The Problem With Modern Relationship Dynamics
When you buy a new car, what happens the moment after you turn on the ignition and drive it out of the lot? It instantly loses 20% of it’s resell value and starts to degrade. When you buy a house, the same thing happens. The piping systems, carpeting, and electrical wiring all begin their slow but inevitable decline. However, the key difference between a car and house is that we’re somehow made to believe that a house will increase in value over time.
But when my (hypothetical) house increases in value $100,000 over the span of a few years, do I get $100,000 in life satisfaction and a more comfortable nights sleep with my stationary asset? The answer is a resounding no. As I’ve said before, your piping systems and electrical wiring have only been on a terminal decline over the past few years. You don’t see it happening. But trust me, it’s there.
A modern relationship is in many ways very similar to investing in a car or a house. Life is always moving towards a state of increased entropy (disorder), which is the second law of thermodynamics. We can attempt to “maintain” things, and depending on the “thing” that needs to be maintained, the amount of time and money required can be a little or a lot. The relationships with our significant others are no exception to this formula.
Ultimately, long-term relationships in modern society fail not only because we are fighting entropy, but because we as human beings are unable to value anything without contrast. If there was no night, the concept of day would not exist within our fragile minds. It is the same with a girlfriend or wife. You can take a great woman and see her every day, and pretty soon you can’t see what was so great about her anymore.
The more we are exposed to anything the less valuable it becomes to us because we take it for granted. Only when we are deprived of something do we truly appreciate it. And that is the inherent paradox of a long-term relationship. We never get enough of break from each other nor do we have another person to compare with which would allow us to really appreciate each other. Long-term relationships in their current models do not provide any contrast thus promoting a lack of appreciation and ultimately discontent.
We do have a natural need for affection and to be loved and it is important to our emotional well being but just being with someone does not mean that you will get that. The only thing worse than feeling alone is feeling alone with someone next to you. Just ask Robin Williams, whose three failed marriages and being taken to the cleaners in divorce court, without doubt played a significant role in him wanting to prematurely depart from this world.
A relationship is like buying a stock. It goes up, it goes down, it stays roughly the same. However, at any given moment you can sell it and end the relationship. The hard part comes in knowing when to hold on and when to let go. Sometimes a problem within a relationship is temporary in nature, so holding on is the wise decision. Everybody has to weather a storm every now and then. Unfortunately, sometimes the perceived problem can be permanent. That means you have to decide if it’s something you can live with, and if the positive qualities outweigh the bad qualities.
A lot of people are in long-term relationships not because they are happy but because they simply don’t know what else to do with their life. They may also be in relationships purely out of financial necessity. Much in the same way a person with a petty bank account is in a “relationship” with their sub-standard apartment or automobile. In the end, happiness is relative to our other perceived alternatives. If we think we have no other alternatives, because we are truly content with our life scenario, then we will be happy.
Here is what I can tell you about relationships. All relationships, like everything in life, has an arc. At some point it will peak and from there is can only decline. The longer you want the relationship to last the more you should try and push that peak out, in other words take things slow. If you do everything you can with a woman in one month where can you go from there? All directions point downward, and that’s the problem with relationships today.
If we are shacking up and doing the horizontal mambo within days of meeting, then we are pretty much hitting the peak of our relationship arc within a month max. So how can the relationship last for much longer then? Back in the old days when relationships were actually working (1950’s etc.) they had the concepts of “bases”, and those bases took weeks if not months to hit.
Now, just like everything else, we want to consume the whole cake at one time. But you can’t “have your cake and eat all of it too” without packing on the poundage. Thus you inevitably lose physical attraction in the eyes of your partner. Are you willing to put in the effort to stay healthy, attractive, and goal-oriented to make the relationship work?