Dear WordPress Bloggers,
We write about many a thing. More often than not, we write about things we know best, and those that pull at our heartstrings.
Relationships, whether successful or failed, we all know something about.
A very good friend of mine has recently come out of a longish relationship. It wasn’t a happy one, although it did have its moments. Most of the time it was distorted, painful and heart-breaking even to an onlooker. The post-breakup present is hell: the kind of hell only we can make for ourselves by questioning our worth because someone else was unable or unwilling to see it. This project is an attempt to help this someone I care about to realise they are not on their own; to see the end as a beginning. Am I being too optimistic? I hope not.
So here is what I propose. Why not put our heads together and put the messy world of relationships to its rights?
From the 14th to the 31st of October I will dedicate vicbriggs’ blog-screen to pieces on Relationships, hence Project R.
Interested? Please send your contribution to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submissions is Sunday, the 13th of October.
This may be of particular interest to new bloggers with fewer than 100 followers, but I would be delighted (chuffed even!) if veteran bloggers took an interest too. It’s all for a good cause.
I will schedule all submissions and start posting them on my blog starting Monday, the 14th of October. If there are seventeen or fewer submissions, each will get a full day on vicbriggs’ blog-screen. If there are more, then the time will be shared accordingly.
Now for the questions to answer:
I’ve decided to be a little unorthodox about this and, in addition to questions, offer you the opportunity to respond to ‘positions’ on what it means to be single as opposed to being in a relationship. A fellow-blogger’s post was a great help with that. It is up to you whether you agree with “they”, with LL, or have an altogether alternative vision.
Have your love-life ever been subjected to the scrutiny of self-fashioned armchair psychologists?
I bet it has.
1. On Failure. What does love mean to you? What constitutes a failed relationship? What about a successful one? Did you ever think of yourself as a failure because a relationship came to an end?
LL: “How often they suggest that past relationships are failures, rather than experiences that can offer both parties the gift of insight, as if because something was time-limited or brief or is no more, that it was not fulfilling or wonderful or an occasion to learn.”
2. On Being Flawed. Are you more comfortable on your own or in a relationship? Do you think there is something wrong with people who cannot or would not sustain long-term relationships?
LL: “How they imply that women and men who are single must be flawed, broken, undesirable, inflexible, psychologically damaged, unskilled at sex or love or communication, rather than, perhaps, individuals who may simply prefer solitude, prefer a different type of relationship arrangement, who may have done the emotional work that makes them less likely to enter hastily into (or stay in) abusive or unfulfilling relationships, who may have other types of partnerships and connections, or who may simply not have the desire to be in a romantic partnership (now or ever).”
3. On Eros. Do you require a romantic relationship to feel fulfilled?
LL: “How they argue that there is one type of love and relation that is aspirational, against which all others pale. As if the love of our families, our friends, our colleagues, our communities, our lovers…were not enough. Eros trumps all, trumps philia, trumps storge, trumps agape.”
4. On Soul-mates. Do you believe that there is a soul-mate for everyone out there? Do you ever feel that you are only half of the equation, and will be ‘lacking’ something until you find someone to share your everyday life with?
LL: “How they infer that until we meet our (presumably monogamous) partner, and fall into some sort of nebulously and poorly defined thing called “love,” we singletons are mere shells of human beings, eternally waiting for our “other halves,” our “soul-mates,” or, at the very least, a person to co-habitate with, and at some point, possibly sign a legal contract that has nothing in actuality to do with love, despite social norms that try to convince us otherwise. As if we are less than whole people, always lacking.”
5. On Self-Love. Do you think that to be loved by others you have to love yourself? What does self-love mean to you? To love, can it sometimes mean letting go?
LL: “How they advise that a single person must simply “love themselves enough” before they find a partner, as if self-love and worthiness were not things that people must and should do for themselves and for the many other relationships they have with their families, friends, and co-workers. As if self-love were not, above all, for one’s self. As if the very people who believe that they are worthy just as they are, who have developed communication skills, who can be vulnerable and sit with others’ vulnerability, are those who do love themselves enough. As if breaking up with someone cannot be an act of self-love, or, indeed an act of love towards others to avoid mutual disappointment or resentment.”
6. On Fulfilment. Can we only find fulfilment in others, or is it possible to be happy and find contentment in our other accomplishments, whatever our relationship status?
LL: “How they discount the other accomplishments in our lives by assuming our happinesses or our successes are not enough if we do not also “find someone nice to settle down with.” As if the only occasions worthy of public and community celebrations are marriages (and having children).”
7. On Interpersonal Skills. Are people in relationships simply better at ‘people skills’ than those who are not?
LL: “How they presume that being in a relationship or being married automatically makes someone a more skilled communicator, empathic person, sexually open partner, considerate human being, or expert in love than any single person could ever hope to be.”
8. On Project R. Do you think this a worthwhile project? In what way, if at all, did this project help you think through the question of “relationships”? Feel free to add here any other thoughts you may have on the subject that was not covered by the above questions.
Thanks for tuning in!
Hope you will become a part of Project R!
Project R’s “they” section was inspired by Lucia Lorenzi’s On Being Alone: Rethinking the Single Life. To read her post, follow this link: http://lucialorenzi.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/on-being-alone-rethinking-the-single-life/ It is a beautifully written and insightful piece. Perhaps it may help you with your own.
Project R is also somewhat of a nod and wink to AOpinionatedMan’s Project O, a project on Opinion hosted on his blog during September. Follow this link to view contributions to this project: http://aopinionatedman.com/2013/08/26/project-o
Finally, Project R is a reply to the WordPress Daily Prompt: Exhale. “Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright. Photographers, artists, poets: show us SAFETY.” http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/daily-prompt-safety/
I thought it a pertinent prompt to the subject of relationships and alone-ness, since both can offer us safety and the reverse in equal measure.