♥ Perceptions of relationships that appear to be doing well/poorly

Submitted by westgate on
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I am at the stage of my life where i am thinking deeply about the kind of relationship I want. It can be easy to get caught up in the romantic ideals and emotional and sexual intensity that characterises honeymoon neurochemistry (which ill admit are great), but i've been thinking about what long term characteristics are important. Because, for me that is what really counts.

My friend, god bless his perceptive Buddhist soul, asked me about other examples I have in my life. I've tried to focus on longer term relationships. All these people are genuinely good people (i gotta say this coz im on the list! haha).
So ill explore them here and see what i like and what i dont:

O & KL (age 24, time = 3 years)
A couple i know who are strongly Christian. They socialise primarily in their church circle (not me). Both are charismatic & outgoing with O (guy) being more flexible & giving, while KL is more focussed and self assured. No kids. Still displaying some honeymoon neurochemistry.
Perceived happiness (8/10)
Parts i like
These guys have the most wonderful outlook towards sexuality and believe that you only need to have sex with one person. Sex is treated as sacred.
Their union emphasises shared spirituality.
Both have independent careers
Both are emotionally intelligent & open
Communicate well about all issues with each other
Obvious fun/flirty spark between them.

Parts that aren't for me
I've noticed KL wont inconvenience herself for something that is important to O. Im all for healthy independance, but i get a feeling of one way giving here.
I'm not one for hierarchical spirituality (churches)
When O gets drunk he becomes an insatiable flirt. He avoids alcohol because of this.
Both are uncomfortable spending nights apart. Had only spent 1 night apart in first 3 years of marriage (unhealthy codependance?)
I've noticed an undercurrent of power games in conversations. Trying to get the other to do what they want through subtle guilt.

P & H (age 50, time = 20 years?)
A couple i know who are both artistic. Both are very warm and have wonderful senses of humour. Magnetic personalities. P is more adventurous, while H is more artisitc and spiritual. Never had kids.
Perceived happiness (10/10)
Parts i like
The chemistry between them is palpable. Its so cool to watch 50 year olds flirt/joke with each other after being together for decades. I love this.
Both pursue their own dreams: P travels to climb mountains, while H travels to paint & inspire her art.
Both support each other in their endeavors. They have shared art/furniture exhibitions, displaying both of their creations.
Their relationship is my best example of healthy inter-dependance.
Both are passionate people.

Parts that aren't for me
I've never observed any physical bonding behaviours between them. Perhaps it's exclusively done in private

A & J (age 40, time = 15 years)
A couple i know who exhibit what i see as common relationship traits. A is an intelligent, head strong, and perhaps a little emotionally guarded male, while J is a stable, supportive and social wife. 2 kids.
Perceived happiness (5/10)
Parts i like
These guys are very thoughtful of each other. For example they select gifts that they personally would hate, but know the other would love (eg J bought A tickets to a rock concert - a band she hated- for him and a mate for his bday!).
Have been through some rocky times, but always support each other unconditionally.
Very giving to each other when supporting each other's pursuits (A is passionate about work, J is passionate about health & fitness)
Dont mind publically expressing how they feel. A's speech at J's 40th was so moving. He struggled to express his emotions, but it was honest, raw and really touching.

Parts that aren't for me
The tension between them. They dig/pick at each other during conversations.
Non existant bonding behaviours, flirting or apparent attraction.
Seem to be in a 'rut' together. But have accepted it as a normal part of marriage.

B & T (age 55, time = 15 years)
A couple i know who eventually found each other after bitter divorces. Both are introverted, caring and relatively balanced. Both were looking for a stable relationship after spending years in emotionally unstable marriages. 3 & 2 kids to previous marriages.
Perceived happiness (9/10)
Parts i like
These guys never fight and communicate exceptionally well.
Absolute respect and caring for each other. Say that they cherish the other very much.
Support each others pursuits unconditionally.

Parts that aren't for me
Non existant bonding behaviours, flirting or apparent attraction. Seem to be together out of comfort and mutual companionship.
They really really like stable, predictable lives. Do not cope with spontaneity well. Need to plan out everything.
Not adventurous.

R & C (age 55, time = 20 years)
A couple i know who got together after their divorces. Both are relatively extroverted. R is emotionally stable and works hard, but can be impulsive regarding addiction tendancies. C is emotionally volatile, but very warm and giving. 3 & 2 kids to previous marriages
Perceived happiness (5/10)
Parts i like
Tend to do random, spontaneous stuff for each other regularly.
Display bonding behaviours in public. Really cool to see them holding hands in public.

Parts that aren't for me
Dont have passions or pursuits outside the marriage
Use guilt trips, control and other immature responses when disagreeing with each other (post orgasm hangover?)
Blame each other for problems rather than owning them
Non existant bonding behaviours, flirting or apparent attraction. Seem to be together out of comfort and mutual companionship.
Similar in dynamics to A & J mentioned above.

Me & my Ex (age 30, time = 9 years on/off)
The story of our relationship can be found here.
happiness (ranged from 2 to 10)
Parts i like
Bonding behaviours were common
Flirty fun energy with each other (except when fighting! urgh!)
Passionate, driven people.
Supported each other in careers/pursuits outside relationship

Parts that aren't for me
Codependancy issues for both of us
Lack of trust
Ex didnt own her own problems, I was stubborn and headstrong. Boils down to a lack of consideration for each other.
Both addicted to emotional intensity to fill the hole of deep emotional connection

The two long term relationships relationships that i see thriving (B & T and P & H) are very different. One is flirty, passionate and adventurous, the other is stable and predictable. This couples with my experience that different personalities like different relationships & many types can work!

This means that all relationships have their own uniqueness about them, their own feel. I am curious how far Karezza & emotional connection goes to soothe personality differences that would otherwise put strain on a relationship?
For example, we each have our own idea of how much our family (parents/siblings) should be involved in our lives. I find its inherent to who we are and can create problems if our partner has a different idea.
Does the emotional connection & absence of habituation help by allowing us to better negotiate these differences?

Can anyone else comment about the balance between personal compatibility combined with 'relationship skills' that seems to be therapeutically popular and thier correlation to relationships that are practising spiritual sexuality? I geuss the ideal would be to find someone who you have that chemistry & personal compatibility with and prevent habituation by practising Karezza?