Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Relationship Architecture

Relationships: the good, the bad and the awkward. I’ve recently been put face to face with the subject of relationship architecture and, for some reason, after such a talk, you end up with a feeling of both liberation and “WTF”. As Daisy said previously, relationships used to seem so simple back then. There’s always a “back then” in which everything seemed simple and, believe it, in the future we’ll look back on today and call it “back then”, but right now is never a moment that will seem like it’s a piece of fresh cheesecake.

Things are a lot easier in your head, at a dream-stage, than they prove themselves to be once they hit construction in the ‘real world’. A relationship at a mental stage can meet perfection since love is untainted, sexual fantasies are raw and perfect and have no room for disappointment and the antourage will always act according to what the love-smitten-one chooses to imagine. No right minded person in Love will ever willingly fantasize about a weak emotional-chicken, with bad social skills and a sad, broken tool in bed. We take advantage of the perfection we can cook up in our minds and, when the tension is too much to bear, we try to build the same perfection in real life. Brick by brick, stone by stone, after a short while (or longer for some), you look around yourself and feel like screaming “Wait a minute.. I’m a doctor, what the frick do I know about architecture?!”.

What is the architecture of a relationship? How can we successfully build the perfection we so easily dreamed up? This specific building game is like Magical-Lego, where you try to build something nice and sturdy, but all the Lego pieces spontaneously come to life and start a movement of their own, hindering or sometimes helping the new building structure’s construction. The only way to win this is to be Focused enough to set all the crazy pieces in place, to be Motivated enough not to run away screaming from the game and to be enough of an artistic Creator, so that the game never gets boring, you always find something to add that will make it better and you end up loving it more each day. Sounds good? Easy? Then I must’ve forgotten to mention that Magical-Lego is a building game in which losing burns more than just setting building blocks aside and walking away. If you can’t control the magical pieces, they’re going to progressively beat the living daylights out of you like an army of angry gay pixies with nukes. Once a relationship’s basic structure goes unstable and acts according to chaos (instead of harmony and order), there is no way of getting out of it undamaged. It’s like building a 10 storey building on a foundation of pebbles, mud and the occasional dog shit, then expecting it to stand. And while you’re up there, sipping Martinis at the 10th floor, all of a sudden you feel your building of sticks and stones tremble and rumble, you feel it coming down from under your feet and, let’s face it, you’re Not going to be able to make a decent run for it. It’ll be all just coming down in one big nasty pile and guess who will be in the middle?

Building something takes a real architect, and in all our past years we’ve been in relationship-architecture school. And for once, all we want is to pass that exam, build that perfect structure within which we may feel safe and secure and perfect, ready to take over the world, if we must! Yet we are unable to do that unless we have all our lessons learned, unless we become masters of architecture. How would a master do it?

Tired of having found myself one time too many beneath the ruble of my own 10 storey illusive dream building, I decided to try to go with a more rational approach. One of our biggest mistakes in setting the foundation for a solid relationships is assumption. We assume the other person also thinks it’s normal not to date other people, you assume the other person will just Know how much attention you need and when and how to give it to you (and by give it to you… I mean give it to you), that they will know exactly how affectionate you are and how you like to show that and to have that be shown to you. We assume the other person is that somebody we love to dream up in our perfect, imaginary world of wonder. But then reality comes along and suddenly you realize your man has completely different concepts about seeing other people, has no idea in the world about what you want from him and thus makes up his own assumptions and ends up treating you in a way in which he thinks you’d like to be treated, but which usually ends up being extremely far from what your desires really are. Communication could either fix these problems or at least make both partners realize it’s a mistake before having built a mega-structure out of hay and kidneys.

So, at some point in my past, I decided to give it a try, laying everything on the table. Sure, I’m an open person, I’m all for perfect strategies, let’s just have an open conversation and set out boundaries for a relationship. Where does it begin, how far can it extend, where does it end. What is acceptable and what isn’t. How would we view seeing others, potential social burdens, territoriality and all other basic “if – then” possibilities and tactics. Up to a certain point, I felt on fire! Had I discovered a way to dissect the very notion of relationship-architecture into the most perfect building blocks? Halfway through my hope for finding revelation, it hit me! I had missed out on the one most important aspect, and in all my will to do the perfect war tactics, I had forgotten… we were not at war. And then the pieces of Lego started moving on their own, because of the only thing that can overpower rational thought, no matter how perfect it might have been planned: Feelings. Truthful, raw, pure feelings.

The relationships we build may rise or may fall, yet what is most important is to always keep aiming higher. If your hut made of hay and kidneys fell to bits, learn from that and next time build one of sticks and liver, or even better, one of brick and bone. Going from that to gold and emerald isn’t a three-step-path, but it is only up to us if we make it in ten steps or in hundreds. After all, we’re still in school, learning to be the best architects of our own lives.

1 comment: