I Now Pronounce You

All is Fair in Love and War

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on July 18, 2007

As I’ve mentioned before, I love to drive. It’s like a moving meditation for me and on Sunday I had close to 5 hours worth of asphalt therapy.

I had been looking forward to the long drive up to Delaware for a wake and the long drive back to just let my mind go and deal with everything that was going to happen that day. But, since I’d sold my car I am now a car renter (as opposed to a car owner) that meant that I had to take the train to Budget Rental Car…

Which would have been fine save for one little detail.

When I got to the metro, looking and feeling somber in my black suit, I found waiting for the train going in the other direction…


This marked the first time that I’d seen her since I’d gone back to pick up my stuff and found out how angry I was about the whole situation. I saw her first, and then a split second later she saw me, smiled, and turned off her iPod to say “hi”.

There was a hug. There was the “it’s good to see you”…the “how have you been”…she asked why I was dressed up on a Sunday and I told her…there were “I’m so sorry’s” and “it’s Ok’s”. And overall…it was good. Good enough, anyhow.

A short time later I was in a shiny mostly new maroon Subaru Forester heading out 50E towards the Maryland Shore.

Fast forward through the day…

On the way back, I started thinking about all kinds of things…the wake I’d attended, Lou’s Mom, the obvious love his father had been a part of for the past 38 years (38 YEARS, folks) and of course…

Seeing exFiance.

It’s kicked around in my head since Sunday…and for some reason so has the phrase “All is Fair in Love and War”.

It occurs to me that we do what we do to get what we want, and that’s that. Men will say “I don’t trust women because” blah blah blah…women will say “I don’t trust men because” etc etc etc…and only occasionally will either of us admit that what we do is just as bad as what they do. That there are damned good reasons for both sides to say “I don’t trust your actions or the motivations behind them”.

Ahh, the motivations behind them.

Isn’t this the sticking point? What is it that motivates the game playing? The sexual dynamics? The little white lies and the withheld or outright false information? The cheating and the flirting? The “rules” and the tests and all of the reasons that we look at each other and lable the opposite sex as “suspect”…why do we do it?

As usual, I’ve got a theory.

We do it because at the end of the day it’s all we know…it’s how we stumble towards what we think is happiness. It’s not because we’re mean or spiteful. It’s what we think is going to lead to some better place. I really believe that, even about some people that don’t deserve any sort of benefit of any sort of doubt.

I also believe that when we stop playing the games and stop giving in to our fear induced patterns and we put ourselves out there…that’s the only time you’re being truly yourself. It’s the only time you’re alive.

So why don’t we all take a deep breath and stop?

Because all is fair in love and war and it’s much easier to play games than to be exposed. We want to feel a certain way, so we do and say whatever we need to in order for that to happen. We’re like children, really.

Bad fucking children.

So you can’t be shocked, really, when someone does do something that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just because you wouldn’t have done what they did to you, does NOT mean you wouldn’t do something to someone else that they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing to you. To think otherwise is just plain dumb.

What I think I’ve learned of late is that we’re fear based creatures until something gives us cause to be otherwise. At first, we come out of the womb screaming and crying and terrified of everything we see. It’s all too bright, too loud, and too cold and it’s our mothers that teach us to trust. That teach us not to scream and cry and carry on…to not pout when we want something and to be “big boys and girls”.

Then we go out in to the world and see it from somewhere other than our parents protected home and again, it’s all just too bright, too loud, and too cold. We take our old lessons and we learn new ones. But somewhere along the line we learn that those that aren’t connected to us don’t deserve our trust…so we put them through games and hoops to make them earn it…

But like bad children we often don’t realize that we have to earn their’s too.

So the world, for lots of us, is going to remain too bright, too loud, and too cold. It stays that way because of the “three day rule” and the “Factor of 3”. Because of big things like false “I love you’s” and petty bullshit like ignoring someone to get their attention. It stays that way until we find someone who’s games and bullshit somehow matches up with our own in a way that makes us feel safe. And in that safety we let go over time and find ourselves (hopefully) 30 years later looking back and knowing that what we had made it so much better than how it could have been if we’d held on to all that crap that gave us meaning before.

So…was I mad at exFiance? Sure. Like I’ve said, that had more to do with me than her…but there were a few of her “rules of engagement” that rubbed me wrong. But all’s fair…

And now? I’m hanging up my cleats and gloves because I’m not interested in games anymore. I don’t have the energry or the desire to play ’em and when I see it being played against me I think I’ll just pass.

I’m more of a “tell it like it is” guy than a “how long has it been/can I call now” guy.

Unless she’s…you know…like, totally hot or something.


15 Responses to 'All is Fair in Love and War'

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  1. Justin said,

    I’m more of a “tell it like it is” guy than a “how long has it been/can I call now” guy.

    Sometimes, it feels something like pride when I reflect on the very same thing. Oh, but how often I feel the exception, not the rule. Fortunately, I discovered your kindred spirit.

    Brother in arms! Or lack thereof, as it were.

  2. Virgle Kent said,

    “Unless she’s…. you know… like, totally hot or something”

    That line got me. This is what I think about when I think about playing games because you like the person and that’s all we know how to do to get them to like us back. I think I’m agree with you here. I guess my thought is that we (men) play two kinds of games. Games to get girls to sleep with us (short term) and games to get girls to fall for us and like us back when we really like them more than just sex (long term).

    The reason for the games is because we don’t know them yet, we don’t know everything on their “can’t list” so out of fear of losing them too soon we play games to “inch in” (I hope you caught that.

    I mean imagine if a girl I liked knew I like to put a sock puppet on my penis and perform musical skits with it. That might be a little awkward

  3. roissy said,

    i’m curious… does your ex-faincee know about this blog? if so, what do you think she thinks about it?

  4. Justin; I think I’m looking to make a conscious effort NOT to get bogged down in all of this. I don’t know that I’ll take pride in it or not…but I do know that the more I think about doing less of “that” the more I feel comfortable with the idea of dating.

    VK; Oh, I caught that. Just the tip, right? I totally agree that there are two types of games. Wait up…you’ve never played the sock puppet game?

    Roissy; She does know about it. I learned this through mutual friends. We’ve never discussed it as, like I mentioned, I’ve only seen her once. Although there’s really nothing in here that I would consider objectionable. I’ve never bad mouthed her. I’ ve never given out details of her private life.

  5. mm said,

    Great post. I think another reason we play games and use manipulation is to protect ourself and our self-image.
    Until we can learn to reject our need to protect our images, to constantly ‘look good’ to live up to the ideals of collective society, we’ll never be able to embrace pure love in its entirety. There will always be something missing.

  6. “I think I’ll just pass”

    That’s two of us, brother. I’ve been feeling selfish and not tolerant of BS for a few months now, and you know what? It’s great. I’m having fun by having fun and not by how many notches or girl situations I’ve got going, which was always just needless drama filled anyway.

  7. carrie m said,

    excellent post. although I find it really funny that so many people (myself included) claim not to play games…yet we never seem to find each other. that is decidedly NOT a jab at you, just one of those funny observations i’ve made in this game called love. or something.

  8. College Grad said,

    As someone who’s slowly treading back into things that resemble relationships, I just think being real is much simpler for me than trying to figure out if I’ll seem desperate if I call, or whipped if we hang out a couple nights in the row. I mean, what does it matter? Do what you’re comfortable with and be happy. At least, that’s what I think.

  9. irina said,

    I wear my heart on my sleeve. So I get burned… who cares? I grow, and I get over it. I’d rather do that than play games any day.

    Unless she’s…you know…like, totally hot smart and talented or something.

  10. mm; Amen.

    Brooklyn; I think it’s easier to just stop than people realize. And I don’t know that I consider it more selfish than playing games…as “mm”‘s comment touches on.

    Carrie M; I do realize that the people that say “I’m not into games” are usually the ones that play them the most. I think the difference for me is that from where I’m sitting now, looking back, I see when I was playing games v. when I wasn’t so much more clearly than ever, and how happy I was in each situation. One guess which one made me happier…

    College Grad; I think you’re pretty much right on.

    Irina; I thin kyou nailed part of it when you said “So I get burned… who cares?”. You have to be willing to adopt that attitude.

    The last line was a joke, really…which I think you know. Smart and talented (and funny…I dig funny) takes the cake.

  11. sunchaser said,

    I have to disagree to some extent, because not everyone out there has time or inclination for silly games.

  12. megan said,

    I think you’re right on – anyone who has both broken someone’s heart and had their own heart broken knows that so-called “bad” behavior does not mean you’re a bad person. But it’s SO FREAKING HARD not to feel guilty (if you are doing the breaking) -or- hold it against the other person when they are, simply for doing what you or they know, deep down, is right. It can take years – but at some point, it all comes around and makes sense. I am SO thankful for my exes who are back in my life – who had the grace to forgive me for ending things, for showing me that I’m worth having in their lives even if they can’t have me the way they wanted to. And now I’m getting to see them find the person who IS right for them – and that’s a joy in itself. The guy who broke my heart exclusively hasn’t gotten to a point where I can return the favor, but I hold out hope 🙂

  13. Tracy said,

    most people are selfish. we learn selfish behavior as soon as we’re out of the womb (feed me, hold me, change me). most people fail to ever realize that love is an unselfish act and the romantic love that most people know is conditional.

  14. Tracy said,

    PS – Now imagine if you shared a close social circle with your Ex, in which she observed you talking to and being with members of the opposite sex and you get to meet her new love interest at your friend’s annual fourth of July party. It forces to come to terms with why you two didn’t work out.

    A friend gave me a great perspective on ex’s. Be grateful for everything that person brought to your life, every lesson you learned, every positive quality they embodied, and remember those only and be thankful. If you can’t think of anything positive then truly be grateful they are no longer in your life.

    PPS – Every pain, every bad experience, we cause ourselves…

  15. Katie Hey-Oh! said,

    i believe all is fair in love (not so much war, but that’s a different blog) and find that i say it to myself pretty routinely – often to make myself feel better about some crap-ass situation i’ve found myself in. here’s what i really believe, in reference to tracy’s comment – every person is selfish through and through, and that includes in love, romantic or unconditional. something you feel so strongly gives back to you in some way (even if at times it’s only making you feel sorry for yourself) and nothing anyone ever does is without personal investment. unless you accidentally do something (woops! broke your stereo as opposed to woops! slept with your sister). nicer people just have different motivations for what makes them feel good. and you can’t force love, no matter how nice you are. you just hope you love the same person who loves you.

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