“But She Was… Blinded by the Light” ~ Bruce Springsteen

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So, my sis had me watch “Love is Blind” on Netflix and it was fascinating.  Here’s the premise in case you haven’t watched:  30 men and women go into these rooms (called ‘pods’ on the show which makes me think of a post- apocalyptic time 🙄 ) in which you can’t see, but only hear, the other person.  All of the contestants spend 10 days speed-dating with each other, and then can talk to certain people they connect with the best.  After 10 days, some of the people get engaged, and it’s only after this that they actually see each other and meet.  They go on get-aways and then tackle ‘real life’ before getting married (maybe) after a month of being face-to-face.   Plus, during the ‘pod’ interaction and get-away, there are no phones or social media of any kind so that the people/couples can totally focus on one another.

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Now, as the name states quite clearly, this ‘experiment’ is trying to answer the day old question:  Is love blind?  I’m not going to tell you what happens to the 8 couples that actually get engaged (6 are followed on the show) since I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s interesting to watch the relationships unfold.

I think we would all like to think ‘love is blind’ but after watching this, and really stewing about it, I believe this concept is more complicated than what’s seen on the show and can be looked at on a lot of different levels.

First, the show focuses on looks and race in terms of ‘blindness’.  Fall in the love with the person, not how beautiful or handsome they are and learn about a person without stereotyping in terms of skin color or ethnicity.  The thing is, this isn’t a big deal on the show.  EVERY single contestant is gorgeously yummy, so anyone picked is going to look good!

Why did the producers do this if they really wanted to see if love is blind?  Because it’s not.  Does it sound shallow if we say looks don’t matter?  I personally don’t think it is.  I believe we all have somewhat of a type, but if you talk about it you sound superficial as if knowing what looks good to you is wrong.  Look, I like a certain look in fashion (running shorts and t’s…quite the couture), a certain type of car style, a certain type of house architecture, etc.  I know what I ‘like’…what pleases me.  Why is it bad to have preferences for partners too?  I like tall men, a bit bigger guy (but someone that can hike and run and do stuff with me…in other words, keep up with this bipolar woman), a crinkle to the eyes when they smile, hands that show they know how to work, some arm muscle, facial hair, nice teeth, etc.

This is MY type.  What I like.  So, if I meet a man who is shorter than me with a smile I don’t find attractive and very skinny, I’m sorry but I’m not going to be attracted.  “But Kristi, for fuck sakes, you can learn to love them if you have the right foundation.”  Maybe so.  Platonically at least.  I’m not saying this guy wouldn’t be a good, kind, sweet, smart man by any means.  But, I happen to believe that sex is an important part of a partnership, and not being attracted to someone physically, even though you are mentally and emotionally, can cause the relationship to be more brother and sister, than hubby and wifey (I’m looking at this heterosexually since that’s what I am, although it hasn’t worked out great for me 😳).

“But Kristi, you yourself, in your amazingly brilliant, much sought after lectures, have yacked on (and on and on) that you can learn to love someone.  That love is an ‘art’ (thank you Erich Fromm)…something you have to build and nurture.”  Yes, I know that grasshoppers, but building love, and building sexual attraction, are 2 very different things.

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Think about this:  I knew a guy from 7th grade through high school that I thought was ‘it’!  I tried to get him to notice me all of those years (don’t say it…pathetic) and finally, after graduation, he asked me out!  YEA!  I was so excited!  I don’t think I ever spent as much time getting ready for a date in all my life since I wanted to look as perfect to him as he did to me.  When he picked me up, I was almost giddy; I mean, this was it!  My dreamboat (🙄)…my 18 year old soul-mate.   He drove us to the mall to look at CD’s (shutty…I know I’m old(er) and can even remember buying…gasp…cassettes at the mall too, along with 45’s.  If you don’t know what those are, ask your ma.) and after just arriving he opened the mall door, stepped inside and kept walking.  Heh?  He let the door close on me.  OK.  But I figured this was a small thing and something I’d fix when we were married.  Throughout the night he proceeded to be the most self-centered, pompous, narcissistic asshole I’d ever met (and even now, he’s still up there).  Those 4 hours we spent together made me go from salivating over him to thinking how ‘ugly’ he was after all.  I wouldn’t have been with him for a million bucks (OK, maybe for a million…but then again, getting paid for sex is well…ahem…a bit slutty), but you get my point.

Maybe some looks don’t do it for me, but then again, some personality quirks can turn me off an attractive person as well.  Hmmmm…love is blind?

Why didn’t the producers use people that were overweight?  Disabled in some way?  Here’s one:  mentally ill (gasp!)?  More regular looking, as opposed to every woman having a flat belly and big boobs, with the guys having extra good looks.  Would love be blind then?

Then, you have to look at another question:  SHOULD love be blind in terms of other aspects of the person?  Once again, rail against me if you must, but a criminal record that includes any sort of domestic violence or child abuse is something I need to SEE.  What about a current addiction for which the person isn’t wanting to get help?  How about them being an atheist when spirituality is important to me?  Seven divorces (above my own personal record)?  No thank you.  A man whose work ethic is non-existent?  Someone who is racist?  Homophobic?  Refers to mental illness as those ‘crazies’?  Nuh uh.  How about someone who is as opposite me politically as you can get (been there…done that…and the arguments left us both alienated and frustrated)?  Someone who has never had kids because they really don’t like them?  And I could go on and on and on.

My belief is that we should NOT be blind to these things.  Seriously.  Because as an older woman (but not that old…remember that, peeps) who does have some (cough cough) experience in the realm of relationships/marriage, these are things that can greatly affect your relationship and can pull you apart faster than Taron can get my heart racing (and that’s mighty fast, y’all 🤭).  These are also things that can be dangerous (obviously), pull your own family apart, have a horrible impact on your kids, etc.

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When I was dating ‘The Counselor (lawyer)’ in December and January (much too long), I ran a report on him like I did for Hubby 3 and J when we got together.  Look, I have a son (and with Hubby, he was only 12) and hope to have grand kids soon (O…did you read that sentence?  Go back honey…and read the freaking thing again); I definitely don’t want some boob around them.  ‘The Counselor’ was highly pissed when I casually mentioned the report (run one on me…I don’t care!) and that was a huge red flag for me.  For piss sakes, he has a daughter!  Does he want her to jump into something with someone who’s been in jail 5 times?  C’mon now.  Or, as my ma likes to say:  “Think Man!”

The last really interesting thing I got from this show is when the couples had no access to their phones or social media, and only focused on each other, things were hunky-dory.  However, after their engagements and get-aways, when they got these things back, a lot of couples slid downhill and were really negatively affected by them.  That in itself teaches us a huge lesson.  Let me say it Professor K style (not like I would in the classroom, but with frankness): leave the fucking devices alone and focus on the real person right in front of you!  I know couples that can’t even eat together without their devices.  That are on them when they are watching a movie together…when they’re out and about.  Great.  This will be a terrific foundation for caring for a baby together, where you have to put these time-suckers down and get your hands dirty…literally.  Hey, there’s no freaking app that changes diapers, wipes up puke everyday, helps you handle the stress of colic, deals with a tantrum in the middle of the store, etc.  Right?

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So, is love blind?  Nope.  And it shouldn’t be.  You should look for what your preference is.  What you want in terms of looks, personality, morals, ideologies, etc.  In class, I call it my ‘Captain Crunch’ theory (this is going to get copyrighted since it’s such a deep theory that could be written about in a textbook):  if you like CC, crave CC, are always happy with CC, and enjoy the looks and texture of CC, for fuck sakes don’t buy Fruit Loops just because you have a coupon and it’s easier to reach on the shelf.  And if you do, and decide they’re icky after all, hey…that’s your fault.  You chose what you didn’t like instead of what you knew you wanted.  You went the easier route…and look what it got you.  A taste of fake orange in your mouth that you try to brush out and then your toothpaste tastes disgusting and mouthwash only moves the goop that gets stuck in your teeth all through your mouth and for the rest of day, you are tasting spearmint fruit.  Ugh.

‘Nuff said.  🤓

Kristi xoxo

A Personal Buffet :)

So, how do we know what we want in a mate?  It’s almost an unconscious thing, isn’t it?  Like going to a buffet where we look over the food and say, “Oooooooo…yum!”  or “Blech!”, without even really thinking about it.  Isn’t that true about people as well?  You can see someone and think, “Wow…OH YEAH!”  or say, “Uh, no!”  Either way, our choices are clear even if our reasoning behind them isn’t.

At counseling the other day, A (my therapist) asked me what I wanted in someone since working on relationships is one of our goals.  I didn’t have an easy or fast answer for her.  But I think it came to me last night.

In my Marriage and Family classes, we talk about mate selection and see that there are many theories out there to try to explain how this works.  For example, Siggy talks about how we are more likely to choose a mate much like our opposite sexed parents (this was written in the Victorian era where heterosexual relationships were the only focus) in order to finally resolve the Oedipal and Electra complexes.  This is what kids experience around the ages of 3-6 or so, where they really want to possess their same sexed parent, while rejecting the other.  Obviously, this causes much family stress, and the kids start to emulate their same sexed parent so they can eventually, as adults, win a mate like the opposite sexed one.  PHEW!  Sounds crazy, right?  BUT…I have to say this:  research does show that we are more likely to marry someone more like our parents than not!  (This scares my son to death!)

There’s also the Ideal Mate Theory in which we create an image of what we want through early childhood experiences and then seek that person as an adult.  Maybe that’s why so many women want their prince to ride on their white horse and swoop them up!  And, maybe that’s also why when we meet the one we think is our mate, we say, “I think this is Mr. or Mrs. Right!”

Other theories exist too…like how we pick mates that complement what we need or lack.  Or ones that have just enough similarities that we have an instant connection that brings us together.

But these theories don’t take practical things into consideration, things I happen to think are pretty important.  Like, how many kids does this person want?  What’s their political stance?  Their criminal history?  How many times have they been divorced?  Is their extended family supportive?  Do they drink excessively or use drugs?  Do they follow your religion?  And the list goes on.

However, here’s another wrench with all of this:  you would think by now I have a type, and that couldn’t be further from the truth!  All 4 of my mates (3 hubbies and 1 partner) couldn’t have been anymore different from each other!  Hubby 1 was a metrosexual, well dressed, higher class guy, while Hubby 2 was nerdy and a very hard worker.  Hubby 3 was an Outlaw biker (literally) and my last partner was a younger veteran.  What a variety; perhaps I should practice polygamy to get everything I want??  🙂

So, when A talked to me about what I wanted, I knew it was more than what can be explained by the above, but I couldn’t put into words what ‘soul’ (for lack of a better word) I was looking for.  And then it hit me last night.  Simply stated, I want a man who is just as willing as I am to work and fight for the love we have.  That’s it.  Just one sentence.  But a very powerful one to me.

See, I used to think I was clingy.  And to a degree I might be.  But maybe that isn’t really what it is though, because I’ve always been financially independent and very capable of doing anything and everything that’s needed around the house, yard, etc.  I was the one my spouses would often turn too, instead of the other way around!  I was the rock.  The fixer.  The one who built back up whatever had been broken.

But when I was broken.  Or needed something fixed.  Or needed a rock, that’s when problems started.  The help wasn’t there.  The understanding.  The support.  While I was willing to invest everything into the relationship, they were willing to only invest a bit.  So, them pulling out of it didn’t ‘cost’ them as much as it cost me.

Maybe it’s because I’m “extra sensitive” (another wonderful trait of bipolar) that I simply can’t understand this.  How people can love you one day, and say the next that they don’t.  How you can spend years with someone, building them up, forgiving them for transgressions, supporting them through their pain, but when it’s about you, they turn their back.  And then, you’re the one that’s wrong.  Wrong for reaching out.  For trying.  Why do some people think relationships are easy?  And when there’s an issue, just drop them, because fixing it might be work?  Really?  Having problems means there’s no love?  No foundation?

I don’t think there’s any relationship that requires more work than that of a parent and child.  I remember when Oliver was a little guy…he’d wake me up in the middle of the night, and I’d have to force myself up on 2 hours of sleep after a 14 hour day.  When he was around 4, Oliver, who had asthma, got pneumonia.  And I did too.  But, I had to ignore mine and hold Oliver upright 24 hours a day for 4 days straight, giving him breathing treatments every 2 hours which the poor guy fought.  Just me, alone, because his dad had to work at his business.  It got to the point where I was so tired, I was in a hazy fog that enveloped me.  I didn’t know if I could keep going but then he started to get better and I could nap.  And all of this time, I kept thinking that if I didn’t do this, he could literally drown in his sleep.  Was that work?  OMG, yes!!  Did I begrudge him of it??  NO!!  Because that’s what parents do.  Period.

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Why can’t that same commitment be made in terms of mates?  Holding the person up.  Allowing them to breathe with your help.  Making sure they get through the next day?  Giving all that you have, and a little more, to make things better.I do that.  To a fault actually.  And I used to think it was wrong.  But is it?  Why is it wrong to be the one who won’t let go of the rope when they still believe there’s a danger of the other falling?  Why is it bad to say, “I forgive you.  Again.  Because I love you.  Still.”?  Someone once told me this was weak.  Really?  To me, it’s freaking strong.  Because like I did with Oliver, you have to dig down, find resources you don’t know you have, and use them to make sure what you love is preserved.

I guess I’m old fashioned, but I think maybe my way, instead of the way relationships are disposed of so easily in our society today, is actually the right one.Once, when I was a teenager,  I asked my Grandma what held her and Grandpa together.  They were the ONLY couple in my family that had never been divorced and I needed to know why.  After all, they were married just a short while before Grandpa served 3 years in the Navy during WWII.  I’ll never ever forget what my grandma said when I asked how they made it through all they did:  “Because we’re married.”  That’s it.  That was her answer.  And when you think about it, what more needs to be said?  They made a commitment.  They honored it.  They worked at it.  They invested in it.  Through everything.  Period.  Maybe I get my ideas about relationships from her.  And if so, I think that’s a very good thing.

Kristi xoxo