Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reflections (3): Relationship Checklist


[image: fotothing.com]

JACK'S LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP CHECKLIST


2006
*Super hot
*Brilliant
*Great in bed (i.e., adventurous in every way)
*From the right kind of background [i.e., someone from a “good family” (i.e., good values) who comes from a certain “class,” and is of a certain “race”]
*Subservient to all of my needs and aspirations
*Willing to put up with any and all of my indiscretions
*Willing to accept that, while I am a “great catch,” I am emotionally closed in some very fundamental ways
*Willing to accept that I will spend a significant time with my friends on a regular basis


2009
*Super hot
*Brilliant
*Great in bed {i.e., adventurous in almost every way [threesomes and other joint third-party activities are now, sadly (but prudently), excluded]}
*From the right kind of background [i.e., someone from a “good family" (i.e., good values) and who is of a certain “race”]
*Willing to accept that I will spend a significant time with my friends on a regular basis
*Anti-materialistic, anti-consumerist and a strong supporter/adherent of a simple living lifestyle
*Not afraid to embrace adventure and world-travel
*Passionate lover of music, literature, and film
*Open to yoga, meditation, and deep spirituality



I guess that's progress.

[On Love post]

[Reflections introductory post]

44 comments:

Meg said...

"From the right kind of background (i.e., someone from a “good family,” and who is of a certain “race”)"

Really?! Super hot and good in bed I can understand. You're looking for the perfect mate -- that's just being honest about human nature. I can even understand wanting a mate of a certain race, just as part of visual preference. I actually have a thing for the tall-dark-and-handsome type -- though I'm perfectly happy with my tall-light-and-handsome husband and am glad I was open-minded (which I hope you will be, too, for your own happiness since otherwise you might miss great people).

But I'd be more focused on finding someone who is classy than from a certain class of family. And there is definitely a big difference. I've met some really classy people -- even very successful people -- who have families who are not just poor, but really a bunch of hicks. And goodness knows, there are people from "great" families that are just trashy. Besides, who cares about someone's family background? Snobs, perhaps, but I thought you were trying to get away from those people. So what would you care what they thought?

Jack said...

@Meg,

Maybe I was being imprecise. Someone of a "good family" to me denotes good values ("classy," as you describe it). What I think you are referring to is "class", which I've now knocked down from the list.

Meg said...

Well, that's different. And in that case you should look to the person, not their family, to judge classiness.

Miriam said...

I hope what you were really striving to convey was someone good and racy.

Debbi said...

Well, it should (and I emphasize "should" here) go without saying that you're going to spend time with your friends. This notion that couples have to spend every waking minute with each other is a lot of BS. I'm sure your SO-to-be will probably have friends of her own she'd like to spend time with also. Anyone so clingy and insecure she can't let you spend time with friends has a problem. Making time for friendships isn't a requirement peculiar to you, but a necessity in any healthy relationship, in my opinion.

Daizy said...

I'm a list person so I like your list Jack, even if it is a work in progress.

Yesterday, an aquaintance told me that he wanted a woman who:
-was a good cook
-was good in bed, of course
-was good at golf
-made enough money to pay for golf
-was hot, of course
-liked camping
-was ok with a casual relationship (meaning she didn't want to get married and he could date others)

Being sarcastic I said, well, I don't play golf. He said, you can learn.

Ha! No no no! I want a guy who wants to know what I am looking for in a mate. That would be a nice change.

breathethenexhale said...

ah not race then class?

If that's right then ... I am reminded of someone telling a good friend of mine who would only date lawyers and businessmen - men of a certain 'class' that while she is busy chasing what she considers the perfect 'class' the perfect garbageman that is the man of her dreams walked right past her when she refused to look at him...

Avatar said...

Hei,

I'v just red a novel 'On Checil Beach' written by Ian McEwan. It´s a book whose events are on the 60th century. But people do not change so much. Maybe you should read it. You could be careful! :)

dtb said...

I have to admit, I was pretty put off by the same list item as Meg mentioned.

Let go of that. 'class' is relative, and comes in many different colors and from many different places. Some of the classiest people I know are refugee immigrants working as cleaning staff. Let go of preconceptions that family, race, and background need to be similar to yours to be valid. Look at how much you resent your own mother, after all.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the "of a certain race" is simply the human race. Don't close yourself off to anyone -- keep your mind and your eyes open and you will find beautiful people wherever you are in a range of colors, sizes, etc. Good luck!

bill h said...

That is progress. I'm a bit taken aback by race being a factor for you. That's surprising.

If this was my list I'd add, sense of humor.

Jill and I celebrate 25 years together this Summer, and sense of humor is right at the top of the things that have helped us in our marriage.

Linda said...

I recognize myself in this post. The goal is to bin the checklist, right?

http://simplethics.blogspot.com/2009/04/consuming-love.html

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Is it progress? Or is it change? Or both?

You have courage Jack. It is a privilege to watch you grow. Sometimes I am proud of you which is silly because you aren't one of my grown kids.

amy said...

:-)

I'll be interested to see what this list looks like 3 years from now. It will continue to change as you age, I think. Better yet, ditch the checklist and go with your heart!

Keep in mind that love goes a long way toward making the person you love look "super hot" and meet the "great in bed" requirements, and that love can (in some respects) overlook race and family issues. You may end up with "pretty," "intelligent," and "great in spite of the kooky family." And be perfectly happy in the process.

And rather than look for someone exactly like yourself in some ways (anti-materialistic, lover of yoga, etc.), perhaps you might want to consider someone who is simply compatible with how you are. Maybe she doesn't like yoga or the same kinds of films you enjoy, but she's got no problem with you liking them. Maybe she isn't "anti" materialistic, but maybe she doesn't care one way or the other about having "stuff."

Money Funk said...

LOL. Your progress is amazing, Jack! At least you know exactly what you want in a mate. ;)

To each his own (although I agree with you on most of them)

SJ said...

Mmmmm, do you also have a checklist of what are you are going to give the other party?

Isn't a long term relationship not more about giving than receiving? If you love giving the things that are on your checklist, and someone likes to receive it, you don't have to worry if you receive all things that are on your checklist.

Grtz,


Susanne

April said...

It's fun to dream. LMAO I'm excited to see the upcoming post about finding true love, and how reality bites, and how terribly shallow you are.

The Traveler said...

I've got a list similar to that but it is like 4 pages long and I'm not quite sure that anyone in the world can quite fill it. Nothing wrong with shooting for the stars.

Sonja

microwave said...

That list really isn't so bad. At least it's realistic in that it's not excessively detailed. The bit about yoga I interpreted to be more along the lines or representing a kind of open-mindedness that could accept yoga, etc., and not necessarily a girl who must love yoga.

As far as people having a difficulty accepting Jack's "race" item. Well, at least he's honest and not trying to be hyper PC, like it seems some of this blog's commentators are. While some people can date those of all different races, many people have a preference. I dare anyone to say they've never heard anyone or even themselves say something along the lines of "I like black guys," or "I like Asian girls." That's just how it is. People are attracted to different characteristics. This doesn't make them racist. It just makes the person who alludes to racism look ridiculously judgmental.

And re: the "good family/class" thing. I'm guessing with the whole simplicity thing, Jack's not saying he will only date those from upper class families, etc. I'm guessing he means whoever he ends up with must approach life with a certain set of values and viewpoints. For instance, I'm guessing he wouldn't look for someone who believes throwing money into big gifts is a sign of love. Nor would he date someone perhaps who has 12 kids and knows who none of the fathers are. Those are clearly descriptions of two different social classes, both, however, seem to have a shaky foundation. It would seem he's looking for someone with a good foundation. That foundation may or may not be a family. It seems more often than not it is.

Anyway, for the record, here is my list:

*Ambitious
*Funny
*Brilliant
*Respectful
*Loves life
*Extremely open-minded
*Honest
*Is Johnny Depp

I hope that's not too detailed. :)

Jade of the Jungle said...

Lol. Been cycling through Stepford, have we? :)

Jack said...

@Meg,

I think that's a fantastic point.  But you have to understand how much I have to "unlearn.". I was brought up in a family who had only one real yardstick for being a "good person": growing up in a strong, stable family.  I think the irony is totally lost on my parents given how disfunctional we were.

Bottom line, putting "" around good family meant a good person.  Again, separate from class which was dropped.  FYI, I added the morality language after your first comment. 

@Miriam,

Well, yes.  But I also meant the reference to race.  I'm trying to be as honest as possible and whether I like it or not race is in there somewhere.

Just a couple of points to consider:

1. Objectively,  I'm not really happy about this but we are talking about human attraction and sexuality.  I think it would be irrational to condemn people for who they find attractive and why.

2. Would you be more forgiving if the "race" in question was "black" or "latino" or "Asian" (and, by definition, not "white")?  How about if I happened to be black and preferred a black person as my partner?

3. The reference to race is on this post for a reason.  Who knows what will come off (or be added) in 1 year, in 5 years, or in 10.  If you read this blog regularly you know that I am on a long-term journey.  I am challenging myself to reconsider all aspects of my life.  Nothing is off the table.     

@Debbi

I agree.  It's just that spending time with my friends is very important to me and I want my partner to realize that.  Believe it or not, this has been an issue in previous relationships.

Jack said...

@Daizy,

Not sure that last item is promising for a long-term relationship, but hey, you can't argue with camping:)

Maybe he key to a good relationship is sharing each other's list, with an eye towards making the right accomodations and always having an open mind.  Never know when love will hit.  There is no list that can manufacture that.

@breathethenexhale,

Good point and appropriate story.  See my response to Miriam above.  Would love to get your thoughts in a follow-up comment
 
@Avatar,

Never read it but love the author.  Anything in particular I should look out for?

Jack said...

@dtb,

See my response to Meg above.  I hope that clarifies any issues.  If not let me know via a follow-up comment.

@Anonymous,

Amen.  See my response to Miriam above.  

@Bill h,

Shoot.  That's a good one that I missed.  As for the race thing, see my response to Miriam above.  Feel free to do a follow-up comment if you like.

Jack said...

@Linda,

Honestly, I don't know.  I use checklists for everything and it just seems natural to use one for this.  But I absolutely, 100% agree with you.  If I really think about it, most of my long-term relationships have been with people that never met all of my "list" requirments.

@Jonna,

Both for sure.  And thanks.  That means alot.

@Amy,

Your comment is by far the most insightful I've read thus far re: this post. Thank you.

Keep in mind that not everything listed are musts (i.e., someone open to me loving yoga is fine by me).

Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

@Money Funk,

Thanks, though I would add good humor, per Bill's comment above.  Totally missed that one.

@SJ,

That's a good point, though it is probably outside the contours of the post.  Maybe another list of things I can offer would make good fodder in another Reflection.

@April,

Not exactly sure how to respond to your comment except to say that I respect your opinion.  If I may say so, I  fear you are missing the point of the post and, by extension, the entire blog.  Feel free to flesh out your opinion in a follow-up comment if you like.  

Jack said...

@The Traveler,

I think of it as a blueprint that I can use with an open mind...

@microwave,

Dig your analysis.  And yes to the open-mindedness argument and strong foundations illustration.  See my response to Meg above.

@jade,

Ok that was funny. :)

Anonymous said...

Jack -
I admire your looking into your soul and becoming a better person through this journey you are taking. But I believe that your list will take a back seat to your heart when emotions (aka - love)and chemistry take over.
Lynn

dtb said...

I think Lynn makes an excellent point. We make shopping lists, but love tends to rewrite the list when someone comes along and surprises you with being everything you never knew you wanted.

"is Johnny Depp" LOL!

Anonymous said...

My father once told me that I must be too picky if I haven't met Mr. Right.

He asked me what I was looking for in a man: I told him I wanted him breathing with a big dick.... is that too picky?

JayBeeGirl

Anonymous said...

you're racist and classist and basically a horrible person all around, and you manage to slip a little of it into every blog post that you make.

Anonymous said...

I made a list several years ago, saved it on my computer, and let life move on. About 6 months ago, I was purging unnecessarily saved documents and came across the file "Mr. Right". As I read it, I realized all the qualities I had listed were there in my husband that sat behind me. Kudos to you for revamping the list and stating it is a blueprint. My only suggestion would be to drop the words anti and not. Keep your list positive - keep the positive energy flowing and good things will come your way. Putting negative energy out can lead to those items being attracted to you. Good Luck, Jack. It is fun to visit your page and read about your adventures and transformation!

elizabeth said...

hey! my list includes "is Johnny Depp" too. hmmmmmm .. clearly microwave and I need to have a chat. ;)

Anonymous said...

Adventures in being a cunt from the day you are born and going broke in every imaginable way by the time you have to say your goodbyes.

Look! Anti-consumerism! I'm a fortune teller working for free!!

Jack said...

@Lynn,

It always has. Most of my long-term relationships have been with people who do not really fit into the list. But that's love. :)

@dtb,

See my response to Lynn above. You are probably right. Definitely a list person, but always flexible when it comes to love.

@JayBeeGirl,

To each his own I guess.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

Totally respect your opinion. Would be great if you could provide some support for your contentions, rather than just presenting conclusory statements. Feel free to comment again.

@Anonymous,

Thanks for the comment. And I think you have a great point regarding making each requirement a positive. And funny how you unconsciously chose your husband with all those requirements:)

@Elizabeth,

I can put you in touch with microwave if you like. Maybe she has a direct line to Johnny...

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

Not quite sure I understand your comment. If it's intended to be derisory I'm afraid it's rather unimaginative and belies a lack of intelligence. If not, I really would love to understand what you wanted to say.

Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Srividya said...

I was surprised to see so many comments for listing same race as a criteria. The way I look at it is, Marriage (or long term relationship) is hard work. If you are with someone who grew up in a similar background, it makes it easier. You don't have to explain every little thing that you grew up with to the other person. Wanting to be with someone who is from the same race DOES NOT make you intolerant or close minded.
I would definitely add sense of humor (or someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously) at the top of the list.
And giving each other space in a relationship is a necessity.
That being said, it is still quite a list you have here. Any relationship is a package deal, you may not like everything you get or get all that you want. It would be interesting to see how this list evolves.

Reflectivus said...

2006 = shallow as a coffee spill on the floor

2009 = shallow as a wading pool

Keep working...there is likely still hope for you.

Jack said...

@Srividya,

Thanks.  I agree with you, though I would add that I still find the race thing to be a personal flaw.  I see your point, but in my case a great deal of that has to do with personal attraction.  Let's see where this list comes out in a couple of years.

@Reflectivus,

Are you suggesting that I am more shallow circa 2009 than 2006?  Do replay if you can.

Anonymous said...

@ microwave and others,

Why such a big commotion about the checklist, class and race in particular? The list applies to long-term relationships, there will be short-term ones, lies and cheating at the same time, because THAT'S WHO JACK IS. RELAX everyone

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

How profound.

Sarah said...

Hey Jack,

I think its great that you have the self-awareness to know what you want, and the open mindedness to accept that you aren't finished experiencing what life/love has to offer yet. I also think many people seem to miss the point of the list as being "all things perfect my mate would be..." I don't know ANYONE whose mate fits all of their "wishlist" items, yet are still happily married. How does this happen? We love them enough to let them be who they are, and they us. When that fails (because *duh* we're human) apologies/forgiveness are always on standby.

That being said, the happy fluttery feelings of love/romance aren't constant. Eventually, the hormonal blinders fall off and you now have to decide if you can live with this person who annoys, disgusts, and generally drives you crazy. Just keep in mind they feel the same way about you. If you're lucky you can talk about it, accept each other the way you are, but be respectful/caring enough to make some minor changes (ie throwing dirty clothes in hamper rather than on the floor, or giving him the freedom to play videogames undisturbed until he's at a safe place to stop) that can have a big impact on the other's wellbeing.

Maybe you could consider adding "good partner" to your list? I have had the good fortune of being married to someone with whom I can share everything, and he can share with me. (This might seem obvious to some, but I grew up in a family where women were considered inferior in most ways to men.) My husband and I respect and value the other's opinions (this doesn't mean we always agree), share decision-making, and have PATIENCE.

I can sympathize with your choice of mate coming from a "good family." It's hard enough to get along with in-laws, it can be very difficult, even cause problems in your relationship, if you can't stand being around them. This is one problem my husband and I have, however we've sadly bonded in the fact that we both hate each other's families. We don't have a solution for this problem yet, only a quick fix involving living far enough away from both we don't have to see them very often.

I'd wanted to end with letting you know I really admire what you've done. As someone who also once believed success was defined by job title, salary, and home size...I have in the last few years really come to appreciate a simpler way of life. I'm glad to see with the economy the way it has been that many people are also returning to the ways our grandparents lived, and hopefully open their eyes to the damage a materialistic lifestyle has not only on the environment, health, and equality, but also our own wellbeing.

I've rambled on long enough...good luck on your journeys. If you're ever passing through Des Moines, IA area we'd love to have you over for supper.