May. 14th, 2012

textualdeviance: (trapped)
Saw this old XKCD linked on FB. And ... it kinda creeped me out. This is kind of exactly how M and I got together.

The full story is complicated, but the gist: Here, let me manipulate you into dating me. )

I do think that part of the reason it took us so long to get so much of the rest of our lives on track (including things like finally getting around to becoming parents) is because our relationship started on such shaky, false foundations. I more or less forgive him now for what he did, because I know he didn't have the skills necessary to simply ask for what he wanted, instead of swindling me to get it, but it took me a very long time after I realized that I'd been swindled for me to fully trust him. Even now, I still wonder on rare occasion whether he truly does love me as a person, or just loves the role I play in his life, and the things I do for him. And, conversely, I also wonder sometimes whether I love him, or am just with him because I had no other choice--and still don't. If there was someone else out there who would treat me as well as he does, and who was also more capable of being emotionally honest than he is, would I leave? It's a moot question--such a person doesn't exist--but sometimes, I don't have the answer for it.

FWIW, I disagree with the underlying premise of that comic--I do think it's not only possible, but a good thing to be friends before you date someone. Otherwise, you're just hooking up because you have the hots for each other, and that's a pretty clear recipe for future relationship disaster. Long-term relationships based primarily on getting a boner for each other when you're 25 and hot never last past that first wrinkle. It's not necessarily dishonest not to be open about your attraction for someone when you're still trying to decide whether there's more to your interest in them than just that. Initial reactions of "I'd hit that" can often fade or change--or get stronger--the more you get to know someone. Hell, I have a very good friend I crushed out on the first year we knew each other, and our friendship didn't get really good until I got over it (and that required me making an idiot of myself by confessing my interest.)

But yes, when one party is counting on the emotional vulnerability of the other to increase dependency, that's not exactly a good recipe for a solid relationship. Hell, it's not a good recipe for a friendship, either. More than anything, people need to be honest with themselves and the people they're with about their motivations for being there. It's never fun to be used, no matter what it is you're being used for, and even less fun to be kept in the dark about that fact.

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