Supporting One’s Self-Perception

I subscribe to Psychology Today – you know, the magazine that does for Psychology and Sociology what Ladies Home Journal does for Feminism. While a lot of the articles are pap and only scratch the surface, sometimes I get a glimmer of an insight. This month, there is an article on “friendship“, which carries the following blurb:

The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who they are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who we are.

This makes me wonder about other aspects of ourselves, more specifically our love or romantic relationships. Do we do the same thing when looking for a partner; that is, do we tend to pick our romantic partners based on how they support our self image?

I can easily see how this works with a lot of relationships. If we think of ourselves as teachers, we tend to surround ourselves with people who enjoy learning from us. If we tend to think of ourselves as not worthy of respect, we might find a partner who treats us accordingly. But… does a change in our perception of ourselves – who we believe ourselves to be – one of the causes for a loss of intimacy?

I’m thinking about the seemingly inevitable differences in libido after several years together. Do we evolve into different people such that our partners no longer support our self-perceptions (and we no longer support theirs)? I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by people who are in bad, deteriorating, or otherwise miserable relationships – and almost all of them show a pattern in which they feel a distinct lack of intimacy with their partners. I’m not talking specifically about sexual intimacy, although that is also a widespread complaint. And after reading the blogs and comments, I’m sure that I’m not the only one to ask why it seems that Low Libido people always seem to get matched up with the High Libidos? Underlying many of the words of support on the Comments sections of the desperate and hurting is the not-always unspoken wish: “Wanna trade?” My question is what happened along the way? What else changed besides ten years, three kids, and two cars to make people grow so far apart? And after reading this article, I started to wonder if there isn’t some principle that can be applied to love relationships.

I realize that I’ve been thinking about this subject for most of the week, and for some reason I can’t get my thoughts on this to be coherent enough to set down. I think I’m just going to let this one sit for a bit and then come back to it later.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
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