Paying the Price of Admission: Relationships

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I’m a little discombobulated about what I’d like to write about today. I have a couple of of things I’m tossing around but not much feels good. I actually slept until 8 AM this morning, something that is rare for me. It makes me a little lazy when I sleep that late. It’s not like I got major sleep because I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 or so, but I did get a full 8 hours. Yesterday was cool. I never really got too overheated, and I really think that helped. I forgot to take my Chinese herbs, and I had some matcha yesterday afternoon. I really thought I’d have trouble sleeping last night, but I didn’t. I slept like a baby.

I walked Ashok at 8ish, and I was so disgusted with the heat, the mud and the sticky humidity that I decided to pack up and take Ashok to Bay St. Louis. I have no idea what we’ll do here today, but I just want to feel a little breeze, dip my toes in the bay and relax a little. Last night’s game was fun, but it rained on and off the whole time. I sloshed around in mud and water at the tailgate party. When I got home, my yard was so muddy that I had mud between my sandaled toes. I couldn’t bare a whole day of either being holed up inside due to the heat or traipsing around in swamp-like conditions. Ashok yesterday jumped 2 feet in the air when I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride with me. She’s as stir crazy as I am.

I’m already sweating in the shade. But at least the breeze is blowing. There’s a party next to me calling each other drunk b*stards and talking about their party they went to last night. Someone else was talking on the phone cursing her head off. For some reason, it’s bothering me even though I tend to have a mouth like a sailor sometimes too. I drew the Dog Medicine Card this morning. Dog Medicine is about loyalty and service.

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Dog medicine is the quality that dogs carry when they honor their masters by pleasing them. Along with the service mentality, they also bring protective energy. The card asks me to consider in what ways I have not been true to my own goals and personal truth. It further asks me to consider if there is someone that has been trying to be my friend, and I’ve denied or ignored them. Or has my loyalty to someone been impacted by the gossip or opinions of others. Interesting questions … all of which have some relevance to me today. But, all I can seem to focus on is the number of ‘f*cks’ that are coming out of the mouths of my neighbors. In addition, they seem to be a bunch of drunks and smokers who tied one on last night to the extent that they are afraid to go in the coffee shop. Oh, yeah …. and they’re runners. Anyway, I digress. And, blessedly, they are leaving to go smoke. Thank God for small favors.

My sister-in-law Laura posted this link on my Facebook page this morning, and she asked what I thought:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/08/28/the-price-of-admission-dan-savage/

I think he’s dead on. I think to be in a long-term relationship, you absolutely have to look away and accept the annoying things that your partner does. I’ve never believed there was ‘one’ for me. I’ve always believed that I had many possibilities based on what I wanted to tolerate and invest. I know people think that divorced people don’t know how to tolerate differences, or they somehow are selfish in that they don’t. I see people post about it all the time on Facebook. It always irritates me, too. Divorce is a choice in this country whether your religion or your belief system likes it or not. I got married twice – and this article is not mentioning marriage because the speaker is gay man in a committed relationship – and both times I made the decision to tolerate my partner’s quirks. I wanted to be in a relationship, and I knew that was part of the deal. It was – like the dog – a part of the loyalty equation. I love what he says about ‘paying the price of admission’. I was willing to ‘pay the price of admission’ in order to have a relationship.

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When the price got too high for me, I had to re-evaluate what I was paying for. That was where the protection of my personal truth and the pursuit of my own dreams and goals surfaced. When the price got too high, I quit paying. There’s a lot of opinion that this is morally ‘wrong’, and maybe it is. I don’t see it that way. In fact, I’ve begun to question the institution of marriage to a certain degree. When you enter into it, you have no idea what you are getting into. In my own experience, I only knew a tiny bit of what I was ‘paying for’. Some of my married friends tell me I need to quit being so picky. They assure me that I won’t find anybody that’s perfect. I’ve been married twice. Do you really think I don’t get it? I was married once for 11 years and the second time for 6. I get that a husband won’t be perfect. But, I don’t know that I’m willing to ‘pay the price of admission’ anymore. From what I’ve experienced, it’s too costly to me. I would be willing to ‘pay the price of admission’ if I met someone that was less costly than I had in the past. It may be the only area of my life where I’m really frugal. Maybe going bankruptcy is a good driver of frugality.

As I talk to friends who end relationships, I always hear them say that they knew early on that there were problems. “I just looked the other way,” they might add. Or, they say they thought he/she would be different. Often, they spent less time getting to know their partner than they would training for a 5K. That seems like a short time to shop for something that may last your entire life. I made that mistake more than once. I don’t know what I don’t know. I remember complaining to a relative about a guy I was engaged to, and she told me that I needed to accept somebody the way they were if I was going to be in a relationship. I knew a relationship was important to me, so I took her advice and started ‘paying the price of admission.’ When it all fell apart, all of my family members one by one told me that were concerned about my being in relationship with this guy. I was really confused.  I had no idea what I was supposed to accept and and what I wasn’t. Where do you draw the line? I know now where I draw the line, but I hated having to learn it through experience.

When my friends tell me I’m being too picky now, I try to ignore them unless I asked for their advice. Unless I want what they have, their advice is irrelevant. We each know how much of a price we’ll pay, and I’m much more frugal about it. One person is willing to dole out their money for a Mercedes and another person just wants an old beater because they don’t value their vehicles that much. Neither are wrong. It’s their money. They get to decide what is worth spending their money on.

The other issue that Savage mentions is the fact that we don’t really see people as they are in the beginning of a relationship. I would add that we don’t want to see it either. It’s so fun, and the hormones are flowing. We want it to be this way forever. We focus tightly on the good things and the things we have in common, and we miss a lot of what we need to be seeing. Last night at the game, the Lions came running out on the field like they always do, and it was quite the show. Later in the evening, my friend Gretchen commented that they didn’t use the smoke in the ‘runout’ for some reason. I looked at her and then showed her the picture.

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When we are intently focusing on one thing, we often overlook or don’t even see other things. So, we ‘pay a price for admission’ based on a fallacy. A year later we are wondering what the hell we were thinking. The problem is with marriage there’s no easy way out if the ‘price of admission’ is higher than you are able to pay. I wish that all grown-up issues were as simple as leaving the mayonnaise out on the counter or chewing with your mouth open. I’m not that frugal, but I guess right now, I’m not willing to dole out a lot for a relationship. I want to shop a lot longer and really know what it is I’m buying. My soul is a high price to pay, and I used to easily give it up just to be paired up. Maybe with time, I’ll be willing to ‘pay’ a little more. Maybe not. Either way, It’s my decision.

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