20 August 2007

Always the buddy... Never the boo...

This phrase comes from the hit movie, “Brown Sugar.” It’s one of my faves. It’s like “When Harry Met Sally” meets hip hop. Kinda. At any rate, this phrase perfectly describes me. I’m always the best friend… but never the girlfriend. I’ve thought about this a lot over the years… It’s been a vicious cycle for more than 10 years. I’ve tried to figure out within myself why this is, how it may be changed, and do I even want it TO change?

I realized the other day for the first time, that my expectations to find love are the very reason(s) I find myself in the buddy position. My favorite love quote of all time is: “Love is friendship caught on fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good times and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weakness.” I’ve always been looking for that spark to catch friendship on fire. I think I may have been close a few times, but again, it’s always been my lot in life to maintain the buddy status. The thing is, as I search for this spark, I inevitably end up falling. And although I’ve not been in an actual romantic relationship with these buddies, the hardness of the fall has still given me grief and pain. I think that it’s as much pain in these “non-relationships” as it is in a “normal, functioning” relationship.

So what is the cycle of which I speak? Simply, I usually somehow end up becoming friends with boys in my social circle. Whether it’s someone from school, church, or someone with whom I work… These men yield power that they do not realize! Usually, for me, these men are entertaining in some way, and I find them somewhat appealing to look at. The bond of friendship grows and as it does my attachment grows as well.

I was talking to one of my best friends on this topic recently - she has endured this same cycle. She explained that it comes down to expectations and misinterpretations. This is so true. When a woman is friends with a man, it seems that there inevitably comes a time when she ponders whether or not this man is someone with whom she’d like to spend her life. There’s usually some kind of natural attraction; it can be physical, intellectual, spiritual, whatever. Women generally grow more attracted to men physically as their love grows for that man in other areas. While this questioning goes on within the woman regarding this man in her life, her expectations begin. All too often, the expectations of a relationship are not spelled out by either party. All of a sudden, the woman has these high expectations because the man’s behavior toward her has led her to believe that his interest is on the same track as hers… Or she hopes that if she hangs onto the relationship longer that his intentions will match hers. In essence, the woman is investing a LOT of emotional energy into this “non-relationship.”

This whole scenario calls to mind Harry’s mantra in “When Harry Met Sally.” Harry tells Sally that men and women can never really be just friends. I find that the vast majority of the time, this is true. One of my personal beliefs is that there are exceptions to every rule. And this rule is no exception! I have several guy friends that are just friends. Some of whom I may have had a brief crush on at some point, some upon whom I’ve never crushed. And I daresay that these men have never crushed on me either. These guys have been dear friends of mine. In these situations, men and women really can be just friends. The expectations of both parties, whether spoken or unspoken, are in sync.

I don’t know if there’s really an answer about changing this cycle. Sometimes it seems that divine intervention plays a hand in who we choose to share our lives with. I’ve had situations that… well… we truly did love each other. And for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen. It seems inexplicable at times. Neither of us could explain it. And it was beyond heartbreaking to endure. But I did endure it. And even more than that, I still want to love and be loved.

Lastly, do I really want to change this cycle? Well, when all is said and done, no. I don’t. Eventually, this is the cycle that will lead me to my eternal companion. Eventually, a friendship will come into my life that will be caught on fire. I can’t explain how or why I hold on to that hope. Perhaps it is hopeless romanticism or maybe sheer stupidity. Perhaps I’ve read one too many Jane Austen novels. Nevertheless, I truly do believe that this pain I’ve felt within my heart, the feelings of rejection and ungoodness… As well as their counter-parts (loving, feeling loved, exquisite goodness)... These will all make sense at some future time. These things will all contribute to the greatness of a relationship that has yet to be born.

I'd like to add one last note... This is for the guys... If you have a woman best friend... and you find yourself preferring to spend time or talk with her than with the woman you have chosen to date... This is a HUGE sign that there is something fundamentally WRONG in your romantic relationship. You should take a step back and evaluate your feelings. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should hook up with your best friend... But as hokey as it sounds, your romantic partner really should be your best friend. You shouldn't need to seek anything more from anyone else if your romantic relationship is to be a happy, successful and functioning relationship. Ultimately, you shouldn't be emotionally closer to someone with whom you have no romantic ties than with someone with whom you are romantically involved.

16 August 2007

In the beginning...

Abstinence and the City:

If you are reading this and you know me, you know that I have had this idea rolling around in my head for awhile. If you don’t know me, you’re probably wondering, “what the…?!” Let us go back a few years to when I was living in Salt Lake City, UT…

Living in SLC as a young single adult can have its advantages in many ways. There are of course disadvantages as well. I found that there seemed to be many relationship disadvantages in the forefront of my life (as well as many friends). As such, many topics of conversation would follow [with my friends] on the woes of being single. Around this time, I had a few dear friends that were into the hit HBO series, “Sex and the City.” Personally, I think the show is complete trash and you may as well admit that you’re watching soft porn. I am an active LDS young single adult and as such, I don’t believe in sex before marriage. This is when the light bulb above my head almost exploded with electricity coursing through and EUREKA! Abstinence and the City was conceived in theory. Now is the time for it to come to fruition.

I understand that my views may seem old-fashioned or outdated to some. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, they are my views. I am entitled to them. You are entitled to yours. Don’t be hatin’ and we’ll all get along just fine.

Above, I mentioned that during my time in SLC (almost six years worth), I had many conversations on the upsets of relationshipping. In my case (I’m not going to lie), it’s always more about the LACK of a relationship (or the existence of an actual non-relationship) that has caused the grief. I am one of many, it would seem, that for whatever reason doesn’t date much. Honestly, I am quite OK with that. In life there are daters and relationshippers. I’d prefer to be a relationshipper. The whole idea of an unstable life consisting of playing the field has never been appealing to me. Even as a second grader I’d have long-term crushes on boys. This is my nature, I’ve realized.

Throughout this blog, I will probably more than once refer to personal experiences in one way, shape, or form. I’d like to think that even though I’ve never been in a serious relationship (which, I will admit, feels pathetic and agonizing at times), that my many experiences in “non-relationships” have given me enough experience to know what love is and in theory how I perceive a relationship should be.

With all that being said, this is the beginning of a new adventure. I anticipate enjoying getting to release my many thoughts and ideas on the various topics that will surely arise with regard to relationshipping. All I ask of you, the reader, is to enjoy this for what it is: One lone girl’s experiences in the garden of singledom.