Logically, it would seem to be more of the what
category.How does people knowing affect your physical progress?
There are very few scenerios which could be affected by this, and most of them require that she only be able to have sex in very public places. If it's that, you'd probably know about it. Everyone would.How is your emotional progress accellerated by people knowing?
When you explain yourselves to other people, you hand them a label to pin on you. Are you dating? Seeing each other? Boyfriend and Girlfriend? Each of these labels comes with rules, and no two people seem to agree on what they are. By avoiding all labels, you avoid all responsibility to fill a role which you don't fully understand and no one can explain to you because they don't either.You can get the answers you seek, but not directly. Don't ask how to change this relationship. Ask what went wrong in her last one. An understanding of what she's avoiding is an understanding of your obstacles.
If you enslave yourself to the label, it becomes an ominous opressive force. But that's not really exclusive to labels, and it is avoidable. General rule of thumb: Don't enslave yourself to anything. Give them no power over you, and they will have no power over you.
Right now, there's a clear deliniation between what you are to the world and what you are to each other. My guess is, that line went away last time and they weren't ready to be what they thought the world expected of them. Ironically, the line was part of the problem.
If you're right that it's a "moving too fast" deal, this will open the door for you to voice your similar experiences and concerns. She'll need to hear that from you and understand where you're coming from before you can move forward.
Note: The rest of this is rambles a bit, but you should be able to piece together from past conversations anything I'm glossing over. Those of you who aren't Kurt will probably get lost and conclude I'm insane. That's fine - you're probably right. =)
At this stage in the game, you are opponents. Some of your goals coincide, but you probably each have a sense that the other one needs to thwart your efforts if they're to get what they want. You're balancing offensive and defensive tactics in your head, knowing that too much of either is not a good strategy.
Some people live for this phase, and end a relationship when it gets to the next. The intricacies of manipulation are very exciting, I can tell you. But I don't think it's what either of you are going for.
The "couple-unit" you fear treats themselves as a team, and the world as their opponent. I'm not convinced this is as unhealthy as you make it out to be, but the combination of these extremes is positively deadly. (If it's the two of you against the world, and you don't trust your teammate, the world's gonna win every time) Don't fall into that trap by trying to merge the best of both worlds. It doesn't work.
So, if neither extreme works for you, and everything in the middle is worse, what's left?
There is no spoon...
Look at every successful relationship you can think of. What's their strategy? How do they handle the game? Ask them! Do they even know what you're talking about?
Well, great. It turns out they're not playing a game. How the hell are you supposed to learn their strategies if they're not even playing?
There is no game.
The labels mean nothing.
It's not that complicated.
You may need to loan her your Daniel Quinn books. Explaining this mindset without them is just a headache.
2000-11-05 10:21 pm (UTC)
Labels, opponents, and other facts of love...
Yes, but what's frustrating about their not being a label, is that makes conversations very awkward, when dealing with this subject, even with her. Do you know how often I've used the phrase "what we are" or a long, unwieldy phrase like "the possible beginning of a relationship"? I like labels, in that they're a nice shortcut in the English language. I really don't care much what the label is. As long as she and I accept what the rules are for that label, I don't care what other people think the rules should be.
I have to admit, there is a certain excitement to this phase of a relationship. And yet, I suffer from panic attacks way too easily to enjoy this kind of excitement on a regular basis...The uncertainty at this point just sends my stomach (and most of the muscles in my upper body) into knots. That's not fun. I'd much rather be certain of where we are with each other...
Couple vs. Couple-unit:
You described a couple-unit very well. It's the "you and me against the world" part that tends to bug me. To me, a couple is "you and me." Look ma, no antagonist! Why do you have to be against the world? Look at my roommates. They're a good couple. They don't look at the world as their opponent, unless the world picks a fight with them first... :)
Asking advice from other couples:
Only one problem. Other than the aforementioned roommates, the only other couples I can think of to ask for advice are part of this group, and are very much off-limits as to asking them questions like this right now...Can't raise suspicions...
Summer, when she can devote some time to reading, definitely. Right now I let her borrow a "fun" book of mine (we share a love of fantasy novels) around the time of our first date. She still hasn't had time to open the book...
Jessie's actually a somewhat faithful Catholic...Will be interested in her reaction to "Story of B."
As always, there's some serious advice in here, and some goofing around. It should be easy enough to tell them apart.(I hope...)
1) The essence of what you have can't be captured in words, and any attempt to do so trivializes it.Opponents, Couple/Couple-Unit, Advice from Other Couples:
That's not terribly practical, I know.
(I used to attribute girls' complete misunderstanding of this to them not reading up on their eastern philosophy. Truth is, they just have no sense of romance)
2) Don't figure out what the rules are for labels you give yourselves. I wasn't joking about that. If you give words power over your life, you're chained down to something that doesn't even exist.
Know what makes each other happy. Know what makes each other unhappy. Make decisions and take responsibility for them.
Bold Statement #1:
There's a huge difference between "upsetting your partner" and "breaking a rule."
Bold Statement #2
There are no rules, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either in an unhealthy relationship, or wishes they were.
If you need me to explain those, they'll get their own seperate comment(s).
3) My analysis of your situation was that she's wary of stepping back into a world of labels because she either couldn't conform to "the rules" last time, or lost too much doing so. Your response, that she won't even let you label the relationship privately, seems to confirm this. So, understand it.
Stop picking at the scab. It'll heal on it's own, but only if you let it.
You're on ice; I don't know how thin.
There are signs all over the place. You can look at them as warnings, but they've also got directions on them. The road's curving one way. You'll want to steer in that direction...
4) "Us" (note the capitalization) is even shorter than "what we are"
Oh, go back and read that again. I drew distinctions between various groups you don't want to be like, so you could see the traps that will take you there.Daniel Quinn:
Your roommates aren't counter to my argument, they are my argument. Ask each of them what the rules are to their relationship. Ask their strategy. Find out how they're playing the game. They're not playing a game? Then I guess I've just repeated myself.
Okay, so she's off the hook for a while. The shameless plug still stands.Faithful Catholic:
And you look like Christ! That's too cool.
(Completely inappropriate double entendre involving "communion wafers" has been removed for your protection)
2000-11-06 10:07 pm (UTC)
You format so much better than I do...
Responding to your response to my journal entry...
1) You're right, that's not terribly practical. And I disagree. The point of the label isn't to capture what you have in words. If you want to do that, write a sonnet or a song, or something along those lines...A label just identifies to yourself and the world approximately what you are.
2) I don't think Bold Statement #1
was that bold...I think most people would agree with you on that one. Bold Statement #2
, on the other hand...
"There are no rules, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either in an unhealthy relationship, or wishes they were."
I want further explanations on that one...
3) I'm trying to understand it...But, it's hard, especially for someone like me, who habitually labels and categorizes...
Great metaphors, although the first one doesn't really fit me all that well. I tend to heal so fast, that I have to pick at the scab, otherwise I heal so fast that I scar. It's weird, but it's me...
4) "Us" is a label that implies coupledom..."What we are" is a vague description that is very open to interpretation.
Definitely will ask the roommates...
<a href="http://www.ishmael.com>Daniel Quinn</a>:
Plug, plug, plug!
Ooh. Send me the double entendre!
Yay! Time to go home!