Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chemistry Ain't Everything

Until recently, I thought it was the Golden Ticket of dating. What I can now distinguish as "chemistry" is all I desired in dating for two reasons: 1. I wasn't seeking anything other than a "pleasant experience", and 2. Chemistry seemed so hard to come by. That's it! My purpose for dating was having a good time for a little while.

Well, I'm maturing a bit. I've always been about sustainment when it comes
to any type of long-term 'sacrificial' investment. At my age, dating has become just that-- a sacrifice. You sacrifice time, money, makeup, energy, emotion, etc. and sometimes it doesn't seem worth it. True to the late-blooming trend of my Life, contrary to many of my homegirls, I wasn't dating anyone to get married. I was totally okay with being the bridesmaid and never had any kind of envy or upset about it.

I've always wanted to be married and I think I'd be a good wife. But I never saw myself married until my mid-to-late 30's, so I never gave much thought about what it requires. Recently, (as in 3 weeks ago) I've become open to being married before 35 so those dynamics are much more interesting to me now than before.

I now realize that chemistry isn't enough when it comes to sustainability. Lasting relationships require Compatibility. Sounds simple, I know, but I honestly never looked at it.
Not only have I not considered Compatibility, but I haven't a clue what I want for myself-- how can I try to compare it to anyone else? What are my true values? (Not the ones I was raised to have or I feel like I should) What values do I want him to share? What are my negotiables? What are my non-negotiables? Smoking, Children, Religion, Money, Pets...I can go on and on about the married life I haven't given any serious thought to.

Being totally honest with you?
It turns my stomach to think about it all.

I get anxious,
then I start PANICKING.

It's a lot to chew on, you know?

It all seems so permanent when you list it out! What if what I think I want isn't what I want when I get it? I'll be stuck...and permanently pissed off.

Regardless of the emotional discomfort, I'll take it on.
Shit, do I really have a choice now that I have a dating purpose?

Oh well...
here goes nothing!

I think the real questions are about doing the work for the rewards. It is work. It's called the "institution of marriage" for a reason. The facets are virtually endless the benefits are often subtle but enduring and nourishing. Sometimes they are so slight you can easily miss them. But when they are gone... that's when you'll really miss them. I have a divorced friend who speaks of his divorce as being as much work as being married. It's just another relationship to maintain and qualify.

But back to marriage, you just have to be hyper sensitive and hypey vigilant to the manifold benefits and super appreciative of something as simple as a clean folded wash cloth that is pleasantly, properly placed before you knew you needed it. It can seem like some infinitesimal bullsh*t. But it becomes a display an emotional undergirding that can't be duplicated outside of a long term relationship and also something difficul to put into words.
The Sunday NY Times Magazine did a cover story on Marriage, addressing your concerns in some ways. I think Chemistry is necessary in bringing the sizzle, the magic. Compatibility is important but don't discount the Chemistry. Also, a clean credit history, medical history, criminal background search and employment/income history. And no freaks. The freak shit has to go. We have to many disease problems, especially in the Black community. Oral cancers, HIV. If I ever found myself back on the street, I think I'd be celibate. I'd be like my man Detective Monk.
LOL, i like some of "anonymous's" comments. It's interesting because ever since I came back home (from college), I find that men that were never interested in me before are all of a sudden interested in me (p.s. RI is a small town, a little variety but not enough at times). And I sometimes find myself asking the same questions...not necessarily for the purpose of marriage but to create some clarity in my mind about what i want versus what I don't want and lately I've been learning a lot about what I don't want.

I agree with the anonymous comment that chemistry is also important in relationships. I think chemistry keeps the flame going when the day to day gets a little boring and redundant.

The idea of "till death do us part" freaks me out a little as well, thinking what if I made a mistake or what if this really isn't the one. But I guess it's like anything else, you have to take the risk, weigh the pros and the cons, pray on it and hope for the best. I think there are usually tell-tale signs (no matter how subtle) that let you know if someone is "right" or wrong for you. And I think it comes to prioritizing after that, what things you can absolutely positively not live with and vice versa.

Anyway...all that to say...good luck. I'm not quite where you are but am also at the beginning of an interesting journey (we should talk, lol). Keep me posted when/if you find "the one".
@Craig- Interesting. So do you think an ongoing appreciation for the little things has a marriage sustain at a level that compensates for a lack of compatibility?

@Anonymous- LMAO! I believe we have earned your sympathy/pity, LOL

@Monsurat- Yeah, use the time you have to your advantage to think about it. Given where you are, you're probably just fishing for chemistry (who cares about anything else when there's no objective, right?) And girl, I STILL don't believe in "The One", so don't hold your breath, lol! Yeah, we should catch up;-)
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