Is There A Better Way?

Naturally, I’m talking about sex and relationships. Yeah, I know – what else? However, it’s not just me and my quirky way of looking at things that has triggered this post (for once).

More or less by accident – well via Twitter actually – I came across this post from “MyDevina” who describes her blog as, “a fun, flirty, irreverent look at being sexy, single and over 30”. The post in question got me thinking, yet again, about relationships, friendship and all the rest and my eternal query, do we demand too much from each other and, indeed, from ourselves at times.

It’s a good post and it makes sense if you have the time to pop over and take a look at the full article here. The gist is that we sometimes have a tendency to compare the new partner in our life with the old one – perhaps not always as generously as we should. I guess that would be: if only he/she had been different, or things had worked out another way. Thus the piece highlights the fact that it can on occasions be hard to let go of the past and also suggests a few pretty logical reasons why. Like I said, it’s a good post…

Nevertheless, the part of the post that particularly sparked my thoughts was really just this bit near the beginning: “During our official relationship we were not best friends, and our sex life was good but lacked some trust. After our breakup – and time passing – we became best friends and our sex life was awesome.” Of course, MyDevina is absolutely right and it does take time to develop a “oneness” – a mutual understanding that can result in incredible closeness. Even if your new significant other is going to turn out to be the much talked about and (certainly for some of us) perhaps mythical soul-mate of your life, you’re not going to immediately have that sort of intuition with someone you don’t yet really know, are you?

To me, there are a number of conclusions that could be drawn from all that. In the first place, one could, of course, say that best friends have better sex, but we know that’s not true because strangers who meet in the night can have awesome sex and best friends might want entirely different things in bed anyway. I think that a generosity of spirit is far more important – wanting to give pleasure as much as just wanting to selfishly enjoy it (mixed together with a hefty dose of experience and knowledge of the mechanics involved for the opposite sex of course). That, though, is an attitude that best friends are more likely to feel and exhibit, don’t you think?

However, more importantly in my opinion, is the question this raises about relationships and our expectations from them. One thing that many women go on about endlessly (not unreasonably and I’ve mentioned this before) is the subject of honesty. I have often wondered if the reality isn’t that, if we could all be totally honest about our wants and desires without pressure from others, preconceived ideas about artificial “right and wrong” conventions and what we should have, feel and expect, most women simply want something very different from a relationship than most men. I don’t mean by that just physical side either – not just the old cliché “he only wants me for one thing”, though I don’t see what’s wrong with that either – it’s solely the dishonesty involved that makes it unacceptable, in my opinion. The difficulty with that is, of course, the guy who’s totally honest and says at the outset that, “it’s just sex and I don’t want to wake up in the morning next to you” isn’t going to get laid very often, is he? Or at least not with the average woman he might find attractive when they have both grown up with their current fixed ideas about conventional relationships.

But, as I said, it’s not just about the sex. Doesn’t the piece I quoted suggest that, when you’ve gone through the initial relationship bit and it hasn’t worked out, but you actually like the ex, then the pressure’s off? Thus, you can at last be yourselves – both of you! Gone is the (self inflicted) need to pretend that you feel or want something different from what you do because you know it’s what the other wants and, if you actually had something special together, even though it wasn’t all each of you wanted, that part where you were great together can flourish and become wonderful.

Everyone’s different, of course, and so is every relationship, but aren’t our preconceptions and the conventions we have grown up with and acquired since, the real problem with many if not most relationships that don’t work out long term? Do we in fact just expect too damned much from others and even from life itself? Perhaps the perfect life – the “American dream” if you like (for my friends in the US) – is just an ideal that most of us will seek and not actually find. If you have found it, then good luck to you and my advice for what it’s worth is to hang onto it for dear life. Do, though, just take the time and trouble to “read between the lines” to make sure that your partner really does view your relationship in the same light, whatever he or she says – honesty cuts both ways!


6 Responses to “Is There A Better Way?”

  1. Thanks for the links/ mention. That is definitely one way to look at it. I guess in some ways the pressure was off as I didn’t have to pretend to be anything other than myself once we were no longer “together.”

    As for being able to have that type of communication up front – I think the answer is yes. My currently boyfriend and I have from the very first day communicated our wants and needs at an amazing level. But I think that was made possible because we were very good friends before we started dating – so we got to know each other without pretense, pressure or presumed wants/needs of the other person.

    • Hi and welcome. Thanks for commenting.

      My pleasure. I have no idea if what I said is right – particularly since every relationship, indeed every person, is different – but then I guess that was the point I was making, in a way.

      In my opinion, “one night stands” are fine as long as you just accept what you get – it may (to use your word) be awesome, but it might be awful too.

      I think the ideal is probably what you currently have – a real friend with whom you “click” and can communicate well on all sorts of levels, who then becomes a lover by mutual choice. I’m not sure how often that can realistically happen, though, for many people in modern society at least…

  2. You know what I think people over 35 should try once? To date someone for TWO MONTHS before having sex. SERIOUSLY! No really, QUIT LAUGHING! It would be such a cool experiment… getting close first, having that anticipation and then going for it. I wonder if the closeness would be there, or if you would be too nervous with the build up.

    • Hi Katherine. Welcome and thanks for commenting.

      Sorry if I disappoint, but I’m not laughing – a tiny smile? Hmm… well, maybe, but even that not probably for the reason you suppose and I suspect you have a VERY good point, in many cases at least.

      I think that part of what I often try to convey is that it’s all our self-imposed rules, fixations and often daft prejudices that limit and even doom to failure much of what we do and experience in life – and that certainly includes our relationships….

      Different people want different things from relationships and may often want something different at different times in their lives. Male OR female may well just want a comforting bit of sex at times, or even just a real uninhibited romp, but at others we are looking for closeness and REAL friendship – perhaps that special other with whom we can find love. We MIGHT or might not want sex with them, but we probably will, because it’s part of how we are likely to want to express our love and devotion.

      It’s certainly true that, if you REALLY get to know someone for a long(ish) time as a friend and you get incredibly close and caring, but with no thoughts of sex between you and THEN you discover a new direction for your friendship that DOES involve sex, then one of two things is likely to happen – assuming you both have sufficient generosity of spirit, you will have awesome and intuitive sex that will blow your mind (as apparently has happened to Michelle above), or you’ll be very disappointed and it will ruin a great friendship.

      That danger is something that I think holds many back, but if we could just accept sex as the fun thing for two people to do together without it HAVING to be part of a close relationship AND perhaps without having sex with another damaging an otherwise perfect relationship (which is how a platonic FRIENDSHIP is) – would that reduce the complication? Of course, honesty is key, but if sex wasn’t seen as the big deal that it is, maybe we could take the risk of ruining a beautiful friendship out of “trying sex and see if we like it together” sort of thing? If we could take something similar to THAT attitude, maybe we’d all relax and start having a bit more fun and a lot better friendships in life – maybe a lot better sex too!

      It’s just a thought, but it is in some ways an extension of your excellent suggestion… 😉

    • I actually tried that too – I dated someone I met online. Took things “slow.” It didn’t really make a difference once we did have sex a few months down the line. We actually ended breaking up shortly thereafter because it turned out we were not sexually compatible.

      I think, as unscientific as it sounds, that dating is a crapshoot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works against the odds.

      And being friends before being lovers has it’s downside too. I heard all about my now -over’s exploits, and he mine. Gets stuck in your head. And brings a different type of challenge.

      I think there is no “one way” – it is whatever way works for us. And works for us as a couple at that point in time in both of our lives.

      • I agree totally with your final comment, but that is my point (or one way of looking at it) – preconceived ideas (and particularly those of others!) about how relationships “should” be are just so much daft rubbish – it is EXACTLY a question of what works for you, WHATEVER that is.

        However, isn’t what you say about your current relationship pretty much what we were discussing? I quote “As for being able to have that type of communication up front – I think the answer is yes. My currently boyfriend and I have from the very first day communicated our wants and needs at an amazing level. But I think that was made possible because we were very good friends before we started dating – so we got to know each other without pretense, pressure or presumed wants/needs of the other person.” So, being friends beforehand CAN be a plus – of course, as you say, it can also have it’s downside…

        To put it another way: Nothing is guaranteed, eh? 😉

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