Albany Journal – 7/28/12

I can claim no expertise in my realtionships with women, but what I can say is that courting a woman is much like a game of sorts.  We at least try to see who needs the other more, and while this is a very immature game to say the least, such gaming is usually commonplace amongst new couples everywhere – unless some of the men involved in a relationship have straight-talking women who hate playing games with their mates, simply because – as we all know – such games, in the end, are foolish. 

When we play games with our significant others, it’s almost like hiding love from the other for the ruthless sake of power and control within the relationship.  Why do relationships have to be this way, I’m really not sure, but the most active gaming usually takes place at the beginning of a relationship, which is where I am now with the woman that I’m seeing, whose name is Lisa.

I often wonder too, just to doubt myself, that this is a game that I had invented in my own head, as my heart and my mind scream out that I am indeed in need of some kind of co-dependency and am constantly going about the task of placing my hooks into the women that I see, so that she can put her hooks into me as well, and that’s when we become equally addicted to each other, so that we both can’t even walk down the street without thinking of the other’s needs.  In our Western world, we tend to shun co-dependency in relationships, as, ever since the Womens’ Rights movement, we are told that we ought to be more independent as people and less weighted down by the sick and twisted obession games that we play – just to see who has the greater control and power within the relationship and to determine who should lead the way – the old game of patriarchy versus matriarchy.  If one wants to foresake the gaming, then it comes down to the issue of trust.  Do you trust your mate not to cheat on you or flirt with other guys?  Is she being honest and true to you, or is she just pretending and seeing other people on the side? 

Another trust issue involves money.  Even the children that you have with her get involved – if one is able to take a relationship that far and have the woman love you enough to bear your children.  Even these important factors become involved, and I can somewhat predict that after this milestone in a relationship is reached, all games somehow stop for the health and well-being of the children – or at least this is what should happen.  I can’t say whether this is the norm or not, but from what I hear from women is that (a) sex changes everything, and  (b) having children also changes everything.  Gaming usually shouldn’t penetrate the couple that has children to look after, even though I’m sure it does, as the husband and wife can at least compete for the affections of a child or any number of children for their love.

For me, however, it’s incredibly hard to tell what a woman wants, because I’ve never really been able to read women – through body language and such – and even though I have dated women, in the present and the past, I really don’t understand what motivates a woman or what he needs are.  I don’t know how to turn them on, and after all of these years of being without a woman, the only thing I really do know is how to turn them off by being the annoying, insecure, and worrying pest that I am so used to being by chasing her down everywhere she turns.  Maybe women want this?  To make fools out of their men?  To protect themselves against a man’s simplicity and coarseness? 

With this being said, entering within a new relationship can be tricky.  With women I can only get so far in a relationship until the woman simply cuts me off and lets me go like some wandering puppy dog who claims that he could easily live without her and go his own way without any problems.  And within this lie, I fail to admit that I really do need her so – an admission that we hide just because we never want to appear insecure or show our weaknesses if only to show our strength and our capacity to find another girlfriend whenever we want to – as we’re men after all, right?

But I would argue here – without too much experience – that co-dependent relationships are pretty much the norm in other continents, and such relationships are shunned only in Westernized societies.  In America, the co-dependent one is shown the life-long process of keepin an essential distance from their significant others – through group therapy and other psychological remedies.  From what I hear, the person who has co-dependency issue must remain in treatment for the course one’s lifetime – which is kind of like sentencing an innocent man to a lifetime in prison.  I guess I fail to see the point of having a relationship that falls beyong the circle of two indenpendent team mates of sorts living their lives through the pummeling of others who may even have better relationships and couldn’t care less about winning over the other.  I’ve never heard something taken so far downhill than being teammates with another woman instead of the simple eternal necessity of loving the other.  I recall talking to a woman on a chairlift in Vermont how she was seeing a man for many years but couldn’t say at all if she actually loved him.  Such an admission was striking to say the least.  Better not to fall in love then, I suppose, because the last thing that this sick and tired world of ours needs is a couple of teammates who are not in love but merely in love with hacking other people to death to move up society’s ladder.  What a terrible vision that has replaced standard reality!

Harvey Havel is the author of five novels. This past spring, Stories from the Fall of the Empire, his sixth book and his first collection of short stories, was recently released by Publish America. Later this summer, Two Tickets to Memphis, his sixth novel, is forthcoming from Publish America as well. Havel has previously taught Writing at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and also at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose, both in Albany, New York. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971, Havel now resides full time in Albany, New York.