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29 October 2003 @ 06:12 pm
Is any relationship better than no relationship?  
Quite an interesting coversation from today. I just love having playmates *grin*

-the redhead-: True. Fine definition does lead, however, to more complexities. For example when you left me with the seemingly simple question of what I wanted from a relationship - it gets broken down into what is my ideal, what do I desire, what do I need, and what can I get by with. Yes yes, I know that sometimes I make it more difficult/complex than it is, but I try not to get too out of control with existential questions and such ;-)

C****: Ah, but those are important questions to ask. I'd even argue that it's very difficult to recognize a "fulfilling" relationship or avoid a crappy one without having asked yourself such questions.

-the redhead-: There is also the whole point that no one 'needs' anything when it comes to relationships.

C****: I wonder if at some level there isn't a social requirement built into humans (at least that's part of the babble that one has to regurgitate for the Fundamentals of Instructing exam that's part of the CFI test regime).

C****: However, there's nothing that dictates how that social requirement is met.

C****: ...unless, of course, you're particularly dinged up.

-the redhead-: We are a social animal, to be sure. Buuut, that doesn't imply anything other that social contact as a need.

C****: Agreed.

-the redhead-: Your previous statement begs the question of whether a relationship that does not meet one's desires is still better than no relationship at all.

C****: I don't think there's an absolute metric for that. It would seem a very personal decision.

-the redhead-: Well, how could it not be better? Not addressing those relationships that are damaging, but those covered by my previous statement.

C****: Okay, fair question. There's a couple of issues that come to mind. First, what is necessary in order to have the 'social' need met? If it simply means having a community, then the relationship dynamics are likely to be simple, not particularly deep and not what would generally be considered Relationships with a capital "R".

-the redhead-: Mmm - I was only referring to the latter

C****: Okay, that helps constrain the conversation. Leaving for just a moment the interesting question of what divides a 'want' and a 'need", consider the case of an individual who, either by wiring or conditioning, is capable of supporting only one Relationship at a given time.

C****: In this case a Relationship that fails to address the universe of -- call them 'superwants' rather than 'needs' -- precludes the ability to be available and receptive when a candidate Relationship that might better address those superwants presents itself -- particularly if the corresponding person is similarly wired.

C****: Under such circumstances I'd argue that "better than nothing" is, in fact, worse than nothing.

C****: But that's just me ;-)

-the redhead-: True, you have a point. But what about the other cases?

C****: I suspect that's the best example of a 'harmful' effect that I'll be able to provide. Relax any of the constraints and I don't see a problem.

-the redhead-: and there is always the option to leave a less satisfying relationship for a more satisfying one (moral and religious issues aside), which I believe nullifies much of your argument ;-)

C****: rationally there _certainly_ is that option. However, in practice it is often difficult to dismiss the moral issues (sod the religious ones). The person who may offer a more suitable relationship may have a value system which precludes involvment with someone who is already involved, or may be troubled by the notion that someone could so easily exit a relationship (leading to a set of perhaps intractable security issues). I don't disagree that my argument is largely void if one assumes that it's possible to arbitrarily change dance partners with little or no cost, but in practice that's not the case.
C****: In other words, I believe you're making a simplifying assumption that simplifies the problem into oblivion ;-)

-the redhead-: Just playing both sides.

C****: I expect nothing less from you :-)

-the redhead-: So, moving onto poly relationships. That relationship model does largely void your argument. If one assumes that there are no 'needs', then is something always better than nothing?

C****: Yes, subject to a couple of assumptions: (a) that relationships are non-interfering and (b) no one holds a veto.

C****: For example, assume a poly dyad in which the partners hold a veto. Assume that the dyad is itself less than ideal. Assume a third who might create a Relationship that meets more superwants than the existing one. Now assume the other dyad partner invokes their veto.

-the redhead-: Hmmm - I think the veto only works one way, so if viewed from the POV of the person subject to the veto (ie, not the partner of the SO exercising the veto) something is always better than nothing.

C****: Of course this (and the mono model) are self-limiting, in that people can choose to exit independent of any sort of alternative), in which case the damage is limited to opportunity cost.

-the redhead-: *nod* I agree from the POV you bring up.

C****: *nod* Yes, from the perspective you're describing something is better than nothing.

-the redhead-: *nod* I was purposefully leaving out opportunity costs of entering and exiting a relationship.

C****: So, if my relationship with *** didn't meet all of my superwants then it would _not_ be better than nothing, but from your perspective a relationship with me under those conditions _would_ be better than nothing.

-the redhead-: *nod* Different POVs

-the redhead-: I must be in an odd mood today - esoteric lines of thought here.

C****: Yes. It obvious that's the case, but one can only see that if they're willing to admit that there's a colleciton of realtionships involved, not just one relationship that encompasses everyone -- and that the dynamics of the individual relationships are by definition unique.

C****: Perhaps it's the lack of sleep, or perhaps it's the nebulous nature of what is available here.

-the redhead-: Which is an underlying truth that most either choose to ignore or cannot understand, unfortunately.

Fun fun *smile*

-the redhead-
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Skittenskitten on October 30th, 2003 03:59 am (UTC)
definately on the cerebral end of things *lol*
I kind of wonder though.... Would ANY relationship include friendship?

I can see how at least being able to be friends with someone you'ld rather have more with would create an unqualified yes...

However- at the same time... sometimes it's dangerous to have a relationship of any kind with someone who will harm you emotionally if given half a chance...

I think *my* answer would be "yes if...." (i.e. with some qualifications)