Monday, August 14, 2006

the new relationships

Saturday I went to dinner with my friend, Nick. After several hours of conversation over dinner (of which the phrase, "Gee, it is a mystery why we are such an obese society. Hello, portions that could keep a third world country happy for weeks.) a few hours of book browsing at B&N and finally sitting in the cafe' enjoying a pomegranate frappaccino, we got around to talking about relationships.
He has been celibate for many years. It's a choice he made after being in several failed relationships, having his heart broken, and losing the love of his life at an early age to suicide. (His boyfriend was convinced he had AIDS, but at the time it was known as the, Gay Cancer.)
We got to talking about some of our other friends. I have a few friends who are celibate by choice, a few who are in polyamorous relationships and several who are married, and many who are divorced. A few who are still seeking, 'the one.'

Every now and then I go into a self-imposed exile on dating and sex. Frankly, as much as I love sex and meeting new people, I simply have to take a break from it all. I find that it is incredibly easy to become jaded, bitter, complacent, and just in general lose myself in the other person. All of which are things I don't care to do. The thing I hate the most is when my every waking and sleeping moment is consumed by that person. Sure, it's lovely in sentiment, but when I can't finish a thought or an opinion, or even get out of bed in the morning before that person enters my thoughts or I can't complete a conversation without at least one, "Well, Joe Blow said this..." Well, eck. (Yes, I know. It is nice, but I am talking about when it becomes all consuming. When I can't finish a private thought without my mind wandering off to him. Who ever, him is, at the time.)
Plus, and I can only speak for the female population here, but I think too many women put their self-worth and the self-worth of others into whether or not they are a couple. A two-some, three-some, or a more-some and it drives me crazy. Like when I run into someone after not seeing them for quite sometime and of course the, "I'm married with two kids and a third one on the way.." And then I say, "I'm single." Then they reply with a, "Well...that's okay...." but a look of pity crosses their face as the words leave their mouth and I answer with a sarcastic, "Yeah. I know it is."
Or in classes or work situations when we go around the room and introduce ourselves and everyone says they are married with kids, pets, and a house in the burbs. Then when it gets to me I answer, "Single, no kids, no pets, live in an apartment...." Dead silence, blank stares, and a few looks of pity, again.

But, I digress; the real point of this post was to ask about the 'new' relationships.
Nick thinks singledom and celibacy will be the new wave of the future. I think it will be poly relationships, open relationships, and self-imposed celibacy. Families and what they mean, what they are, and whose part of them has taken big mushroom cloud in terms of what "nuclear family" means anymore. It only makes sense that it will continue to change and evolve well into the future. What was odd, strange, and could end in you being arrested 10-20 years ago is now well known, advertised, and can be seen, enjoyed, and everyone is welcome to partake in at your local night clubs. So, it just makes sense to me that things will continue to evolve.

So, what do you think? What will be the future in terms of relationships and acceptability?


Dirty Bunny said...

I can envision a future of multi-family homes, whether that's a single mom w/child, a single dad w/child, a gay couple with kid(s), or a heterosexual couple with kids. I think that people will find in order to maintain the standard of living we've become accustomed to, we're going to have to have "roomies", in an unconventional sense.

TrappedInColorado said...

Well, I don't see much changing, really. People will continue to attempt the standard committed relationship/marriage/kids thing even though, obviously, it is no longer working. Too many kids growing up in single parent homes. Those single parents working their asses off to provide for them and as a result not having the quality time necessary for the development of quaility humans.

As far as people looking at you when you say you are single. I say it another way. "I'm single. Yes. I layed in bed this morning trying to decide what I was going to do today. Finally decided to sleep an extra hour then get up and take a bike ride, followed by some shopping, a nap then dinner with friends at a really nice restaurant. How did you spend your day?" It works everytime. The pity look is replaced by envy. Love it!!!!

Malnurtured Snay said...

I've been celibate for seventeen or eighteen months.

Wait, does celibate mean you're doing it of your own free will?

Nevermind, I've just been very unlucky.

JJ said...

The first major change in the family came with the industrail age when the man of the house began working away from home.

The second major change was when the woman began working out of the home.

Other than that, the family structure and marriage in general just hasn't changed that much.

jmeped said...

First of all If you and I met on the street and I was married, and had two kids with one on the way and you said you were single I would probably knock you over with my huge belly and run away while crying. Enjoy your own space, and your own life because we always want what we don't have, and the next thing you know you're going to wake up next to some over weight sweaty guy who's snoring, and a couple of kids screaming mooooooooooommy I want a pop tart, and when you get up to get it you'll step in dog shit from that dog you never wanted. I'm just saying........

Dirty Bunny said...

No, doubt. I've read people's comments, and I have to agree. Yes, I love being a mom and with someone, but there's a lot to be said for having the choice of solitude, not feeling guilty for taking an afternoon nap, and doing whatever the hell you goshdarn please. People suck sometimes.

Egan said...

I guess I've never really put much thought into the future of relationships. This is an interesting topic to say the least. Polyamorphic? We get similar looks when we say we don't have kids or pets.

Good job on the pomegranate drink.

HST said...

I must say I agree with you PG. Given how difficult getting over the most recent one has proven....I think single is really the way for me at the moment. and probably a bunch of moments to come.

sonia said...

It all depends who wins the war.

If the Muslim religious fundamentalists win, I am afraid our future will be all nuclear family - women stoned for adultery (and men criticized, but forgiven for the same transgressions)...

But if we win - I hope the future will be about free love and open relationships for everybody...

Dirty Bunny said...

Sonia, are you for real?

Mighty Dyckerson said...

What the fuck do you do in Barnes & Noble for several hours??! It's not a fucking library! Buy the book or hit the road, cheapass!

Yeah, him. said...

I can see a more marriage free society - either due to the failures of first time marriages, the inability to play by "conventions", and also in the failure of society to accept gay marriage - those relationships and heterosexual relationships that are just "living together".

As for the rest of us single, unlucky celibates, hopefully, there is a lot of lurvin to go round.

puerileuwaite said...

Sorry. Mighty D had me laughing my ass off for several minutes. Damn you, Clown!

At least he took the pressure off of me to lamely try to lighten things up. I can be serious for once.

The comments are very interesting. Honest and insightful. I agree with dirty bunny, trapped, jmeped, dan, and you, pg.

Hell, I even agree with Mighty D. Buy a book for Chrissakes.

JJ didn't finish the progression. It would've been interesting to read where he could've taken it.

Sonia turns me on, but she may have been naked in the sun too long ;-)

It is an evolutionary process in that change is inevitable. Some developments will be perceived as good, some not; subject of course to the eye of the beholder.

It IS encouraging that the concept of a relationship appears to be rapidly expanding, to the extent that not being in one at all can hopefully soon be embraced by society in general.

We have been conditioned to use our relationship status as a metric for the estimation of our overall worth.

Loneliness and the pressure to conform can and do force us into poor choices.

High standards can help prevent poor choices but make the loneliness even more acute.

Until recently, being from a one-parent, mixed race, or same gender household was - in general - a stigma. Something to be concealed.

If the evolution helps to eliminate the aformentioned problems, then godspeed.

However, if it accelerates the breakdown of common morality into an "anything goes" society, then no thanks. Kids deserve to start out in life from within a loving, supportive and committed family environment. Whether it's heterosexual, a gay couple, interacial, or ???

Conservative? Liberal? As usual, the best path is usually somewhere toward the middle.

Party Girl said...

Dirty: I think our current standards of living and the I want, I want, I want and not nec. I need are going to a two person household nec. if not mandatory.

Trapped: I think, in many cases, a one parent loving household is better than no household or a household of two angry people who should have never married or procreated to begin with.

as for my answers to the marrieds when they tell me how they spent the day running here, there, and everywhere, upside, down and right side up or errands I answer with a: yeah I: spent the day in y recliner, with a book, working on my tan, having sex, napping, masturbating, shopping, cooking, painting, gardening, driving, writing, thinking, contemplating.........

Snay: the celebacy not by choice= not so fun

JJ: you're right about when things changed, but then with the man working it allowed for more adultry. With the women working they saw they didn't need the man or to be married, and allowed for more adultry.
Women then had the ability to go to school for something other than a Mrs. degree which allowed for more freedom which allowed for marriage by choice, not circumstance and which allowed for children by choice, not risking pregnancy simply from a fun night out.
Choices happened and thank god for it.
I think family in the tradtional sense has completely changed because what's traditional anymore?

jmp: exactly. I've managed to turn it around a few times.

Egan: one never knows what will happen when you got out to dinner with me.
The pomegranate was dee-lish

Homely: Break-ups suck. Suck ass and not in the good fun way.

Sorry. May he be a distant memory except for the fond ones, soon.

Sonia: I'm all for freedom of choices and fun, whatever that freedom of fun may be.

mighty: Um, yeah, hi. It wasn't really about book buying. It was about talking and conversating. See the: sat in cafe' and had a drink and kept talking, portion of the post.

Dan: I think the failure of the starter marriage and such will result in the next go rounds being more free and open. Just what I'm seeing and hearing.

P: I think failure, progression, being more open to ideas and finding a network of people who are more open to those ideas to freely express and share how a person really feels will cause change. Whether we see it as good or bad will be determined by us.

gone said...

I have been witness to the evolution of my society through the behaviour and eyes of hundreds of students who have had the good fortune of being in one of my classes over my many years in education. I can tell you that the "nuclear" family structure is in a state of collapse. Marriage has become an excuse of sorts to have a party; the cost of which could equal the monthly budget of many developing countries.
More to the point: Relationships will become increasingly more needs oriented with no predetermined time limits. A few of us, and I include you in this select group, will continue to strive towards developing relationships that nurture the physical and spiritual (whatever that means) growth of its partners.

Chris said...

I agree. I think we will see the government get out of defining marriage, and we will see new combinations including various forms of plural relationships.

Sonia, are you for real? :)

AeroAangel said...

well i don't pretend to know what the future will hold, but i do know of a very odd family that you'd probably be interested in: there is a typical married couple boy and a girl, both best friends and they have several kids (can't remember exactly how many) but each of them has a boyfriend/girlfriend living in the house with them. the married couple is composed of two very gay people and they have their respective partners living with them and helping to raise their kids...both people wanted kids so this is how they worked it. and the kids know that they have two mommies and two daddies, and it works well. just sharing.

Party Girl said...

Cooper: Hey, thanks for stopping.

Yes, the eyes of students. Young and old and everything inbetween. They do have a lot to say and a lot of insights and thoughts on the future and the state of relationships. I am betting that 3/4 of those who commented come from divorced homes. I think what we saw from our parents, then what we see from our friends has a lot to do with how we proceed in our lives in terms of our future relationships.

Chris: Hey, another newbie. Thanks, for stopping also.

Personally, I don't understand why the government feels they have a right to be in my, yours, or anyone elses bedroom, house, apartment, or otherwise. If it's a loveing consistening relationship, I feel that it all that really matters.

Aero: Names and addresses of these individuals, please. I would like to have a long chat. I think it would be most insightful, entertaining, and fun.

Joefish said...

Sonia can't possibly be for real.

puerileuwaite said...

Joe, I agree. But she does make my Tahiti tingle.

AeroAangel said...

sorry PG, don't have the total information you request...they are related to a guy i dated for a while.