I’ve had a number of friends complain that the art of romance seems to be dead. Significant others (SOs) ignore or forget about dates of importance, the “just because” gift never appears anymore, even simple things like buying something you know your SO would enjoy (doesn’t have to be expensive – something like a candy bar they haven’t had in a while can be a romantic gesture).
I think it’s actually a bigger problem. No, I’m not going to blame it on our digital culture, like a lot of people do. We live in an age where communication is made easier every day. But, we seem to think, even more than we used to, that our SOs should have mental telepathy.
Look, people. Even if telepathy is possible (jury is still out on that one until we can actually give it a rigorous testing), it would only be in a minuscule portion of the global population.
So why do we think our partners can read our minds???
I absolutely despise hearing the complaint of “But if they loved me, they would KNOW what’s wrong!” SERIOUSLY???
Love does NOT automatically allow your partner to read your mind. In fact, if you read any speculative fiction at all, the idea that anyone actually knows what someone else is thinking ends up either being very bad or very good. In fact, one of my absolutely favorite authors, Spider Robinson, takes on the idea of telepathy in many different ways:
- The Lifehouse Trilogy
- Time Pressure
- The Stardance Trilogy (written with his wife)
- Very Bad Series
- Very Bad Deaths
- Very Bad Choices
- The Callahan Series
- Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon
- Time Travelers Strictly Cash
- Callahan’s Secret
- Callahan’s Lady
- Lady Slings the Booze
- The Callahan Touch
- Callahan’s Legacy
- Callahan’s Key
- Callahan’s Con
- Off the Wall at Callahan’s
Yes, I think it is quite important to read these books. That and Heinlein’s work (both adult AND juvenile works – the juvenile books are quite engrossing for adults. I’m not sure why they seemed to need to be juvenile, other than the fact that many of the main characters start out as kids or early teens).
This is NOT one of my random tangents. I learned most of my social ability from reading both Robinson and Heinlein. I’m not as harsh as Heinlein can be, but I’m a little less laid-back as Robinson can be. When I was younger, I wanted to be Maureen when I grew up (minus the incest, please….EW). Later, I leaned more towards being Friday, Hilda (although, I’ll never be as petite) or Eunice.
The thing is, every single one of the ladies in these stories is independent, yet willing to lean on their men at need. Every single one of them communicates – A LOT. And not just random bullshit either. The relationships in these books are PARTNERSHIPS, relying on each other’s strengths, and bolstering each other’s weaknesses.
Look, ladies and gents, if ANY of you have any skills at strategy you know DAMNED well you don’t try to plan without knowing the skills/talents of your resources as well as each of their individual (and group) tactics. And part of that is knowing their mental and emotional states – you don’t want to apply a strategy with someone who’s going to break down.
Relationships require strategy too. You have to plan IN TANDEM with your partner, not just taking control and ignoring their needs or direction. Communication is ESSENTIAL to keeping a romance on the right track.
We haven’t LOST romance, we’ve lost the awareness that ANY relationship (friends, lovers or any other kind of relationship) requires WORK. It requires COMMUNICATION. It’s not just something that happens. It’s something to work on each and every day if you want to keep that relationship. Our divorce-friendly culture is only a PART of the problem. The other part is realizing that the romance isn’t always just about the OTHER person – it’s YOU TOO!