Friday, May 28, 2010

Transformers 3: The Love Bug. (Part Two)

[Apologies to any Internet traveller who ended up here thinking that I would have a rant regarding Michael Bay, robots, or any topic semi-related to the recent blockbuster films created based on plastic toys.]

"Wherever you are, whenever it's right
You'll come out of nowhere and into my life
And I know that we can be so amazing
And, baby, your love is going to change me
And now I can see every possibility..."

 -- Michael Buble, Haven't Met You Yet

So here we are, gathered around our little campfire, with the logs of Love, Transformation, Expectation, and Compatibility all ablaze.  And I'm trying to balance this equation:  in a loving relationship, what is the proper mix of accepting of your partner as they are, desire to transform, acceptance of oneself, and desire to be transformed.

The short answer is, of course:  Whatever works!  But I'm audacious enough to suppose that there is a particular view of the equation that is more inclined to work for most people.  To figure that out, you need to decide how much you support the following assumptions:

- Love, by its very nature, should transform people and situations
- People in loving relationships should care as much (or more) about their partners as themselves
- Everyone has things about themselves they would like to change
- No one likes to feel that they are being forced or coerced into changing
- People are always changing - whether they realize it or not

I know this will come as a shock - but I think there is a great deal of truth in these assumptions.  So how does that end up balancing the equation?  I would summarize it this way:

- People should enter into loving relationships accepting their partners as they are
- People should enter into loving relationships trying to be the best they can be

I find the attitude that "My partner should accept me as who I am, no matter what" to be an excuse for bad behavior*.  It seems to me that, if we want our partners to accept us for who we are, we should at least be attempting to put our best foot forward.  I don't feel that it is being dishonest to "be on your best behavior". 

The danger, I think, is in trying to distort our "true" selves in the hope of making ourselves attractive to a partner.  I don't believe that such a performance can be sustained over the long haul.  I think this type of deception (of both oneself and your partner) is distinctly different from recognizing things about yourself that you would like to change - and looking for a partner that can help you make that change.

So where does that leave our equation?

Here's my opinion:  The most stable relationships will exist where partners are most accepting of each other as they are.  The impetus for change should not come from one partner desiring to change the other - but a partner who desires to be changed through the love and influence of their partner over time.

After all, isn't the amazing thing that people can sustain long-term, loving relationships at all?  If, as I suspect, people are changing constantly (whether they notice it or not), how is it that all couples don't eventually become estranged?

Maybe it's because their love for one another is continually transforming them.

Or something.

Take care.

PS:  I won ANOTHER iPad today.  No sh*t.  I probably should have played the Lottery too.
PPS:  I did NOT compose this post on my iPad.  But it is still really cool.

*It has long been my view that bad behavior can be understood or tolerated - but not excused.


unmitigated me said...

This reminds me of Jack, "You make me want to be a better man."

Ellie Belen said...

Shut up! Another iPad? Please, yes play the lotto. I'll be your partner.

I find that all that acceptance is a bit like being an enabler. I sometimes wished my partner was a little more demanding, a drop of critical analysis (just a drop now), might have helped me change a little to please him. I do want to please him.

But although I may want to spread the blame around and know the above action might spark a very negative reaction from me, (which most hubbys try to avoid at all costs, but really maybe they should go to battle every once in a while), I know that I am ultimately responsible for the changes I "need" to make, the changes he would like to see happen.

I sometimes wished I had gotten a nudge. See it's all his fault. Again.

Jim Styro said...

UM: That moment is apropos. But show me any 60-year-old guy trying to romance a woman in her mid-thirties - and I will show you a man desperate to be "better".

Ellie: Lady, if the right numbers come up tonight - we are going to par-tay!

I believe I understand what you mean about demanding more of one's partner. On the other hand, your comments underscore (in a humorous - but nonetheless., frighteningly real way) the risks a man takes when offering criticism (constructive or not) of his "better half".

Thanks for your feedback, ladies.

Captain Dumbass said...

I had a comment besides Happy Birthday, but I got to the "I won a second iPad" bit and now I'm just feeling bitter.

Vodka Mom said...

Happy Birthday.

and TWO Ipads? I won the lottery, too. But in kind of a different way.

DAVID HAAS said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!