Monday, April 4, 2016

Relationships 'R' Us

Years ago, a commentor shared an entertaining and educational link of Keynes and Hayek, the economists, rapping it out. 
Keynes compares the economy to a machine: 

Money sloshes through the pipes and the sluices
Revitalizing the economy's juices

It's just like an engine that's stalled and gone dark
To bring it to life we need a quick spark
Spending's the life blood that gets the flow going
Where it goes doesn't matter - just get spending flowing! 

Hayek counters: 

The economy's not a car, there's no engine to stall
No expert can fix it, there's no "it" at all
The economy's us, we don't need a mechanic
Put away the wrenches, the economy's organic

These lyrics came to mind when I considered how relationships are also, sometimes, erroneously categorized as machines, referred to as "it working" or "it not working." 

A relationship isn't an "it." Relationships are "us." Relationships are between people, and the effort they put into it. They aren't external or separate from ourselves

While there must be likability, compatibility, and attraction to spark the initial stages, relationships won't indefinitely run on that fuel alone.

Luke (the quibbler) has always quibbled with the concept of "bashert." He believes that free will applies there as well, that when we daven for our bashert (a divine, destined other half), it's that we daven for guidance in making the correct choice of our mate. (He did marry the first girl, though, so easy for him to talk . . .)  

After Rebecca Traister's close friend Sara moved away, and returned six months later, both were thrilled to be reunited. Yet it wasn't an easy matter to become simpatico again.
. . . divides can creep in between friends just as easily as they do in marriages. Maybe because she was nursing painful wounds as she rebuilt her New York life, and was resistant to simply falling back into her old patterns; maybe because, after the pain of having to say goodbye, I was gun-shy about giving myself over so completely, our friendship was never again quite as effortless as it had once been. “It was a rough re-entry,” she said recently of that time. “I knew of course that your life had continued while I was gone and that your circles of friends had expanded, but I was sad that we couldn’t slip right back into the space where we had left off.”
Absence can corrode the most divine of friendships. That dead space that has to be filled once again, with proximity and effort. Even between the closest of besties.

Justin Tyler Clark had been dithering about proposing to his girlfriend, and had actually been relieved when his bag was going to be searched in front of her, spoiling the surprise but affirming his action: 
We live much of our lives in a state of paralysis, letting fate make decisions for us. But at the most important moments — when we’re facing an emergency or falling in love — we think we will know the right things to do and say. . .
“You’ll know when it’s time,” my mother told a much younger me when I asked her when I would marry.
Yet at 30, I had never experienced “just knowing” in that context. I had had many girlfriends, lived with several, even felt as if I loved one or two, but the much-anticipated epiphany — “I just know she’s the one” — failed to present itself. Disappointed, I had broken off every relationship.
When I met my grad school girlfriend, I had good reason to think she might be it. . . From the moment our mutual friend introduced us, I kept waiting for that feeling of certainty to overtake me.
Nine months later, I was as happy as I had ever been while still paralyzed by doubt.
Maybe because we live in an age of so many choices, most of them meaningless, we romanticize the notion that falling in love isn’t a choice but something that happens to us. That love tells us what to do, not the other way around. Love is the authority figure, and if love tells us wrongly, then we can’t be held fully responsible. . .
Now, a real-life authority figure had arrived in the form of this Singaporean customs officer who would yank the ring out of my bag at any minute, forcing me to explain myself to my girlfriend and confess my plans. My years of indecision would end, I thought gleefully. What a funny story to tell our children, once we got out of prison.
But the ring remained undiscovered. Yet the fact that he was bummed not having the choice forced upon him galvanized Clark to propose—of his own free will—and he has "never once regretted it." 

I love "signs" as much as the next person. No matter how many times I tell myself otherwise, I still fall for those divine stories or mystical signals or meaningful coincidences every single freakin' time. But that would be me seeking to wiggle out of my own responsibility. For in the end, it's choice.

The few times I have used the inaccurate phrase was following a questionable first date and I had to give my refusal directly. "I don't think it's going to work out" is certainly is more diplomatic than "I did not enjoy our time together." It's not because the "it" won't work; it's because I chose otherwise. 

Like Amy did following a bad date. She said, "I don't think it's going to work out" even though Dave spent the whole evening demanding to know all about her ex, Sheldon, whom he idolizes. But that was just to be polite. Dave was being a jerk. It was him, not "it."


Princess Lea said...

OMG, Altie, I suck. I was clicking on the link to view your comment in the post, and I deleted it. NOOOO! And I didn't even get to see what you wrote! :( So so sad, so so sorry.

Altie said...

Lol luckily I always click on email me follow up comments and it always emails my own comment, so here it is again:

:) I like your posts that much more with a big bang reference.

I too look for signs everywhere, like the other night when I saw my friend and she asked me if I ever heard of the "blank family" because they have a few older unmarried boys. Suddenly my mind remembered that one of the boys was mentioned over a year ago and nothing really came of it. So I went off to do some research and determine if her mentioning the name now *means* something because it must be a sign.

I just imagine that when the right guy comes along I'll just *know*. It's easier then having to sit yourself down and ask yourself some difficult questions

Daniel Saunders said...

I tend to agree with Luke re: bashert. I did find something years ago saying that although the popular idea of bashert is that everyone has someone they're definitely going to marry, that's not how all the commentators have understood it over the years. There are actually numerous different understandings on the sugya the concept is based on, at least one of which has nothing to do with marriage at all (it sees the idea as being about the union of body and soul within a person).

Princess Lea said...

Altie: Phew. Yes, TBBT does add much more zest, doesn't it? They should have covered nearly every topic by now.

It never stops. "I don't believe in signs!" Then, like by you, a name is mentioned. Squeal. Meaning. Sign. However, if it is a name that I disastrously went out with before, then of course there is no meaning there. Because I don't see any meaning in it.

I've *known* too many times! Then proved wrong. I'm glad when the Bigger Force takes it out of my hands, then.

DS: Yeah, I've had a sneaking suspicion that we've over-romanticized the notion by quite a bit over the centuries.

Daniel Saunders said...

While looking for something else, I found the bashert link. It was bashert! See here: here. Interpretation number 4 is the one that appeals most to me, although I don't suppose there's any way to 'prove' any of them.

Princess Lea said...

I liked #4 too. If we are all working on ourselves, and are above mazal, then who we are at certain points in time alters divine reaction, in all other things, I thought I had learned.