Gravity, Opportunity, Entropy, Serendipity: Find the Right Reason for the Right Relationship

Yes.  Relationship advice from a man married three times before he turned fifty is probably like getting healthy eating tips from the owner of a Hardee's but I do have the advantage of doing it wrong in more Big Ways than you do.  Besides, you aren't going to take ANYONE'S advice because, like me, you're a stupid ape who seems to think your approach is the best approach in spite of the string of failed relationships left behind like the carcasses of dead animal in your path leading straight to you playing Mortal Combat X in your basement surrounded by empty frozen burrito wrappers and half eaten tubs of Heartache Sorbet.

Unwrap another Twix Bar and read on, my lonely friend.

There are - as far as I can tell - four reasons to couple in a committed way: Gravity, Opportunity, Entropy or Serendipity.

GRAVITY

My first wife and I met in college, started dating, and quickly became that couple in the marching band that everyone just knew would get married.  We dated for three years before I graduated (she still had another year to go) and it was simply the gravitational pull of expectation and the community around us that made the idea seem not only plausible but unavoidable.

The trouble with gravity is that as soon as you separate from the celestial bodies that hold things together (in our cases, the community of collegiate band geeks) the oxygen starts to dissapate in things.  You pretend for a while (sometimes a LONG while) that things are "evolving" but really, it's just the gravity slowly losing its grip on things.

OPPORTUNITY

My second wife was, at the outset of our dating, A) in a relationship with a married man and in need of escape, and B) looking for an artistic outlet for her many show ideas.  I was looking for someone in my life that provided some connection with my theater jones (the first wife not being a part of that world) and someone to spark some artistic sophistication within my then five year old theater company.

We found each other as opportunities rather than partners.  I helped her pull away from the elicit affair (a place where she had no power as she was "the other woman") and promoted her to the position of Artistic Director of the company (sure, she had to go through an interview process but the reality was that she was and is one of the most talented actor/writer/directors in the city of Chicago).  Our relationship was predicated on the idea that she would come up with show ideas and I would produce them.  She was a brilliant artist and I was a goddamned excellent producer.

It was pretty damn good for a while.  Then I decided that I was no longer interested in producing theater for that company, that I needed a break (especially after the painful, betrayal laden episode that lost us our theater space).  Soon after, she found herself in another extramarital situation and the marriage went to pot.

ENTROPY

By the time I met AK (not a wife but a four year, on-again, off-again relationship following my second divorce), I was in a state of free fall.  So was she.  Both of us had had our significant relationships just fall apart before our eyes, both of us were looking online for love, both of us were spinning into an entropic collision with decay and chaos when it came to our romantic selves.  Sitting on her couch, the dual presence of her ex-boyfriend and my ex-wife affected everything we did and said.  Living in the house she and her ex had bought together was...really damned odd.  Trust was demanded then discarded then demanded again.  Volitility was the rule of almost every day.

As we kept breaking up and getting back together, the lack of order and predictability seemed like a real ride but instead was just ugly and dangerous.  When my friends legitimately feared that they'd wake up one day and she would have stabbed me in my sleep, you can imagine how perilous the whole thing felt.  And so I finally broke free of the spiral into constant disorder.

SERENDIPITY

Dana and I were dancing softly in a slow rain of coincidences, fated moments, unexplainable occassions of serendipity long before we met. This beautiful shuffling dance continues to this day (a little over eight months of being married).  Not simply written off as "Oh my god! YOU like grapefruit juice, too!!" but as magical as choosing the exact same phrase to engrave in our wedding rings without so much as hinting to the other what it might be.  We were both out there, cosmically circling one another - in the same room with common friends but never taking notice of the other until it was time for us to.  Once we connected, it was for life.

As we continue on our journey, we create our own gravity, unreliant on anyone but the two of us.  We create our own unique opportunities and champion each other in opportunities that leave one of us there to watch with pride and mutual support.  And there is no entropy - while we take things a day at a time, there is a spinning into a narrative that makes perfect sense.  People who see us get this wonderful serendipity.  I anticipate that I finally got it right.

And here's the point, Lonely Heart.  There is only one of the four that worked for me.  Serendipity.  That person is out there, having relationshps and failing just like you.  He or she is simply doing EXACTLY what you're doing - for all we know, that person is reading this post RIGHT NOW!  And you can't go out and find this person.  Serendipity, by the very nature of the word, must be left alone to bubble up to the surface.  Serendipity is about discovery.  So relax, quit whining and pining and go out and do things where people might be doing things as well.  Be open to the concept that it could be ANYONE.