to be validated. Regardless, I want to be with someone who recognizes that I am not perfect. I do not want to be put on a pedestal. I do not want the pressure associated with the expectation of perfection. I want someone who acknowledges that the 80% we have together is enough and desirable. To those who believe in finding the perfect person or perfect love I present the following quotes to be considered.

"The only perfection one will find in life is in imperfection."-me-

"Perfect love is rare indeed - for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain." -Leo Buscaglia-

Personally, I am completely overwhelmed and intimidated by this description of perfect love and characteristics of a perfect lover. Not to say I do not aim for these things, but I believe few would argue that to be able to fully satisfy each of these qualities is impossible, or at the very least very unlikely. Therefore, I find a great deal of comfort in the 80-20 rule because it takes pressure off the relationship and off each individual. Of course, supposing you embrace the 80-20 rule of relationships, the challenge becomes identifying which things must fall within the 80% and which are negotiable and may fall in the 20%. However, that is beyond the scope of my thoughts within this blog.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Putting the Sin in Single

Something that really frustrates me about our society is the constant emphasis on "couples" and relationships. Its as if being a part of a couple is superior to being single. As Carrie recognized in Sex and the City, there are numerous occasions that honor and recognize couples. Couples celebrate anniversaries, they receive numerous gifts through bridal showers/bachelorette parties, and of course the ultimate celebration of marriage. I'm not saying that these are negative things. But what celebrations and recognition of "singles" are there? None! A couple years back a group of my friends and I decided to host a pub crawl entitled "Putting the SIN in single" to honor and celebrate our singlehood. It was a BLAST and by far the most fun I've had on a pub crawl. But this is the exception rather than the rule. Singles end up isolated and in many ways disregarded by society. Fortunately I know many strong, independent women who are single...unfortunately we're spread out across the US (shout out to Mandy, Melissa, Cassie, and Angela...among others). Personally, I'd rather be single the remainder of my life then "settle" for someone just so that I'm in a relationship. I'm content with surrounding myself with amazing friends. However, that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Tonight I am celebrating 1 year of friendship with one of my best friends. Its not often that we celebrate anniversaries for friendships. I'm sure that part of that is that friendships tend to grow gradually and rarely require the DTR (define the relationship) talk that romantic relationships do. However, I think it is important that we celebrate friendships in the same way that couples celebrate their relationships. And often, these are the relationships that are going to be sustaining. I think it is likely, though, that we often take for granted our friendships.

To those of you who are single, embrace your singlehood and celebrate your friendships. To those of you who are part of a couple, enjoy your companion, but don't neglect your friendships. Because I have been on the receiving end of having a friendship neglected because of a relationship, and it is extremely hurtful. And also because I believe it to be extremely important, both individually and as a couple, that both people maintain their friendships. Otherwise the relationship bears the responsibility for satisfying all needs of each individual which is not desirable or healthy.

Today I urge you to recognize and appreciate your friendships. And for those of you who are single join me in living out the essence of "putting the sin in single," because lets face it, I don't want to be friends with a bunch of sluts! ;) Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who have supported me through the past year! Whether through phone calls, text messages, discussions over cocktails, or supportive comments on my blog. Love you all!