When I have sought or mourned love, has it been about the person or the services that they supplied?
I know relationships are mostly mystery. I am going to shine this light anyway and see what it illuminates.
I have loved and been loved by some great people – and I still do and am. You know who you are. Truly wonderful beings and regular mortals like me.
Now I ask myself how much I desired or desire or even saw or see you. Actual you. And why? Or was it the services you supplied me that I became so attached to? Was it the actual relationship or the fact or at least idea of a relationship that I was in love with?
I know “services” is a terrible word to use for this. I use it deliberately to provoke myself and you. I will list some. Holding me. Cooking me food. Listening to me. Appreciatively receiving my services. Picking the kids up. Picking up after the kids. Paying part the house. Sharing rituals as simple as the morning routine. Companionship, meaning. A dream realised. Unconscious things like criticising me so I feel the comfort of the familiar, not mentioning important things so I don’t have to confront them. Nurturing my sense of belonging, meaning, connection, being okay, while I learn those things for myself.
We supply services and disservices to each other, each with a cost and benefit to both. We could all go on and on.
It seems both terrible and wonderful to contemplate.
Amongst all that, then, what is the role of an actual person? An actual relationship? What even are those things? How do I find my way to even notice an actual person?
I guess by establishing a reliable supply of all those services for myself, in a good mix of directly from myself (adulting) and through reciprocal relationships with various others. Once at the end of a major relationship, I explicitly sought other people to supply the missing services. One example was I found a friend with kids who knew mine and we had a day at a skifield together. Lunch out of the boot of the car.
Right so all my other relationships are about services?
A breakup is a wonderful time to contemplate all this. Even if you take the get angry and get together with lots of other people approach, you kind of are doing this. But maybe when you are in a relationship is the more important time to be shopping around to get both my conscious and unconscious needs met.
So if I could achieve that, what need would there be for a new relationship? What would be the point? What questions could we ask about it that do not imply some kind of service to be supplied – exchanged, of course?
In Imago there is or at least was this quiet explicit idea of requests. Real requests as opposed to demands. NVC has them too. You might say for example, it would be really great for me if when we meet up at the end of the day, you take a few minutes to listen to me while I tell you about my day. And I might say yeah sure, how many times a week would work for you? Or I am sorry, that’s too hard for me, could you suggest something else that would be good for you?
Though it does not have penalties for non-performance, it does have appreciative reviews. It is starting to sound in the region of a Service Level Agreement to me.
Then there is the appalling mess where neither of us have the first clue what services each other are taking about. Tino Rangatira? Mmmkay. Kawanatanga. WTAF!
I myself explore culture in organisations through a service design lens. What is it that you and I are trying to achieve here? Maybe we could exchange together in some way that would work out well for us both? I’d like to try something with you, and learn from that, in a way that fits with what you are trying.
OK another attempt to step past all the Reasons to relate with someone. Maybe I could just be me, settled here now, open, and see you, in this moment. Not know what or why. Just be with me and you. What is the point of that? Let that go maybe. Just be. With you. For a moment.