Bonaventure Valentine

Bonaventure Valentine

I am not the type of person who has ever felt like I "needed" a romantic relationship. I have wanted them and I have had them, but I have never seen romantic bonds as paramount for me considering the other blatantly perceivable necessities in our modern world.

At one point I thought I might be a monk or a nun, but I am "a bit" too flashy (and mouthy) for that world. So, I have explored romance. I engage in romantic relationships when it occurs to me as desirable, worthwhile and consensual, but I do not go seeking for them.

Every time I did that at a younger age it led me into "extra" experiences. Things that did not need happening, but happened anyway. Because I chose them; because I consented to others choosing for me; or because I arrived into circumstances not of my choosing, but that I did not have the wherewithal to respond to quickly or wisely. 

My reservations with romantic relationships have often been inspired by my observations of them. I have yet to witness a romantic relationship that truly reaches for equity in regards to what, to me, seems most pertinent. 

By my count, most people in romantic relationships are not inclined (even after experiencing misstep after misstep) to pay consistent attention. Checking-in, communicating in-depth and when in pain, and continuously learning from what is taking place within their relationship dynamic is lived out as if it were a burdensome labor as opposed to a loving choice. 

It would seem the general imagining (the societal standard) is that actually knowing your partner and, thus, actually being with them in realtime is an inconvenience. Something too arduous to be worthwhile. 

Rather, we are encouraged to find that "one person" "forever and ever" who we can count on to be what we expect of them. We are groomed to make verbal, emotional, physical and contractual agreements with others that are then, by some magical destination called "marriage," made to exist "outside of time;" upon the conditions on which we said and made them. 

All at once, someone has promised (sworn?) to commit to exist beside you forever based upon terms and circumstances that are at once rendered outdated by the certainty of the next moment; and the fact that no one person (or two people, or any number of people) controls time and how it comes into happening.

Suddenly, one finds themself in the habit of expecting to see their partner in a fashion which makes them more complacent than aware. This allegedly provides "security" in an insecure world. In such a way that eventually one ceases asking questions about their significant other(s) and how those SO's see themselves on any given day. 

The assumption being that once a commitment has been promised or sworn into, there is nothing left to know about this person that will take one unawares in a profound way. "I don't know who you are anymore" has been said by many people, but the real question is, when was the last time they even asked?

As if time, experience and change are not elements that exist regardless of human nostalgia, preference and sentiment. (The animals hear the tree fall, George Berkeley...)

A friend of mind calls these "McMarriages." I have, in different times and contexts, called them "Welationships." But, ultimately, what they become are bonds that do not work out; that do not resolve themselves; that send the individuals involved reeling and resenting themselves and others. Extra experiences that can provide profound lessons, but, as they are generally processed and understood, mostly create baggage

I find such romances to be robotic in nature. Lived out as if bonds are synthetic. As if you are not involved with a person who has also arrived at every moment as a result of being unpredictable while learning about themself. As if you are with someone who is not living and, thus, growing and changing. As if engaging in partnership renders something dead and therefore "constant" and predictable (synthetic).

We enter into romantic relationships that (eventually if not immediately) dehumanize other people in order to "build up" our own fallacies. We decide who our partners are based on some past experience of them, but then stop checking in with them about who they are becoming. We expect sameness and make our love 2-dimensional in a world where expectations are less informative than actually knowing.

By tuning out, we decide that our partners should be what we want instead of learning to love and live with the partners who are actually present for the relationship. We fool ourselves into imagining our partner(s) should be what we desire of them, rather than who they show themselves to be. We play into our blind spots by avoiding important conversations that would reveal what we truly find relevant. We sacrifice ourselves for our romantic relationships.

Frankly, such rote relating gets real boring real fast. 

To imagine you can arrive in a relationship and stop paying attention to it, stop noticing how it functions, stop being a part of its creation; and, yet, start acting as if it goes on by itself independent of you and then start creating young people who you will call children ... can be deeply misguided.

Of course, this has long been true. Only, the difference here is that we know more than our speciel (is this a word tho?) ancestors. Much more. Or, at least, many of us have access to "the more" that we could know--which does not speak to whether we use, or are competent at using, such access and knowledge.  

What I find so profoundly boring about heteronormative relationships is that they don't try to account for what will obviously be a continually shifting dynamic between the individuals involved. If anything, they try and stay predictable and set themselves upon the trajectory of "one size fits all" relating. Which, concordantly, is what often does them in down the line. 

Most relationships do not account for the reality of the way things are: that every person changes subtly and constantly, at least every day of their lives; and so most couples are not prepared for the myriad of possibilities that stem from such circumstances. People arbitrarily agree on predicted outcomes and then try and set them "in stone." As if life itself were binary rather than multifarious. As if the circumstances of any relationship could ever remain in a place of your choosing. 

Heteronormative relationships are stagnant because they aim to remain where they have begun. They feign ignorance in the face of learning. And yet, change is constant. No matter how hard people try to not change or be changed, no matter how much people try to ignore what is happening around them and therefore coming upon them. 

Time ain't here for us, mayhne. It's just happening to us. Regardless of our individual wants. 

And what I have learned from nearly 30 years of timing, which I acknowledge is chump change numerically, is that most people are paying attention to ephemeral wants. Most people arrive at a place where they feel complacent, which then makes them feel confident to "leave" themselves in their comfort zones, begin a routine in lieu of being present in everyday existence, and then call it being with their "soul mate."     

*Yawn AS FUKH* I. Cannot. 

Many people I have encountered can't even face themselves. Distraction and denial become preferable to hashing out personal problems. People don't want to be single because they're lonely and bored of their own company, but then wonder why they can't find "someone." YOU ARE SOMEONE. Learn to be with yourself. Often. It could be permanent and that shouldn't be a problem! Why should someone else be with you if you don't even want to be with yourself?!

And yes, my Venus is in Aquarius. But the truth is, when it comes to romance, I'm not experienced or arrogant enough to pretend I know what I want. Yet I'm expected to use a dating app? HAHAHA. I meet people through life, without micromanaging, and it still doesn't prove fail-safe. How is adding a preconceived filter to my assumptions about what I imagine I can find desirable going to help?

My best romantic relationships were the ones I never planned for and the ones I didn't even have the foresight to imagine. Even when Existence provides me with the most "current" versions of my preferences, I tend to realize that romantically I don't know myself as well as I would have it.

So, I'm in the midst of the long process of stopping with the expectations and the wants. I'm abandoning my ideas of desire and the emotionality so often attached to them. People have to stop acting as if they are entitled to something we are only privileged to stumble upon. That is, romantic love. 

And yea, being in-love is nice in the moment. Occasionally, it can even inspire something profound as its existence pulsates through the social spectrum. But, mostly, it's self-indulgent when there is a whole spectrum of love that can prove much more wide-reaching and productive.  

So I opt for unvapid love that is not built upon stagnance. I opt for love that is fluid and adaptive. That is honestly the only love I want.  

Love of people. Love of freedom. Love of those things that must be done for future generations. Love of this awesomely equipped sphere we are so privileged to have landed upon. Love of change when it shows you it is coming

And if I have the bonaventure of coming upon someone to romantically be with who isn't leaning into the mindnumbing abyss of pop-heteronormativity; while I don't expect them, if they exist, I hope I recognize them. In any/all of their potential forms. May I be constant in my interest in getting to know them, for however long our "forever" may be for. 

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