That respect is earned is said often. What’s not said so often though, is that loyalty also has to be earned. Though it’s a good thing when people give each other basic human respect, and people who share common values, some degree of loyalty, it’s not a given. Especially in these days when the fact that there are no social contracts between classes has twisted too many people into discarding them even within families, people need to be aware of how to create a circle organically from zero.
What leads many people who believe they have the luxury of introversion take that option is not some imaginary danger. It’s caution that they’re told is anxiety about being around humans who may well be hostile or exploitative. This is not to say that it is never pathological. It can be. The basis of it though is quite healthy: self preservation.
For those of us who grew up in households wherein the “or else” for being pleasant or compliant was a survival level threat, we experience a front row seat education on how to create false loyalty. We experience a mixture of love for and fear of people who may harm us if we disagree or disobey. We learn to be agreeable to people we love, and equate disagreement or disapproval with hatred or danger. We lived with people for whom being disagreed with or disobeyed made our safety or our lives worthless.
Unless there is some early counter or intervention, we carry that lesson to adulthood into our intimate relationships. Some become predatory like their authority figures and continue the cycle. Some of us decide we don’t want to be predators, but in that group are those who choose to continue the role of the compliant or “codependent”. Some wish to break out of that dynamic altogether. I am one of the latter.
Thing is, it’s a lifelong journey. I’ve screwed it up many times. Y’all know the latest was letting dudes think they were my boyfriend when they hadn’t earned that from me. I understand how emotional dishonesty created a few situations in which, again not excusing anyone else’s treachery or stupid, I had to own my portion of responsibility. In case anyone missed the point of me relaying my experiences in these matters though, I wanted to make it plain in this post.
Whether through fear or whether through compliance, deceit about who you are, what you want, and what you need can only create a false loyalty at best. You need to be real with yourself first of all, and you need to be real with your partner or potential partners. By being real I don’t just mean doing what seems right at the moment or reacting from your impulses. People mistake that for being real when it’s just being reactive. In your mating/love life if in nothing else, you need to know your motivations and think long term.
Now, some are not going to like this, but regardless of your gender, your first priority as an adult must be stability. This means not only that you do your best to have some kind of meaningful occupation that feeds, shelters, and clothes you, but that you take any barriers or threats to that seriously. You should be thinking about this even regardless of your class because as this new virus is teaching many, there being people running around without the means to protect and stabilize themselves means they can’t protect or stabilize you. You are not just in danger of a revolution if you are a bad leader.
The details in the struggles of masculine people and feminine people are different, and those in between, even more varied. Still, whatever it takes to create a strong foundation for whatever kind of future you’d like to have, you should be doing. If someone is going to be your partner, they should be compatible with the kind of future you want. If they are not then you can love them from afar. Among those who should be afar, are people who drain your emotional resources.
People who confuse you. People who lie too much. People who corner you into lying too much. People you’re overly tempted to lie to because you know they can’t handle the truth. People you know would leave if they knew your truth. They all need to be re-educated as to who you are if you have made the mistake of garnering false loyalty. If they can’t handle you, then they need to be let go.
In my recent upgrades, I am very happy to report that Shai can still handle me. People ask why we stayed together when he aged out of “normal” sex. Well, this is why. What you see is what you get, and he really would rather face an unpleasant truth than be misled. I am grateful to him for this and to his parents. While we’re at it, I’m grateful for my parents’ continued recovery as well. We’re all in this circle, recovering from some combination of historical, cultural, and family traumas, and we’re all growing and improving at our own speeds.
Basically, you don’t have time for bullshit in your life. You may think you do, but you don’t. You may think you need those people you’re twisting your soul in knots to get along with or keep around, but you don’t. If they were dependable, you wouldn’t need to jump through so many hoops. Sooner or later, they will betray you or abandon you or both regardless of what you do to please them. You can’t make someone happy who is determined to be miserable. You also can’t cure an exploiter by playing the sucker.
The foundation of a good relationship is an exchange of energy. It won’t always be balanced forever or every day, but there should be an attempt to keep it somewhat balanced at the beginning. Over time, as you get to know each other, you’ll snap into your roles, but these should not be entered blindly. There should also be clarity even about things people often don’t want to talk about like sex including the dirty details, housekeeping, money, and death.
Like it or not, relationships are transactional. There are no altruists. Even the most seemingly unselfish person is “unselfish” because it makes them feel good to be so. You attract loyal, truthful, dependable,stable people by being a loyal, truthful, dependable and stable person yourself. You don’t earn it by being a sucker or spineless and living in fear of people rejecting or abandoning you. That fear will make you a liar or at least on some level deceptive. I’ve made this mistake. I had the luck of encountering mostly decent people who wouldn’t exploit this, but some did. When I stopped making that mistake, not only did it protect me from trash, but it made my relationships with decent people exponentially better.