Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Throughout the years I have made many mistakes. No doubt, this is why I’m alone today. I’ve been thinking a lot about my situation of late, no doubt because I’ve been rather excessively depressed of late. Officially I’m divorced, but the marriage was so unsatisfactory, short and lonely that I often feel like I’ve been a bachelor my entire life. Regardless, it leaves me with a lot of time to think about the mistakes I’ve made and provide sage advice from a loser who needed it so very desperately decades ago.
A young friend of mine (the daughter of a friend, anyway) will be married soon. I’m not sure if she realizes this, but she’s a very attractive young woman. Unfortunately, it works against her as she has been, throughout school, attracting men who see her looks, but not her intelligence, strong will, work ethic and kindness. At her age, I would like to think I would have been different, but I kind of doubt it. Men at that age are not very mature, and I’ve lost women with these traits as I often pursued the shiny beautiful sexy women who were out of my league. Not to say that the women with whom I had a legitimate opportunity weren’t attractive. I’ve known many women who were very sexy, but also a lot of fun, the kind of women who appreciated my sense of humor, and who would roll down park hills, but I was too much of an idiot to see it.
What I really needed was somebody to slap me upside the head at that age and say, listen, stupid, it’s not the looks, it’s the fun.
It’s not the looks, it’s the fun.
Lust is fun. If you’re going to have a real relationship, there has to be at least some physical attraction. There has to be something there because sex and physical attraction is an important part of any healthy relationship, but only part. The reason is that, frankly, physical attraction ebbs and flows like the tide. No matter how attractive your partner is, eventually a feeling of familiarity will set in and offset some of that attraction. It’s not only uncommon but actually healthy to see people outside of your relationship with whom you are attracted. It happens, it means that you’re alive, and it’s only damaging to a relationship if the person feeling that attraction acts on it (as, sadly, happens far more often than it should) or the other partner lets jealousy interfere with the relationship (which also happens too often). I have a good (and married) friend who I know finds me attractive, and sometimes we flirt pretty hard, but we would never act on it. Her husband, though, reaps the benefits as she becomes frustrated and he is her release.
On the flip side of the coin, you have the partners with whom you enjoy spending your time. My friend’s daughter, for example, loves hockey (I’m sure other things as well, but that’s one of which I know). It would be fine, I guess, for her to find a man who is forgiving of her enjoyment of the sport, but it would be so much better for her to find somebody who enjoys it with her, somebody with whom she has fun, and it doesn’t have to be sports. Another friend of mine truly enjoys conventions. She will dress up as characters from movies and cartoons (I met her at a Renaissance fair where this year she dressed as a goat). She needs to find a partner who enjoys her passions as well, and hopefully one who plays along.
If you enjoy activities together, your attraction will grow, and your relationship is less likely to grow stale. If you enjoy running around and shooting at each other with water guns, that becomes the fun part of a youthful friendship, something that can be built on. A good friend of mine is today in Portugal with his beloved wife. Their love of travel is creating a great retirement adventure for the both of them. Do they ever disagree or argue? I’m sure they do, but they can always come back to their common love and, frankly, if you really enjoy your time together, the attraction with each other will grow.
Be with somebody you enjoy spending time with. Choose the fun one. In a comedy, I remember the line, “if it wasn’t for the sex, I could be gay. Then it’s just hanging out with your buddy.” I don’t remember the movie, but the line strikes me as quite profound. It doesn’t matter the gender, in a relationship, a lot of it should be just like hanging out with your buddy.
So there you go. Relationship advice from a goof who hasn’t had a relationship in years.