Monday, October 09, 2006

I promised a post sometime this month, and I intend to deliver. Looking back through my archives, I see a whole plethora of posts that were apparently written before they wanted to be written, and one of my projects is to avoid writing those types of entries. A post should be like a wizard according to Gandalf--arriving exactly when it intends to. As for future posts, I have an interview lined up with the owner of the Daily Grind, so that should provide some lighter material over fall break.

To cut to the chase; Adrian broke up with me recently. I thought for a while about whether to write about this or not and decided if she could get a new boyfriend in a week and a half, I could most certainly write a blog post about her. Cheap shot. I know. What I actually wanted to do is not talk so much about the relationship (surprise) but about the inevitable Aftermath. The Aftermath is something everyone goes through. It's akin to surveying a shipwreck or a burned house and wondering what you could possibly salvage from it.

It turns out there are actually quite a few things to be salvaged. The main thing, though, is the lesson. What about this relationship set it apart from others (good and bad)? What made it similar to others? What was good about it that you want to see happen again? And what was bad about it that will tell you which people to avoid like the plague?

(Unfortunately, the last question never seems to be answered to anyone's satisfaction.)

Well, as a rule, I say that a lot of lessons will point you in the direction of "don't follow crushes." In both senses. Don't get carried away with a crush or get carried away with a girl who has a crush on you. The beauty of someone having a crush on you is that it erases all the outward and visible (as well as inward and invisible) flaws you have, leaving you an Adonis, an ubermensch, a perfect example of the kind of man every girl wants. Until, of course, she discovers that you'd rather cuddle on the couch than discuss existential verse, or that you don't always remember to turn the bathroom light off, or that you leave wet towels on the floor, etc. Flaws always seem more glaring when you pretended that they weren't there to begin with.

The main lesson for me is to avoid being a refuge or an escape. Everyone runs from their problems, girls and guys alike. Some people, though, tend to have "stepping-stones" or repeat rebounds; temporary partners whose main function is to provide an escape from loneliness, their family, their problems, etc. I sympathize with this. All my life I have been afraid of being alone. From childhood separation anxiety to sitting by myself in the UC wondering if I'll always be eating dinner on my own, I have suffered from that fear. However, some people respond to their fear of loneliness by latching onto the first person they meet that sparks their interest, instead of letting a slow and steady friendship build. This creates haphazard, flash-in-the-pan relationships that end badly sooner or later (and sooner is usually better than later for everyone involved).

You could call me a hypocrite, I suppose. Haven't I been just as guilty as the women I've dated? Didn't I latch onto Maria and Adrian just as quickly and just as eagerly as they did to me? Couldn't I have gently told them to wait, to take it slower, that I was interested but didn't want to rush it? I suppose. I'm not sure if there's ever a learning curve with relationships; there's always another bright-eyed, attractive someone out there with another new and exciting neurosis. Part of my resolve, when all has been said and done, is that I am going to take things slower, as best I can. I don't expect to succeed right away. I may not even succeed at all. But knowing how--and why--I've failed is just as important to me as knowing how to succeed. And right now knowing where I, and others, have failed is about all I have to salvage.

(I do promise that the interview with Scott, the owner of the Daily Grind and a really nice guy, will be exponentially more cheerful.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah...the learning curve on love. It's a steep one, going up and coming down.

Each experience, unique and yet nearly identical (given our characterological flaws), leaves its trace, and leaves us wiser. Sadder at first, but wiser in the long run.

We are all mysteries, even to ourselves...let your journey remain a mystery to be lived and never allow it to become a problem to solve. Big difference in those two world views.

Onward. Upward. In spite of. Because of.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's something to add to your list of lessons: never, ever, be quick, or possibly even slow to date someone who just weeks before you started dating them were declaring their deep, special, and neverending love for someone else.

12:50 AM  

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