The effortless relationship

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 2:58 PM | comments: 15

We talk a lot about relationships on this site, and how to make them work. Inevitably, Gonch comes in and mentions how his marriage has been easy and doesn't require any maintenance. After a marriage and various short to medium-term relationships, I think I finally understand what the hell he's talking about.

Diana and I, after living together three months and dating for 10, have never had any arguments. It is, for us, effortless. I would not argue that it's my personality or hers that make this possible, but rather the combination of our two personalities. Obviously with my marriage and dating experience, I don't operate the same way with everyone. Diana has had a similar experience. So there's this unquantifiable thing defined by the combination of two interacting personalities. Some work, so don't.

This leaves you with questions if you're out playing the field. First, is everyone able to find a person who can co-exist this way? I don't think so, but I think the people who can't are rare. Second, do you know when you have it? That's harder, because you need something to compare to.

For example, I suck at cleaning. I don't make it a prioritized task, and when I have time available, I want to either slack or work on my various projects. Diana will just start cleaning stuff, and I'll feel bad about it because that's the way I was "programmed" to feel in past relationships. My experience influences the behavior. Now I have to peel that back and realize that the negative feelings aren't necessary.

In other cases where you have negative feelings, and you feel the other person causes them, that's when you have a clue that perhaps things aren't right. When it becomes a pattern of negatives, that should be a dead giveaway. I'm now of the opinion that allowing yourself to exercise in broad compromise over bigger picture things is akin to be dishonest with yourself. Over time that can be really destructive.

I'm not suggesting you need perfection. I am suggesting that if negative feelings pile up, that maybe the other person isn't best for you. In my case, the worst thing I can come up with about Diana is the funny way she loads the dishwasher, and that's not even on the radar of being something I care that much about.

The only variable I can consider a threat to this is that people change. I guess the scope of change, more specifically, is the threat. If I decided tomorrow to, "You know, walk the earth, meet people... get into adventures. Like Caine from 'Kung Fu,'" I'm pretty sure that Diana would not be interested in being with me, and that's to be expected.

Why don't they teach this shit in college?


CPLady, April 9, 2008, 8:08 PM #

"The only variable I can consider a threat to this is that people change."

Bingo. You can never tell if or when someone might change or what the catalyst for that change might be. It could be kids, it could be a life changing experience, it could even be having one of your parents die suddenly that makes you take a serious look at your life and who you are.

It can also be a slow process where you don't even notice it until years down the road.

Some people can come back from it, some people can't, and some won't even try.

The result will depend upon whether the relationship was based on honesty and entered into with eyes wide open in the first place.

And there are those Asian girls again ======>

Neuski, April 9, 2008, 8:52 PM #

P202610 likes me.

Diana, April 9, 2008, 9:36 PM #

??? The funny way I load the dishwasher??? I think you have that backwards. If we take a poll on CF, I'll bet you that you're in the minority in loading all of your flatwear face down.

CPLady, April 9, 2008, 10:40 PM #

I load all of my flatware face down AND they are not mixed...forks in one slot, spoons in another, etc. Same with the rest of the stuff...large dishes in one area, smaller in another, bowls groups together and glassware and cups separated on the top.

There is a makes it easier to remove and put away.

Whether that means I'm in the minority or not, I don't know. Gordon certainly thinks it's anal.


Jeff, April 9, 2008, 11:27 PM #

Easier to put away. I wouldn't have guessed!

Actually, I think her biggest "issue" (and really I don't think she cares) is that I load the glasses in at angle, the way the wires want them to be. That way they don't hold water. Yes, you could load more by putting them upright, but since 75% of my glasses fit this way, and all the plates are used by then, it works out. :)

CPLady, April 10, 2008, 12:39 AM #

Yes, I do that too. Otherwise (with coffee cups especially) there is too much water left on them. I also unload the bottom first and THEN the top so if there is any water on the cups, it won't dribble onto the dried dishes below.

Carrie, April 10, 2008, 1:50 AM #

Please you guys, seek help now before you have kids who will only eat with their hands. ;)

For the record, I put my silverware in face up. I believe it gets them cleaner. I have no trouble reaching down and grabbing them by the stem to put them away.

Good luck with this issue.

Gonch, April 10, 2008, 2:16 AM #

Well, I hate to be the asshole who brags about how easy it is - but it has been for us. I can count on one hand the number of times we really argued - and this September will be 12 years of marriage.

As far as the "people change" thing, my brain can't argue with that logic, but my heart can't agree with it - if that were the case people wouldn't stay together forever or those that do would be unhappy...and I just don't believe that.

I think you can have both. People change and things are still good. Hell, I've seen it. I'm not even close to the same person I was when Jamie and I first got together and she's changed a bit herself...but we still get along as well as ever.

I have theories and I could go on forever. I don't want to ugly up the comments, and I don't have the time right now. Maybe a post for my blog someday.

Silverware goes in face-down, BTW. :)

JRY13SP, April 10, 2008, 7:22 AM #

Forks go face up because the tines stick through the edge. Knives go face up so the part that matters get clean. Spoons go face down.

I don't know why I am the way that I am.

tigellinus, April 10, 2008, 1:19 PM #

Jeff, why don't you do what I everything the way you want it right before you run the dishwasher!?

Then, you always get it the way you want!! :)

CPLady, April 10, 2008, 1:27 PM #

Somehow I don't think which way the dishwasher is loaded is going to break their relationship. As Jeff said, some things just aren't worth worrying about.

Rob, April 10, 2008, 1:45 PM #

The effortless relationship. I haven't really heard of it put that way but that about explains it here. It makes it hard to believe that our 3-year wedding anniversary is coming up in May and I can only think of maybe two arguments over that period of time. On top of that we went through some trying times, especially with my parents living with us while pregnant with Jacob. We stuck it out though, amongst other situations.

BTW all flatware faces up, but we can only load and unload the dishwasher than the little man isn't around, otherwise he'll try to close the dishwasher because he knows he's not allowed to touch the dishes inside of it... yet. ;)

Neuski, April 10, 2008, 3:09 PM #

Didn't GregLeg post on here many moons ago about a cat almost falling into an open dishwasher, specifically near some utensils facing up?

And screw all you guys for having dishwashers!

Diana, April 10, 2008, 6:38 PM #

By the way, for the record: I've conformed to Jeff's preference of loading the dishwasher. I'm willing to concede on this debate because I'm sure I have quirks that are worse.

Neuski, April 10, 2008, 9:08 PM #

Don't mention her quirks Jeff! It's a trap!

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