So you moved in with your ‘significant other’. Or you’re thinking about doing it. Or maybe you’ve run it through your head as an option. Or maybe, maybe, you’re thinking about leaving that significant other, because maybe you’re cheesed off with them for whatever reason.
Now, be honest. I won’t tell anyone.
You thought about money, didn’t you? More than anything else.
Of course you did, why wouldn’t you? How much cheaper would it be to live together? It certainly makes financial sense. And in the case of the leaving scenario, you probably decided against it, well, at least for now, as you couldn’t afford to live on your own. At least not in the style to which you’ve become accustomed.
For instance, if I co-habited, I’d gain around £400 a month – for me, that’s the difference between being rich and poor, I should imagine it’s a very similar case for many other people.
What I’m coming to, I think, is that I’m finding myself making the choice to be single and broke, over the choice to play the relationship game, and potentially gain some received sense of stability. Moreover, it seems to me that a lot of other people are too, more so than ever before.
Ok, it could be a symptom of the thirty-something finally getting some kind of perspective, or it could be the onset of mid-life crisis, but I think there might be something to all that collective conciousness hokum after all. People are waking up to the truth about lumbering old institutions like marriage, happiness and ‘love’ (whatever the hell that is), and seem to be finally starting to question things for themselves.
Most couples who have lived together through the honeymoon period appear to be unhappy with each other and themselves, to some degree. This might vary from constant arguing, to boredom, to jealousy, through paranoia, to spending too much on the credit card, through getting a cat, and out the other side to just not having sex anymore, in which case, it’s usually irreparably over. I’ve been there myself, many times. Without the cat bit. How do we get there? We imagine that “this time, it will be different”. And why? Because it’s with a different person? Ok, you could argue that people are always dissatisfied with themselves to some degree, but the point I’m trying to make here is that I can’t see how that dissatisfaction can be tackled and to any extent overcome unless the individual in some way takes responsibility for themselves, without the emotional context of another, in a ‘conventional’ way. So when the same set of results occurs again and again, over and over, we must look at the constants. The first being ourselves.
What about these popular relationship moans: I find the other person boring. We don’t talk anymore. We don’t have a laugh anymore. I don’t fancy them anymore. I don’t want to have sex with them anymore. We have sex, but it’s infrequent, and when we do, it’s just going through the motions. My partner was exciting and self-motivated when we met – now, they just stay in all the time. I still love them, but I feel we’re just friends, or like brother and sister. I don’t like his friends. I don’t like her friends. I fancy other people.
There can’t really be any denying that some combination of these occurs, sooner or later, in any relationship.
So why do keep doing it? Surely, there’s something wrong with some part of the whole process. Certainly, these common feelings would point to the longevity of relationships as we know them being considerably less than convention would have us believe. Our repeated surprise at these developments is quite staggering, considering that all around us, they keep happening to other people.
But, the thing is, we’re not surprised, are we? We aren’t. We know these things will happen. But like some Pavlovian dog, we show the same patterns of behaviour, again and again, ignoring our instincts, and making the same mistakes ad infinitum. We trust our social programming more than we do ourselves.
Everyone should know by now that the church is a form of social control, and from it, regardless of denomination, come so many of the institutions that are woven into our lives. Ideas of love, marriage, sex, death, childhood…you name it. They’ve all been hi-jacked to make us feel guilty, make us play nice and work harder, for less personal gain.
With these ideas as a background, like some yardstick in our subconscious, we bumble along thinking ourselves lucky when we get a shag or are paid an interest by another. We grab that shag with both hands (so to speak), and shag the shit out of it until we get bored, like old chewing gum. By this time, it’s already getting a bit shit, but we press on, on some perverse crusade, some grotesque pantomime, aping courtship and the rites of reproduction, despite the fact that neither party concerned actually wants a child. Yes yes, we fuck for pleasure, like chimps or whatever, I know, but why go to all the hassle of moving in and buying a fridge?
We don’t pick and choose our partners – they fall into our laps, we stumble over them, we accidentally fall into bed with them after a few drinks. And still, still, we talk romantically about ‘the one’, ‘that special someone’ and all that old twaddle. Those who make the effort to actually go and look, to sample the range, are thought of, even still, in this post-post-enlightened age, as less than virtuous, the old aspersions being replaced with social guilt regarding disease.
People still don’t think of themselves as good enough to get what they really want, not in a sexual or emotional way. I think it’s fair to say that even the most philosophical shagger will concede that you just can’t have everything though – great personal relationship and great sex are very, very rare indeed. You might disagree, but ‘great’ for you is only as great as you’ve ever had. Don’t you wonder if there’s greater? And when do you stop wondering?
What is it that makes people stay together these days? That desperate urge to co-habit, or even prod at a monogamous relationship from seperate houses is born out of fear. Fear of not having someone to bail us out when our parents die, and fear of everything going tits up and becoming a crack whore. Money, finance, wherewithal, wonga. At least eastern cultures make no bones about the fact that they see marriage as a functional mechanism, kind of like a baby factory with a sideline in life insurance.
It used to be just “what you did”, and guilt. Now, anything’s ok, so take away the guilt and the mandatory adherance to convention, and what are you left with? There’s very little point, unless through some lack of self exploration you’ve hit upon the erroneous aspiration of emulating the genteel, middle class ivory tower of your parental homestead, or milking the benefit system on a per-baby basis.
Is natural selection telling us to die? To just stop making so many of ourselves? Over-crowding is the root of all the Earth’s problems, I’m convinced of it, but hey, that’s a crack-pot ramble for another day.
So, in conclusion, if a lot of people’s motivation for getting together (or not splitting up) is money, and people are starting to secretly realise that what has been referred to as love is actually a ticking timebomb of old toss, what the heck is left?
We’ve been maneuvered by ‘the man’ over the last few centuries into some unholy, gimpish pose, ping pong ball in the mouth, arse stuck out, ready to receive… everyone knows we’re being fucked over, and no-one does a thing about it, because the method and execution of the manipulation is so perfect. It’s impossible to resist.
Could it be though, that the subjugation we feel and experience is actually necessary – good for us in some way? Our urges, impulses and needs cross-wired and re-wired, hi-jacked and subverted. Like a planet full of gimps, we welcome the humiliation and denigration foisted upon us by the media, the immediate controlling force in all our lives, even though some inner voice is telling us that all this is wrong. Like aged nine when your mates convinced you that you wouldn’t get into trouble for spray painting that dog. You believed in your front brain that you wouldn’t, hypnotised by the suggestion and the temptation. But inside, you knew you’d land up in the shit, and lo and behold, you did. Natural selection has you in it’s grip, and no matter what you think you want to do, you don’t. There probably isn’t a ‘you’ anyway – it’s just good old NS pulling the strings. The babbling of the universe, reciting it’s infinitely impersonal equation.
So, we’re all gimps. Masochistic, self-destructing gimps on a ghost train to destruction, all comparing our handbags and cable TV’s and cars and ping pong balls.
It’s difficult to find any other kind of answers when you accept the facts about your life.