Friday, June 5, 2009

Relationship Angst

I was talking to my sister yesterday about relationships. She has been a therapist in Hollywood for thirty years specializing in relationship counseling. She has some interesting stories. No wonder since most of her clients are in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, she can't disclose any specifics but I will say when it comes to sex, dating, marriage, and relationships there is no shortage of weird stuff. Everyone struggles with these issues and no matter how vivid your imagination you still can't imagine all the different stuff that goes on with relationships.

My sister believes that you can't predict whether or not a relationship will be successful. In her opinion there is a lot of luck involved. The luck is primarily in whether or not you can find someone who you even have a chance of being with for the long term. And you can't really know unless your're together for the short term. The only thing that you can do is learn to accept whatever happens and not blame yourself if a relationship doesn't work out. The thrust of her practice is not about trying to patch up failing relationships. It is about helping her clients feel better about themselves and learning from their experiences.

Interestingly I had three other conversations yesterday about relationships. The first was with my ex-girl friend. We are good friends and very close. She was commenting to me how difficult it is to date and that unless someone just showed up in her life she could not put any effort in seeking out a partner. I could see her point. Dating, especially as you get older, is more work than fun

On the other hand I also spoke with a long term male friend whose view on sex and women would probably be considered dysfunctional by 95% of women and at least 50% of men. He has no desire for a long term committed relationship. He is interested in having sex with as many women as possible and telling them whatever he has to to get them into bed. He has no interest in getting to know any of the women he dates. He is brilliant though in getting women to like him and sleep with him.

When I say brilliant, I mean he is the Michael Jordan of seducing women. On more than one ocassion we have been out for dinner when I have made a comment on the attractiveness of the waitress. I was looking at her as completely unattainable and as an object of beauty to be respected and appreciated. He immediately bet me that he could get her back to his hotel room before the evening was out. I thought it was impossible but he was able to do it. This was shocking to me.

I have always put women on a pedestal. He sees them primarily as sex objects and conquests. I never could understand why so many women, and very pretty and intelligent ones, could be so easily seduced by him.

The other conversation was with a women I just recently met. I was at a meeting with her and her business partner earlier this week. I had noticed the tension between them and had correctly surmised to both their surprise that they had been a couple.(Actually it was pretty obvious). She called me to talk about their relationship. They had been engaged, and had worked together on a number of projects. They are both very powerful individuals. They were very compatible in their personalities, likes, and dislikes. However, they could not manage to find a way to get along. She had been hurt and disappointed by their breakup and was interested in my observations.

I really did not know what to tell her except that she was a quality person and would find someone. The truth is that the whole subject is very confusing to me. It seems that on one hand there is nothing more important than relationships and that on the other the less you care the better off you are.

I do know two things about this subject. First of all we have to learn to get along with each other. Secondly, I feel a lot more confident talking about money, and this subject is also perplexing to me. I wish I had more answers.

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