The Politics of Relationships

Does absence makes the heart grow fonder… or does it make the heart go wander?

This weekend is my formal – a graduation of some sort into the ‘adult’ phase of my life. I’ve known about this for 2 months know, and in turn so has Corporate. He planned on coming to the city on Thursday night, seeing me, and then meeting again on Saturday for the evening out. Great, I thought to myself, because Thursday day I work and then head to the gym until the late evening, and Friday I have class all day and work all night. So while this weekend I would love to see him as much as possible, 3 out of 4 days is pretty good and significantly enough for me.

Wednesday night we chat online and Corporate tells me that he is sick. How come, I ask, because on the weekend I went out he sounded fine, energetic, a little buzzed but overall well-enough to withstand his activities. Well, it’s because of the weekend straight of partying that he’s sick because the late nights have continued on as he scrambled to get his work done for looming deadlines and group meetings that start early and run late. So as a result, plus family obligations, our together time has fallen from 3 days to 1.

Fine, I said, just see me on Saturday, because I did not want him to get sick before then and be unable to accompany me. We proceeded to get into a disagreement (not argument) about the time issue, with me saying no to anything before Saturday in concern for his health and my previous obligations, and him say yes to see me on Thursday because he missed me. He was wondering why I was mad at him (I was not mad) for being sick, that he didn’t plan on it, and that he couldn’t control it. I was upset because I beg to differ.

I am of the opinion that every action has a reaction – and that every action has a consequence, and if you are not prepared to lose then you should not take the risk. Corporate partied a lot the first time around and it was a major issue in the ending of the relationship because it became priority #1 followed closely by school work and new friends, with me somewhere at the bottom for whenever it was convenient. When we got back together he had said that he was a changed man; and little actions like this tell me otherwise. He still readily and willingly gives into his friends to join in the party, which as a senior I can understand, but not attend the pity-party when the price is being paid in the form of sickness, insomnia, late assignments and all nighters.

Without trying to sound like a nag, some people, like Corporate and at one time myself, just don’t understand that they simply can not do everything, and even when they try 9 times out of 10 they’ll just end up doing nothing. During our conversation I was trying so hard not to say anything that could resemble a lecture from his mother, since he already has one. After Brunswick I’ve obtained a very laissez-faire mentality when it comes to significant others; I believe that Corporate and any other man I decide to date is a grown man and can do and will do as he pleases; therefore he can also deal with the consequences of his actions. I too am a grown woman and can react as I please, which will be not speaking to him until the following Saturday when I make the trip to attend his formal, for which no doubt he will be well rested and anxious to attend.

I made a promise to myself and my girlfriends to act differently this time around, to not put up with neglect, to not beg for attention and come off as the demanding and high-maintenance girlfriend. If Corporate is sick or unable to completely attend my formal, and we all know how much fun an event can be when you significant other clearly makes it known that they do not wish to be there, then I have decided on a costume change and that I will go by myself. Last year I had a smashing good time by myself, in fact it was the best formal I ever attended – but I will still make the trip and spend the money to attend Corporates’ formal the following Saturday because that’s what Audrey Hepburn would freakin’ do.

I’ve found in my past relationships that there are guys out there who like to test the waters, to see how far the can push the limits, to see what the limits are. I mean, if they want to do something you can’t stop them, but at the same time they cannot be surprised when we react the way we do. I understand that being 2 hours away makes things difficult – and that our lives shouldn’t be spent pining for the other when there is the joie de vive out there waiting to be experienced. BUT at the same time, long distance requires a tad more planning and effort than having someone close by. Balance is the key to long-distance and in-town relationship success and it simply can’t all be on one side. I say this because I stay in, I work 2 jobs and I get my school work done so that when I do have a chance to see Corporate I am well, well rested, work free and money sufficient. If it won’t go both ways with Corporate or with anyone else then clearly I am wasting my time.

I get that men will try and test the limit. I get that they want to have fun; I mean, don’t we all? I get that they want to experience life, and sometimes it’s something they have to do with their buddies. But if it get’s out of hand and he doesn’t realize it, problems can and will arise. However, and there is always a however, until Corporate realizes on his own things won’t change.

So why is it when I bring this issue up, when I try to communicate that maybe he doesn’t have to attend every single party that arises, do I come off like a nagging, self serving bitchy girlfriend when all I want is a healthy rested boyfriend that I booked 2 months in advance for an important event? I guess it takes time for some to realize that when you’re in a relationship you’re no longer the only one who has to deal with the consequences of your actions.

It seems as if I have forgotten the politics of relationships – the negotiations, the debates, the communication issues, the diplomacy, the his-story/her-story/truth conundrum. The balancing act between the interests of yourself, your friends, your obligations and your significant other. The problem with relationship politics, as with politics in general, is that one side always seems to get screwed over in favour of another, one that may or may not deserve the extra attention, one that may or may not be the popular or correct choice. And just like in real politics, it is only a matter of time until the side that’s being screwed either becomes invisible, or leaves the table altogether.

Perhaps I am being rash, being too harsh with Vegas – but a promise to my girlfriends is a promise I do everything in my power to keep, especially when it’s a promise made with my best intentions and my well being at heart. And those kinds of promises insisted upon by your girlfriends is a promise one should never ever break.

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~ by Carrie on March 23, 2007.

3 Responses to “The Politics of Relationships”

  1. You know what…I say good call. Stick to your guns and start off on the right foot…the self-determination foot with a sweet shoe on it.

  2. Sometimes I think it’s not the promises we make to people, but the compromises we agree to that really define relationships. And I find that when I compromise with a guy too much, too often, the only thing I really compromise is myself. I hope that your formal is a fabulously good time!

  3. This sentence really hit home haha – “I guess it takes time for some to realize that when you’re in a relationship you’re no longer the only one who has to deal with the consequences of your actions.”

    I had spoke to mine about life insurance. I know very different topic to discuss with him, but I know he’ll eventually need it and I thought it would be something good to get while he’s still young. I have it. Anyway, the point is he said, “Well why would I need that. If I die, I die.” It just explains that at that time he was only thinking of himself. He wasn’t thinking of who else would be affected by the event. Same as with Vegas. He’s having fun. He’s going out. He’s living it up with his buddies… but you’re the one paying the price simply because if you say anything, he becomes defensive. There’s nothing worse when the guy becomes defensive because you can’t talk to them haha. I know you want the best for him but it just goes down to women being more organized. Women plan for the future more, men live for the moment. Women analyze, men don’t. Mike always tells me I keep him in line – not in a bad way but because I think of things he wouldn’t. Vegas will come around. Right now he’s having fun with his buddies, but once he enters the big world and his buddies are busy too… they’ll be less time to party because they will have more responsibilities.

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