Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wanting someone else, part 3: the finale

Welcome to the final part of this unintentional trilogy, in which I will, hopefully, tie up some loose ends.

After the first two parts, I got various comments and questions about whether I might be putting too much weight on the romantic relationship. The answer is probably yes; and the reason is probably because I’m writing from a certain context, which I’ll mention briefly at the end. Suffice it to say, I don’t think that a romantic relationship is the be-all and end-all of human life, by any means; there’s only one relationship that is, and it’s the one that will (or at least, ought to) count the most in every aspect of life—the relationship with Jesus Christ.

Moreover, there are other relationships that are very important to life, and in which God can be—and is—revealed: good relationships where one is loved and supported, counseled and guided, taught and prepared, made to know that he or she is safe within a community. And these can come in various forms. To name a few: friendships, family, church, and work. (There are more, I’m sure; but I can’t think of any more right now.)

And so, to my context. Obviously, everyone writes from a certain perspective, and I’m writing from mine. Even when I try to write a generally-applicable blog, it comes out in the way that I write, the things that I mention, etc. Contrary to the impression that some may have gotten from the first two parts of this blog, I’m actually really happy being single. I’m in a great community of friends (students and profs) here at Fuller, part of a church I love, close to and able to see family when available, well-cared for and well-loved. On the other hand, I’m a couple months clear of the skein of an almost-relationship that began with all of the promise of the Mariners’ “AL West championship run season” and imploded with just as much unexpected bewilderment; and I think this frustration comes out a little when I write. Still, I’m out of it, able to see the good that God did through those difficult few months, and back to being happy (finally!).

In conclusion, my intention in beginning this series (which actually didn’t begin as a series but developed through dialog) was not to extol the romantic relationship—our culture does that enough for us—but merely to touch upon one aspect of life that I continue to hold in tension, and something that I don’t think the church in general addresses well enough or often enough. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions, helping me hammer out some thoughts on a difficult topic. Feel free to continue inputting; I’d say that there’s a 99% chance that I’ll write about relationships again. ☺

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why women withdraw

[Currently listening to: U2, Live in Paris; Tristan Prettyman, Live Sessions]

A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted a blog on “Why Men Withdraw.” Apparently, it’s one of the most-read entries on her site. Apparently, women would like to know why men withdraw or become distant or whatever. Well … I’m almost certain that it works the other way as well. Whether it’s because of the gradually-diminishing distance between perceived gender roles in Western society, or maybe just because we’re all human beings and we’re sometimes more similar than we think, women withdraw, too.

It’s a reality that can bemuse and bewilder, frustrate and foil. I know because I’ve spoken to friends who’ve had similar experiences to me: one moment, life couldn’t be more perfect and she couldn’t be more interested; the next moment (or the next week), you’re the last person in the world that she wants to see or hear or be around or know.

Maybe she has her own issues to work through. Maybe she likes you, but not quite that much (yet); (and maybe you need to give her time and space to work that out, or maybe you need to just give her time and space … for ever). Maybe she’s just coming out of a relationship and she’s not ready for another one. Maybe she just got really burned and is scared of getting hurt again. Maybe you’re not her type. Maybe she doesn’t know what her type is. Maybe she thinks she knows what her type is, and it isn’t you, but you think her type is really stupid. Maybe she’s just not that into you.

Or, on the flipside, maybe she has a history of doing this kind of thing and you need to steer clear of her. Maybe you’d be better off without someone who withdraws and doesn’t communicate why. Generally speaking, I’d agree that women are better communicators than men. But there are always exceptions. (I tend to draw all the exceptions. Which is awesome.)

In the end, my answer comes down to not knowing. It could be nothing. It could be something. It could be her. It could be you. It could be a disastrous development (and it often feels like it). It might be the best thing in the world to happen to you (even though it might take you the longest time to be able to understand that).

And then the question is “What do we do about it?” Or … “What can we do about it?” Again, I’m afraid I’m going to be as helpful as … well, something not very helpful. [On a side note, if you can come up with an analogy for something that’s helpful, maybe you’ll get a mention in my next blog. Yay.] It depends on the circumstance. It depends on you and where you’re at in life. It depends on her. It depends on how you interact with each other. And a hundred other things. I can’t give a blanket statement of advice; because with relationships, we’re dealing with people, and people are unpredictable things.

So … sorry.

More on the unpredictability of human beings to come.