Get Your Own Picket Fence (Or Don’t) : A Note on Relationships

My friend & fellow blogger Carlos Miceli of Owl Sparks once told me that he was relieved that I never waxed on about relationships here on the site, which I had sort of made an unspoken rule.

But what can I say? I'm a rule breaker, baby. Even when they're my own.

And with that, I'm busting out the L-word.


There, I said it.

Being the idealist that I am, you might imagine that I'd be the type to wear my heart on my sleeve, doodle mini-cupids around my lover's name and nonchalantly lounge around in vintage clawfoot tub-fulls of fine French champagne, while draped in pearl necklaces and plucking petals from fresh-picked daisies murmuring to myself, “He loves me?… He loves me not.”

Aside: Whatever happened to, “I love him?… I love him not.” I really must be an idealist.

While the sounds of anything “champagne” and “clawfoot” make me go wild, that lovely little image couldn't be farther from the truth of who I am. Of all things, I tend to be obscenely practical with matters of the heart, and have always been rather skeptical that one lone person could ever possibly fulfill all of another's needs–or should be expected to.

And isn't that what we ask of our partners? We don't simply ask for their love; we expect (and demand) that person to not only be our partner, but to be our everything. We demand they be our emotional support, our financial stability, our intimate lovers, our best friends; we expect them to be sexy but sensitive, spontaneous but grounded, romantic but practical, intelligent but not stuffy, and funny but with a serious side.

But most of all, our greatest demand is that our partner be our source of happiness.

I don't know about you, but that seems to be a pretty tall order.

While it's obvious that one's partner should, by all means, be a source of happiness, they cannot be the primary source of happiness. I won't go into all of the feel-good literature on taking responsibility for one's own happiness–we already know that stuff.

Most of us claim to be looking for love. Sure, who doesn't want late night full-body rubs and someone feeding you bon bons by the handful? (Sign-up sheet soon to follow.) But on the same token, we seem to confuse looking for love with looking for that one person that's going to make us complete, buy us a picket fence, pay the bills, and show up in a red cape (or red bikini, your choice) anytime the lawn needs mowing. In other words, someone that provides us with security.

Some might say they're the same, but in many cases, they aren't. If we're capable of completing ourselves and getting our own picket fence, if we so desire, then we're free to concentrate on love–not whether or not Bachelor Number 1 makes enough money or not. And doesn't it seem like happiness would come more naturally that way on its own?

The point is this: We tend to make decisions about the relationships we engage in based on some future projection of who that person will be at a later point in life. We suss out their career choices and figure that if so and so is going to be a pharmacist, then so and so is a good catch, because to us, “good catch” = money = security.

But imagine if you were already secure, for example, and you were able to take that out of the equation.

Would you still pick the same way?

Note: That wasn't “obscenely practical” of me at all, was it? Learn new things about myself every day.




Unpopular Ideas for Living a Happier Life.

More Posts from: