Saturday, July 22, 2006

At night, the ice-weasels come

Messed up relationship stuff from around the blogosphere:

  • Rather than aiming for the Good, aim away from the bad. As a case in point, this is how I went woman hunting. I have had in my life exactly one girlfriend, to whom I am now married. I did this not by searching out the perfect woman, but by searching for a woman who didn’t annoy me, because I realized everyone has at least some traits that I can like, and if I let myself become enamoured with that, it could blind me to the bad. This has been the cause of every failed relationship that I’ve ever witnessed. In life, where the true Good is not attainable, the very best we can hope for is the absence of bad. — Apollo Morgan
This is a classic example of the second strategy outlined here. I find it deeply depressing, but I'm not a satisficer.

  • What I didn't understand about the Mager article is why the Times referred to his girlfriend's having an "affair." How can it be an affair if you're not married. It isn't even, in my book, being unfaithful, although my wife would claim that it would qualify as being unfaithful if the boyfriend did it. — Sean
Expectations of monogamy within non-marital relationships are not unknown. I don't know if this attitude is a holdover from the old days when dating norms permitted multiple boyfriends and girlfriends, but once you've moved in and have a house together, I'd think you're close enough to common-law to get the benefit of the doubt re: expectations of fidelity. Or is this an attempt to punish those who shack up by robbing them of social means of punishing cheaters? No matter what, ew.

  • If I were married, and I had an abortion, I’m sure I would tell my husband. Why? Because right now, I tell my boyfriend what I had for lunch. I tell him what color I’m thinking of painting the walls. I tell him what I thought of the movie I saw last night. I tell him to bring home some whiskey because I’m having cramps. So I’d tell him I was having an abortion. Because I tell him stuff. Because he can’t be a nice helpful boyfriend/husband if he doesn’t know, and because it’s convenient and natural FOR ME to solicit sympathy for medical woes. Not FOR HIM. FOR ME.

    But to tell him because I “owe” it to him or because he has an “interest” in my body? Because he won’t “trust” me otherwise? That’s some sick, fucked-up shit. I don’t tell my boyfriend when I’m having dental surgery because he has the “right to know.” I tell him so he can drive me to the dentist and pick up my pain pills. He doesn’t have a right to know, and he’d be some sick controlling fuck to get mad because I didn’t tell him about my fillings until I’d made the appointment. — sophonisba

While I'm not claiming that you owe an account of your every move and thought to your significant other, part of love (in my view, at least) is openness and trust. That you would only share an important experience with your loved one if there was something in it for you sounds more like using than loving. While people don't have a legal right to be informed of the important medical decisions of their spouses, they have some qualified moral right to know. There can be secrets in a marriage, but their existence can indicate that trust, the bedrock of committment, is lacking.

Within the context of the unhealthy-sounding marriage that inspired the linked comment, I think that the husband may have lost his moral right to know by his uncaring behavior, but disclosure as a baseline assumption for healthy relationships doesn't sound too unusual. Do you disagree? Can a relationship be sound if important life choices made by one person are never revealed to the other person? If potentially hazardous situations encountered by one are kept from the other?
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