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Tuesday, February 22, 2000

The Garrett* and Simon Show, and Open Relationship Propriety

Today was the first day I staffed with Garrett* -- we had the whole school to ourselves. It went great. Much chaos, but remarkably little animosity amongst the kids (compared with times past). Lots of good conversations with the kids of all ages. Only one injury -- a six year old who ran into a poll while running around and got a good shiner. :/ I'd like to think things went well because Garrett* and I both really treat the kids like equals, like it's as much or more their job to take care of the school (and each other) as it is ours...

On a lark I did a search on "SocialNet" the other day, and it turned up three women -- one unremarkable, one who turned out to be my ex girlfriend (Tara), and one who sounded like a pretty interesting person. So I wrote the latter and we have been emailing a bit, and when the topic of previous girlfriends/boyfriends came up I had to jump in and let her know I am currently involved with Michelle. Here's my reply to her reply about that:

>I guess I should talk about the thing that struck me most from your last 
>email first, your girlfriend -- the current one.  I guess my biggest question 
>is whether she knows you are on Social Net, and what her thoughts are.

She knows I have a few personal ads posted here and there, and that I peruse the personals once in a blue moon. I don't think I mentioned Social Net specifically, since my entire experience with that was essentially to fill out their little survey, find you, and email you. :)

As to what her thoughts are... I have asked her in my last email so we will see -- since I do not want to just give you my assumptions. But as to agreements and honesty, our relationship is very explicitly open -- a feature which she has exercised and I have not, incidentally.

I expect her to say that she is ok (but not thrilled) with it because she, too, is unsure whether we are right for each other and is also looking. (I happen to know she is looking because just the other day she told me of two specific guys who she wants to date...)

>  This 
>seems to be a big point where we are different.  If I'm with someone, in a 
>lengthy relationship, it is because I have decided there is a possibility 
>that they will be the "ultimate" one.  Granted, up to this point it hasn't 
>worked out, but I like to think that I give 100% until I realize that it just 
>won't work.  After that, I tend to move on -- because I don't see the point 
>in staying with someone I'm really not that happy with.  With most of the 
>mature ones, I do stay friends, but only friends.

[I've thought a lot about this one, so be prepared for a long ramble...]

For me, I think if it (anything) is a net positive, do it. And in the case of relationships, that implies a net positive for both people, of course. My question to you is: if it is a net positive (ok, so they lack what it takes to be "the one" but they have what it takes to be enjoyable to be with), then what is the gain in turning away a net positive? (I ask it tautologically, but I do mean the question in the reasonable interpretation.)

Let me ask you this: If you had never in all your life met anyone who you thought could possibly be the "ultimate" one, but you believed it was not impossible that such a person should exist, would you spend your entire life celibate waiting until a day that may or may not come, or would you have said well, heck, I really like this person, he's attractive, he likes me, we get along well... so why not? (Don't take the question lightly... It's your one and only life we're talking about...)

And *then* what?

It is my nature to question my own assumptions, my perspectives, and my emotions... My emotions tell me I've never met my "soul mate"... my logical analysis confirms that... but what are my assumptions? What's behind the emotions, and what's the starting point for my analysis? Hard to pin down exactly; maybe I'm wrong on all counts; maybe I'm waiting for something that can't exist. Perhaps most people go through these questions in their teens, but I never found a satisfying answer so they remain open questions to me. So do I live alone for my entire life and then look back and the end and go "Oops, I guess so-and-so was the one after all"?

No, I take the straightforward approach: I tell Michelle how I feel, ask her what she thinks, let her make her own choice rather than me making it for her. Even if she were totally madly in love with me and was willing to risk total heart break,,, which would make more sense: for me to say "no, I will not give you that option because I am too kind to break your heart" or "ok, it is your choice to make, but you have been warned"?

Perhaps I should add that I have not delivered one false compliment in my life. I don't lead people on; I'm basically brutally honest, though when the truth is particularly brutal I'm usually careful how I deliver it.

In the big picture, I figure if I met my true soul mate, she would be so exceptional that she would understand and would work with it. There is only one me on the planet... I've come to learn that I'm pretty fucking unusual... not all good, no doubt, but even taking that into account (from the perspective of the right person) I'm irreplaceable. And she would be too (consider for instance that I've never met anyone close yet...). My feeling is if I met her and she was living with some guy, either their relationship would be casual enough that it would simply fade, or if she wanted to "keep him" *it wouldn't matter to me* (really!) because if she found him even tolerable, I almost certainly would too, and it would be a weird but interesting family... unless he was uncomfortable with it in which case we'd both wish him the best and introduce him to all the woman we know who he might like... or if he was truly another soul mate for her, then perhaps he would be a best friend for me too... Ok, so it's a weird way my mind works with these things, but to me it's simple: no preconceptions, do what is good, aim for the best that might work, and never settle for what cannot possibly fail.

Ok, so I sound like a nut. Please take this all as just a verbalized visionary introspection.

So, out of curiosity, what would you do if you met *the one* just by chance one day and he turned out to be happily married? (Obviously the extreme case I'm proposing.. just curious how you would analyze the scenario.) Again, don't take the question lightly -- I'm not talking about just another guy who seems promising, but *the one* that you totally click with... that you'll never replace...

How many lives do you feel you have? (Not how many do you think or know you have, but how many do you feel you have?)

Ok, so it's never so easy; can we expect to ever meet the One, or just a Point Nine or two? :/

My mother met this fellow Don when she was going to medical school. Some time not long after they started dating, she learned that he had a girlfriend at the time they met, which he did not tell her. She said, to me, that she never would have dated him if she'd known, even if he were straight up front about it -- because it wouldn't have been fair to the other woman. But by the time she found out, she was already in love with Don; she was angry, but what could she do? Well, that was over a decade ago, and they've been exceptionally happily married ever since, for what will soon be the rest of her life. And the interesting part is that she told me this story not that long ago, and it still makes sense to her -- she still thinks that if she had known he had a girlfriend, she shouldn't have dated him. Perhaps I should ask her again, now that she is at the close of her life... but no, the best time to ask is also the worst...

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com