I once knew a lad who kept receipts from the entirety of his relationships and mentally kept track of her expenditures. Upon breaking up, he'd present the lady with a bill to cover the delta. I gently suggested to him that this "tally" was destroying his relationships and he'd be better off just enjoying them. Whaddya know, he met "the one" when he finally let go of his counting.
Yeah, no relationship is going to survive that kind of tallying. That's insane.
Personally, I don't think that's "selflessness". I think it's "partnership."
It's not that you're being "selfless", I think. It's just that you have a concept of "self" which can include the other person, as well.
You have to have both, you know? You have to have an identity as yourself -- but you also have to have an identity as the partnership. When Zoethe helps Ferrett, she's helping herself -- because they're connected. When Ferrett helps her, ditto.
In the best relationships, I think, both partners manage to be greater than they possibly could be on their own. I know that I'm vastly . . . more than I could be without my wife. I'm, y'know, myself, only more so, and better. And she says that she's the same way because of me.
And I also think that both partners have awe and amazement at how their partners help them.
That's what I'm reading from them, anyway. A sense of both of them being greater than they could have been alone, and both of them feeling deep gratitude for that.
Yes, yes, yes.
I wish I could have written this. It's beautiful.
It took me quite a bit of wrestling with it to get it. I'm glad it came across right.
It took me a couple days to be able to construct the words explaining it without sounding dickish myself! It's one of those subtle-but-important concepts.
Wow, some people's perceptons are so skewed... (and you're right, some people are dicks)
When you said that he had written a lovely post expressing gratitude, the first thought that came to my mind was, "Oh, that's really sweet."
I guess I'm not as jaded as I'd like to make myself out to be...
Although I really don't hold out much hope that I will find a relatonship like that, I am happy to see others that have.
Believe me, I don't take it for granted.
I think some part of me has always been terrified that if I did get married, I would never be able to do anything for my partner. Let me explain that statement. A few years ago, while doing some general research on voice stuff, I stumbled upon a paragraph that I still remember today, concerning what it's like to live with your voice. That paragraph explained that to be a classical/opera singer, you must always put the needs of your voice ahead of any other needs. It's like having an invisible twin, one that will always be more important than anyone or anything else in your life. And it has been known to break up friendships, relationships, and even marriages sometimes.
Now, I am a naturally selfish person, as I believe most people are. I do things to show my love for others, and I make sure the people I care about most know that I will be there for them when and if they need me. But I think, based on my chosen profession, that whoever I end up with will have to give up a great deal more for me than I would for them, and that bothers me. I know that my parents had an uneven marriage (my mother was constantly giving things up for my father, he never gave anything up for her), and I saw how painful that was in retrospect (my mother never complained while it was happening, but she's been a lot happier since she recovered from the divorce), and I would hate to have anything like that. Because if some situation came up where it was my voice or my spouse, I couldn't even hesitate. My spouse would always lose that battle. And that sounds too painful to me.
So yes. I believe that's part of the reason I never intend to marry. x.x I don't think I could ever put anyone's needs above the needs of my voice, not if I really want to be an opera singer.
Have you read the story of King Midas? Most people have, or at least think they have the gist of it. I'd search out for the fable and read through it. In the darkest and most literal versions, he gets the gold but loses everyone he loves.
It makes us question if a thing could ever be as valuable as a person, you know?
I don't read ferrett so I missed his post . . . but this post of yours made my eyes moist. I have to say i agree with everything you said.
One theme boiled down to, "Well, she better because she totally owes you for putting up with law school."
Maybe I'm an old fashioned square or a douche bag (or a combination of the two), but my love and support for my wife is unconditional. We don't issue each other IOUs, or keep a tally of good/supportive deeds to make sure we net out in the end.
Seriously. It completely floored me.
A good point and well put. I have to admit, the second response makes more sense to me than the first, but I suspect (and I hope) that I'm unsurprised by your support because I would do the same. I don't think it's odd at all that you're supporting him, nor would I have thought it odd that he supported you through Law School. it's admirable and it makes me happy about your relationship, but if someone were in a relationship where those things were not the norm, I would be a bit afraid for them.
Really, the only thought I've had about your relationship through the clarion thing is that it must be difficult to be apart for this long. I'm not sure I'd respond as well as you both have (though I have not been in my current relationship nearly as long, either, which may help).
To be honest, we have both spared LJ a lot of our whining and general misery - it's very hard being apart this long, and it's not getting easier.
I suspect you are both miscontruing and have been miscontrued (and I also suspect I have used up my quota for the year of the word 'misconstrue')
2008-07-30 06:08 pm (UTC)
I am so jealous of your relationship. I would give my right arm to have my spouse support me the way you two support each other. I try to be that supportive of him, but it often feels like giving to an eternal black hole.
Congratulations on your success in your relationship and I wish you many more years of happiness.
That is a hard place to be. I wish you luck in finding your way.
I hope you and Ferrett realize how adorable you are :)
I never comment much anywhere, but I enjoy reading both your journals, and especially when you talk about each other. (It reflects, in a way, how my own husband and I feel about each other)
(Incidentally, I've supported my husband for three years, and he moved around the planet for me, and neither of those things are why we love each other, or cause any 'debt of affection')
Thanks. And I'm happy for you, too!
I love reading his posts about you and how much he loves and appreciates you. He expresses it beautifully. Expressing gratitude always enriches any relationship. You said it beautifully.