Random Ramble on the Modern Relationship and the Nature of Love

So a friend of mine recently shared this article (Short enough. Read for Context). And while I thought it was a cute ‘Reversal’ of the Problematic “Friend Zone” argument that men make… As a “Reversal” and not an introspective look at the problems related to it, it’s certainly not meaty enough to be anything more than a cheap laugh. That said, there was some interesting debate that followed it, and I’ll excerpt a few points for context (Names omitted as I didn’t ask permission to share their thoughts wide. 😛 And G is the friend that Originally shared the Article.):

W Says: This is an absolutely valid perspective. 100%. However, as someone who’s been on the other side of this more than once, I can attest that absolutely nothing is more personally devastating humiliating for a guy than being rejected by someone, especially someone they value or who possesses traits they admire and respect. If you meet and build a link to someone who reflects your romantic ideal and they reject you, what does that say about yourself? Lower standards? Build an emotional callus and try again?
Attitudes about what men look for in a romantic relationship have dramatically shifted in recent times. The meek, submissive girl who exists for the hearth and is seen but not heard, does what she’s told and spends her time dolling herself up for The Man to come home from The Job and expect The Dinner on The Table have been exposed for being as silly and backwards as they really are. This shift in paradigm has led to men hunting for values in a partner that reflect them being an actual partner – the SO who’s as much a friend as a girlfriend is considered to be the ideal rather than as “uppity”.

Unfortunately, of course, this winds up stepping on legitimate friendship, and there really isn’t a clear answer to how to solve this problem because emotions aren’t really rational.

X Says:“I start to think that this one might actually care about me as a person. And then he asks me on a date.”

Fun fact! If someone asks you out on a date, it is not because they don’t care about you as a person. In fact, the exact polar opposite is true, they ask you out because they care about you a lot!

If you reject them and they stop talking to you, it still isn’t because they don’t care about you as a person or value your friendship. In fact, the exact polar opposite is true! It’s actually because they care about you a lot more than you care about them, and that hurts them inside and your presence becomes a source of constant emotional pain for them!

But I guess the author doesn’t give two fucks how other people feel. She just wants to do whatever she wants without empathy for others, and if the emotions of someone else inconveniences her wants, that person is an asshole. I mean how dare they have emotions different from what she wants them to have, right?

W Says: The only solution is to clearly turn down a guy and leave no room for a romantic future. If you’re not attracted, you’re not attracted. I’ve been in this situation on the other side and when I was told no, that’s not how this goes, I’ve respected that and steered clear of the romantic entanglement. It only became a mess when either A) I wasn’t mature enough to handle that, which I’ve worked to overcome, or the woman wasn’t mature enough to be clear on her intentions. I will completely cop to A, I’ve been This Guy before and had to develop as a person to respect this and understand this. Conversely, I’ve also dealt with the B scenario – in fact, twice, the girl reciprocated and changed her mind immediately leading to a severe emotional clusterfuck.

We’re changing as a society into a newer (and I would argue far healthier) model of what we look for in romantic partners, and that change is going to come with problems as we adapt to the new model. I would call this an unfortunate symptom of that.

@X: The problem is that women don’t like the fact that they’re thought of as dating prospects first. And guys who try to befriend a girl in hopes of dating them later are creeps.

X Says: Not every guy befriends girls with ulterior motives. I don’t think its exactly far fetched to assume that if a heterosexual man meets a heterosexual woman and they get along well and start spending a lot of time together doing things like [excerpted from the article]:

– going over to each other’s houses and playing video games together
– going to see movies with each other
– going on day hikes together
– finding similar tastes in music and going to see those concerts together
– spend time talking to each other, just finding comfort in sharing their problems and getting support
– having deep intellectual conversations about books they’re reading
– adventurously exploring new restaurants with each other
– going to small weird theatre productions together and having fun mocking them

SOMEONE is going to develop feelings. Those aren’t friendly encounters, those are dates, whether you call them that or not. If you’re spending that much time with someone and you’re getting along THAT well with them, feelings are bound to develop and grow. Interpersonal relationships aren’t binary, it’s not a facebook status that is either on or off. Friendship is a flower. It has many different stages and forms. If you tend to it and continue caring for it and putting work in to it and all the conditions are right, it will continue to grow. it doesn’t just reach a point and then stop arbitrarily.

A guy may not intend to fall for a girl when he first meets her, but if everything fits and you get along that well, the flower’s bound to grow.

G Says:Why are those things dates? I do those with my friends with zero romantic intent. I am out atm but ill write up a proper response when I get home

Also I disagree with the idea that its okay to abandon a friendship because they say no to dating you. If you are that close of a friend to someone, and you abandon them simply because they aren’t interested in a romantic relationship, that is incredibly terrible, on your part, not theirs. Saying you don’t want to be in a relationship does not make you a jerk, not speaking to someone anymore because they don’t do what you want is.

X Says: so you’d rather someone who has reciprocated feelings for someone else just bottle up their emotions and continue to suffer through emotional pain just for that other’ person’s convenience?

G Says:That’s a bit of a hyperbolic question, but yes. If you care about someone, you accept their choice and move on. I have been on both sides of this scenerio myself and I don’t see anything wrong with it. If you care about them, why on earth would you want to throw away your friendship with them? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

I guess I just don’t see how a friendship is some devastating purgatory

Y Says:Because lots of people don’t have the emotional fortitude to continue on like nothing has happened with someone they care greatly about, or the emotional maturity to treat them as just a friend and not make awkward jokes or hit on them constantly.

Not that I don’t sympathize with your position, I’m just clarifying the other side. I’m sure it’s frustrating to make friends with guys who, after they reveal their un-reciprocated feelings, either drop off the face of the earth or continue to awkwardly hit on you until you just come around. I know, because I’ve had this explained to me in detail by a few girls. I think this is one of those situations where understanding both sides doesn’t necessarily make it better, because feelings.

G Says:I guess I just honestly don’t comprehend the logic for the other side. I understand it’s painful, and I by no means wish to dismiss anyone’s feelings as invalid. But in my experience on the rejected side of things, if I care about someone enough to ask for a romantic relationship, the idea of losing that person entirely just seems like it would be a million times worse than the pain involved in crying for a week, eating a tub of ice cream and moving on. I fell for them because they were awesome, and awesome friends are a wonderful thing to have.

H Says: If some people have attachment issues and are turned down for being dated it can often be more painful for them to remain friends with the person that rejected them. Sometimes its just easier to move on and forget the person and close the book on that chapter of your life.

Not saying thats the right thing for everyone but it certainly suits some people.

Now coming into the conversation at this point, I came up with this… which I ‘think’ addresses some of the problems being discussed… (Tis a bit Rambly… but if you’re reading this… you’re probably used to that by me. >.>)

  Okay, so read the article and it’s funny, *Ba Dum Tish* , this is what the “Friend Zone” laments look like from the “Other Side”, but in choosing that particularly charged subject and making light of it in a self-serving fashion, it’s as broken as the “Friend Zone” lament. So taking it for the funny, sure, but taking it for ‘any’ real kind of meat is as futile as taking a ‘Friend Zone’ lament as meat.

  The dynamics between men and women are changing all the time. No longer are men the sole moneymakers, and women the housewife. This impacts far more than just the workplace though. Now men and women both are expected to be sussing out their personal futures, and in doing so planning their partners around this. The problem lies in that while women used to be more prone to socializing and networking around (And ‘sometimes’ as part of) their tasks, men used to be ‘Objective Driven’ (Work, Food, Mate, Relax) with networking as a secondary function, and generally only to accomplish objectives. Now that we’re all (A Process started with our Grandparents Grandparents) being set upon the same stage… we’ve got to relearn the blocking and work on our delivery.

  Unfortunately, we’re still too close to a generation where things weren’t as meshed as they are now, so large chunks of our social education are still rooted in another age, and we’re still likely another generation or two off of children being raised in an environment where women and men are equally expected to both work and socialize without judgment. (How would you think about the guy that sits at home keeping up the house whilst his girlfriend works and they make ‘just enough’ to get by? What about the reverse… ‘Should’ there be a difference?) During this transition, the ‘Dating Scene’ is likely to be a bit strange, and this is only exacerbated by ‘little things’ like difference in confidence and a variety of socially grown mental states that our culture is so good at breeding. ;?

  Touching on a few of the things mentioned so far, it’s silly to think that people interacting on an increasingly personal stage will not develop a stronger connection. As you bring someone into your life, and into the things that you’re passionate about, some of that passion is bound to slop out. One of the problems we have as a culture is in our confusion about the different forms of love (An NO I don’t bloody mean the Gift Giving, and Praising, and Touching, and whatever the bloody ‘ell else those books go on about… the idea that ‘Those’ are the forms of love is part of the problem… :?). Many people associate a strong sense of camaraderie with romantic feelings, and this is only complicated by the fact that we don’t culturally teach about different forms of love. Strong feelings? Not Family? Have Sex. That’s the path people tend to follow. 😕 (And ‘that’ could be an entirely different conversation that I’ll only lightly touch on one aspect of… >.>)

  While I want to like the “Flower” Analogy, I think to use it you have to realize that there are many different types of flowers, and you can’t eat all of them, though many of them may look and smell quite nice. The problem is that we’re working off this model of relationships that doesn’t easily allow for roses and sunflowers, dandelions and flytraps to be a natural part of it. We’ve got plants, we grow plants, we eat plants, and sure there are some hippies that wear flowers in their hair… but they’re a little strange… And while it would be easy to say, “You should realize you’re being silly!” when people don’t grasp that you can love someone without sleeping with them, this is not a universal cultural message yet… and patience is unfortunately required on both sides during the transition.

  Friendship isn’t a ‘Purgatory’, but when people are raised to see love as a single continuum, it’s ‘Upsetting’ when they feel as if they’ve somehow failed to progress, or when they feel that they ‘have’ progressed only to be told that they’re wrong. Unfortunately, until the idea that love between non family can ‘truly’ be a platonic thing as naturally as it can be a physical thing, we’ll continue to deal with this rough spot. There are a lot of related issues that simultaneously need to be addressed (Sex and it’s relation to emotional connections, open ‘Emotional’ communication across both genders, education on these things and more!) before a real transition can happen… but we’re slowing crawling there.

 

So what do You Think?

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