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"Demoting" a Relationship

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More relevant to the original point of the thread, many of one's past "less than perfect" performances aren't failures at all even if they're less than perfect. For instance, "We the Living" was not a failure, just because it was not "Atlas Shrugged".
Whether it is a failure depends on your goal.
You keep saying "goal" - singular, as if one can only obtain one worthy thing (all-consuming love with a soulmate) from relationships.

Usually if it doesn't last it's because there was something morally wrong with the other person, and that would destroy any "worth" that you may have gotten out of it.
Usually. But you grant that it is not always the case - and that a friendship with a morally acceptable ex may be desirable?

Your positive feelings would be based on false premises - so once you know they are false, how could you still consider those feelings valid and thus the experience worthful?
I would only agree with that from the premise that
  1. you completely misjudge your partner e.g. she's is none of the things you thought she was, or
  2. your positive feelings are based on thinking that she is The One and you have no positive feelings at all if she is anything less than a soulmate e.g. no positive feelings toward her if you find out she's "only" worthy of friendship

The first is an extremely exceptional case, though I think everyone agrees that you shouldn't be friends with an ex who is absolutely worthless. The second would be rather odd... no positive feelings for a friend???

And even if they are successes in that ["less than perfect"] sense, if you do find true love, then they will just be regrettable.
If you grant that gaining real (albeit less-than-soulmate) values like friendship (or even "lessons") are successes, then there is nothing to regret, nor any reason to regret. On the other hand, if you want all-consuming love and consider gaining a friendship instead to be a waste of time, then that would be regrettable.
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You keep saying "goal" - singular, as if one can only obtain one worthy thing (all-consuming love with a soulmate) from relationships.

I don't follow you. How could it depend on your goal if there is only one goal? As I said, you can "give up," and change the romance game to a lesser one.

Usually. But you grant that it is not always the case - and that a friendship with a morally acceptable ex may be desirable?

I would suppose. That scenario would be extremely rare; in fact I can't really picture it. But romance and romantic feelings and intimacy complicate things. The point of a break-up is that you don't love them. You don't think they deserve your love. As far as you're concerned, they got something they didn't deserve from you and you would begrudge them that. They would be a walking reminder of when you gave yourself, body and mind, to someone unworthy; of how you lowered yourself to loving that unworthy person (again, if they are worthy, or you didn't consider it lowering yourself... why break up?). There would have to be some fairly interesting and unique circumstances that would make a friendship worthwhile in light of that. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it would certainly be rare.

I would only agree with that from the premise that

I was speaking on the premise primarily that you misjudged them morally.

you completely misjudge your partner e.g. she's is none of the things you thought she was, or

The distinction between "I love you" and "I break up with you" is a wide one, yes. Even in the case of the lesser loves of one who is "settling."

your positive feelings are based on thinking that she is The One and you have no positive feelings at all if she is anything less than a soulmate e.g. no positive feelings toward her if you find out she's "only" worthy of friendship

As I said above, the lack of positive feelings is due to the fact that you gave them, physically and emotionally, what only The One deserves. They got a taste of something that was not for them. This applies in lesser cases as well, because even if you've "given up," you still have chosen to end the relationship... which is itself a statement that they don't deserve you. And in most cases it is a declaration that you realize that they never did deserve you.

Now if you have the case of a "settler" who stops the relationship because they don't have time for it with, say, a career to pursue or something like that (i.e. no moral falling out, no expectation of permanence, not really all that in love) then I could see positive feelings remaining. Until, that is, they stumble upon The One, and then the whole thing is just kind of an embarrassment. Because if you knew you could get a The One then you would have acted differently because only The One deserves you and nobody else. But then it's time to cue that Christina song that Jennifer likes and Get Over It.

It's a complicated subject. There are a lot of exceptions, and counter-exceptions.

Oh, and Hunterrose: your use of "less than perfect" in brackets is not how I would have put it. I would have said it like this:

And even if they are successes in that ["I give up on true love and seek the next best thing"] sense, if you do find true love, then they will just be regrettable.

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Now if you have the case of a "settler" who stops the relationship because they don't have time for it with, say, a career to pursue or something like that (i.e. no moral falling out, no expectation of permanence, not really all that in love) then I could see positive feelings remaining.

But then, if that is the case, why would such a person be downgraded to "friend" at all? Wouldn't they hold the same status, only from afar?

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But then, if that is the case, why would such a person be downgraded to "friend" at all? Wouldn't they hold the same status, only from afar?

Precisely. As i keep saying, there are very few things that should lead to a divorce or split when you have found the one, (and these can therefore even be known from the start). Married people do take time to pursue educational studies or long assignments in other countries at times, and they still get back together. So, why should it be any different if you are not yet formally married but love each other just as much as if you were?

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You know, Inspector, I almost think from your past 3-4 posts that you consider romance to be all about the other person.

I know this may seem weird to you, but I don't really focus much on the other person in a romance . . . the important things to me are how I feel and what I do. I don't feel cheapened if the other person changes or turns out not to be what I thought, because I know that's out of my hands. What is in my hands is how I acted in regards to what I could actually observe.

I don't think in terms of "is this person worthy of me", either, because I don't judge people, including myself, on the basis of a comparitive standard. As AR says, the rational person doesn't think, "I am better than so-and-so," but "I am good". If someone is good by an absolute standard, then they absolutely are worthy and the only question remaining is whether they are interested and whether I, also, am interested.

I meet lots of worthy people all the time, there are quite a number of them on this forum! The trouble lies in finding ones that are interested and meet my requirements for interest, not to mention ones that can sustain that interest over time. Finding the answer to that question requires a lot of time and pick-and-shovel work. I don't actually date people that aren't worthy, so why should I feel bad? Some of them simply turn out to be not-so-interesting in the long run. I don't think that failure of interest necessarily means failure of worth.

In other words, when I say that someone was "not so good for me" I mean that literally . . . they were still a good person.

Edited by JMeganSnow
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You know, Inspector, I almost think from your past 3-4 posts that you consider romance to be all about the other person.

Being selective is about selecting. Selecting based on what? Based on the worthiness of the other person. Worthy for who? For you.

Maybe I'm not understanding you...?

I meet lots of worthy people all the time, there are quite a number of them on this forum!

...Really? Most people I meet are all kinds of messed up. People worthy of even friendship are exceedingly rare. Luckily, you build those up over time.

The trouble lies in finding ones that are interested and meet my requirements for interest, not to mention ones that can sustain that interest over time.

I don't think I understand your worthy/interesting distinction. Could you maybe expound?

A lot of what you said is too abstract for me at this point, I think. I'm lacking conceptual anchors.

But then, if that is the case, why would such a person be downgraded to "friend" at all? Wouldn't they hold the same status, only from afar?

Excepting of course if you did find The One - then you wouldn't see that person romantically at all. And then like I said you have that "walking reminder" problem.

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...Really? Most people I meet are all kinds of messed up. People worthy of even friendship are exceedingly rare. Luckily, you build those up over time.

---

I don't think I understand your worthy/interesting distinction. Could you maybe expound?

Ah, maybe we're getting somewhere here.

Most of the people I meet in any capacity through nearly any channel (and keep in mind I avoid certain kinds of channels out of prudence, like I don't try to meet people in singles bars) are, at worst, borderline. That is to say that, at worst, their good and bad qualities completely cancel out. The ones I regard as good are far in the majority. Although many people possess bad qualities, these are almost always far outweighed by their good qualities.

Among all these good people, however, exist ones that I simply can't get along with in any capacity. We have nothing in common, they bore me to death, they talk about things I don't care to contemplate and are completely uninterested in things that I love. Even though they are good people and worth it to have a relationship with (for someone), they aren't interesting enough to make that investment worth it . . . for me. That's what I mean by interesting. And, possibly, it's not the best term to use, but it's the best one I could come up with.

You can easily have different levels of interest in someone, too. Say you share a hobby or a job: maybe you'll be distant pals and eat lunch together or discuss the news. Say you share a couple of hobbies and a similar outlook on life: you'll be friends and attend each others parties and loan each other money etc. If you have a nearly identical outlook on life and many shared interests you may be very close friends indeed . . . and if you're members of the opposite sex this turns into romance.

It may not take a great deal of effort to determine whether someone is worthy, but you may discover after a significant length of time that they aren't as interesting as you thought. I have some very complicated interests that don't appeal to many other people, and when I do meet someone that likes role-playing games and philosophy and, well, me, they are usually taken, more's the pity. Btw that's one of the most important shared interests for a romantic relationship: you both have to like the same people, namely yourselves.

P.S. "messed up" is not necessarily the same thing as "bad" . . . could you clarify "messed up" please?

Edited by JMeganSnow
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While I chew on that...

"Messed up" I meant in the broadest possible sense. Steaming hot bowls of crazy. Harboring terribly bad ideas. Scratch that; not just harboring, but cradling and nourishing really bad ideas. Not fully aware of how to conduct a sane and stable life. People I can only identify with in very small doses at most, because talk to them for more than 5 minutes and you're guaranteed to hear something really wrong. With lots and lots of credit card debt. And the closet-preverts. Ah, I'm surrounded by those.

I half-jokingly consider myself akin to Wonko The Sane, at least in the concept of "outside the asylum."

I guess I wasn't being specific with "messed up." But most people will frighten, disgust, or enrage me if given enough time. Or some combination of all three. Mostly I take them in small doses, using them for their individual sane sides and strategically retreating before their not-sane sides surface. I know that most of them manage to juggle those sides into a semblance of a sane life (at least, I assume so given the number of things in the world that are not on fire), and also most are threatening only to themselves. Until election day.

I'm actually quite practiced at deflecting their crazy sides and bringing their not-crazy sides to the surface so I "get along" quite well with most people. But it's draining to me. And I may come across as a bit pretentious. But that's the downside, I guess.

As you can see, I try to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. Someday I'll be rich and only have to observe these people when I choose to do so through a powerful telescope.

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So, with such a huge difference in our basic view of "other people" we are necessarily going to arrive at widely variant ideas for dealing with other people. I have days where I'm feeling terribly misanthropic, but usually I get over it and I recognize that it's due to my feeling embarrassed or put-upon or whatever. A lot of it is also because I have old habits of mistrust and I sometimes interpret people as being cruel (or stupid) when they were being nothing of the sort. However, I know this too so I try to be as objective as possible when I'm judging their actions.

I won't try to speculate on why you feel this way about other people: that'd be psychologizing and very presumptuous. I won't even try to tell you that you're wrong because I doubt that either of us know enough people to have a truly accurate view of "most people". The thing I'm wondering is whether you can see how I arrived at my ideas based on my, um, "data-set" as it were. If so, it's a lot easier to agree to disagree without rancor pending receipt of more and better information.

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I guess I wasn't being specific with "messed up." But most people will frighten, disgust, or enrage me if given enough time. Or some combination of all three. Mostly I take them in small doses, using them for their individual sane sides and strategically retreating before their not-sane sides surface. I know that most of them manage to juggle those sides into a semblance of a sane life (at least, I assume so given the number of things in the world that are not on fire), and also most are threatening only to themselves. Until election day.

I'm actually quite practiced at deflecting their crazy sides and bringing their not-crazy sides to the surface so I "get along" quite well with most people. But it's draining to me. And I may come across as a bit pretentious. But that's the downside, I guess.

As you can see, I try to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. Someday I'll be rich and only have to observe these people when I choose to do so through a powerful telescope.

Wow.

I'm sorry if that's how you feel about people. Yours seem like a very difficult and sad way to live. Most people really have no emotional impact on me what so ever, wrong ideas or not. If you actually constantly experience things like fear, disgust, and anger because of interaction with other people, maybe it's time that you reconsider certain things about your self-esteem.

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I'm sorry if that's how you feel about people. Yours seem like a very difficult and sad way to live.

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

Most people really have no emotional impact on me what so ever, wrong ideas or not. If you actually constantly experience things like fear, disgust, and anger because of interaction with other people, maybe it's time that you reconsider certain things about your self-esteem.

My self-esteem? You really, really have no idea what you're talking about.

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Mmph. Moebius, see my above comment on "psychologizing" and "presumptuous".

Seriously. Besides, I didn't provide even close to enough information for him to make a judgment like that. He doesn't know what I think of the exceptions - the good people - or what treasured place they hold in my life. Or the fact that the brilliant; the rational; the prime movers are not and have never been "most people." Or how much importance I assign to the fools I must deal with (for now). Or what my general attitude is. Actually, scratch that last bit - it should be clear from all the humor in my post (if he had bothered to pay attention to it) how seriously I take this situation (except on election day). Or any number of other false assumptions he makes.

Edited by Inspector
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Seriously. Besides, I didn't provide even close to enough information for him to make a judgment like that...[etc]

I apologize if I misinterpreted you, and it was out of line of me to talk about your self-esteem. However are you saying now that when you said that most people "frighten, disgust, or enrage [you] if given enough time", you were just kidding?

Edited by Moebius
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Yours seem like a very difficult and sad way to live.

Inspector,

I can recommend a really good self-help psychic that can help you with your self-esteem... Or perhaps you would be happier if you had some banana soup. I can also tell from your other comments on this board that you have a shortage of vitamin D in your diet, so drink more milk(but not too much) and you'll feel better. And incidentally, bed-wetting is nothing to be ashamed of, your still a good person deep, deep,....deeeep inside....don't beat yourself up over it. Further, if you would resolve your oedipus complex with your mother, you will find that you feel much less anger towards all of the idiots you run into.

If you need any other psychological help, be sure and ask. No charge for my services, although donations are altruistically accepted.

:lol:

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I apologize if I misinterpreted you, and it was out of line of me to talk about your self-esteem. However are you saying now that when you said that most people "frighten, disgust, or enrage [you] if given enough time", you were just kidding?

No, I was not kidding nor did I imply that I was. Granted, the "frighten" one is pretty rare, but I don't live in the ghetto or anything. But just as an example, I do have two co-workers who have some serious anger management issues - one of which I know is in therapy. But even that aside, I don't know why you find it so hard to believe that an Objectivist would be mad or disgusted at the kinds of ideas that are prevalent in the culture today? I realize that you are neither an Objectivist, nor familiar with America...

If you need any other psychological help, be sure and ask. No charge for my services, although donations are altruistically accepted.

Okay, but just so you know, I'll be paying you in soup. In fact, I should pay for the help you've given so far. Let me get an envelope and a ladle...

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I'm okay with that. The irs still hasn't found an efficient way to tax soup.

Sorry to ruin your bliss but - yes they did. The fair market value of goods and services exchanged via bartering must be included in the income of both parties. You need to file Form 1040 Schedule C a Form 1099-B.

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Sorry to ruin your bliss but - yes they did. The fair market value of goods and services exchanged via bartering must be included in the income of both parties. You need to file Form 1040 Schedule C a Form 1099-B.

Technically, I think soup in an envelope has no fair market value, so hopefully I will be safe from audit induced financial ruin...but you never know with those kooky guys. If they believe it to have value, it does. Interesting how subjectivism works if you are a government employee, but not for private industry, eh? Are we off topic yet?

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Technically, I think soup in an envelope has no fair market value, so hopefully I will be safe from audit induced financial ruin...but you never know with those kooky guys. If they believe it to have value, it does. Interesting how subjectivism works if you are a government employee, but not for private industry, eh? Are we off topic yet?

Oh, you're going to have to send them a noodly percentage, if you know what's good for you.

Ahem. On topic: Perhaps Moebius missed the term "or" and thinks everyone scares me. (boO!) I did say that most people were dangerous only to themselves (except on election day). Perhaps he missed the Simpsons and Hitchhikers Guide jokes, which I wouldn't blame him for, not being American.

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I don't know why you find it so hard to believe that an Objectivist would be mad or disgusted at the kinds of ideas that are prevalent in the culture today? I realize that you are neither an Objectivist, nor familiar with America...

I am not an Objectivist, but I am rather familiar with America, given that I am an American and spent over half of my life in the United States. I've lived everywhere from wealthy suburbs, ghetto neighborhood, to yuppy urban centers.

The point is I don't think it's healthy for your emotions to be so apparently dependent on or at least so heavily influenced by the irrationality of others, to the point where one of your goals in life is to "become rich so you can observe these people through a powerful telescope".

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The point is I don't think it's healthy for your emotions to be so apparently dependent on or at least so heavily influenced by the irrationality of others, to the point where one of your goals in life is to "become rich so you can observe these people through a powerful telescope".

Influenced? Try annoyed. I find it annoying having to deal with irrationality.

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...The lack of positive feelings is due to the fact that you gave [the ex], physically and emotionally, what only The One deserves. They got a taste of something that was not for them.
But that's a limited case - when you think she's The One, and find out she's not (and even then I don't see why you'd begrudge her - so long has she hasn't misrepresented herself, you'd have made the mistake, not her).

What about the majority of break-up cases, where you know she's not The One, but she is of high enough quality that you want to (having not yet met and until you meet The One) want to have a romantic relationship with her? (This is not "settling" or "giving up".)

In these majority of cases, you haven't given the ex what The One deserves, but rather what she, as an acceptable romantic partner, deserves. Assuming that the breakup isn't over an extreme difference in values, there's no reason to begrudge her or feel she's gotten something she didn't deserve. And there's certainly no reason why such an ex can't rationally be "demoted" to friend.

I infer that your standard for The One is your personal standard for whether a person is acceptable for a romantic relationship. (Otherwise she wouldn't be getting something she didn't deserve.) A bit stoic for my taste, but I don't see anything wrong with that. However there's no reason why others ought to have the same (romance only with The One) standard.

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