Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Do Not Want

It seems to be the case that after a serious relationship ends, I discover that certain aspects of it are things I do not want in any future relationships. Some of these are senseless allergies (omg no more Alex Chilton fans!!!*) but others, I think, are legitimate discoveries. It's hard to know how living with someone who does x or y or believes z will turn out. Sometimes I was blind to signs that I can now recognize, and others times, it just requires playing the experience out all the way to find out how it goes.

One thing I learned from my relationship with Ed that I don't want anymore is a little bit subtle, but important. One of the very noticeable features of Ed early on was that he was very emotionally literate (which I really appreciated, and continue to think is cool) and wanted to understand in minute detail what I was thinking and feeling about various aspects of the relationship. He didn't feel safe if he didn't understand my exact feelings.

This went both ways. If Ed found a feeling in himself that he thought might be a deal-breaker or bad news for me, he always told me about it. He was very open with me (which is a good thing, in general) and scrupulously honest, to the best of his ability.

All of this is why "radical honesty" was a tenet of our relationship.

I'm not against radical honesty. I think as an experiment it's fun. In fact, as long as you remember that it's called "radical" for a reason, it's all good.

But I don't want to be in another relationship with someone for whom that is of prime importance. I want my future partners to trust me to manage my own thoughts and feelings. I want them to trust that I'll tell them what's important, but be content with my being somewhat of a black box. I want to be with someone who doesn't worry about it that much, and/or who just figures me out as we go along. And I want to be with someone who manages his or her own inner thoughts and emotions as well, sharing as appropriate or desired but sometimes holding things back that are counterproductive to share.

(* not actually on my list)


Sally said...

This is interesting - I think most people already know that they would find radical honesty impossible to do / deal with in a relationship. (Perhaps I should caveat that as most people over the age of about 17.)

Hah - I don't mean to suggest that you're immature! It's just that most people would not be open to it at all, I think.

Tam said...

Shorter Sally:

"Simply, grow up."

(j/k Sallo :)

Anonymous said...


Really I'm just upset that your inability to forecast your preferences violates the assumptions of microeconomic theory. You must be wrong.

Tam said...

Oops. There I go destroying microeconomic theory AGAIN.

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cartaufalous said...

When did honesty become "radical" honesty? I heard this term on Lie to Me, but the ways that honesty didn't work for the character who used this term seemed forced. Maybe I'm still not functioning at the 17-year level yet?

Brian said...

I just 're-found' your blog (which I still had on a little Post-It with your immaculate handwriting of this big word--dot blogspot.com--which I looked up once, but I should do again since I still don't know what it means). I find this particular entry *very* compelling. You're right, you know--it's why women like the 'bad-boys' on account of they don't know what they'll do next! I've always thought a person 'should' be radically honest and forthright with their partner, but what happens is exactly what you experienced: You're all up in each other's business! Call it being a teenager, call it insecurity, call it a mental illness, but you've nailed probably a third of all relationship issues! Now I'll be off to buy a Harley, grow a heinously long goatee & get a tat (all while trying not to make it look like I'm having a midlife crisis). Thanks, Tam!