First Aid

Got a scrape on my foot. My girlfriend noticed and went into “Mom” mode. Of course, we were at her home, so she knew where to find the band-aid, peroxide, etc. At home alone, I’d have done that.

Kind of curious if she would try to go into “Mom” mode at my place?

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Nexuses

Nexi?

Fiona and I have lived in the same town for a decade before we met. Our first date was a few days after my 10 year anniversary of moving here. But, our circles are pretty different so there are not many people we have in common. As we share stories about individuals we know, they elicit exclamations about already knowing someone.

For instance, her cousin’s fiance’s father has the same personal trainer I do. We used to see each other at the gym a few days every week. Or her friend recognized my name from another mutual friend’s stories.

Then there is the mixing of our social circles. She meets my friends. I meet hers. Yeah, I did make a cheatsheet for her as a finding aid about my friends.

The Gardener and the Rose

Watched Maggie’s Plan with Fiona last night. John tells Maggie about his wife,

“Every relationship has a rose and a gardener. [Georgette]’s the rose. I’m the gardener, and I don’t have a green thumb.”

John leaves Georgette to become the rose. Maggie herself strains under the burden of being the gardener in her relationship with John.

Apparently people normally come across this from a Will and Grace episode?

I was recently watching an episode of Will & Grace and Will made a comment, which really stuck with me. His comment was that in every relationship there is a gardener and rose. The gardener tends to the rose and ensures that it has everything it needs to survive and flourish. The gardener’s main purpose in life is to tend to that one particular rose. The rose on the other hand simply is. The rose does not assist the gardener in any of its duties. The rose viewed to be a thing of beauty is firmly planted in the ground and is happy to be admired in this one-sided “relationship.”

The problem with archetypes is they are like Cinderella’s stepsister and cutting off toes fit the foot into a glass slipper. Archetypes are caricatures of stereotypes. They do not fit individuals, but they make us feel better about knowing how to categorize others.

I did call Fiona the Gardener of our relationship. But, I made the statement out of feeling that I do not try to nurture the relationship as I ought. Having never been in a relationship prior to this, my standard for ought is probably too heavily mired in fantasy from movies and books. Even in-person role-model relationships I know of are based on signalling, so they mimic the fantasies than realities. All that is to say, my thinking of the ideal is probably skewed away from reality and only in time will I be able to figure out if I am doing well at it or not.

But, also I probably am more of a Gardener than I give myself credit. I send her articles on things I know she will find interesting or useful. I try to help her where I can. She is constantly on my mind.

Open Access

So, I gave Fiona one of the posts on here. She then went through other posts prompting the opportunity to talk about them. To me this is a great thing.

Blogging is how I lay out my thoughts at the time on things important to me. I will dig up an old post on something to send someone as an explanation for what I thought about a topic. If my thinking has changed, then I will update the post. It is often easier to provide a link to a post than recreate all of that on the fly in my head. Especially when the post has links to other things.

Of course, there are posts I have probably forgotten. Blogging allows me to remove the issue from my mind.

My girlfriend should know about the blogs and use them to gain insight into me. And, of course, be fine with what I write about “us.” My style is not to record the kiss-and-tell kind of stuff. Instead, it is more musings about my headspace about what I feel.

Surreal

I guess there is a first time for everything. In my 40s, I actually have a girlfriend for the first time. A woman actually put up with me for more than a couple dates and really wants to be with me. It did not really seem likely ever to happen. It did not seem like she would be the one to land that position.

So this is unchartered territory for me. In a land I never expected to need to explore. (Well, not since my teens.) So, this ought to be an interesting adventure.

My imposter syndrome screams that Fiona* still has no idea what she is getting into because she is high on oxytocin and dopamine and long deprived of them. Once those wear off, she will realize her mistake.

Independent

I have lived alone for a decade. And just a roommate for another decade prior. OK, most of that was with my father, but after the first few years, he stopped trying to control me as a child because… well, I was too independent.

This woman I have been seeing has needs. I enjoy the cuddling and kissing. It may not be an every day need for me like it is her.

The scariest thing about all this is the disruption to routines, shifting priorities, and juggling my deadlines.

Racing

Apparently my heartbeat is too fast? Every woman I have ever kissed has commented on it. That’s only 7, so that sample is pretty small. Plus it tends to be years in between. So I guess there is some excitement at the prospect.

I’m only reminded because of a comment the other night from my date. In overthinking the whole thing, I landed on her remark.

Dunbar on Friends

Even Facebook can’t help you have more than 150 real friends

  1. We have about 5 people in our support group of closest friends. (aka Must Friends: a best friend, a member of your inner circle, a person you count on when something big happens in your life)
  2. We have about 15 more people in the sympathy group with whom we confide. (aka Trust friend: a friend who shows integrity, someone you feel comfortable with, that you’re always glad to see, but not in your inmost circle; perhaps someone you’d like to be closer to, if you had the time or opportunity)
  3. 50 more are are close friends (aka Rust friend: a person you’ve known for a long, long time; you’re probably not going to get any closer to that person, unless something changes, but a part of your life)
  4. 150 more a casual friends (aka Just friends: a person you see — at a weekly poker game, at your child’s school — who is enjoyable company, but you have no desire to socialize outside a specific context or to get to know that person better)
  5. 500 more are acquaintances.

Total: 720
And… we can identify about 1500 faces.

Me? I sometimes have about one person in the support group. My sympathy group is probably about right with 15-16 people. My close friends and casual friends are smaller than they ought to be with lots and lots of acquaintances.

Also, certainly people move up into a better category as we get closer. And others fall down into a lower one as we lose touch.

2016-MAR-08: Updated with the Buddy System labels

Excerpts: Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others

Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others
Part of it depends on whether they believe personality is fixed or constantly changing.

As they work to figure out the answer, people typically create new relationship stories, analyzing the events leading up to the breakup and using them to build a cohesive narrative. In some cases, this type of storytelling can be positive, helping people to make sense of—and come to terms with—painful things that happen to them. Other times, though, the storytelling process can be a negative one, compounding pain rather than easing it.

Yeah, this will be really difficult for me not to do:

What did you take away from this rejection? For some people, their answers made it clear that the rejection had come to define them—they assumed that their former partners had discovered something truly undesirable about them… In these types of stories, rejection uncovered a hidden flaw, one that led people to question or change their own views of themselves—and, often, they portrayed their personalities as toxic, with negative qualities likely to contaminate other relationships.

Heh.

Research by the psychologist Arthur Aron and his colleagues shows that when people are in close relationships, their self becomes intertwined with their partner’s self. In other words, we begin to think of a romantic partner as a part of ourselvesconfusing our traits with their traits, our memories with their memories, and our identity with their identity.

Yeah.

In our research, people reported the most prolonged distress after a romantic rejection when it caused their self-image to change for the worse. People who agreed that the rejection made them question who they really were also reported more often that they were still upset when they thought about the person who had rejected them. Pain lingered from rejections that had occurred even years before… When rejection is intimately liked to self-concept, people are also more likely to experience a fear of it. People reported becoming more guarded with new partners and “putting up walls.”

 

The Key

The key is finding that one person who can handle you during your darkest moments. Someone who can still think the highest of you right when you are feeling the lowest. See it’s hard to tell if the love is real when someone is celebrating you in the light. But would that person still celebrate you if you lost everything? Would they still love you the same way even if you couldn’t do anything for them? See, if someone can stick with you during your darkest hours and; be supportive, never give up on you, lend a listening ear and provide comfort without you having to ask, that is someone worth sharing the spotlight with. That is someone worth opening your heart up to so they can receive all of your love at its fullest capacity. That is someone worth building a deeper bond and a future with.