The Importance of Not Caring in a Relationship
I’ve heard a few complaints that my writing has become rather “negative” lately, and that I’ve taken some cheap shots at some easy targets for quick laughs. These complaints usually go something like: “If its not volunteer programmers at KMUD, local political candidates, or dope growers, its old people, the French or Andrew Goff. All you do is rag on people, John, and that’s not funny!”
To which I respond, “Oh fuck you! I’m so tired of listening to you complain about my writing. Why don’t you just SHUT UP!”, and that’s why I’ve slept in the truck for the last four nights.
Then I realized that I have, for too long now, neglected an important segment of my audience. The people of Thailand, Thai people everywhere, and non-Thai people who live Thai-style lives rely on me for relationship advice (based on the amount of traffic that pours into this blog from http://thaistyleliving.com/?p=903 which lists this blog as a resource for building relationships). I have let my own petty concerns distract me from my responsibilities to these people. So, today I want to get back to helping you build lasting relationships, Thai-style, or otherwise.
Much has been said about the importance of caring in a relationship. Of course its important to care about your partner, and to build a caring relationship, but not-caring is equally critical to a happy relationship. For instance, its important to a relationship to not care too much about things like, say, the car he wrecked or the leather jacket her cat peed on.
Other times, especially in a young relationship, its important to effectively communicate exactly how much you care about something. For instance; “I’m leaning towards Amigos Burritos for lunch, its quick, doesn’t cost too much and its right on 101, but I could be persuaded other wise”, or perhaps, “I’d really like to try Bless My Soul sometime. It doesn’t have to be tonight. Do you have a better suggestion?”
You see how both of these statements express different degrees of ambivalence. Most of us feel ambivalent about most things. A large part of building a relationship, is turning those ambivalent feelings into real decisions; where to go for dinner, what movie to watch, what color to paint the kitchen, before you starve to death, fall asleep or get used to looking at the tape stripes on the bare drywall.
After a while, in a relationship, you begin to learn the value of not caring so much about these little decisions. This saves time, avoids arguments, and gets things done. What color do you think the drapes should be? I don’t care. What should we put on this wall? I don’t care. What should we name the kid? I don’t care. Even if you have some ambivalent feelings about these issues, when you realize how much energy not caring will save you, those ambivalent feelings just float away.
Think about it. Some things really are worth caring about; getting “nookie” regularly, having someone to talk to so you don’t go batshit crazy talking to yourself, and knowing someone who has seen you naked, first thing in the morning, smelled your farts, and knows what a jerk you are, but still mostly enjoys your company. Those are sensible things to care about.
By comparison, what you have for dinner, what movie you see, or even where you go on vacation seem rather paltry, don’t they? So, remind yourself of the things you really care about, before you get too invested in a color scheme, or choice of vehicle.
When you realize that the number one factor determining how much you enjoy anything, is how much your partner enjoys it, you’ll understand why the less you care about anything else, the happier you will be.