Preparing For The Hunt
A Gay Opinion 11/09/01
by R.A. Melos

I am a voyeur, on many levels. I enjoy watching, and listening, especially listening to conversations overheard in diners and check out lines in supermarkets. In fact I picked up plot points for my novel Melba Ridge (shameless self-promotion by listening to conversations in diners. Now all of this voyeurism has taught me one thing. The topic of most concern to the public is the state of their and other people's relationships.

I would have to say 99 percent of the conversations I've overheard revolve around relationships and whose zoomin' who, so to speak. I've spent a great deal of time thinking about my own former relationship, and the fact it is a former relationship. I'm not alone, at least not in the fact relationships, and having a healthy and successful one, seem to baffle almost everyone.

I've heard men and women complain, and have myself complained, about what was lacking in the relationships, but I realize many of the good points of the relationship are overlooked.

I think more about these points as I meet more and more potential partners, and realize they are all lacking, in one form or another, that certain something which would make them almost perfect. As I review the conversations I've overheard, the conclusion is apparently everyone is missing that certain something which makes them almost perfect.

I was one of those people who was lucky enough to experience that feeling of instant attraction. And, in retrospect, while I've called my ex-lover everything from Beelzebub to the every popular standby slur of Jerk, there were points of the relationship, aside from the fantastic sex, which made the relationship good. I think the problem was, he simply didn't want it any more, and wasn't willing to make any effort to work at it.

Now this thought got me to wondering if that isn't the problem with many of the relationships I heard of while slurping soup and munching a burger? After all, I've heard relationships need work to help them grow and survive, and if both parties aren't willing to put a little effort into the relationship then it obviously is doomed.

It just seems easier to let something die than to fight for it, I suppose. Although, if something really has meaning for you, shouldn't you fight for it?

Okay, I know I didn't fight for my relationship, but perhaps, no matter how much good there was in it, or how much I enjoyed the sex, my relationship with Mr. Right wasn't meant to be for several reason. Karmically it probably shouldn't have been simply because it was a cheatin' situation, and we all know, or should know, karma must be paid.

This knowledge doesn't make the pain of a failed relationship any easier, it just explains some of the messes we all make of our lives, in one way or another, because we feel an attraction to another human being.

Another point I've overheard a great deal, and understand because I've been there myself, is the attempt to try to understand the mind of your partner. I tried to get inside my ex-partner's head and figure out what he was thinking, and apparently everyone I've overheard discussing their failed relationships has done the same thing. "What was he thinking?"

Who cares what he was thinking? Knowing what he was thinking won't bring him back, if you want him back? And understanding his thought process won't help you to feel better about the final failed outcome of the dead relationship. Yes, it might be nice to know what was going on in your partner's mind when he was making his decisions to move on without you, but it won't help you unless you are mapping out an escape route from a future relationship.

I, like many of the people I eavesdrop on, have also looked inward to discover if there was something I could've done to save the relationship. When I look at it that way, I realize trying to save my relationship would've been like beating a dead horse. I also realize spending time looking inward only helps to a degree. Once you pass that degree and move beyond it, you are beginning to take too much responsibility for the end of something it took two to kill.

There are a lot of reasons for a relationship to end, and a lot of reasons for people to fight for a relationship. The number one dumb reason to fight for a relationship I've overheard is "staying together for the sake of the kids." Personally, if people really care about the welfare of their children, they wouldn't try to make something work which is obviously dead to everyone but themselves. It's about time people stopped concerning themselves with the happiness of their children when they themselves are miserable.

I know, I don't have children so I have no right to offer an opinion concerning children. I've heard this argument before, but not having children doesn't mean I wouldn't be a good parent, only that I haven't either chosen to have children, or the opportunity has not presented itself. Remember, anyone can legally be a parent. Well, almost anyone. Some have to fight harder to be given the opportunity to raise a child.

Anyway, I feel if you are miserable in a relationship, then staying together for the kids would be a mistake because the kids will pick up on your misery eventually, and either pity you or hate you for making yourself miserable. Face it, what kind of lesson is it to send to the children if the message is one of being willing to suffer for the sake of someone else's happiness. Being a martyr may have been good for Joan of Arc, but in modern times self sacrifice isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Besides, if you are a happy person, then you are giving your children the lesson of being happy in their lives, rather than self-destructive. Of course selfishness isn't a good quality to instill in your children either, but the main topic is relationships. We'll deal with children another time.

So with having gathered all this insight into the world of relationships, you would think I should be armed and ready for another relationship. Well, I am. My weapon is loaded and I'm hunting for that elusive form of happiness known as being part of a couple. However, I'm not making the outcome of this hunt a top priority.

Why not make it a top priority?

Relationships should be important to you, if you are in one, but your happiness should not hinge on being in one. There are many aspects of my former relationship, including but not limited to the sex, I would love to experience again. I enjoyed the feeling of being in love. It was exciting to get up in the morning, (yes I used to get up in the mornings), knowing I was going to spend time with someone I loved being around. It was enjoyable to hear his voice and see his face, and those are things I miss about the relationship, but those weren't good enough reasons to attempt to save my relationship.

Luckily, most people don't complicate their lives to the extent I did, by falling into a relationship with a closeted married man. Does this mean my ex-lover wasn't worth fighting for? No it doesn't mean this at all. On some levels he was very worth fighting for, and he may still be, but I doubt I'll ever know if he is worth the effort.

Besides, I've changed so much it would be more prudent to simply move on to a new almost perfect guy. I know there are plenty of fish in the sea, although I'm not much into seafood. And so far all I've managed to find are the crabs and urchins and sharks, so I will do more hunting in the fields and less fishing in the seas of relationships.

Finding Mr. Right, after having thought you already found him, is not easy. Once you've settled, it's very hard to settle again, because you constantly compare each new prospect to the old. You do it no matter how old you are or how much experience you have in relationships. I've listened to teenagers and middle-aged people all doing what I think of as comparison shopping.

You can never find an exact match to replace the previous partner, even if you get together with your ex-partner's twin. And when you think about it, do you really want exactly what you had before in a partner?

I've given this a great deal of consideration, and I know I wouldn't want exactly what I had, even thought he had many fine qualities. He either had them, or time and distance has colored my vision of the past. As I've said, I've changed and grown, and unless both people in the relationship have changed and grown, you will wind up with stagnation.

For me, the excitement of change can sometimes be scary, but it is preferable to the possibility of stagnation. I know I'm looking for a partner who will stimulate me, and inspire me the way my former partner inspired and stimulated me, but also I need the feeling of being both part of and apart from a couple.

Having an individual identity, and being part of a couple is a balancing act many can't achieve. I wasn't prepared for it the first time around, having been overwhelmed by the new feeling of love I was experiencing for the very first time, but now I'm more prepared thanks to my ex-lover.

So much of the downside of my relationship with Mr. Right has taught me what to look for and what not to look for in a potential partner. One of the most important things we can do is learn from our mistakes by reflecting on the actions which helped us to make those mistakes. We're all guilty of some mistakes in a relationship, and life lessons are often hard learned.

So many people have advice on what should be done in a relationship, just as I have, and in truth, the only advice worth listening to is the advice you get from your own heart. If your heart isn't into the relationship, then the relationship doesn't stand a chance of survival.

I've got all this knowledge, so now what? Am I prepared for the hunt?

The only way to find the answer to this question is to enter the forests and fields, or in more conventional terms bars and gyms.

What will I find in these modern relationship hunting grounds? I don't know, but I'm much more willing to enter into the hunt now than I was a few years ago. The jaded feelings I've experienced in the past have fallen by the wayside and have been replaced by a renewed feeling of life which has been missing for a long time.

Stay tuned to find out if I bag a bear, a swift stag, a rascally rabbit, wily fox (oh yeah, a fox would be nice), a daring duck, a pleasant pheasant, a screwy squirrel, or any of the other hot hunky beasts of the relationship wilderness.


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