Relationships are hard work.

  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 6:07 AM GMT
    Of course relationships are a lot of things both wonderful and sometimes painful but in order to last, it takes work on the part of each partner.

    Both of them have to want it and have to keep on wanting it beyond the first flush of attraction and desire. Both have to be willing to compromise. Both have to set boundaries with the other. Both have to find that most intimate common thread that holds them together in the face of a world of adversity.

    But, to my mind, the most important 'work' is the work of communication. The work of learning how to 'read' one another and how to 'speak' one's needs and desires and to come to mutual understandings about them. I don't mean just by using words (although I do mean that) but the whole range of human language from body language and touch, to the many little things we do for and with one another.

    I'll just add one more thing: The most important thing to learn about communication is learning to 'listen'. Learning to BE THERE with your partner, really trying to tune into where he is coming from. What is his secret heart? His secret hurt? His secret fear? His secret desire? .. These may be things even he is unaware of. 'Listening' means being still, sensing, being present, open, waiting for the 'other' to show up. Then allowing him to take center stage in one's own mind and heart.

    Thoughts?
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    Oct 30, 2012 12:50 PM GMT
    I work hard at my job and run hard and work out hard, I refuse to put the same amount of "work" into a relationship. Partner has to be on the same page as me on most important aspects of life, thus it's an easy fit, not a lot of drama and debating. Find someone you love and get along with on the big aspects of life and you will not have to work on it. Find a head case with issues and unresolved psychotic troubles, it becomes a fulltime job.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 2:05 PM GMT
    smartmoney saidI work hard at my job and run hard and work out hard, I refuse to put the same amount of "work" into a relationship. Partner has to be on the same page as me on most important aspects of life, thus it's an easy fit, not a lot of drama and debating. Find someone you love and get along with on the big aspects of life and you will not have to work on it. Find a head case with issues and unresolved psychotic troubles, it becomes a fulltime job.


    You make it sound so simple, so easy. That hasn't been my experience at all. How's it working for you?
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    Oct 30, 2012 2:58 PM GMT
    The way I see it there is a range of compatibilities among any two people. Be they friends, business partners or lovers, they both, they all, have qualities and personality traits.

    Some conflict, some work well together, some compromise.

    Finding a compatible partner (remember eHarmony used that name for their same-sex website?) depends a lot on finding others with a similar enough range to avoid conflict but not too similar as to ruin excitement or bring about conflict in a different way.

    Emotional intelligence has a lot to do with it too.
  • TheAlchemixt

    Posts: 2294

    Oct 30, 2012 2:59 PM GMT
    Yes, they are and it's unfortunate that some people are not willing to put in the effort that is required to keep it working.
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    Oct 30, 2012 3:50 PM GMT
    Relationships are pretty tough - especially if you are naturally independent or successful. I'm usually ok with being single since that gives me more time for fitness, reading, work, dogs, and family. But it's awesome when you have a real partner to hold every night. A good guy brings out your best qualities!
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    Oct 30, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    MikeW saidOf course relationships are a lot of things both wonderful and sometimes painful but in order to last, it takes work on the part of each partner.

    Both of them have to want it and have to keep on wanting it beyond the first flush of attraction and desire. Both have to be willing to compromise. Both have to set boundaries with the other. Both have to find that most intimate common thread that holds them together in the face of a world of adversity.

    But, to my mind, the most important 'work' is the work of communication. The work of learning how to 'read' one another and how to 'speak' one's needs and desires and to come to mutual understandings about them. I don't mean just by using words (although I do mean that) but the whole range of human language from body language and touch, to the many little things we do for and with one another.

    I'll just add one more thing: The most important thing to learn about communication is learning to 'listen'. Learning to BE THERE with your partner, really trying to tune into where he is coming from. What is his secret heart? His secret hurt? His secret fear? His secret desire? .. These may be things even he is unaware of. 'Listening' means being still, sensing, being present, open, waiting for the 'other' to show up. Then allowing him to take center stage in one's own mind and heart.

    Thoughts?


    +1
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 5:39 PM GMT
    Mixleanmachine saidYes, they are and it's unfortunate that some people are not willing to put in the effort that is required to keep it working.


    Exactly. Traditional marriage vows include "... for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part," implying that even the best relationships are not always beds of roses. Sometimes one has to forgive the partner. Sometimes one has to fight for him. At the very least, one has to try and understand him deeply and be honest with him.

    The problem with that last part is most people aren't honest with themselves and, thus, are incapable of being honest with their partner. This is a lesson I've learned over and over about myself. The 'self' isn't a fixed, solid object. We are fluid and we at least change, if not grow through time.

    So for a relationship to last beyond the first flush of attraction and desire means being willing to go deeper into one's self as well as the other.

    True intimacy can be the most terrifying thing in the world. Right up there with being responsible for one's words, actions and feelings.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 5:43 PM GMT
    atxd13 saidRelationships are pretty tough - especially if you are naturally independent or successful. I'm usually ok with being single since that gives me more time for fitness, reading, work, dogs, and family. But it's awesome when you have a real partner to hold every night. A good guy brings out your best qualities!

    Nicely said and so true. icon_smile.gif

    I love my solitude. But, that said, I miss having a partner to cuddle (among other things ;) ) with. The pillow just ain't the same thing.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 5:53 PM GMT
    makavelli saidThe way I see it there is a range of compatibilities among any two people. Be they friends, business partners or lovers, they both, they all, have qualities and personality traits.

    Some conflict, some work well together, some compromise.

    Finding a compatible partner (remember eHarmony used that name for their same-sex website?) depends a lot on finding others with a similar enough range to avoid conflict but not too similar as to ruin excitement or bring about conflict in a different way.

    Emotional intelligence has a lot to do with it too.

    You're right, of course. At the same time, we can't always choose whom we fall in love with.

    My first LTR (10 years) was with a woman. I'd been out to myself for 6 years and was out to her soon after we met. Even after we became a couple, if asked, I said I was gay, not bi. Most people found this quite confusing. I said, "Imagine how I feel!" Moreover, my female partner was quite alright with the idea of our having an 'open' relationship. She encouraged me to go out and find men for sex. (This was in the 1970s, early '80s, pre-HIV in the SF Bay Area where this kind of relationship wasn't all that uncommon.) I didn't do it, though, because I was in love with her and I didn't want to risk the relationship. Eventually, however, it became apparent that the relationship wasn't working for either of us, mostly sexually. We separated but have remained best friends (more like brother and sister) ever since.

    Just saying, Cupid can be fickle.
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    Oct 30, 2012 6:17 PM GMT
    smartmoney saidI work hard at my job and run hard and work out hard, I refuse to put the same amount of "work" into a relationship. Partner has to be on the same page as me on most important aspects of life, thus it's an easy fit, not a lot of drama and debating. Find someone you love and get along with on the big aspects of life and you will not have to work on it. Find a head case with issues and unresolved psychotic troubles, it becomes a fulltime job.
    I like this. For me it's "compromise" and "pick your battles"
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    Oct 30, 2012 6:21 PM GMT
    No one even said relationships would be easy-- except maybe those who never really had one. They do require work and effort. Contrary to my generation and some of their entitlement mentality, it is a journey and often a perilous one that is meant to.show the dark and light aspects of one and each other.

    After all, nothing good comes easily-- except maybe Paul. ;D
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    Oct 30, 2012 6:25 PM GMT
    Yes they are. But too many gay men think that if a "relationship" isn't 24 hour electrifying sex and fun dates out then it's time to move on to the next guy. i.e. a life of endless first dates or hookups.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 6:36 PM GMT
    ParadiseLost saidNo one even said relationships would be easy-- except maybe those who never really had one. They do require work and effort. Contrary to my generation and some of their entitlement mentality, it is a journey and often a perilous one that is meant to.show the dark and light aspects of one and each other.

    After all, nothing good comes easily-- except maybe Paul. ;D


    LoL.

    Yeah, re: those who never really had one.

    Part of the problem is the word "work". No one here remembers the TV sitcom Dobbie Gillis and his friend Manard, the original beatnik slacker, who screeched every time the word was spoken. WORRK!?

    Ancient history.

    Yet, that a relationship should require anything much beyond 'getting along' (as if by dumb luck) totally turns some people off.

    OF COURSE if your relationship is ALL struggle, effort, drama, etc., -- if one doesn't get any goodies out of it at all -- then it is time to move on. But the problem is, relationships are seldom so black and white -- especially after the first few months. My third LTR (mentioned in another thread) where my partner went insane... now should I have just ABANDONED my lover? Allowing him to descend into insanity and death through drug overdose and suicide? Or should I fight for him, bring him back to the living?

    All that would have been a moot question if I hadn't actually LOVED him. Deeply.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 6:46 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidYes they are. But too many gay men think that if a "relationship" isn't 24 hour electrifying sex and fun dates out then it's time to move on to the next guy. i.e. a life of endless first dates or hookups.

    Yep. That's why I started this thread. Nothing wrong with "24hour electrifying sex and fun dates". But to mistake that for a relationship is a serous problem.

    A relationship is commitment.

    And the problem for gay relationships is the hetero-centric society around us does not give us HEALTHY ROLE MODELS upon which to build them. Besides, who says a gay relationship has to "look like" the traditional heterosexual family: A mother, a father, two children and an anthropologist?

    Gay relationships can be constructed however the participants in them want.

    But that assumes both (or however many) people in them KNOW what they want, how to communicate that desire and how to let themselves have it.
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    Oct 30, 2012 6:49 PM GMT
    Life's full of lies, and love is the hardest thing.
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    Oct 30, 2012 7:15 PM GMT
    I think the issue is that there are certain things that bring people together, similar qualities or characteristics. But your two different people obviously so there are things that you will not agree on. There can be compromises that a couple can make but to a certain point, but how much are you willing to compromise? Everyone has their own value system of what is a make or break situation. I think part of the issue is that people might not find a partner compatible enough for them to begin with and then the relationship becomes too much work..Nothing good ever comes easy but there is a point where each person makes a decision if they feel like the good that they get out of being with their partner is worth the effort that they put in. No?

    Also maybe relationships aren't for everyone. Some people enjoying hooking up with random people and not really making a lasting connection. Some people physically can't be attracted to someone they don't love. I think society kinda pushes most people into relationships but maybe that goes against some people's physiology.

    personally I do think it's important to find someone you click with and being together comes easy to you both. Being friends first and then developing a relationship seems to make more sense to me. What's the rush? if you're in for the long haul then take your time.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 8:28 PM GMT
    Whitey89 said..snip..
    Also maybe relationships aren't for everyone. Some people enjoying hooking up with random people and not really making a lasting connection. Some people physically can't be attracted to someone they don't love. I think society kinda pushes most people into relationships but maybe that goes against some people's physiology.


    Yep. Good point. Most of our society's media portray the romance of coupling. However, both culturally and historically even in Western civilization, the focus on "coupling" hasn't always been the way it is now. What is "human nature"? Especially male human nature? Is there such a thing? Are men "all alike".

    I'm of the opinion that what many (perhaps not all) gay men want is the best of all worlds: Close, intimate relationship with a partner(s) AND the ability to have more or less random hookups with other men -- in a way that doesn't threaten their primary relationship(s). I even think a few among our tribe manage to work that out -- although it probably isn't easy.

    Whitey89 saidpersonally I do think it's important to find someone you click with and being together comes easy to you both. Being friends first and then developing a relationship seems to make more sense to me. What's the rush? if you're in for the long haul then take your time.


    Clicking, definitely. Obviously you have to like the guy and have some interests in common or you'll soon bore one another to death.

    That said, and speaking only for myself, I've never been able to move what had become a "friendship" to a romantic relationship. Why exactly is a mystery to me. I can think of several guys (ancient history here) I was attracted to, became friends with but was then unable to move beyond that stage.

    On the other hand, the two male LTR's started out as attraction and dating. It wasn't ever about 'becoming friends'.

    YMMV.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Oct 30, 2012 8:34 PM GMT
    Elusium saidLife's full of lies, and love is the hardest thing.


    Love your nic, "Elusium." Poetic and provocative.

    Which begs me to ask, why, in your opinion, is love the hardest thing? (no pun intended icon_razz.gif )
  • bischero

    Posts: 847

    Oct 30, 2012 8:39 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidYes they are. But too many gay men think that if a "relationship" isn't 24 hour electrifying sex and fun dates out then it's time to move on to the next guy. i.e. a life of endless first dates or hookups.


    +1
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    Oct 30, 2012 8:39 PM GMT
    Holding on and Letting go.

    Nothing more
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    Oct 30, 2012 8:39 PM GMT
    Sidenote first:

    You made a point a few posts up about it being terrifying to own ones thoughts, actions, feelings etc... and I completely agree. I have just been coming to this point in my life where I am slowly starting to view everything as MINE, and no one can make ME feel anything, my thoughts are my own, etc... it's a wonderful process

    Anyway

    Relationships ARE hard. I believe relationships go through stages and you eventually come to a point where you are vibrationally in alignment together, and everything is good; if not you, you end up splitting up.

    They take forgiveness, trust, honesty, respect, genuine love, and a meeting of that persons needs.

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    Oct 30, 2012 8:49 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidYes they are. But too many gay men think that if a "relationship" isn't 24 hour electrifying sex and fun dates out then it's time to move on to the next guy. i.e. a life of endless first dates or hookups.


    RIGHT!!! Seen this a lot!
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    Oct 30, 2012 8:51 PM GMT
    Man, BELEE DAT!
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    Oct 30, 2012 8:51 PM GMT
    running11 said
    Relationships ARE hard.


    Take it from an almost 26-year veteran. They can be infinitely rewarding, but are not easy.


    running11 said I believe relationships go through stages and you eventually come to a point where you are vibrationally in alignment together, and everything is good; if not you, you end up splitting up.


    I don't know what this means. There are ALWAYS challenges. If you choose to, you meet them together.

    I always tell people, it sounds stupid, but the easiest way to be in a long-term relationship is not to break up. Treat divorce as the very last option. Choose to stay together very day.