Thursday, November 18, 2010

Are you REALLY worth it?

An interesting question was raised to me earlier while I was at my favorite haunt regarding relationships.   I showed up to hang with my friends when out of the blue, someone who I have only begun to know as a friend threw me an interesting query:

How does one know when someone is worth it?

It seemed like a strange thing to ask, given we were at O bar enjoying our drinks while dancing to Kylie, Duffy and other wonderful singers.  The mood, though muddled a bit by a pair of horrendous monkeys who were practically dry humping on the stage, was far from serious and the drinks were still in their infancy.  I considered the fact that it may have been a question that had been nagging the said person's mind and he may have opted to ask me for my opinion given he knew me to be both old and much more introspective about things.

I repeated the question aloud and thought about it for a moment.  After all, the question had much more weight than one would expect.  Is a person's "worth", for example, something that another person has the right to determine?  Would factors such as occupation, personal wealth, good breeding, eloquence of speech and courage to come out be valid standards to forge the proper measure of a gay man?  Would judging another based on such color one as being materialistic?  Or a bigot?  Or even elitist?
We've all found ourselves at one point or another questioning our
own self-worth because of how another abused our trust and love.
Deciding it was best to get a better picture of why the question was asked, I prodded for more information and soon it became clear based on his answers why the question came to mind.  In brief, the guy had sacrificed numerous things for the other, thinking the other guy was a sure candidate for a long-term relationship, only to be rebuffed with a statement about not "wanting to be tied down" and then countered with accusations of flirting around with others and the like.   While I decided to tip-toe away from the dangerous quest of knowing whether the accusations or complaints were valid, I realized the specifics of why he asked the question were irrelevant to how I ultimately would answer the question.   And my answer was this:

The question of whether a person one likes is worth the effort or not is a question only the person involved can honestly answer.  

While other people may have opinions, informed or not, about the other, the person involved remains the sole holder of the right to decide if the other is worth his time.

Take for instance a couple where one is a wealthy, well-connected man of high profile status.  The man may be raking in thousands per week, driving the best car money can buy, and practically be a celebrity in his field of practice.  Some (and most of the time these would be parents or titos and titas) would say such a person is a great catch! That someone who is that successful is worth it, no matter how he is as a person.  For some, such a person can even be a habitual liar who sleeps around with total strangers, or a manipulative bastard who brainwashes his friends to like him by bribing them with gallant displays of generosity.  The idea that he's successful is worth those "tiny" problems.

On the other hand, imagine if one of the people in the couple happens to be a man who proclaims himself some kind of modern day hippie, despising work and relishing on spending his days doing practically nothing under the guise of searching for artistic perfection.  The lazy slob might automatically be deemed as worthless by others who think the fact he doesn't earn his keep makes him less of a man.  

But sometimes, such a strange mix can still work.  Sometimes, the unfaithful bastard in the first example might simply have psychological issues that the other understands and accepts.   Or sometimes, the sloth in the second example might truly be fantastically creative when the moment hits him and his partner embraces that probability and waits with him for that moment.
It takes two.  Two people who sleep around freely in a real open-relationship would work.
But one doing so, while the other has no idea or is kept from doing the same... that's doomed to fail.
Are these relationships doomed to fail?  Are they bound to work?

Maybe.  The only ones who can really answer that are those involved, if you ask me.  Yes, maybe they can be abusive.  Maybe they can be unfair.  But if the people involved ultimately are happy, then they deserve that happiness, as twisted and inappropriate as others might deem it.  Hey, come on, think about it.  We are gay.   We are in same-sex relationships.  A majority of the people of the world already deem us immorally inappropriate and biologically wrong.  

Does that make the relationship worth it, though?  Does that make it worth the pain?  The anguish?  The self-doubt?

Be honest.  
But while ideals are far from typical, I personally believe that one should always strive to at least reach for them.  And in a relationship, the ideals I uphold are those of Trust, Sensitivity, Patience and Responsibility.

In a relationship that is worth it, I believe both couples strive to maintain an ever present existence of trust with one another.  Trust after all, once broken, can take quite much more time than expected to heal.  And worse, many mistake a "bahala attitude" as trust.    Sensitivity, on the other hand, when present already reduces the presence of infidelity, selfishness and shallowness.  When one learns to hold one's partner's feelings in mind, one remains conscious of things that may strain the other's trust and patience.  A sensitive person would never hit on someone else, because that person knows such an act can be painful to the other.  A sensitive person would never claim to be okay with something, then complain about it once the other actually does it.  Patience is the glue that strengthens the three.  When one is patient in a relationship, one embraces the fact that no matter how close and wonderful two are together, one accepts the truth that they are still two different people.  And two different people may have differences in opinions, interests, or taste.   One learns to respect the needs of another, but, guided by sensitivity and empowered by trust, knows that such time will not be abused to the point it leaves the other feeling dejected or unwanted.   And lastly, Responsibility.  Knowing what resources exist in the relationship, from the material (cash) to the immaterial (time) and understanding that one has to treat such things with a much more mature perspective.  Many who simply "do what they want since no one is complaining" fail to realize how irresponsible they are.  Such people try to throw the blame on the other for not "telling them to stop" as if they were not given the brains to realize how abusive they are getting.

(I posted about this here too, for those who haven't read it.)

And with those said, we return to the question:

How does one know when someone is worth it?

I think ultimately we all can try to assume someone is for an unspecified period of time.  When we find someone we like, or feel we have a connection to, we decide, "Yes this person is worth it" for a period of time.  Ironically, this period of time tends to be the time we are merely getting to know someone more.  During this period, we cancel plans to make time for the other.  Or cancel purchases to treat the other out somewhere we like.  Many make the mistake of putting their best "show" forward, rather than being themselves, thinking it would be better to "win someone over" by showing them an "ideal" rather than to let someone get to know them as them and face the consequences.    But I personally don't think there's anything wrong with assuming someone is worth it this early.

In fact, I think ultimately, we never know for absolute certain if someone is worth it.  We can only assume.  Or rather, to be more accurate, we can believe the other is.

When we find someone we feel is worth it, we make a leap of faith.  We trust in something that doesn't exist.  We give that someone a chance to show us otherwise.  And sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes, we give more chances.  Sometimes, we give up.  Too soon.   Too late.

But we believe.

And that is a belief no one can tell us is wrong.  Because as individuals we have the right to make such decisions.   What we should never do, however, is blame the other for choosing to believe.    (We can always, however, curse them for lying if they do.)  And if we find someone who deserves us, it won't be hard to see how they too took that chance and believed in us.

And reached for the same ideals you had.

Leaping ain't too hard if you know you're both doing it for each other.
There is no harm in loving.  No harm in caring.  No harm in believing.
But if that trust is shattered, that sensitivity is trampled on, that patience is broken, and that sense of responsibility is abused, I only hope that you realize these things and remember:  You deserve better.

And someone out there, deserves you too.


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