My Immediate’s Response

January 10, 2012 § 42 Comments

I won’t make a habit of this because I dare say it’s cheating but I am spoilt today because someone else has done the writing, one of the loveliest and wisest people I know.  My beloved family member about whom I wrote yesterday sent me this email by way of response, which I thought was well worth posting:-

“That was funny – I had just had an email from one of my girlfriends here.  She used to write a lot about being single but when I first came to live here I matchmade her with my builder and the rest is happy ever after for them.

ANYWAY, she said I was in your blog so I read it and would never recognize myself as this person who has no trouble attracting men – I’ve told you that’s only because I have no standards and live in places where single men are numerous and don’t seem to be completely revolted by a bit of extra padding. It IS true about the not minding (most of the time) but it’s not true about the power – when I’m with them I get all needy and pathetic and critical, which is why I have to stop before I turn into a complete bitch and make them dump me.  I totally get the power thing, but I think it comes funnily enough from not having a stake in the outcome – ie. that somehow they know I’m going to like them and be on their side whether they come through as boyfriends or not –  rather than being confident in any other way. Think about how you feel about your many men friends that you adore without caring whether they fancy you or not. Think about how they respond to you. I believe that’s the key, or one of them.

What brings me relief from feeling like a social misfit is the conscious determination not to sacrifice the years I have left to pining for how things SHOULD be before I can be happy (remember when we were younger about the life-is-not-a-dress-rehearsal conversations?) – it’s bad enough doing that with the things we can change but fail to change (weight and food issues being the obvious one there) but completely pointless when it’s something we have no power over, as you expressed well today. I just refuse to waste time being unhappy about that OR (another big time waster) trying to make things happen and thereby setting myself up to be disappointed. It’s TRUE you have no power over it – it’s NOT true that it has to make you unhappy. Thereby lies the power and/or peace of mind and/or contentment with life as it is. That and in loving the many, many people we do have to love – I think you and I take our huge circles of love and intimacy for granted the way other people take wealth or beauty for granted [Plankton here: No, I promise I don’t!] –  without truly realizing that a fuck of a lot of people don’t have that. Blah blah blah – I could go on and on but you’ve heard it all before.

As far as sustaining a relationship, or even attracting someone in the first place, those are whole other issues.  Yes, luck and random factors such as timing have a lot to do with it, but also I am convinced that some people can do relationships and some can’t – nothing to do with whether they can attract people in the first place and not nearly as much to do with being nice or good or interesting as one would expect, which explains a lot of the mystifying stuff about how people that seem to you and me to be totally unattractive end up in relationships and others who seem utterly desirable don’t. I know I am crap at relationships. As far as attracting someone, I have NEVER assumed a new person will just come along (you know I’m not that confident) but I DO see being single as the door being open as opposed to the arid desert, and that probably makes a difference, you are right. xxx”


§ 42 Responses to My Immediate’s Response

  • Patricia says:

    Oh yes oh YES , how I agree! A really wise response, indeed I do agree about being single with the door open…..I felt determined after my 28 year marriage ended that i would NOT be a victim, that whilst I would love to have lurve in my life again (apart from my close family…) I would not put myself in THE WAITING ROOM. Waiting until….I’m thinner/richer/found a new love/a better job/house etc etc. I have found a new way to move on by knowing that waiting and wishing and hoping is understandable, but it mustn’t define me now, today. On we go!And thanks P, your writings salve when I read that I’m(we’re) not alone.

  • Lulu says:

    Wow … thank you for sharing this with us. What a wise woman indeed. I wish she was in MY family!! She is so right when she says she refuses to pine for “how things SHOULD be” before she can be happy. The key here is acceptance, and although I know, know it, know it, I just can’t seem to remember it. So many excellent spiritual books I have read urge us to accept the present moment unconditionally, for it is only in the present moment where true happiness can be found .. not in the past, not in the future. Therefore it follows to accept whatever situation we find ourselves in and be with it fully. It doesn’t mean we can’t change things, or have hopes/dreams/wishes, but to defer our happiness to some future date when the perfect situation may (or may not) arise, is madness. And to keep trying to go back in the past to mull over and grieve over past mistakes (my forte) is also madness.
    Life is NOW. The present moment is all we have. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  • Lydia says:

    Yes if people can just be content with what they have and enjoy life, even doing something as simple as smiling, they can attract and keep a man (or woman if the sexes are reversed) more easily.

  • Barry says:

    Note bene P…..I claim one point for, “I told you so ” You have a wonderful friend there .

  • ex-pond-slime says:

    Wow indeed, as others have said. What a wise “immediate” you have, and what a lovely relationship that you can share your blog and she responds so honestly and warmly.

    It’s fascinating to get her response to your view of her life – what parts of it you saw so clearly, and which bits you misread.

    You know what I would really love to read next – not asking for it mind, that way be all sorts of dangers, just fantasising! – would be reactions from Smidgeon and Long Shot if they were invited to read your blog. I’d love to know what was going through their minds in their dealings with you – almost certainly not always what you inferred.

    • The Plankton says:

      I would also do quite a lot to know what was going through Smidgen’s and LS’s minds (at the time; it seems long in the past now) but over my dead body, alas, would I ever let them have the remotest inkling of this blog! Px

    • Lydia says:

      Oh come on, they won’t be giving it a second thought. A lot of people just don’t do that kind of thinking about someone all the time thing. you might however find out that they were very keen but had not realised you were as some men need very very obvious encouragement.

  • Margaux says:

    Really enjoyed your ‘Immediate’s’ email. Another ‘wow’ here from me.

    Things that struck. You say your dear Immediate ‘has got the power’ – she refutes and says she goes all ‘needy and pathetic’ ( yup, been there!). So I wonder which are ‘true’?…. the qualities others perceive in us or the ones we feel we have?

    She’s so right about having power when you don’t have a stake in the outcome.It’s so much easier to talk to/be with those we don’t have a vested interest in romantically. And that’s when we usually attract someone. And usually the person we don’t ‘want’ -because we didn’t fancy them to start with. And round and round it goes.

    Love seeing being single as ‘the door being open’. A friend of mine told me I needed to be like a taxi with the light turned on….
    (Haven’t noticed anyone trying to flag me down yet though! )

    But – living in the moment struck home.Please thank her for the wake up call.

  • chafreem says:

    The one with the builder here — I was in the wilderness for a long long time, and I agree with your Immediate that one key, is not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Me and the Builder, we have a lovely thing, but it’s a little odd in the way that relationships between older people can be (Plankton, you and I are the same age, but I have no kids). If I’d been younger, and less flexible in distinguishing between wants and needs, it might not have worked out so well. There are big things I’d like to be different — I have no real family, so I’d like to be married, he’s scarred from his divorce and anti-establishmentarian by nature and never wants to be married again. However, what we have works, so we just keep plugging along despite the differences.
    And your Immediate, well yes, all the men in town have big fat crushes on her because she is so lovely, as you know. But she’s not gassing you on — as we say around here: The odds are good, but the goods are odd.

  • june says:

    Indeed P, your relative is a very wise lady and what she says make lots of sense.

    I like the bit about some people even if attractive cant make relationships, and i think that true. I have never been very good at making them myself,and always blamed it on fact i lived somewhere i didnt like and that was why. I truly thought when i mo ved to the city i now live in which i love and am happy in, apart from being alone, id meet someone. But still noone appears so probably it is me, im just crap at making relationships and not attractive to men.I thought id cracked this im accepting things as as they are about being single but i havent and i think i still see it as an arid desert, as we planktons seem to, and your relative doesent. If only we could see what she does.

  • Jo says:

    P. You have plenty of what your immediate has. That’s clear. Not meaningless niceties. Believe it.

  • Elle says:

    Plankton, where does your immediate live? I understand if you don’t want to tell because the last thing she needs is a stampede of planktons thundering over!

  • rosie says:

    Brava to your Immediate for being so honest. I wish I had one of her in my life! And it serves as a reminder that nothing is ever what it seems. Wish I’d learned that lesson early on in life as it would have spared me countless heartaches.

  • Brigitte says:

    Her entire last paragraph about how some people can do relationships and others can’t is PURE GOLD. How the most ordinary people can have relationships whereas seemingly more desireable ones can’t really struck a chord with me. It’s comforting to know that this is not as uncommon as we think. And even some young men and women must struggle with the lack of relationships.

    I must say I’m one that has never known how to have a relationship. None of mine lasted more than a year, most 6-8 months. I’m just clueless. However, I know part of the problem is that I never wanted children and I never wanted the “home life” of cooking every night for dinner, laundry, etc., but now that these things will/may not be expected of me, I still think I lack any relationship know-how. I have never initiated the “state of the relationship address” as they say. I was just happy enjoying my boyfriends day-to-day. But without a common and worthwhile goal, two people grow apart very quickly.

    P., your relative is a true gem.

    • The Plankton says:

      Thank you, Brigitte. I think she is too! Pxx

    • fi says:

      Sometimes I think this may be true of me too, especially as I’m becoming so …what? Self reliant? Selfish? Rigid? Incapable of sharing? But then I think I’ve had some of my friends for decades and that must require the same qualities surely? They’re still relationships that need tolerance, nurturing, consideration, forgiveness etc. Or am I wrong? As if so then that is another failing I’ll have to add to my list of barriers to a relationship.

      • Brigitte says:

        I think friendships differ in that you don’t live with your friends and don’t have to deal with the daily annoyances that come with that. Even if you don’t live with your boyfriend, there are expectations that are not present in a friendship.

        Friends respect your independance whereas boyfriends, I believe, want to feel needed and useful. They may respect your self-reliance, independance, etc., but in the end, they just don’t feel like you need them. This is my problem as well. I can do my own plumbing and electrical installations (I installed 3 new faucets, a dishwasher and outdoor light fixtures) which impresses my girlfriends, but I wonder how a boyfriend would feel about that? It could be that the more you can do, the less feminine (read: hapless) you appear to them. They might even feel inadequate next to you and I’m beginning to understand that.

      • fi says:

        Brigitte – that’s me buggered then although my criteria includes them being independent and NOT NEEDY.

        Well done to you and I’m dead impressed with what you can do – but someone on here ( Jo ?) Said in jest that if we ban women from upskilling then I wouldn’t be able to view with contempt the useless girlie ones who can’t do the things I do. You also wouldn’t have any skills to hide so you wouldn’t make them feel inadequate. Problem solved!!

    • MissBates says:

      Brigitte: All I can say is “ditto” to your entire comment. :-/

      • Twinkletoes says:

        Ditto from me too. But is it possible I’ve changed from being a can-do-a-relationship-person to being a can’t-do-a-relationship-person? My first ever proper relationship lasted 20 years, then there was a 4 year one, but since those none have ever lasted more than a few months.

        As I’ve said before, I don’t need a man to survive day to day life, and that has been described as ‘too independent’ by some of them. Personally, I thought I was just being an adult and standing on my own two feet, but maybe I was just being selfish!

  • EmGee says:

    P, I think your immediate is a delight. By the sound of it, I would says she works a program of rigorous honesty. Her comment about outcomes was spot on!

  • Chris says:

    Fascinating response I would say, and so much in it. But will anyone here perceive the wisdom within ? Will you Planky ? Maybe not, there seems to be such an ossification of mindset here. As for that stuff about some people can and some people can’t do relationships, how true. I do them but I am very easy going and sort of fall into relationships rather than seek them out. That stuff about desirable people….how true. Some good looking people really don’t get it. It all ‘ looks good ‘ ( pardon the pun ) to begin with but I have been out with good looking women and it really was pretty vacuous and boring and me me me. Not their fault, they get too much attention and i think that kinda affects them. Think I’ll stick with the quirky ladies, much more fun !!

    • Lydia says:

      Yes most men want an interesting package not just looks. Chris is right.

      Did anyone else read Brian Ferry’s excuse for marrying someone 30 years younger than he is? All the womeh his own age are married. If we reverse this then plankton my age should go for the good looking younger men and why not? Although you probably need a fairly high income in effect to buy them.

      • fi says:

        See Lydias first sentence here. “Yes most men want an interesting package not just looks. Chris is right.” How would she know what most men want, and endorse what Chris (a man by the way) says, if she wasn’t a man herself. If she were a woman this statement would be presumptuous, but her confidence in saying it indicates she knows what she’s talking about. She constantly makes reference to what men like because she is a man not a woman. IMO

  • Jo says:

    Hi Fi. Don’t know who made the remark about ‘if we ban women from upskilling………….Feel inadequate’. No idea who said that. But nope. Sure wasn’t me. For definite.

  • Margaux says:

    Brigitte – you are so damn right.
    An ex (who lasted about 15 months) once actually shouted at me in a furious accusatory manner:
    ‘You know what your problem is ? you don’t NEED anyone!’…

    I was genuinely mystified, thinking that the fact that I wasn’t needy or clingy emotionally, didn’t play the little ‘girlie’ ( so unbecoming at my age anyway!) and was financially independent were all plus factors in my favour…

    Ho hum.

    • EmGee says:

      I am sort of figuring out that while being too emotionally clingy is not attractive, being financially independent can go either way. A friend of mine once told me that sometimes you “just have to let him be the guy”. If he’s handy, ask him fix a sticking door, if he’s more money oriented, let him pick up the bill, even if he’s only ‘just along’ when you are running errands. It’s important to recognize their comfort zone in these matters.

      It’s really reliant on the tedious ‘getting to know each other’ stage, which most of us would rather just forgo and depend on their being able to read our minds. 🙂

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