Is the Title Really Worth It?

At some point we must all accept defeat or come to terms with the fact that something we love has been defeated. This process becomes even more difficult when the imminent defeat is that of the common relationship itself. Through social media and the blogosphere one can easily take account of how quickly the relationship cycle has come to move through its progressions. Although certain couples are strong enough (or stubborn enough) to desperately grasp on to the villainous tail end of a relationship long enough to lose all self-security and self-confidence and be left with nothing to restart with but a strong feeling of emptiness and abandonment, thousands of mislead souls will insert all their quarters to play this game on a daily basis. At this point we have to ask the question; is there really a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow or is it just a mirage, bound to fade as the atmosphere dries?

As is the case with most mood altering drugs it all starts with that first high. After telling yourself you were going to make a move on the same girl over and over you have finally managed to put yourself in a position which puts the kiss that you have yearned for as a valid option. At that moment nothing is certain, you ask yourself whether she feels what you’re feeling in rhetorical fashion and try to read every signal she is putting out, consciously or otherwise. Then, you are struck with an unforeseen moment of clarity, your mind draws a blank and your body pulls you in for that first kiss. FIREWORKS! Your passed due bills, your ex-girlfriend who has been sleeping with your old best friend, that corner you cut at work to get off early which may or may not cost you your job; all of that is completely irrelevant now. Your nerves have contained themselves just enough for you to compose yourself as the semi-decent kisser you have trained to become and auto-pilot has taken over. At this second the spark has ignited into a fire of passion, self-fulfillment and pure victory. The chemistry between the two of you has put your mind and body into a state of pure bliss that has the exhilarating rush of a rollercoaster with the comforting safety of a seat belt. The sad ugly truth is that this is the absolute zenith of the modern relationship.

From that first affair onward, every kiss will taste a little less sweet, the fire will burn just a tad cooler and that sense of victory will slowly transform into the less than motivating feeling one gets from cleaning his room, if he had to clean it five times a day and say “I love you” when he closes the door. Maybe it’s due to the male psyche needing a sense of achievement to verify that he is at the top of the food chain for good reason; maybe it’s just because every dog likes to piss on a new tree, but reasoning aside the fact still stands that there is no substitute for that one first “kill shot kiss” and from that point on you are as they say in the rehabilitation world “chasing the dragon”(hint: he is a very elusive reptile).

Before categorizing this as a relationship bashing article written by a heartbroken player I will list a few of the benefits that come with making the jump into official relationship status;

1. This is the only real route to getting to know her in her truest form, you will get a backstage pass to see your little diva when she is not all dolled up to impress you and is no longer acting in a desirable fashion. This is where the true love verification process begins. Make-up and heels sit dormant in hidden corners of the house as sweatpants and house shoes become the clothing of choice. Small piles of dirty clothing start to multiply until you are forced pick them up for sanitary purposes and you finally get to hear her version of that annoying, condescending tone her mom had when she addressed an issue with her, except of course the fact that you are now the target of said complaining.

2. You now have the chance to make small sacrifices that every man is bred to believe is what a “real man” should do when he reaches adulthood. Softball with the boys, night out on the town or maybe even just a Sunday motorcycle ride, it seems like your trading a couple hours of happiness for a greater cause but it’s much more than that. What you do defines who you are, like it or not! By removing these small timeslots for personal mental health you are in essence breaking down the person you’ve worked so hard to become. As with the muscles of the body, your brain needs a couple reps here and there to maintain the proper health but in this instance your brain flaunts happiness and personality in place of cuts and rips; if you don’t use it, you lose it.

3. Enjoyable recreations are transformed into tedious responsibilities. If the media could take credit for proving one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt it would be that men love to kiss and have sex. This is a trend that has been around as long as has the human race itself. It’s a thrill; it’s a rush; it’s the unequivocal climax of the human experience. However, even the most satisfying of acts can become monotonous when they fall into the “predictable” and “routine” categories. There isn’t a choice or a decision in kissing or saying those three words, you are made to feel as though these are things you owe your partner. You are no longer kissing to express your uncontainable feelings toward someone you desire, you are more or less performing a tedious task that is about as rewarding as is taking out the trash or mowing the lawn. You are no longer saying “I love you” to convey your affection, you are most likely just trying to get off the phone so you can get back to more pressing issues. These two points alone exhibit how damaging a poor relationship can be.

4. Few situations can put you as in touch with your emotions as will the not knowing what your life situation luminary is thinking or doing. This particular situation doesn’t even present itself until the 6 month mark or after the first all-out argument (before that point most every relationship is what I like to refer to as “rainbows and blowjobs”). Women are born with an uncanny ability to store statements that are sure to perforate your emotional armor in a secure vault until presented with an argument that necessitates that level of firepower. Although it is usually something small, quick and short, these little atom bombs shake the universe as we know it. After a man has his rug pulled out from under him with so little effort he becomes jealous and insecure deep down in his bones. The relational paradigm has shifted. From this point on there will always be questions of loyalty, self-worth and relationship motive making they’re rounds through his damaged little head. You now have the makings to become the needy, scared, call thirteen times in two hour boyfriend you always joked about and desperation is a color that doesn’t look well on anyone.

5. Who doesn’t enjoy the emotional turmoil and financial setbacks that every real break-up promises to bring? After spending however long attempting to reassemble a relationship using a house of cards as a workbench, somebody or something had to let the door swing open and everything came crashing down. Not only are you unsure of who she is and what her real motives are, you can’t keep your head on straight for long enough to grab any real sense of direction. Not only have you found yourself more miserable and lost than you were in your dysfunctional relationship, you have separated yourself completely from the only person who you have had sincere life situation conversations with in the last however long. Whatever premise you had for justifying the break up seems to get lost under the self-blame and hatred you have compiled on yourself. Insecurity and jealousy still remain in full effect, self-esteem and confidence sink to all-time lows and all her guy friends that were “just friends” manage to escape from the brush to make it apparent that they are ready and willing to accept the opening. This is hell! To escape your swirling wave pool of self-loathing you most likely will resort to alcoholism, the occasional drug use and senseless promiscuity. You finally have the freedom to do all of the things you were starving for at the end of your relationship just to find that they carry little to no substance. The numbness is temporary and will soon give way to the same dreary ugly emotions you are consistently trying to bury. Thankfully, provided you find your way back to the surface through this dark, shadowy cave you can ultimately start fresh. Hopefully through your journey you stumble upon the person you once were, before the girl, before the title, before the break up, back when you were living for you!

Success is often more attainable when you take the risk and reward into consideration. Taking a personal connection to the point of “relationship status” is a very big gamble that will require you to push all your chips into the center. If more men would take a step back and view the situation from a more comprehensive vantage point there would be a lot less whimsical, unworkable, hopeless relationships that have ultimately taken the attractiveness out of the relationship world altogether. It is human nature to yearn to be the exclusive lifelong mate to the one person who doesn’t fade over time and truly brings out the happiest you. However, the fact that that person cannot be molded from any girl you date has to be acknowledged. There are always signs but it is your responsibility to notice and take them into consideration.

It is also equally important to recognize the fact that these points do not reflect the deterioration of human chemistry but more a flawed system that we have put into place on our own. It is the title itself that men must fear. If things have been going well with someone for a couple months why complicate the situation by branding it? Not all men are pigs, not all women are sluts and not all traditions should be customary. If the goal behind making the move to an “official relationship” has anything to do with exclusivity or self-reassurance, save the time and heartache and break it off now. By laying claim to another individual aren’t we really essentially putting a check mark on a completed task? Essentially hanging up the hunting gear (thoughtful dates, charming conversation etc… ) after mounting the deer on the wall where it will eventually be forgotten and discarded.

The whole premise of entitlement is what pesters me. The next time I find someone whom I deem worthy of more than a couple shots and half decent sex I will do a couple things differently and maybe you should too:

1. Instead of being mesmerized by the little things I like about her, I plan to keep a physical list of things that concern me about this woman. Every time I add something to this list I will review the previous entries and evaluate my findings to see if these items make the direction of our relationship any more definite. This is the same reason there are coaches in professional sports; when you’re in the game it’s much more difficult to keep a comprehensive view in mind. This method would allow me to juggle both without losing focus one way or the other. Additionally, I am a guy therefore I forget things, and I have a tendency to wipe the slate clean after receiving a decent blow job. Women never forget anything! As an added bonus by employing this I might have a decent response ready when she brings up something random I did two years and three months ago.

2. Freedom will be a top priority. Insecurity in a relationship stems from the thought that your significant other doesn’t want to be with you or knowing that they can do better. In the beginning stages there is no sense of possession and as a result, you subconsciously do you best to brighten that person’s life without compromising yours. With the same being true for the opposite sex I would hold on to the “seeing each other” stage for as long as possible. To avoid heated conversations I would make it clear that monogamy would go without saying and reiterate the points made in this article to back this decision. Ultimately we all want the same thing but the path we take to get there is usually the deciding factor in whether or not we succeed.

3. I will never compromise myself or my intentions for any reason. Claiming to enjoy something you don’t enjoy for someone else’s benefit does not help anything, especially in a relationship! If a situation arises that involves doing something that doesn’t appeal to me but my participation would be uplifting to her, I will do it. I will not claim to like it if I don’t, I will make my sacrifice known without ruining the event and I will expect the same response when the shoe is on the other foot. If I can watch ballet for two hours, she can go to the hockey game, simple as that. This is the only way a mutually beneficial relationship can work. As soon as one party feels they are carrying more weight than the other, the break up snowball has formed and the relationship dynamic will not return to its previous state without resolve to that initial issue.

4. The opinions and past experiences of others will have no bearing on my relationship. This is going to be the most difficult to enforce but will also be one of the most important. When she talks with her “friends” about you, each one is going to have a different opinion on your current situation (unless it’s a group discussion in which case they will sync up like Wi-Fi to bash you). This is the toxic oil that can and will ruin your water supply with a single drop. After these talks take place, another talk of equal measures should take place between the two of us. At least 90% of break-ups start with something so small and minuscule that a two minute conversation would do justice in settling the dispute. Talking about these issues in depth will give her reassurance to your loyalty to her and deflate the “dump the bf” balloon her friends are sure to try and fill up every chance they get.

As goes everything involving the opposite sex, there are no guarantees. Listed above are my thoughts on how to avoid the disheartening tradition known as the common relationship. Please do not confuse this with a “tips and tricks “to a happy marriage. If you do take anything from this article, remember that what you do needs to work for YOU, just because everybody does something one way doesn’t necessarily mean that that way is right for YOU. With the divorce rates being as high as it is, the conventional method may no longer have the weight it once had with America as a whole. The days of staying miserable for 45 years to appease a tradition are dead and gone. Just do YOU! Everything else is subject to interpretation.

-Dave Koski