40 Days Postmortem

So, the exciting project that was 40 Days of Dating.

Lots of food for thought, because, let’s face it, there’s not that many people out there who are willing to try out literally in a social experiment the very trying notion of platonic friendships. Many people are willing to just accept the alleged impossibility of it. And some people use it as a basis for establishing romantic relationships. You know, the whole my-spouse-is-my-best-friend business.

I was very glad to read that they did not ruin their friendship by the end of the forty days, though in the long run, I’m not so sure if their previously untainted-by-the-experiment friendship would show signs of having been affected somewhat. I was also very glad to read that they did not end up together, because that just would have been incredibly cliche and might become unwholesome fodder for more pairs of good friends to try the experiment out themselves.

But, just like the adage goes, the most important point of the 40 Days is not about the ending.

It’s about the process. It’s about the wealth of self-affirmative knowledge, self-analysis and introspection that is drawn out throughout the days of reflecting upon the days. It’s about being serious and taking the time to deliberate an issue that by its very nature involves someone else, but oddly enough most of the time explodes out of proportion singlehandedly by one party. If you get what I mean.

Many of the issues that were raised through their daily reflections are typical ones that we hear about all the time and they certainly reflect the crazy complex of stressors in everyday life itself that exerts inescapable pressure on relationships.

I think the most crucial issue though, as raised by E in the previous post, is one’s family background.

Just like how people are always saying, the past will always come back to haunt us.

It is just like how people always talk about the way many kids, who were abused in their childhood, grow up to become abusers themselves or get trapped as resigned silent victims in another vicious cycle of abuse. When you grow up in an environment of abuse, an environment with abuse is all you know about. Comfort comes from a sense of familiarity, and if abuse is familiar, then that would be comfort. I suppose it is part of human nature that when we encounter something new, we always try to, consciously or not, source for something familiar to ground ourselves in, before we can feel alright enough to venture forth and drive the new and exciting unfamiliarity by its reins. In trying to make decisions about our future, we fall back on knowledge we’ve gained in the past.

I have always wondered if my family background is the reason why I am extremely opposed to wanting to start a family of my own. Growing up, every other day was spent listening to crazy ass arguments and heated bickering, all dripping generously with my father’s blatant disrespect for my mother. (Which I think might be the reason why I really hated guys when I was younger, but that’s another point for another day.) I didn’t understand (still don’t) why two people would want to stay together, for the sake of kids, if they were filling each other with so much resentment and unhappiness. To me, our own individual selves should always, always, always come first. Kids follow you, for goodness’ sake. How happy can your children be when they see you behaving miserably all the time?! (I also think this might be a reason why I definitely shouldn’t have kids of my own, but that’s also another point.)

I was the kid (still am) who wished everyday that her parents would get a fucking divorce to end everyone’s misery once and for all. But it never happened, though not because there were no threats made or no attempts made to do so. I honestly think it was because they got to a point where they are so filled with fucking indifference that they can’t care less about doing something about it. So they just left it as it is, like people leave dead leaves on a pile of dirt to disintegrate into compost and reintegrate as earth and morph into the nothing that they never were. I think this is perhaps one of my greatest fears of relationships. Not just for myself, but for everyone. I’m sure no one, except perhaps extreme pessimists, starts out their relationship with the belief that one day it would all fizzle out and die miserably. People begin with the yearning faith that their love will last and persist, even if it may get less intense and impassioned over the years, but that it would always be there – that’s what got the whole thing started in the first place, right? But to have witnessed so many failures of others and one very close to home, the depths of bitter resentment and wretched unhappiness that plagues many marriages just hollow out any wells of belief or faith that I have, not just in the institution of marriage, but also the notion of romantic love.

It is a fact of life that beauty in nature does not last, because part of the beauty that forms life is its transience. That’s cool with me, go ahead and die. Immortal beauty is not as precious anyway. What terrifies me is the very real prospect of relationships that could have appeared to be as promising as it could get, end up spurting jet black streams of toxic sentiments. It’s not the dying, but the breeding of hateful apathy, which I think is worse than dying.

It makes no sense to me why some people are so up for constantly seeking for the one and throwing themselves into relationships over and over again and still do it even after getting hurt or disappointed repeatedly.

I’m aware that asshole-ness is not genetically inheritable, but I believe that asshole behavior can be acquired and learned through environmental exposure. A part of me is perhaps fearful that I might end up like my parents – an abusive jerk or a gutless chump. I guess a part of my psyche is retrospectively fatalistic, that I don’t know how this whole hopeful-for-relationship thing works because I haven’t grown up knowing it.

Many people think that having an awareness of such a possible pitfall is one of the best ways to prevent falling in. Sure, it could be. But I don’t think it teaches you how to get out should you fall.

And what if you don’t even survive the fall in the first place?


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