Feb 26 2004:
In many ways I prefer monogamy as well, however as a solution even that seems incomplete. A relationship between lovers is enriched by the enrichment of the individuals with outside friendships and connections and interests. Outside love affairs can cause horrible problems. Where the dividing line is between enrichment and problem can be described with generalizations, but it is blurry and changeable.
How I am in love relationships and what types of sexual relationships I can partake in continues to change for me. I’m no longer strictly romantic, yet I can still fall in love. Nowadays I can relate in any way along the rainbow from friend to fuck buddy to short term boyfriend to long term boyfriend to mate to partner to husband. The more serious, the more willing I am to be monogamous, and the less of an imposition that is. But even there, everything changes, and I suspect that as long as I live I will always want to chase a piece of skirt from time to time.
To understand something is to freeze it into a pattern, to see the relationships and dynamics of the parts. But such understanding must, by the nature of it, be a snapshot. Monogamy when? When in the initial stages of dating? When in the flush of the bloom of passionate romantic love? After years of being partnered? When 20 years of age? During the rediscovered adolescence of male midlife? The lines used to delineate the advantages and disadvantages are a bit shifty, in the same way as the lines that delineate the differences between men and women. Real and meaningful, but blurry and changeable and most useful in the general sense, not the specific.
I recall a meditation exercise as taught by Pema Chodron. It is called tight and loose. The idea is to be very tight in ones mindfulness and attention for a minute or two, then to be much more loose and free with ones mind and attention for the same period of time, and alternate back and forth like this. Doing so is supposed to better illuminate the full nature of mind, as well as illuminate what it means to be tight, and what it means to be loose. To explore one extreme is to explore the other, by virtue of the contrast.
Feb 27 2004:
I knew you were engaged, but with you I still never felt my Eros drive was misplaced. I felt no need to hold back, no level of intimacy and commitment seemed inappropriate. I’m just sincerely fucking with these kids. I don’t know what to make of it or what else to do. Having multiple casual lovers seemed the appropriate level of commitment for the girls I’ve met, but that doesn’t work. Being monogamous has it’s own problems if I am less serious and in love than my mate. There aren’t any truly interesting women I can be serious about here – that just isn’t going to happen. So my passion and love will have what effect?
Mark seems to have done a much better job at reaching out to the larger community here. Tonight he is attending a wedding of the author for the Lonely Planet guide to Thailand. He also met someone at the Irish the other night who talked about Wilber’s work. He has social interests that don’t ultimately reduce to pussy. I wonder what that’s like.
March 29 2004:
Jealousy is mysterious. I suppose there are types and levels even of jealousy. I’ve known some girls for whom being slighted and being jealous were almost the same emotion. For others the insecurity comes up only when very deep bonds of intimacy are threatened. I can feel strong jealousy in such cases. I can control my reactions and even somewhat control my attitude towards the jealousy, but the raw emotion is like passion – it will not be lidded without lidding life. I consider dealing with jealousy similar to being able to hold strong drink.
April 2 2004:
I think I mentioned to you that newscientist.com published an article regarding research into the relationship between mental health and the number of partners that one has had. For men there was a positive correlation between mental health and having broken up with past lovers, and for women it was negative. I don’t think that the study attempted to examine if traditionally male attitudes of feeling financially or socially independent had an effect on the self assessments. I’m reminded of the ancient Japanese technique of dying bolts of cloth. First they are died, then bleached in the sun, then died again, then tumbled down the river, died, and repeated and repeated until the cloth stops to fade. Can the little deaths of heartbreak strengthen resilience, making our underlying mood less variable?
April 24 2004:
This is a basic flaw in your thinking. People in the 50’s used to use the term “failed marriage” for divorce. That was culturally appropriate. This is 2004. People choose serial monogamy. To part with a lover or girlfriend is not a failure, any more than death is a failure. It’s is normal. It is supposed to happen that way. The greater failure is to compromise your individuality into “the relationship” until you are so pussy whipped that you can’t tell up from down. A “successful” monogamous long term relationship? Didn’t Dante describe that in one of his circles of hell? For many men and women, it would be far better to be in a series of “unsuccessful” relationships.
Yeah, love leads to heartbreak. We all want to live forever. We want love to live forever. It can – in the same way that grass lives forever – through the rejuvenation of death and rebirth. The brightest and tastiest greens are from new sprouts.
I may marry again one day – if I meet true peer. I won’t expect it to last, but I might give it a go. In the meantime, I plan for planned obsolescence. Many people think like me. Breaking up is not bad – it is supposed to happen that way. I was supposed to break up from grade 3. I was supposed to break up from my 1st wife. Yeah, it can hurt. That isn’t bad. It is not an epidemic. How can you embrace living for a long time if you can’t embrace dying a lot? It is supposed to happen that way. It is a good thing. We are experiencing an epidemic of people being honest individuals willing to move forward and get on with their lives, grieve and re-discover more appropriate loves. That’s good.
My main point is that the notion of staying together should not be associated with any measure of success or health of the relationship. Often it is the opposite. My opinion is that the modern trends to divorce are much more healthy than they are unhealthy. We are getting closer to re-inventing ourselves as individuals, and becoming less constrained by a “what will the neighbors think” mentality.
There have been scientific studies that show that of the minority of people who remain married for more than 10 years, only 10% of these report that they remain married out of love. So making long term monogamy some aim or ideal is like making winning the lottery your career ambition.
Jan 16 2005:
I’m having a hard time here with the local “fact” that relationships and marriage are supposed to be forever. The girls I’ve met so far have been less exposed to the idea of casual pre-marital dating. Quite different from Thailand. Of course people are people, so even though divorce is illegal here, men and women still fool around and couples still separate and young girls still get pregnant with no husband. These happenings are considered anomalies. Wrong things that aren’t supposed to happen. If people just followed the correct rules, we’d all find our true soul mate and live happily ever after. Ya, right. I say, learn what the world is, don’t invent one and ignore whatever doesn’t fit into one’s nice tidy interpretation by calling it “wrong” or an anomaly.
I’ve been learning things I had no idea about before. It seems that some of the most attractive men and women become promiscuous, and choose to live a lifestyle of bachelor and bachelorettehood – at least for a time. The plain looking don’t get to play that game. So at some nightclubs, the very beautiful flirt, and go in and out of relationships. The less attractive have no choice but to play the other game of securing someone and tying them down as best they can, to ensure a steady supply of love and sex.
I was chatting with a funny and friendly guy last night at a party my date took me to. He’s a 56 year old Grandpa Phillipino, full of vim and good nature. He was explaining how he likes to go out to bars and pick up girls, and how his wife knows this and does her best to tag along in order to keep him out of trouble. I figure drives are the same all over the world, only the surface rules change. The basic grammar of love and lust is universal – men and women fall in and out of love, get jealous, and forever are prone to loving others. Soul mates are plural, come and go, and pass by more often than are noticed. The marriage vow is a snapshot of a feeling that things will last forever. Chasing after forever is for the dead. I don’t mean to be cynical and deny long term love and commitment, but the to take the other extreme and to deny impermance by focusing only on Marriage and Eternity seems trite, naiive, and even childish. Like, grow up little Cinderella – daddy is screwing the stable hand and he is not your real daddy, and yes, the Prince of the land wants you, but marriage is not what is on his mind. The blacksmiths son on the corner has a crush on you, but you never bothered to notice because his family is poorer than yours. Your cousin who married ten years ago and who was so deeply and forever in love those first few years is now wondering why her husband isn’t romantic anymore, and she now has obsessive daydreams about the gardener. And they fight about money.
Grow up Cinderella. Marriage was for a time before birth control. A time when men had no choice but to pay for the babies that came with sex. Now babies are optional, and little Cinderella can pay for her own apartment.