have relationships where we see someone across a crowded bar, smile a bit, walk past a bit, talk it over with our friends a bit, and then pluck up the courage to go over and ask the lucky recipient of our attentions if they want a drink. A few drinks and/or shots later we go back to theirs or they come back to ours and after another drink its bed. If all goes well within a couple of days we are ‘an item’. Within weeks we can’t bear to be apart a moment longer and move in together, well it’s not marriage or anything is it?
Out needs met instantly, our desires sated before we even realised we had them. We have gained so much haven’t we. But what have we lost. I think we have lost so much, we have lost the joy of building a relationship.
This does not allow for a period of time for a relationship to develop without the pressure of ‘making’ a relationship. Time to play. It’s like going from the playground to the boardroom without the vital growing, failing, and developing that we need to be successful and happy.
I don’t believe it is romantic bunkum to have the time to seek a glimpse, to feel your heart race as you catch sight of the other, experience the rise in temperature as they notice you. The growing craving of the other, the endless talking about the object of your attention to friends and the mooning and dreaming of what it might be like to spend time together, to do everyday things together, to laugh, to touch, and to wake together.
The next stage weeks after the first, the time spent together, learning about each other, hearing each others thoughts and dreams, and more importantly allowing a time for projection. Projection is the normal, healthy part of human relationship where we imagine the other to be perfect. This other would be clever, and funny and support us in just the right way, we imagine they would be romantic, or strong, or kind, or cool, or classy, or moody and mysterious, or all the above. Our friends say we are blinded by love, we see with rose tinted spectacles as they see our other as gawky, clumsy and ordinary. And then the slow coming to terms with the disappointment. They didn’t say the right thing, or they are sullen and a little more desperate, or ego-centric than you imagined or hoped. As the projection decreased we may feel they are not the person we first thought, or that they are being different than they were. It is at this stage the relationship may end with the sadness followed by the freedom to be off to project on another. Or the disappointment of a more real other comes with a growing appreciation for other traits, other gifts they have that they bring to the growing relationship.
And then that first sensation of their breath on your neck, or the first tentative touch, and the aching for the next, and the next.
Over time the relationship takes it slow journey towards intimacy, both physical and emotional, and with it grows a caring for the other, a real deep caring and a sense of being a couple, together with an understanding of each other that separates us from the rest of the world, us vs them, vital for the tough road ahead. Eventually the idea of building a life together with all the struggles and pitfalls is something that can be considered, thought about, talked over, and endless fantasised about.
I fear that this the crucial part of playing, of imagining of fantasising is lost to all but our young teenagers who are unable to fulfil their desires in the way we empowered, capable, independent others can.
And so we go from playground to boardroom, when we fall we feel it is unfair, we fear the next fall and the next for now we should be able to do this thing called relationship. When we feel misunderstood now we seek the comfort of another relationship and we are off to the bar as our other works late, or as they sleep we reach for the laptop, instant access to more others than we could ever hope for.