Monday 28 April 2008

When People Take Love Too Far

Fascinating post by the ever thoughtful Eve, which I recommend you all read.
Eve, I guess has more reason than most to think about these sorts of things.

But a whole wider series of issues ARE raised by the post.
People turning what is supposed to be a beautiful thing, ie romance, and turning it into something thoroughly unpleasant.

Because it truly can be.
And usually, it is because people attach too much significance to it.

What do I mean by that?
Well, quite simply it is supposed to be a beautiful thing, but people turn into a bargain, a contract, a chain.
There is a very nasty edge to it.

And I think Eve's post highlighted very well why sometimes, people's expectations themselves are the problem. This is one of my main gripes with the monogamy ideal. It's not so much the sexual possession (though I must admit I'm not entirely sold on that idea), it's bigger, it's the desire to possess another's person's life.

It's the desire to control who the other party has access to, the desire to monopolise their time, the desire to always be watching over them, the wish to ensure that they have no life that doesn't involve you, indeed, no PEOPLE that aren't yourself, no relationships that aren't somehow under your supervision.

Why should anyone have to live like that?

I think Eve raised some very good points about blogs and what people get up to blogging, and how many people 'cheat' online, and how we should regard it, but I think in many ways, the real questions come earlier.

Which is people's attitudes to the other people in their partner's lives.
To me, this really has to be crunch question.
To me, it doesn't matter how wonderful someone is, the real question is, how do they fit into your life?
Do they slot in nicely, or do they cause disruption?

Will they fit in perfectly with the arrangements you already have, or are they going to force you to rearrange the furniture?
Because in my view, if they REALLY are the one, then no furniture needs to be rearranged.

Just over a year ago I started seeing this girl who, for various reasons was a little clingy. She fell very quick, I suppose. And I suppose I fell for her neediness, in a sense. She'd had a hard life, some bad things had happened to her as a student and they had affected her views on men. To be fair, she hadn't had a lot of luck with men. She'd been 'wham, bam, thank you mam' ed a fair bit, I think, by various sub-human Neanderthals. She was lonely. Her closest friend, indeed her only real friend- as opposed to an acquaintance- was someone she had met at work in the previous twelve months.
Now if you're 29- as she was- and that is the best example of a friend you have, life hasn't been good to you. So I guess I pitied her. I wanted to give her a try and show her that not all men are bastards.

My mistake.

An issue from the start, was time. She had plenty. I had somewhat less. Quite a bit more than I do now, I had a less demanding job, and I didn't post everyday or visit many blogs. But I had things to do, people to see. Because she wasn't really a people person, she couldn't quite see why it was that I couldn't devote huge amounts of time to her.


One day, test time came.
Oestrebunny often reprimands me for my use of test procedures to judge people. My view is, I don't create the tests. Life does. You just observe how people behave when these situations arise. You let events run their course, you let people show their true colours, and on that basis, you judge them once you have all the information you need.

I had agreed that we would spend a whole evening in her flat, without going out, without me using the PC, without me phoning my mates, or taking phone calls.
We would just have a meal, have a herbal bath, she would give me a massage and we would go to bed.
Just as she was about to serve up, I received a text message.

Crushed: Hon, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to go out as soon as we've eaten. We're going to have to cancel that herbal bath. Maybe another night.

She: Why, where do you have to go?

Crushed: A friend needs to talk to me about something. It's quite important really. They need me right now.

She: Do you really have to? You said just this one night!

Crushed: I know, I know. But I can't help these things can I? I don't decide when people decide they're going to split up from their partner and move out. They may need some money by the looks of it. Or help. I can't let a friend down, not when they need me. I'm not like that.

She: So you going to theirs?

Crushed: God, no! Her boyfriend would think I was the reason they were splitting up. No, I'll meet her in the Hop Pole.

She: HER??? You're leaving me to go meet another woman?

Crushed: She's a friend. Her sex is immaterial. I stand by my friends.
Crushed: I would say come, but it would be a bit inappropriate.

She: All right then, I guess you have to go.

And I went. And me and D (Yes, it was D), got very drunk and I agreed to loan her money to help her get set up somewhere. Before going back.
But the lack of grace from my other friend (I won't say girlfriend, because in my book, she wasn't, I have criteria by which I acknowledge a relationship, and she hadn't yet met it, in fact, she was busily determining unbeknownst to herself that she'd NEVER meet it).
When I returned I got 'So how was that bitch then?'

Crushed: You what? You don't even know her! Don't speak about my friends like that, or you'll be the one walking!

She: Well, I hate her. I was supposed to have you tonight.

Yes, I guess it's endearing, in a sense. But it's also been noted by me as cause for concern. Unwillingness to get on with close female friends of mine. Inability to accept close platonic friendship between me and other women, potential threat to those friendships if the relationship got more serious.

One black mark.

And the next came a couple of weekends afterwards, when I went to stay with the Baker in Manchester.
As far as I am concerned, when a man says he is with friends and will be with them all weekend- he'll call before he returns- that means 'Don't call me.'

Once is pardonable, twice is obsessional. Three times and we're in bunnyboiler country.

Two black marks.

The third black mark came when she began texting me at work about something remarkably petty. I texted back telling her not to text me at work, whatever it was could wait, but I must have had a mysterious translate function I didn't know about which sent my texts in Japanese, because she carried on.

I called her that day at five o'clock to tell her never to contact me again.

Now all this may seem harsh. But it isn't really. I had had enough proof to be sure that she could not be trusted to observe boundaries. If she was trying to push boundaries at this stage, before there was even a relationship, what would she be like once she thought she had some kind of rights over me?

The bottom line is, during your working day, your mind should be free to focus on work. It's hard enough as it is to earn a crust and keep a roof over your head, without being stressed out by what is, by comparison, trivia.

People haven't a right to expect exclusive access to someone's time and energy, just because the relationship is a romantic one.

It's not harsh, because the right person would never find themselves in such a test situation.

And your personal friendships- every one of them- should be kept sacrosanct. If a prospective partner shows a desire to interfere in any of your other relationships with other people, male OR female, then they need to be removed from the prospective partner list.
Again, that might sound harsh. But the point is, if you let them get away with it once, it sets a precedent. You can't allow that. They are showing that ultimately their agenda is to reduce you to dependency on them, to make themselves your sole support, to remove all your other best friends and supplant them, to take the trust that you vest in your friends, and get you to transfer the whole lot to them.

If they can't accept that maybe they may be an important person in your life, but so are many other people, that every relationship you have has some value to you, then they aren't really a good dynamic in your life.

Because ultimately, however you slice it, they are still just one person, no matter how amazing they might be. And life is better the more people you have in it.

I think I have come to the conclusion, avoid women who don't have fairly active social lives of their own, with plenty of friends of both sexes. If they have close male friends, they probably won't bother too much about you having close female friends. If they go out a lot with their mates, they won't mind you going out with yours.
Because as long as they have as active and people filled a life as you do, there's no real danger of possessiveness creeping in, no desire to keep the other party under their supervision.

There's no more unpleasant feeling, than feeling you can never get away from a partner, that aside from work, they're always around, cramping you, stifling you, wanting to know everything, wanting a full view of your life.

We need space. We need areas of our lives that we keep separate. There will always be things between me and my mates, which will be ours alone, it is a circle of trust no one else can enter. It doesn't mean we don't trust other people in different ways, just that there are things which belong to us.
There will always be things I will talk to them about, but would never talk to a partner about. It wouldn't mean I didn't love her, just that was an area from which she would always be excluded. And that's normal.

After all, your close mates are lifelong friends. It's like the relationship between siblings.

And I think, as Eve intimates, when we come online, we DO enter a strange private world. It isn't private, because WE'RE all here, but it IS private, to RL people. We say things here, we wouldn't in RL. There is huge satisfaction in keeping our two lives separate. By definition, to allow a partner in, would destroy part of the magic.
You can know us in RL, you can know us in the blogosphere, but to allow someone access to both faces?
Do we really want to be that exposed?

And I suppose my answer to Eve's point is this. There are some people online, who will always be valuable to me. At least one, will I hope, be a lifelong friend. And yes, the question DOES arise, were I to find someone serious in RL, would I maintain contact with her the way I do?

Yes, is the honest answer. Nothing would change on that front. Would I tell my real life partner that I exchanged emails with her? No, I wouldn't. It would be none of her business. And you might find that appalling, because yes, I would almost certainly be telling her details about this hypothetical partner.
But part of the point is, I've discussed things with her that I never have, and never will, with a real life partner. Things I'd be very uncomfortable talking about in the flesh.

I think the deeper significance of Eve's post, is that relationships generally are often haunted by people's inability to realise that everyone has many more needs, in terms of personal satisfaction, than can ever be satisfied by one person and it is this overwhelming arrogance that is a vicious by product of our ideas of exclusivity that scuppers true love so often.

Because when you try to interfere in people's other connections, when you demand that your 'Love' takes precedence over all the other meaningful things in their life, you render your so-called love, valueless. Because it no longer has the long term happiness of the other as it's base, merely your obsession in making the relationship what YOU think it should be, as in, one where you are the sole focus of their existence.

And if that's your attitude, then it isn't your partner that's at fault for valuing every connection out there to be made, it's you for not taking full advantage of YOUR opportunity to do the same.

People should accept that everybody has needs that one person alone can never fulfill, that you can indeed have too much of one particular person, in fact, you can overdose on someone if they don't give you space and allow you freedom to share and emote with all the other wonderful people that are out there.

Ask yourself this; would you make the demands of your best friend, that you make of your loved one?
Because if the answer is no, you are demanding too much.

With Love, like a lot of things, very often Less is More.


Anonymous said...

Quite a few things to consider here Crushed.. you do that.. don't you.. cover a billion things in each post..

What stands out for me is the separateness in how you need to control your 'love-life' and your 'friends/social life'.. I think here lies a way that is paved with troubles. Shouldn't your lover become one of those friends eventually?

I have written a hundred words or so on why I think that this is the case - but have realised you wouldn't want to hear it anyway - so will spare you.

I have read Eve's post on blogging providing an insight into your RL lover's needs.. and can I just say - done it - hated it. It doesn't work. It just makes you censor more heavily.

Oh.. Crushed. Your test sucked btw. Try that on me and I'd kick your fucking arse.

Anonymous said...

I would hazard to say that it's not love that is your problem. It's the women you go for.

If you found yourself a less needy person then I don't doubt that she would slot into your life the way you wanted it.

But you don't make things very easy for the women either.

Anonymous said...

People should accept that everybody has needs that one person alone can never fulfill, that you can indeed have too much of one particular person, in fact, you can overdose on someone if they don't give you space and allow you freedom to share and emote with all the other wonderful people that are out there.

While I don't agree with a lot of this post I do agree with the above statement.

But you are taking so much further than that. You are locking everyone and everything into little boxes that you will take out and look at when it suits you and you insist that nothing overlaps. You are the one controlling your life but also that other person's life too. And that is not love, that's selfishness.

If you fell in love with someone with those beliefs you would see it right away and run in the opposite direction if you had any sense. You may be a great friend but until you see things differently you will never have a great love relationship.

One day.

Anonymous said...

There has to be trust. Without that, you have nothing. Time out from each other is a good thing, we all have our own things to do and would hope the partner did too. Having a relationship with someone does not mean you are joined at the hip with each other. The one person I hold near and dear to me, knows me in RL and blogs, I am the same in both worlds.

Anonymous said...

I'm honoured that my post made such an impression on you :-) Yours silenced me, too... it was partly a reflection on me; the me I am, versus the me that I'm trying to be.

Because I AM clingy. I want to do all those things that I know I must not, because as you say, it drives the person away. It's strange that here again, less is more - and sometimes I wonder at it; that if I love them enough, I must show less love (because I associate the frequent smses with love; the more you sms me, the more you love me, and vice versa).

> They are showing that ultimately their agenda is to reduce you to dependency on them, to make themselves your sole support, to remove all your other best friends and supplant them, to take the trust that you vest in your friends, and get you to transfer the whole lot to them.
And the worst bit of that is if you DO give everything up for them; and then they walk out on you. So you're wise to keep your old friends; 'cos like you say, you can trust them.

Poor girl, though; if I were her, I'd have been crying my eyes out that night, 'cos you did promise. a better way to have done it would have been to ask her permission; ask her to free you from the promise you made.

As for not smsing you at work, I think mostly anyone would be insulted to be 'less important'; this whole thing, all that wanting to be in every area of your life, it all stems from wanting to be 'most important' to someone. and being excluded makes them feel like a second-rate citizen (like over here, non-Malays are excluded from opening certain kinds of accounts, or buying certain shares - and so we know our place).

>As far as I am concerned, when a man says he is with friends and will be with them all weekend- he'll call before he returns- that means 'Don't call me.'
Maybe she missed you :-)

> The third black mark came when she began texting me at work about something remarkably petty. I texted back telling her not to text me at work, whatever it was could wait,
Heheh! This whole post fits me, cos you know what... I've done that too! ;-) Have called at work/ when he's busy, and gotten snubbed + not received the comfort I sought. And that was MY test (so you see; maybe she was testing you too) - and he failed countless times. And then what you do then, is what they do here; change the marking scheme, and the requirements. I think he's trained me well; right now, I'm the most undemanding girl you'd find ;-) not sure how long i can keep it up, but it does seem to be making for a comfortable, easy-going friendship...

Anonymous said...

> Inability to accept close platonic friendship between me and other women.......Yes, is the honest answer. Nothing would change on that front. Would I tell my real life partner that I exchanged emails with her? No, I wouldn't. It would be none of her business. And you might find that appalling, because yes, I would almost certainly be telling her details about this hypothetical partner.

In that case, better to be your friend than your partner :-) My ex was the same; and I always wanted, right from the start, to be the 'best friend' (he always had girl best friends) or else, to be someone else's best friend (didn;t have any male best friends, cos he didn't want me talking to guys - and that's another reason why I started out blogging, too - to have a male best friend, then, since he had a female one... ) - but it was a gf he said he needed, cos he had enough good friends. And now we've come full circle, and ended up as close to best friends as one generally gets ... strange :-)

> But part of the point is, I've discussed things with her that I never have, and never will, with a real life partner. Things I'd be very uncomfortable talking about in the flesh.
Yes, I do see your point :-) A thought arises; I type easier than i write. perhaps, to facilitate the relationship, it'd help if the partner were to go into the next room and get online... and it'd be really cool if you didn't know, and fell for the avatar of your partner - cos maybe they type better than they speak, too ;-)

Anonymous said...

Kimba- Yes, I do agree, but they have to prove themselves.
As a new arrival into your social circle, they do not- at this point- occupy a gigh priority on this point. You have only just met them, you haven't shared literally hundreds or thousands in some cases of time together. Other people are proven assets to your life. A lot of the time new lovers seem to have difficulty with this concept, that you are not going to sacrifice an older more established friendship, just because sex has come into the equation.

I suppose there is some logic that it works better if a proven friend BECOMES a lover. Thing is, i have some blocks about that. I have had several, what people call f**k buddies, but I have moral reservations about sleeping with those I regard as truly close friends, to me it's almost taboo.

I would be uncomfortable with a lover reading my blog.

I didn't set the test, it just came up. In fact D is a very precious friend to me- getting on with D is essential for any woman planning to be a long term fixture in my life, because if D doesn't like them, she's probably right. She's pretty sound.

Oestrebunny- This is my problem, I think. I get attracted to the idolisation bit, but the reality of it pisses me off.
Problem is, I don't really 'go' for them. This, my friends say, is the problem. I just respond to the ones who show interest and reel them in. And yes, they tend to be totally unsuitable.

Hiding from that deep seated fear of rejection again, maybe.

I agree, she would.

No, I guess I don't. I think I probably am quite hard to get REALLY close to. Easy to get close to, but hard to get genuinely close to.

jmb- Very much so. This is one problem I have with 'relationships', which is why I tend to keep things more casual. And I don't mean that just in terms of sex. I find it's very draining the amount of time partners can expect you to spend in their sole company. I hate feling I'm being cut off from other people.

I like to keep different areas of my life separate, certainly. I hate the idea that someone has access to too much of my life. I will allow it, but only if I feel reasonably secure in doing so. And there are people who have pretty much total access. But I have known them for years.

Well, this has been said. I think most people would agree I'm a good mate to have, but very difficult to have as a love interest. I think the women who have tried over the years have probably been quite hurt. But often I think it's because they've never really tried to get to grips with why I structure things the way I do, what it is I'm trying to protect, and what it is I'm trying to protect it from.

Nunyaa- Exactly. People have to earn trust. and that involves waiting to be asked in, not forcing your way in.
I think the idea of shared lives, is quite negative. Two lives sharing a road whilst they want to, is more the way it should be.

I'm not sure I would be comfortable with someone knowing both RL me and Crushed too well. We are the same, but it's too much knowledge, knowing both the inner AND the outer person.

Eve- It definitely DOES drive people away.
It is true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Nothing makes you loathe someone more than them forcing themselves upon you when you are doing something else. For example, when I'm writing a post, if someone rings I'll tell them (unless it's important)'Not now, I'm busy- call you in a bit.' A bit might well be next day, because I might go to the pub and forget. But if I've said I'll call, I'll call. Calling me again BEFORE I've called you, will piss me off. And that goes for anyone.

You show love by making the time you do have matter, rather than obstructing the rest of someone's time. If you try grab time from people, they'll push you away.

As I always say, women come and go, mates are for life. Any man who forgets that, has had a lobotomy.

You might say poor girl, yes. But it was best we got that point sorted sooner rather than later. If someone CAN'T get that point early on, it's never going to work. The Love of your life will be put first when it is appropriate, but not when it isn't.

It's not viable though. Like it or not, when I'm at work, earning a fat bonus cheque is all I SHOULD have to worry about.

Being called when you are with your mates by a woman is kind of a no no. If it happens too often, you'll lose respect, if it's the same woman all the time. Like you're not allowed out to play.

I'm glad it's working!

Definitely better to be my friend, than my partner. I tend to keep all my friends for ever, I get through partners like surelax. That doesn't mean there's a quick succession, just usually they don't last long. Three or four a year on average, I'd say.

I wouldn't give up her friendship, just because a real life partner demanded it. If they did, they'd walk :)
Yes, I don't think I could talk as frankly to someone in RL. There is something strangely omforting about this not actually knowing eachother in a physical sense. That's what I mean, I think the internet allows us to fulfill needs, we could never fulfill in the flesh.

Anonymous said...

In regard to the possessive controlling demanding exclusive rights on your time thing, it's not just prospective partners can do that. Friends do that too, I see it all the time around me, I have had it happen to me too (only once thankfully).

Anonymous said...

That's funny CRushed- you are the one who does alal the chasing and talking about marriage, and commitment and OTT love talk. Then you are so despiscable you lie baout it.
If you are not an obsessed, stalker then why are you still leaving pot shot comments on blogs about me and writing tedious mails to all and sundry about me, perpetuating your lies SIX MONTHS after I Hvae moved onto another relationship?
So this girl is another bunny boiler?
You admitted to me that you ask every woman you date to marry you!NOt that you get many women.
Your whole online persona is as real as Daffy Duck.
Why don't you do a post talking about the prostitutes you frequent an have done since you were 17?
Why has your psychiatric back ground not entered your blog posts?
You persue women ardently and then discredit them terribly.

Anonymous said...

CherryPie- And then you need tet rid of them.

Ubermouth- Thank you for turning up, in true obsessive stalker fashion to prove the point.
A woman who takes relationships too seriously- especially ones that never happened.

May I point out your comment contains several libellous statements, but that sort of stuff doesn't bother you really does it? Implying I sleep with prostitutes or have some kind of psychiatric background is a new low even for you, well actually no, it isn't really is it, because you've said worse. Sticking to the truth doesn't bother you really does it?

I'm going to let your comment stand and not delete it. You know why? Because it doesn't contain any truths about me. It does of course show the world the truth about YOU.

Now let's stick to the truth. It's not difficult.
I'm sure I can find out from D the day you called the flat and she banned you from ever calling again.

Let's just draw up a list of why I demanded an end to contact;

1. Your calling me at work.
2. Your attempting to comment at my blog as if we knew eachother.
3. Your treating of whatever you thought it was as more important than this blog or real life friendships. If people really want to see that, I have links online to prove the person you are.

Relationships are ll very well, but if they take up time that should be devoted to more important things, or they start to conflict with more important things, then they have to be knocked on the head.

When a woman starts thinking that a 'Re-lay-shun-ship' should take priority over a man's job, or his blog, or expects to be treated preferentially over other blog readers, when they refuse to see, that at the end of the day, she's lost all sense of proportion.

What I think is impossible for you to deny, is that you harrassed me for months after I had requested an end to contact. I can ask D when it was that you went beyond the pale and rung the flat and engaged in your nutty conversation with her and both She and The Baker advised me to ask you never to contact me in any way, shape or form.

Now after this point, all your harrassing and threatening e-mails, constituted harrassment.

Your own behaviour dictated the request for you to stop contacting me. You were incapable of being reasonable and understanding 'Don't call me, I'll call you.' You couldn't get that contact with me could only take place, if it didn't affect work, this blog, or real life friendships.

You are a prime example of someone who treats relationships way too seriously.
And yes, you harrassed me for months.
Don't try and deny it.
Don't try justify your appalling behaviour.

You can't.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to just add this to try end your nastiness once and for all.
To suggest that I either have pschiatric issues or regularly visit prostitutes is libellous and pretty nasty, but then you are a pretty nasty person, you just manage to pull the wool over the eyes of social inadequetes who buy your sob story and don't see the real picture.

I have mild PTSD- yes, I know that now- and get panic attacks.
This means that having the kind of stress you were putting upon me can make me downright hysterical.

The fact remains, I can't have people around me, or near me, who are as temperamental and intense as you. I can't have people around me who bangf on and on about 're-lay-shun-ships when I'm busy with more important things, like say, blogging.

To me EVERY relationship counts, you thought that I should treat you with some kind of exalted significance.

From my point of view, yes, you take romance too seriously- it is an affordable luxury, like a trumble dryer- if it conflicts with more important things, then it is the first thing to go.

Your reaction to my attempts to determine contact was quite despicable.

To re-iterate.
Unless you have discovered a way of cloning yourself, you still remain ONE person. And ONE person can only ever be so important in someone's life.

Anonymous said...

Crushed you have more than PSDD you nutter, you all ready told me sociopathy runs in your family and that you have paranoid episodes.

Poor Crushed, always the victim of crazy women eh?

Stick to hookers , mate!

Anonymous said...

Hi stalker.

No I didn't, actually, did I?

No one in my family has ever had any sych issues, funnily enough.

I wonder- anyone related to you ever been on any registers, or sold their body for money???

I mean, I know the answer to that, I wonder if you felt like sharing???