Nothing about our relationship on paper would’ve indicated compatibility. Nothing but the heat and sexual attraction could actually hold us together. The gravitational pull towards intimacy was immediately apparent, but there were still plenty of touch points. Still we both accepted the “opposites attract” idea. Perhaps one of us more than the other…
Creative mind vs. scientific mind… Should that be a problem? I write, sing, play, but I also love big data. She likes facts, seeks truths, clings to theories even when the data suggests an altered course might be necessary to achieve the desired response. Okay, that’s not too much, right?
Maybe the difference was more in the realm of relationships. What does a healthy relationship look like? Relationship between husband and wife, between mother and father now divorced, between mother and child, all those relationships factoring in and altering the science behind our present relationship. Friends and lovers. But something kept happened to upset the data. While I continued to recalibrate and adjust my research I continued to receive results that indicated my hypothesis might be off. And off by a lot.
“Fine, I’m a clear and present lover, let’s cut through this.” At least that was my statement to myself each time she broke off the relationship due to some internal data error of her own. But the data, even in my mind, was suggesting otherwise. There were plenty of reasons to listen to her corollaries and contradicting ghost-data. “We are too different.” She could make this a truth any time she desired.
But we desired more than we fought. (Well, kinda.) But what is a fact, we desired quite a bit. And the complications of single parenting, for both of us, presented challenges, as it does in any relationship between adults with kids. For me, the challenges and disappointments were well worth the effort. Remain calm, don’t over react to the chemical imbalances. Be like a pheasant in the rain, water off the beautiful shiny feathers. Ease along.
And while parts of the relationship felt like, full-steam-ahead, there were indicators that the sharp quills she was wielding might also have poison tips.
At some point, don’t you have to listen to the objections of the other person, even if the arrows and barbs seem less about the relationship and more about the unfinished business? But, of course, unfinished business can be a big problem. But I did mention the sexual chemistry thing, right?
One relationship since divorce with a passion to match my own. You might say it was my blind side. While constantly craving a relationship, I found my black swan, my pheasant under glass, my porcupine. I could suffer a few quills. I mean, how often do we get chemistry and compatibility? (That’s a rhetorical question, because I would have to answer, “once.”)
And it wasn’t as if the issues were building for me, or that they were piling up. I was pretty flexible when it came to missed expectations. The misses did not feel like jabs with a pointy quill. But, early on, I was unaware of of the poison. I could feel it, I could tell things were not quite right as we rolled on deep into the summer together. But I continued to check my inventory, my gauges and test results, and things seemed okay on my end. But I wasn’t listening to the spiky feeling in my chest every time she fired off an I’m-upset-type email or text.
Text is the devil. Data is not in the details when it comes to texting. Once the dataset heads towards the red warning numbers, you need to cut the text and find a physical examination opportunity. Love cannot be fathomed remotely or virtually.
However, let the data show, that texts of uncertain emotional origin can indicate the present of a long-lasting poison in the research. If we choose to ignore the inner warnings, the entire results may be worthless. Skewing the data for our emotional satisfaction is never a winning strategy, not in science nor in love relationships.
And how weird to hit the first mentions of “love” while things were receding in connectivity. The reactivity was still high. And as I mentioned before, the sexual yum was still craveable. But I was beginning to taint my own research.
The poison was beginning to take hold deep inside, and something while numbing, was also identifying itself as MY OWN ADDICTION. Crap. Her intelligence, beauty, and joy in the bedroom, was not enough to mask the pain of the jarring WTF-moments. And that numbness, my slowness, my non-urgent response, was a tell. The poison had numbed my defenses. My research was toasted. I was unhealthily hooked. And I knew it. I knew it months ago. I was altering my data, erasing data inputs, and praying for some stability to the mix.
Of course these things don’t mix. Bad chemistry, mixed with great chemistry, still has a tendency to explode. And the minor explosions kept happening. And the deeper the numbness the less I reacted, the more comfortable I became with the disconnect and the spikes. If you looked at the emotional reactivity, like a lie detector or Richter scale, you’d see, little earthquakes all along. From the first minor blip, after the first major night together, the indications were there all along. And as I erased the spikes in my mind, I was stuck with more poison jabs and I became more complacent. But I couldn’t pull my head up out of the now-drugged, data.
But as the sexual connections found some breathing room between them, as single parents can often experience, some of the other drug, the anesthesia, was also wearing off. I began to sober up just enough to sense the error in my judgement. As I felt into what was showing in the daily reports, I was starting to piece together my own self-deception. I was the skew. I was the bad data set. Her quills and issues had been showing quite brightly all along. She even pointed them out to me, with her warnings.
But I was bigger than any objections. She was just scared.
Um… No. She was still under her glass bell. While beautiful and successful, she was unwilling to emerge from the glass cocoon for more much more than a day. And part of the glass around her continued to become more obvious. And my attempts at access became more volatile and dangerous.
Okay, let me cut the crap. Metaphor free explanation: she’s way fucked up. She admits to being way fucked up. But when she demonstrates her fuckedupness, she strikes out with defensive and destructive slashes that can either be seen for what they are, red flags, or be overlooked or sublimated for some other purpose. I loved sex and play with her. I loved her brilliant mind. I was so addicted to the first chemical romance that I was willing to die for the cause. Bad idea.
The Off Parent
< back to On Dating Again
- Deal Breakers, Red Flags, and Hand Grenades: Relationship Building 101
- Seven Signs of a Healthy Post-Divorce Relationship
- Walking Away from the Wreckage
- Fractured Women: Learning About Boundaries in Dating
- No Means No
- Do Opposites Attract? – sex on WedMD
- The Real Reason Opposites Attract – Psychology Today
- pheasant under glass – the urban dictionary
- pheasant under glass – get smart episode season 1 (1969)
- Foghorn Leghorn – The Leghorn Blows at Midnight – warner brothers cartoon (1949) Synopsis: Foghorn tells Henery that a better choice would be pheasant under glass. Henery, not knowing what pheasant is, asks Foghorn where he can find one. Foghorn naturally points to the Dawg’s house, telling Henery that a pheasant lives inside.
- Black Swan (2010)
- A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships
image: cut out. queralt, creative commons usage
Um… this might be difficult to write.
Let me start with a movie review about porn addiction.
Don Jon is a fairly lighthearted look at a young man’s struggle to move past his T&A porn addiction to try and find happiness in the real world with a real girl. And while it’s an impressive debut as writer and direct for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the movie goes for a few to many stereotypes to be helpful. I’m guessing he was going for funny.
How can you make Scarlett Johansson in to a gum chewing bubble head with poor Bronx dialect, and make her distasteful… Wow. That was an interesting approach, but it takes the story into overall childish and unlikable characterizations. Along with Don Jon these are the couples you seen in Wal-Mart who can’t keep their hands and lips off each other. (In fact, I saw this in an upper-class and expensive sports bar last night, there was no need to typecast these people until the looked like Grease parodies.)
Tony Danza, on the other hand, is perfect for the part. And maybe Mr. Gordon-Levitt is paying tribute to his heritage, I don’t know. But the low-class, blue-collar, chick-hunting mentalities of the boys, didn’t really require the “scene.” Again, it’s an artifice for telling the story, and may be more related to Mr. GL’s target demographic than I know, but it came across as superficial, and it didn’t need to. Ms. Johansson is gaudy and awful. She’s still beautiful, but they make her out to me more “Married With Children Scarlett Johansson” than “Lost In Translation Scarlett Johansson”.
And then we have the still beautiful Julianne Moore who plays the bereaved MILF who turns Jon around. While her points are well made, the movie goes off in this Harold and Maude thing, I was wondering if it was a tribute of sorts. Maybe she needed to be smoking all that pot to really dig into this superficial bartender. But their LOVE is a bit hard to fathom.
I’m all for the older woman showing the millennial male stallion a thing or two about love, but their chemistry is … Well, I just don’t believe it. I could see Danza being all over her, but of course he’s got his son’s disease, gawking and drooling over woman, and playing the dumb football-obsessed dad. Again, maybe Mr. G-L, the director and writer, has other reasons for this stereotype, or maybe it was for laughs.
Anyway… I went to see this move, once I knew what it was about… Well, there’s no simple way around it. Because I like porn too.
The courageous move on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s part was making this movie in the first place. All flaws aside, the issue is real and present, and I would guess, for the younger generation (raised with access to horrid porn of all sorts) much more of an issue.
Here’s how it’s played out for me. My Don Jon story.
In the past, I have had periods where I watched and masturbated to porn daily. And what begins to happen, when you’re in one of these grooves, is the potential relationship with actual women becomes less important. So we can let ourselves go, get fat, not care much, because we have shockingly young and stunning whores on-screen 24-7, and now, mostly for free.
And as you get into it, you need more, you need variety, and you need excitement. Problem is, the rabbit hole of porn is endless. The filth you can quickly find yourself, experimenting with, is amazing and easy to find. STOP.
My first real repulsion from porn was when my daughter was born. This was about the time that women’s grooming habits went all bare. Suddenly I was blindingly aware of the connection between my daughter and her eventual future, and the younger and younger-looking porn stars who were having to do worse and worse things to get noticed in the porn industry. I rejected the entire process, threw away my DVD stash and swore off porn.
In the end, I don’t think porn is a bad thing. It’s more like alcohol. You can take a drink every now and then, and if everything’s fine, and you don’t go off on a bender each time, you’re probably okay. Porn is kind of like that. But porn IS MOST DEFINITELY A DRUG.
In the movie, Don Jon, the Esther character, asks the young man about his love of porn. And he admits to enjoying porn more than sex with real women. And that’s the beginning of the rub. (Sorry.)
The issue I have with porn today is, 90% of those women are in their early twenties and should be modeling with their clothes on. They are essentially a past I never had, and a future I don’t want at all. I won’t address the abusive porn and family issues that might have gotten these young women hooked on porn, but there they are. And they are NOTHING LIKE THE WOMEN I DESIRE. BUT… And here’s the big but, they are what I’ve been sold all my life as desirable.
Sex is everywhere. The insanity over Mylie Cyrus’s stunts and nudie video are all really just part of our culture. We’re pushing sex to the limits and trying to use it to make a buck selling hamburgers and cars. And of course, more porn.
These days as a single dad, I occasionally glance at some porn. It’s not something that I’m ashamed of or proud of, it just is. I too was raised on porn, after finding a stack of Penthouse magazine’s in a cousin’s closet. And since then I’ve worshiped the idea of being with a woman. And I love making love.
AND as a single dad, I have fewer opportunities to be with women. See, I’ve never been the predator type, like the young boys in the movie. I’ve tried casual sex and it does nothing for me. That’s good to know about myself, but it makes the prospect of my next sexual encounter less certain. Today, that’s a good thing. I have made a choice to not move towards sex with a woman unless there’s some REAL connection with her. Kind of like Julianne Moore in the movie. She showed him what sex with someone you really cared about would be like.
I’ve always been that guy. I could worship Scarlett Johansson, and never look at another woman again. Maybe not the SJ in this movie, however, because it’s a whole lot more than just looks and bodies that make love.
Finally, in May of this year, I was sitting across from two different (much younger and without kids) women that I met on OKCupid. And both times, I bowed out of the third-date opportunity. (Often the time people would consider getting sexual.) After two dates with these fine young women, who were wonderful to look at and charming in their own way, I never pursued the next date.
One woman even texted me the next day, “I thought you were going to kiss me but you didn’t.”
She was cute. I’d had a margarita. We were sitting in my car before I let her out. And I could’ve. But I didn’t really want to.
When sex drives us, just like alcohol, we can find ourselves in some situations that may not be that healthy for us. Neither of these younger women were real candidates for being a girlfriend. So I didn’t lean over and kiss her. I didn’t want that obligation. And I really wasn’t interested. With the texting girl, it was our first date. I even had a follow-up date to see if I wanted, or she wanted, to kiss this time. Neither of us did.
Keeping your own sexual urges and satisfaction in hand (porn) can help you keep your dick in your pants at times when it might be easier just to go with the flow towards sex. If you find your only wanting to watch porn you might look into getting some help.
It’s not a bad thing, porn. There are some bad things about it. There are some good things about it. Everyone has their own relationship to porn. And the bombshell character in the movie, Barbara, has a real aversion to her boyfriend watching porn, EVER. And I’ve met these folks too. Perhaps their issues are more with their own emotional healing more than their boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe not.
I sure would’ve liked this movie not to have hidden behind the false humor of the Italian bravado and Catholic church parodies, but it wasn’t my movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has brought porn into the light of day. Everyone has a relationship to it, it’s part of our lives. And if you think the covers of Cosmo and even Good Housekeeping aren’t selling with sex…
Well, we’ve all got a lot to learn about our personal relationship to sex and porn. And then we’ve got to graduate, as adults to real relationships with real women based on more than boobs and kisses. The time you spend in the bedroom, in a real relationship, is a very small portion of the time you spend in the relationship. You’d better make sure you’re really into the other parts of the person too.
Note: Oh, I almost forgot, I’m not addicted to porn, I was just enflaming the title of my post. I might, on the other hand, be addicted to women. One woman. I’m still looking, at the moment. (grin)
The Off Parent
- The Malleable Trajectory of Desire in Online Dating
- Sex is Fun: Should You Settle for Apathetic Sex?
- Fractured People: Learning About Boundaries in Dating After Divorce
- Agua y besos: How Do We Gain So Much Energy from Love?
- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
- Laugh It Off (building a resource library of funny videos and other diversions)
- Facebook (follow us on Facebook and keep up with all the conversations)
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)
- A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships
- The Chemistry Between Men and Women – The Whole Parent