Archive for October, 2008

Back against the wall

Hah! So when I said “coming soon” in the post below, I clearly meant “coming in a month or so, if poor health and over-work don’t do for me first”.

Have spent most of my time in the office lately (was pondering yesterday whether it is more depressing to eat toast and marmite for three meals a day, or to eat three meals a day at my desk). Failing that I’ve been sleeping or hanging around hospitals (preferably in draughty corridors wearing backless gowns).

Ordinarily this kind of behaviour sends me a little crazy, in a bad way – highly-strung, tearful, out-of-control feeling. But for some reason this time I’m still cheery. Manic, yes, but in a good, enjoying the adrenalin way.

Still thought last night’s dreams were a bit sketchy though. They were long and complicated, but only two bits stood out a while after waking:

•Spilling big grains of sea salt from a tightly wrapped newspaper package onto my kitchen floor

•Admiring someone’s engagement ring. It had three stones in a rough clover shape, two enormous diamonds and a huge aquamarine. Experienced mixed feelings: jealousy, vulgarity, appreciation of aesthetic.

For some reason stones and salt seem pretty symbolic. Wonder if they are?

Anyway, normal service will resume at some point. Fuck knows when.

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All the mail I never sent

A plug for some friends: All the mail I never sent.

It’s a Post Secret styled stone, we’re gonna see if it gathers moss.

The idea – check your email draft folder for mail you’re really glad you never sent, or get something off your chest by penning a mail you’d never write in real life.

Then post it anonymously online for the delectation and delight of others. Simple!

Aphoritastic

Aphorisms are trite. Sometimes they’re condescending. But… I’ve wanted to respond to these great poly/jealousy thoughts of Breena’s since she wrote them

It seems that all lifestyles [monogamy, polyamory, &tc] seem to attest that by adhering to the principles, they won’t suffer from jealousy, infidelity etc. Of course, this is futile, because monogamy won’t protect you from the green-eyed monster, nor will polyamory guarantee that your partner won’t cheat on you

(sensing a theme lately?). This was where I ended up.

My first attempt turned into the garbled post about choice and strategy, and the second became the post below, about jealousy in a broader setting than open relationships. This time I came up with a bulleted list of aphorisms, so aphorisms it is.

• Your partner wanting to sleep with someone else doesn’t mean they love you less

You hear this a lot in open relationships, in my limited experience usually fairly truthfully. People tend not to expound the reverse so much:

• Forbidding your partner from sleeping with anyone else won’t make them love you more

And finally:

• Your sense of worth has to come from yourself. Defining your worth according to other people’s actions is setting yourself up for a fall.

Green-eyed girl

Jealousy is a good thing.

It lets you know when you’re on emotionally dodgy ground, and politely suggests you do something about it before that ground gives way.

From an evolutionary psychology point of view (I’m still reading Why is Sex Fun?), it helps ensure paternity. Female humans know if they’re pregnant that the baby is theirs, whereas men are denied that certainty.

Men who jealously guard their partners from other mates are reassuring themselves that the offspring they’re pouring time and energy into carry their genes.

(Mr Diamond states that in the majority of US paternity cases, the baby’s father is whoever the mother claimed it was. I’d like to read more about the role jealousy plays in this female honesty – can anyone recommend any papers?)

Jealousy should be listened to.

If someone or something makes you feel bad, you need to take notice so you can figure out why. What exactly are you feeling, what are your specific fears? What could you change about the situation to make yourself feel better?

Jealously isn’t about blame or guilt.

Feeling sucky sucks. If a partner does something that you respond to by feeling bad, it can make you feel better to get mad at them. Scream, shout, stamp, tell them how thoughtless they are. If you feel bad, they should feel bad, right?

But lashing out is a quick fix, once the storm has died down you are no better off than before. Instead, try to figure out with your partner exactly why you felt so bad, and see if you can find some common ground where you are both happier with the situation.

The result – your partner understands you better, you understand you better, and your relationship is stronger.

It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination (a friend of mine would say that if it were, it would have no meaning), but it will do a hell of a lot more for you in the long run than vetoes, ultimatums and tears.

Choice & strategy

Behind the cut for length, not rudeness…

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