It's Business – It's Business Time!

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

You get to be the parent sometimes in almost every relationship.  Which isn’t bad.  You have to ask your partner to pick up something from the store, or remind them to take out the garbage, or hey, have you paid that bill you owe?
The problem comes when you have to be the parent all the time.
When you’re dating someone who’s sufficiently irresponsible, you start to slide into a situation that’s more nagger-in-chief than actual relationship.  Your job is not a love that feels good, but rather a constant reminder of all this stupid shit your partner has to do – because, you know, if they wanted to do the goddamned dishes, they would have by now – and so the majority of your interactions with your partner become these boss-employee talks where there’s something they should be doing and you’re not letting up.
Sex suffers in a lot of these relationships.  Because really, who wants to fuck someone who’s making them feel inept and stupid all the time?  It’s hard to switch gears from “Hey, we’re in an apartment where you didn’t clean out the cat box like you said, now let’s make sweet love.”
Roleplaying aside, it’s not sexy being someone’s caretaker, and it’s usually not sexy being the caretaken.
This particular dynamic often gets worse in poly relationships, because it’s a pattern I’ve noted recently where there’s the “unfun” poly partner who pays the bills and takes care of the home and gets none of the hot sex, and the “fun” poly partner off-site who gets all of the giggles and hot sex and fun dates.  Which is a relationship configuration that rarely works in the long-term.
The problem is that the core solution to this is usually pretty blunt: date someone more responsible.  Yeah, I’m sure they’re a lot of fun, but if they can’t keep what you think are the basic building blocks of life together without you continually riding them, is that the kind of person you want to be with in the long run?  So it sucks, but it may be time to move on, because you’ve got to date someone who shares your long-term goals – and like it or not, so many of those long-term goals are built on the tiny day-to-day expectations that you can’t ignore the little shit like this.
Usually, the solution is to just fucking go.  Which sucks.  But it’s better than continually wondering if your lover is going to remember to pick you up after work like they said.
The other solution may be to adjust your expectations.  Yeah, if your partner’s continually getting fired and spends all of her space money on dope and videogames instead of kicking in with the rent, then you probably should apply the boot.  But sometimes, it is you.  Maybe your need to have zero dishes in the sink at all times is just a preference, not a command of how life should be, and that requirement that the checkbook be balanced to the penny at the end of every day is a bit onerous.
Sometimes, you chose the “fun” partner because they’re a change of pace from your normal life, and then what you do is stomp them down until they fit into your routine.  Then you wonder why they’re boring.  The solution in that case is to lighten up and recognize that maybe what you’re interpreting as irresponsibility is just a different set of priorities, and that your “requirements” are just personal quirks, and that maybe you can learn to meet in the middle of a dirty sink.
But it’s hard to be both parent and lover.  The dynamics of forcing someone to do unpleasant, necessary things are at odds with the free love that leads to hot sex and happy attraction.  So at some point, you’ve gotta find someone who shares roughly the same set of responsibilities that you have, or you have to change your expectations.

1 Comment

  1. akp
    Jan 31, 2012

    To be fair, if I had “space money” I think I’d spend it irresponsibly too.
    Best. Typo. Ever.

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