Tag Archives: relationships

Film


I wont be posting this one to the screening room because of spoilers. I have no worries about posting it here though. As I said, spoilers.

Monday night at the MIFF was a documentary titled Three of Hearts: A post-modern family. In spite of the title, it was actually quite a good documentary. Possibly because it was filmed over 8 years and the participants who were friends with the documentary makers were remarkably honest and open.

Basically, two guys start a relationship while one is 19 and the other around 25 or so. The first, Steven, is easy going, gentle and self-effacing. The other, Sam, is extroverted, charming and wilful. Not long after they start going out, Sam decides that he would like to introduce a woman into their relationship. Eventually, after some persuasion, Steven decides to go along. Eventually they meet Samantha who after her own inital doubts is convinced by Sam also. After a brief period of adjustment, Steven and Samantha fall in love as well. Together the three start a health theraphy business and as their relationship thrives, it seems to thrive as well. Nine years later, they have their first child and it seems that life cannot be better for their family.

A couple of years later, thirteen years after the start of their relationship and just two days before the birth of their second child, Steven without any warning, tells Samantha and Sam that it is over and leaves. In the last half hour, the film documents the disintegration of each relationship, the growing bitterness between Samanatha and Sam towards Steven and the downgrading of Samantha and Sam’s relationship to that of companions and primary care givers to their children. Just before the credits, you’re informed that Samantha and Sam are taking Stephen to court over their shared business. At the end during the Q + A session with one of the producers, it seems that relations have become so bad that Samantha and Sam can no longer attend the same film festival sessions as Steven. It seems that everything they’ve shared together as a triad has crumbled away.

Fortunately, they appear to have kept the children out of their disputes, for now.

So what went wrong?

In the documentary, Steven keeps his feelings close but the few words he says on the subject seems to indicate that he wasnt ready for the responsibilities of two children and a settled down life. He’d entered the relationship at 19 and from all appearences, his relationship both at work and at home with the other two were so close that he must have started to understand in his early 30s that he had a fair amount of finding out who he actually was outside of the other two.

It seemed a pity to me that they couldnt have negotiated a leave of absence for Steven or opened up the relationship such that Steven could amicably live seperately for a while and pursue his own interests as a semi-single person. It seemed a pity that Stephen never considered that as a possibility and had to abandon everything.

Ok, perhaps a bit of overidentification here but there were scenes with Steven in it being an utter shit that I could recognise myself in from about ten years ago, where you have to be an asshole so that no matter what happens, you can never go back. Because going back will destroy the person that you’re trying to discover and at that point in time, it doesnt matter how much hurt you’re dealing out to others or yourself, the only thing that matters is that you become that new person. Birthing pains.

So, Steven Margolin, if that’s what was happening with you, then good on ya. You’ll not hear this from many who saw that film I dont think. I hope it was worth it and you found what you were looking for.

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Connection


My levels of political engagement varies with energy and the seasons. This is one of the times when my focus appears to be falling inward and when that happens, one of my favourite items of introspection is about connection and alienation, about the hunger for company and the dissatisfaction with the majority of it.

I’ve linked this to an idealised version of home or family before but I think that it boils down into an innate and as yet unvoiced hunger, maybe a hunger for something that one is concealing from oneself either out of habit or from fear or maybe because it is a nascent desire, something born from new circumstances, from the passage of time, from encountering someone new.

I’m not sure that being unconscious about the true nature of ones desires is a bad thing. It is possible after all to either unconsciously discover the solution or alternatively to find an acceptable substitute all without having to do any great amount of soul-searching and digging up of stuff better left buried or worse yet, discovering that what one desires is either unreachable or fast becoming unreachable.

I have several close female friends in their early to mid thirties who have known and always have known that eventually they want to have children preferably within a supportive familial environment but have not been able to find suitable partners. Perhaps it is because I love them dearly that I do not understand why they are having so much difficulty but I think I can be objective enough to say that I cant think of any good reason why. But the thing that affects me most is the sadness I see in them as they question their own attractiveness and their criteria for a partner all the while being aware that time is passing, all the while conscious of the importance of maintaining their dignity and self-respect.

The hunger and desire appears very real and very deeply felt to me and I wonder if, god forbid, should any of them not achieve the family they desire, what would happen to their spirit, to the way they face the world after that.

Better I think to always be seeking then to live knowing you’ll never get it.

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Communication


This is from a comment I posted to another journal to do with general negotiation within a relationship context. It’s pretty much standard negotiation skills.

Successful communication depends on a fair amount of planning beforehand.

However, this in turn depends on knowing what you want from a relationship (without regarding the other person’s desires or second-guessing them). This may sound selfish but is essential as a foundation for pretty much all communications in the future. It doesnt have to be too detailed and ideally you would both want the same thing. For eg: I want a reliable lover who places minimum demand on my time and energy.

Then, it’s a matter of outlining the objectives of the conversation. It may be useful to actually highlight this objective before the conversation so that your partner isnt hit from out of the blue about an issue and has some time to prepare. For eg: I want to convince my lover that he is calling me too often and that he should only call once a week. Mind, some objectives are healthier than others. An example of an unhealthy objective is “I want to make my partner feel like the miserable worm he is”.

Setting out your objectives clearly also then gives you the opportunity to review how realistic your objective is and allow you to assess the likelihood of success.

If it’s tricky, you may want to outline a fallback position to yourself which you wont budge from. For eg: “sms is acceptable more than once a week”. In line with this, having a clear idea of what you would do if you dont achieve your objective is essential. For eg: “If i dont get what i want, i’ll suggest a cooling off period and a further meeting two weeks down the track.”

With those in mind, you can then decide on the negotiation strategy to achieve those objectives. For eg: “i will list all the times he has called too often and the impact it has on me.” This may also include acceptable tradeable items in order to achieve your objectives.

Other tips include knowing when to step away. For example, If I get angry or if he starts to shutdown (or raise his voice), I’ll suggest a timeout of an hour or so and set another time to talk about it later.

Another tip is having a good debrief activity after the talk is completed. Something to reward both of you for good communication – for example a nice dinner out.

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