Why I Don’t Envy Relationships

Lack of admiration for the relationships I notice has brought me to the conclusions of why so many look like torture

I hope my friends don’t read this and, if they do, they don’t think I’m talking about them… even if I am.

I am single. Most of my friends are not. Although I love women and all the benefits of being with one, the itch for one is more like an intermittent tingle caused by dry skin. Those who know me may try to attribute my ‘un-super-bummdness’ regarding my singleness to previous unfavorable relational experiences. But the only thing my previous relational experiences have convinced me of is what women to stay clear of, not to stay clear of all women. (And yes, I’d like to think I’ve also done some work on myself and eliminated certain unbeneficial and juvenile attitudes.)

With the exception of perhaps one of my friends, all other people I know and know of who are “well of age" and are "still single” are conspicuously unhappy about that particular aspect of their lives (I’m sure people asking them why they’re “still single” at “this age” doesn’t help). Some folks are so disgruntled about their solo status that they’ve turned into consistent cantankerous citizens; the irony, of course, being than an individual who absolutely sucks to hang out with will only further perpetuate said singleness.

Me and my one mentioned friend (and by mentioned, I mean brought up in a very anonymous and abstract fashion which barely merits the word ‘mentioned’) are probably the only two people who observe most couples and say to ourselves, ”Whew, thank God I’m not stuck in one of those messes.”

I am positive the lack of envy- or even slight admiration- towards most of the relationships I notice plays a huge role in my rather pessimistic outlook towards being married (yes, I believe in marriage only, meaning the purpose of dating is to find someone to marry, not someone to cohabit with, or someone just to satisfy those tingly desires for warm moisture-filled softness). No need for Dr. Phil to put this puzzle together. After much mind-wrestling and bumbling around in the cob-web infested formation which is my brain, I think I may have figured out why my friends’ relationships just don’t look like much fun.

Relationships seem like a big game of tug-of-war.

Almost every relationship I’ve observed seems to be a constant power play for complete domination. Even the very few I’ve partaken in have been plagued by one or both parties trying to take over. At the time,  I can only recall one instance when a friend of mine got the evil eye from his wife for getting himself wrapped up in a conversation concerning a passion of his and leaving her to make sure the rowdy young ‘en doesn’t disappear. His reaction to “the look” (which scared even me) was a perfect degree of acknowledgement which resulted in a graceful understanding that there was in fact no problem (he grabbed the little one as he had done millions of times in earlier parts of the day), and there was no sense in trying to create one because whatever may be bothering her may as well not be. He wasn’t going to waste one more brain cell on frivolities. This particular couple seems to be one of- maybe- three couples who may have a balanced marriage. Both husband and wife seem to actually partake in activities they like. Both husband and wife seem to have their own friends and the opportunities to spend time with them, and both of them like to shoot guns (I’m not entirely sure if this last part added any weight to my argument. I just think it’s romantic when couple shoot together). But such matrimonies are about as rare as a politician who reads the bills he votes on.

I guess what I’m saying is: why can’t grown-ups stop trying to control one another? Most blogs and articles on relationships focus on why he or she does what he or she does and how is it that you can convince he or she to do what you want he or she to do. I understand the dynamic between a team who has to balance bills, jobs, and kids is a complex one, and that many problems arise because one partner is not doing precisely that which is his or her responsibility. But I’m not necessarily talking about that. I’m referring to a point in time way before getting to this more complicated stage. I think once you develop the domination dynamic early on, it actually become a bigger problem as life is magnified with kids and jobs and various activities.

I want to propose a different way of thinking  concerning relationships. Firstly, as I’ve been talking about, stop trying to control your wife or husband. Men, leadership and domination are not the same. A good leader leads by doing and inspiring, not by shouting orders and cutting down. And women, get off your feminist high-horse and stop trying to rule your man to make up for the thousands of years we’ve been clubbing you on the head and dragging you to our caves. We personally were not there.

Secondly, if you are someone who thinks  finding a mate is supposed to solve a self-esteem or anxiety issue you have, stop it. You are a fool for thinking like that. No human being can fix your emotional head problems. That’s between you and you and you and God. All you do by such thinking is put pressure on the poor sap you tricked into putting up with you. So, to sum it all up, do not get into a relationship if you’re looking for someone to complete you.

Thirdly, I suggest everyone find someone equal with them in intellect. It pains me every time I hear a friend say to me,” My wife doesn’t care about this. She’s more into shopping and watching her shows.” On the contrary, this scenario is fine if both individuals are on the same page as far as interests and intellect.

From my understanding, a relationship- a marriage- is supposed to be a partnership. The Bible calls Eve a helper, not a slave. A partnership allows for each individual to do what he and she is good at without constant interference and vetoes from the other partner. You don’t have to be in each other’s business about everything. We are still autonomous beings.

These are my observations and they are subject to change. But since I can read and write and posses the keypad and internet connections to transfer said thoughts to an electronic screen, why not?


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Paul L. Dragu February 22, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Thank you Nathan. It was nice meeting you last night. Had a good time with you guys.
Amy February 23, 2013 at 01:55 AM
That's an awesome article Paul. If my sister could take some time out of her life and stop looking for a spouse, and read this article, she'd find the some happiness in life. I try to tell her these same things that you say, but she shuts me down. Why? Because I'm married, I have kids, therefore I'm disqualified from telling any miserable single person that they can't find happiness from another human being.
Lisa February 23, 2013 at 02:25 PM
It's fear based insecurities that cause people to act this way. The couples you are describing just need to grow up. Sometimes it takes years of practice, and being with someone else who is immature. So I'll just add here that people are usually with who they are supposed to be with and when they've outgrown them and there is no hope of that person changing, then its time to move on.
Paul L. Dragu February 23, 2013 at 09:39 PM
I agree that certain couples need to grown up. In fact, I think most people need to grow up. However, I'm not a big fan of this outgrowing and moving on deal that is so popular these days. The oath one makes on a wedding day lists no disclaimers about outgrowing being a reasonable excuse to abandon ship. That's Hollywood stupidity that's infected the masses. What is "thick and thin" if it's not working out how to live together when it's not easy? (it's not sickness because that's stated in a different part of the oath)
Oasis Counseling Center February 25, 2013 at 06:01 PM
It is agreed that relationships are work and that a person should not look at relationships as a way to make their lives complete. It is normal for people to seek out others, though - part of the human condition. Good article overall - lots of food for thought for people to think about their own motivations for being in relationships.


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