Seriously? you want to marry her?
I got into horrible trouble after a conversation, with my sisters psycho ex-boyfriend. “Dude, stop. I know you are in love with my sister but seriously? Come on buddy, there are two types of girls in the world, the ones that you marry and the ones that you sleep with. Honestly, which one do you think my sister is??” As you can imagine I got in a whole lot of trouble for this one.
My friend Jen is really frustrated, she is caught between two guys. One is the Sportsfish and the other is the Keeper. I didn’t know this terminology until Jen explained it too me, “It is from the comedian Steve Harvey, who wrote the book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. “Hmmm…” I said, “That sounds a lot like my theory of the Nester and the Breeder.” I haven’t read his book but the analogy is excellent so I am going to steal it to explain something I seriously doubt Steve does.
There are two states that nearly all of the people we are attracted to fall under. The Sportsfish and the Keeper. The Sportfish is the exciting and unobtainable guy/girl, they are incredibly fun and slightly out of our reach. The Keeper represents safety and security, and are too easily reached, eventually becoming boring.
Simple? Really…? Lets add a few layers of complexity.
1. Everyone, including you, has the capacity to be a Sportsfish or a Keeper
2. The others perception of you pushes you to either state
3. We often try to force the Sportsfish into the role of the Keeper (chill out Captin Ahab)
4. After being burned by the Sportfish many of us flee to the Keeper (then we cheat on them)
5. There are apparent conflicting demands of human nature, we want the Sportsfish that is a Keeper
This is one of the things that makes it so frustrating to be human. We live fricken forever, we need to be paired to raise our young, and we have a ridiculously over developed mind that revels in throwing monkey wrenches into the cogs of its evolutionary programing. We are probably the only animal that enters the world so bloody confused over the opposite sex.
The failure pattern
I am no exception and I did what most people do. I attempted to land the Sportsfish for most of my life. I lived for the danger and the excitement, I LOVED the chase and the attempts at taming this ferrel beast but I got cut, slashed, hurt. I bled with tears and frustration over the need for security and mental health, I screamed on the inside for something simple, normal and tame. What did I do? Exactly what you did or are going to do soon. I found “the Keeper” and? I got so bloody bored that I vomited peace and calm all over the shoes of my security.
There are a few phases of maturity that people go through with relationships. Maybe they start from the direction of security or the exciting side of danger. Whichever side they start from they will oscillate from one to the other. They will use one failure to prove to themselves that the opposite must be the solution, which of course in it’s failure will point back to the next extreme.
The understanding of this dichotomy is the second stage of relationship maturity. It is when one realizes that they need both the Sportsfish and the Keeper to be happy.
Life and the perfect wave
There is a secret to life that parallels all relationships, life is not static nor should it be. There is no destination, everything in life is a vision that we put into motion, flowing over the completion of that vision with the next. With life, the secret to incredible passion and Joy is riding the cusp of one’s comfort zone, riding it as a surfer would a wave. This comfort zone will ebb, flow and oscillate and you must be willing to limberly dance on it’s edge.
Attempting to land the Sportsfish is the same as the surfer dropping into a wave much too big for him or her. It will tumble them every time. The Keeper wave is equally as disappointing and can’t challenge the surfer’s abilities or help them grow. The perfect wave is the one that rides the cusp of your abilities. It is that perfect combination of safety and danger. This is what is sexy, this is what makes life worth living!
However, there is a complication, you are both on a wave, you are both surfing the other, and are both dynamic in your enjoyment. You are the generator of your partners wave, and are the one that keeps the challenge and safety in balance. When relationships crumble it is most inevitably because the balance of each other’s wave was never correct OR that balance was compromised during your time together. The wave you create for your partner is your responsibility, and the one they create for you, must be demanded.
It is this magical balance that you are seeking and it is a magical balance that you bring to the table for them. This is a tightrope of qualities and challenges constantly shifting in all parties. It is an organic thing that can only be harnessed by it’s organic equal.
Finding the perfect wave
We all have the intrinsic need to ride the perfect wave and we must ride many waves to know who or what that person is. We will also be ridden, leaving people lacking or tumbling into the foam. This is the natural progression, and it is incredibly elusive, it is the bulls eye on the back of a wild horse. Yes, it is challenging, yes it is scary, but can you honestly tell yourself that you would have it any other way? Could that partnership ever be so wonderfully beautiful if it didn’t take all your skill to master it? No, you must be responsible for finding the sweet spot in that relationship wave. You must never give up or settle for someone too strong or too weak. The perfect wave is out there, and as you drop in they will do the same, creating an ecstasy in union as you ride the cusp of each others delicious slopes.