September 10, 2008

Out of Whack-Truth and Harmony

I had one great big fucked up shit-burger of a weekend.
(I believe in a cooling off period before griping, bitching and kvetching hence the delay in posting these thoughts.)

Now before I start talking about that, I have to cover my bases or hedge my bets or do whatever people do when they ain't too certain of their intellectual footing. and since I am always wary of contracting foot in mouth disease, I will progress at a pace that allows me to type correctly and construe thoughts that not only make sense, but also entertain and inform.

If you roll down the calendar of my life and peek into the past you will see an arrogant young man who didn't give a good goddamn about what other people thought about him. Don't get me wrong; I have always believed in behaving properly toward others, etiquette and good manners do count for a lot. I just didn't allow the opinions of other folks to enter in or affect the path I chose for myself.

These days I spend a lot of time making sure that people don't see the real me.They see the person I want to present to the world and I am pretty sure you can relate to that. It's mostly about business. I live and work in a fairly small city and I am not positive that my students and fellow teachers are prepared to deal with the unadulterated , so I give them the Gerber version.

Here in this place; this blog, I thought I would be able to return to the ways of old and do and say whatever the hell I wanted without worrying about the repercussions or opinions of others and their possible condemnation. Yet I find that I am concerned with the way folks see me. I also know that there are many people who know about this place and read what is written here.
All this has been said before and by better than I.
If you are willing and able then you may just want to continue to read on. I don't know how long the post will be, but I am pretty certain that there will be something of interest or at the very least entertaining for you to deliberate upon.
No matter who you are, if you have ever been involved with another person than I am positive that you have been chafed by the rough patches that every couple experiences.
Those moments are necessary to provide growth and to avoid the ever creeping malaise or stagnation that every relationship sustains. I cannot say anything about what is going on in my life at the moment for that would be unfair and equivocal to back stabbing unless I provide a forum for rebuttal.

In order for a partnership, any partnership not just marital or romantic ones, to be strong, succeed, flourish and prosper a number of important conditions must exist. I spent most of last weekend considering two of these factors.
I understand that people and relationships change over time and a fair amount of flexibility and compassion are needed to avert utter failure, but the principals governing all relationships never change.

What do you do when there is conflict?
We all, or at least many of us, want to lead harmonious lives. Yet there are times when telling the truth leads to a situation that is diametrically opposed to just that. So, which is most important?

I often wonder if I can trust my feelings and emotions when I am considering how I am being treated. Emotions are often notoriously blown way out of proportion to the perceived offence and interfere with attempts to find a resolution. I find it quite difficult to distance myself to evaluate whether things are unfair or unbalanced. I am also very selfish and occasionally find it troublesome to look at the situation from another person's viewpoint.

If a person chooses absolute truth over harmony, aren't they being somewhat childish?
There are some situations where a lie might just do some kind of good.

Isn't it a sign of maturity to be able to make personal sacrifices in order to ensure stability and peace?
The world, even though it often feels like it does, doesn't revolve around us.

I find myself caught between the yearning for happiness and acceptance with the satiety of being loved and the fulfillment of vows that reinforce the foundation of my marriage.

The right path is a hard thing to follow. Not unlike walking upon the razor's edge. Yet before you get to that particular predicament you must realize that there is an edge; and a dangerous one at that. Recognizing that you are going to change your world for better or worse is as much an important thing as coming to the decision itself.

I am married and I chose to be that way. Do I do what is good for me or what is good for my wife (What I believe to be good. I don't really know anymore.) or do I keep swimming against the tide to discover a way for the both of us to find contentment, respect and happiness?

I know what the lonely spermatazoa felt like. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.




Stay tuned for future blathering.

34 comments:

citizen of the world said...

You're not thinking there is a simple answer to this are you? I sure don't know it. I think you have to try to keep as balances as possible, taking both your needs/wants and those of the toerh's into consideration. Too far in either direction isn't fair. But that may be more about where I am right now than you.

Kurt said...

In my case, we keep everything very surfacey and so there is little to disagree about. This involves giving up, and I don't recommend it for everyone.

Beth said...

"Little" lies in order to achieve and sustain harmony? Okay.
Big ones - no.
(Just my 2 cents - you have to do what's right for you, for all concerned.)

Megan said...

I don't know much about relationships except by observation, but it seems to me from what I have observed that when the phrase "You lied to me!" starts getting tossed about, bad things happen.

That's what always happens in the movies, anyway. :)

I guess it just depends. From what I have read of you, I would back you to figure out the best solution! I'll put some luck in a bottle and toss it in the ocean this weekend, maybe it will find its way over there...

padraig said...

Anyone who chooses absolute truth over harmonious living on principle is a jackass, and probably a lonely one at that (unless they have money).

Anyone who chooses harmonious living in the short run over truth in the long run is heading down a road past a sign that says, "Bridge Out Ahead".

When in a relationship, you have a number of obligations. Most of them are to the relationship, *not* to the person with whom you are currently entangled.

To the relationship, you have an obligation of effort. Relationships aren't easy, taking them for granted or simply not putting forth effort is reneging on that obligation.

To the relationship, you have an obligation of truth. If it comes to pass that a truth demands the dissolution of the relationship, you are obligated to dissolve it. To do so otherwise is to be untrue either to yourself or to your partner, but these are both secondary to your untruth to the relationship.

To the relationship, you have an obligation of sacrifice. This does not always mean sacrificing your personal needs for your partner; sometimes it means sacrificing their personal needs for yours, or sacrificing your paired needs for the needs of the relationship (see the work clause, above).

To your partner, directly, you have an obligation of harmoniousness that does not conflict with the above.

To yourself, you have an obligation of harmoniousness that does not conflict with the above. If everything else is equal, for God's sake do something that makes you happy.

If you find yourself in a state of irreconcilability between your true self and the needs of the relationship, you should first determine if this irreconcilability is in fact real, or manufactured. People are very good at lying to themselves, or choosing paths that are ultimately not going to make them any happier for reasons that are at least partially artificial. This is why therapy is a good idea, even if you only go by yourself.

But that's just my $0.02.

moi said...

What Padraig said, especially the last paragraph. I don't have much more to add because I'm not much of a believer in long term, monogamous relationships. I just happened to have lucked out in finding someone who challenges that belief and with whom I am willing to do the "work." Until I can't do it any more. Hang in there and hope all works out for the best for you.

Mona said...

Padriag has spoken it all I guess!

I have very 'exclusive' views about the institution called marriage & I will not reiterate them here as they will not help this situation!

leelee said...

As I am reading this post...Sly and the Family Stone are singing:

Thank You For Letting me...Be Myself...a\Again!

How apropos!

As far as your essay goes. I think all those feelings are natural, why, I have felt them myself at one time or another. Must say that after 20 years of marriage...not so much anymore. I have found that balance we all seem to strive for. Took some doing..and some learning to let go..

This was a great and insightful post. I know it feels good to get it out...doesn't it?

HUGS!!

The Troll said...

I'd have to know some specifics before offering sage advice that will solve all your problems for a nominal fee.

I lean towards truth on the truth versus harmony balancing act.

How many couples do you know where one of them bent-over-backward towards harmony and the relationship still imploded?

Allan said...

"I have to cover my bases or hedge my bets or do whatever people do when they ain't too certain of their intellectual footing"

Here in America we'd either run for elected office or get a daytime talk show, whichever is more profitable.

As far as truth-telling goes, I'll have to check with Dr. Phil and Oprah before I can decide what I think.

moi said...

Oh, I read this at lunch today. A pretty enlightening article on "Zombie Marriages" (no, they're a potentially good thing). Don't know if this is what you're struggling with, but I liked the read: http://men.style.com/details
/features/full?id=content_7090

NYD said...

Citizen~ Ah, balance. It is the one thing that sems to always be just beyond my grasp. And how does one judge which persons needs are to take precedence?

Kurt~ I find it hard to believe that you are shallow. After all you already realize that Other People Exist, ya?

Beth~ The little lies seem to be the building blocks of this house of cards. Which one one will send it toppling.

Megan~ I will keep a look out for the bottle.
I am pretty certain you know plenty about relationships. Anytime we interact with people that is a relationship. My thoughts are directed towards my problem yet the ideas are applicable to everyone's life.

Padraig~ Wow! This is one heckuva introduction. I'm glad you dropped by and even happier that you commented. I hope this will not be a one hit wonder.
I have thought about what you have written very carefully and I believe that your first two statements are right on the money. Then when you start describing a persons obligations to a relationship. Isn't that like putting the cart before the horse?
It is the interaction with a person or people that create the relationship. Shouldn't we consider the object of the conundrum rather than the thing which binds us to it/them? If I feel any obligation I believe that it is directed by my sense of ethics (which is why I do not lie to or cheat people) and pride (The cause of my stubborness to fight for what I believe in.)rather than a need to maintain a relationship.
Is it possible to remove the bias when determining irreconcilability? How does one know whether the relationship is salvageable or not? Futhermore, unless all the parties concerned are adhering to the same set of guidelines regardless of their particular point of view, then all of our talk of obligation and ethics are futile. An interesting discussion, yet ineffectual just the same.

Moi~ I have a bad habit of just cuttting my losses and hitting the road. I'd like to try something different for a change and see if it works. But, damn if this dance looked a lot easier than it actually is.

Mona~ You could turn it into a 55.

Leelee~ Getting it all out is actually whatthis place is for. Don't really have much opportunity to talk about personal stuff with people here. Thanks for the hug.

Troll~ People don't usually bend over backward for truth. It's more like a wall they run into.

Allan~ I can't see myself as a politition and if I had a talk show it would probably end up being similar to Jerry Springer. I think maybe I should go along with you and ask Oprah what to do.

NYD said...

Thanks, Moi. I'm off to read it now.

Serena Joy said...

I care about appearances to a certain extent, but when push comes to shove I find that what's most important to me is harmony. If harmony and balance are lacking, happiness is fleeting -- and bystanders aren't going to be very happy, either. I think that in the end, one must be true to oneself before one can be a positive influence on anyone else. I'm the last person anybody in their right mind would ask about the intricacies of marriage, though, so don't mind me. I have no idea what I'm doing right now in that regard.:)

The Mighty Beluga said...

get back to me when you find an answer, or I'll get back to you when I do, but I sure do hope you're not looking for an easy answer here. From what I've learned from my short years, it's all about balancing everything out. But shouldn't some things get more weight than others? that's what I'm still trying to feel out.

Megan said...

(Padraig - I love you like a brother.)

NYD - He'll be back...I'll see him tomorrow night and tell him so...

NYD said...

SJ~ I am starting to think that when we speak of harmony we, in one way or another, are talking about being appreciated. Even if you are true to yourself, much of the rancor in a relationship possibly stems from either being taken for granted or being ignored.

Mighty Beluga~ The amount of time we have spent upon the big blue marble makes no difference. From birth we all have been dealing with the delicate dance of co-dependance.
Giving things their correct measure at the appropriate time is something you just might spend the rest of your life doing. At least that's what it's been for me.

Megan~ No rush, dear. I am not going anywhere.

Mona said...

hey Misplaced!

55ve I did write, But THIS one I shall have to postpone I guess!

The one I wrote right now though, pertains to your comment...

lime said...

i'm right there is much the same spot of pondering and looking for the balance. wouldn't it be nice to ask the hughes' their thoughts?

The Troll said...

"What if the family turned to Jesus and stopped asking Oprah, what to do?"

Lyric line from "What if His People Prayed?" by Casting Crowns.

They're rebels.

The Big Shamu said...

Uh oh.

Corn Dog said...

The truth is what I care about. I can do with a little disharmony. I mean you fix that but you can't take back a lie. Communication is important too. Talking it all out, even if you might feel your emotion is betraying you somehow. It's your emotion and it doesn't make it any less real in a relationship.

padraig said...

> Then when you start describing a persons
> obligations to a relationship. Isn't that
> like putting the cart before the horse?

One could certainly argue that, it depends on how you look at a relationship. I generally consider "relationship" to be more than "friends plus benefits"; that is to say you want something significant out of it, itself. In this case, the cart and the horse analogy is a little off base -> if you can discount the inherent negative connotation... one person is the cart, one is the horse, and the relationship is the "cart plus horse" -> it is something that exists because of the two participants, but it is of a completely different nature than either of the two components.

> Shouldn't we consider the object of the conundrum
> rather than the thing which binds us to it/them?

Well, that's sort of my point. To continue with the stretched analogy, if the welfare of the horse is your primary concern, you're contextualizing things one way. If the soundness of the cart is your primary concern, you're contextualizing them another. But if you're considering the overall worth of the "horse plus cart", you're much less likely to have an unequal result.

> If I feel any obligation I believe that it
> is directed by my sense of ethics and pride
> rather than a need to maintain a relationship.

Right, you're focused on the horse (or the cart, whichever part you want to play in the game). Your ethics. Your pride. This isn't a bad thing, but it's constantly requiring you to examine the tradeoffs between you and your partner.

> Is it possible to remove the bias when
> determining irreconcilability?

This is one open for debate by cognitive psychologists. My personal belief is "no, but you can lessen it to the point where you can be objective enough for the required decision".

> How does one know whether the relationship is
> salvageable or not?

If you're at this stage, in my limited experience the answer is "it probably isn't" - at least for the quality of relationship that I want, but my ideas may be completely irrelevant to yours; but you'll notice that you're now talking about the relationship as its own entity :)

Again, this is one of those times when therapy is a damn good idea. Talking with friends is of limited use; they have a bias towards you. Talking with the partner seems to not be getting you anywhere. Since you're in a very emotionally charged decision making space, going it alone is always tricky, because the likelihood is high you're bullshitting yourself about *something*.

> Futhermore, unless all the parties concerned
> are adhering to the same set of guidelines regardless
> of their particular point of view, then all of
> our talk of obligation and ethics are futile.

Yep! But for me, that's one of those requirements for a long-term relationship... if my potential partner can't put the "cart and horse" ahead of the cart or the horse (note that sometimes you're the cart and sometimes you're the horse), then I wasn't getting involved.

padraig said...

> This isn't a bad thing, but it's constantly requiring
> you to examine the tradeoffs between you and your partner.

Missed the end part of this thought...

This isn't a bad thing, but it's constantly requiring you to examine the tradeoffs between you and your partner. "Is this better for me? Is it better for them?" instead of "What's better for us?"

ThursdayNext said...

My prince is brutally honest sometimes, and allows me to be the same with him. The key here is that we are both self-aware of our faults and dont try to cover that up. I love him more for his faults than his perfections, so he never need lie to me about anything. The real key is trust...because without that there is no harmony.

The Grunt said...

I have The Who's "Can You See the Real Me?" playing in my head right now. Hell, the whole Quadrophenia album, in fact. But why in the hell is there James Taylor and Carly Simon background noise messing it all up?

Kurt said...

No, I'm not shallow. I just keep it all to myself. No one wants to hear it, anyway.

For long term companionship, a good surfacey relationship is just the ticket.

Corn Dog said...

So few words Thursdaynext and so spot on. Wisdom doesn't always come in a plethora of words and weird analogies.

Carla said...

Was it not you who said that walking on the edge allows us to see both sides at once? Although I suppose that it isn't always a pretty sight. Don't imagine there are any easy answers, but if you find the magic bullet, let me know.

Mona said...

hey! still out of harmony I see!

NYD said...

Mona, my dear I am not lost. In fact, I am right where I always am.

Lime~ I am currently looking for a spot not all that dissimilar to where the Hughs provide you with insight and calm.

Troll~ Can always count on you for a sardonic twist to things.

The Big Shamu~ Welcome and Uh huh.

CornDog~ I have always liked your no-nonsense aproach to things. It's always good to cut to the chase.

Padraig~ I truly enjoyed reading your analysis of my response. It is extremely erudite, but I believe you slipped up on the cart and horse analogy. the "cart" and "horse" are not my wife and I, but rather the description I chose to distinguish between the proponents of the relationship and the relationship itself. That being said, I do want to thank you for the effort and concern. I really appreciate it.

Thursdaynext~ Doesn't the honesty hurt sometimes? You two are still at the start of a relationship, right?
We on the other hand, have had years to build a litany of complaints and unfulfilled dreams.

Grunt~ I did that at my other blog, but I had the good sense to kick Carly Simon off the stage.

Kurt~ If you keep it all inside don't you become emotionally constipated?

Carla~ Being able to see both sides of situation does not make it any easier to come to a descision. In fact ther are times when a bit of imbalance makes the commitment to a course of action somewhat easier.

But as many of you have commented upon, There is no simple course of action. Yes, I knew that well before I wrote this post, but it is in the writing that I allow my thoghts to run free and give myself enough space for contemplation.


To all~ There are far more forces and intricacies at work here then I am able to delve into. I sincerely thank you all for the comments, advice and concern.

padraig said...

> the "cart" and "horse" are not my wife and I,
> but rather the description I chose to distinguish
> between the proponents of the relationship
> and the relationship itself.

Oh, I got that. What I was trying to say was that I thought it was more apropos to consider the relationship as the sum of two different elements, instead of looking at the relationship as being something an individual participates in.

But I'm too damn wordy for my own good :)

whimsical brainpan said...

I find (for me anyway) that for there to be harmony there has to be truth. I also find that I have to tepmer it however. But if I don't have truth I find it impossible to have harmony.

Envoy-ette said...

Damn..after reading this post, I'm glad my husband and I don't have those feelings after 19 years of marriage. Usually, I blow up and then it's all over & forgiven within 3 minutes. He says he's sorry-even when it's not his fault and then I realize I'm the one being unfair. We make up- with him losing nothing since I came to my senses (in my own time) and ME having so much more respect and trust for him when it comes to our relationship. Over the years, I have come to realize that the man loves me and it's not his desire to control or hurt me in anyway. How did I come to that conclusion? Because of HOW he handled it years earlier. (being the one willing to wait me out & guide me to his way of thinking) Good luck!