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Relationships and Truth

relationships truth philosophy

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4 replies to this topic

#1
Chris Laforest

Chris Laforest

  • 5 posts

I have a rather personal issue to bring up in order to get some feedback from "outside of the glass" on what exactly is going on in my relationship. That said, I understand (I think) that outsiders can't possibly know better than I can about what is going on in my own relationships with others (in this case my girlfriend). I certainly have day to day experiences which lead to my creating this topic, but the issue I am having and why I think I would benefit from some outside input is quite complex. In summary though; I think both my girlfriend and I are irritated and frustrated with each other far too often. I have always been fairly straight forward with the emotional doors I am trying to open when I talk to people, sometimes to my detriment perhaps - though I feel as though I can't go wrong in the long run with the truth. However, as our relationship has moved forward and I have been able to culminate my understanding of it, I am more and more honest about what I feel when I feel it - and more importantly - what I think those feelings mean and why. 

To give an oversimplified overview of the relationship; she thinks I talk too much about politics and philosophy and I think that she is living a nightmare where she refuses to converse about her feelings and then trumpets how happy she is about our relationship despite being highly irritate with me on an all too regular basis.

To give a broad but I think telling background, my girlfriend is studying anthropology and is in her 4th year. She has few philosophical interests and isn't all that interested in discussing issues like philosophy in general. I, on the other hand, am very interest in philosophy. As far as the relationship is concerned, I am interested in the application of the methodology of consistent ratiocination. This is key; if it weren't the case that philosophy has so many important implications with regard to relationships, then I wouldn't care a whit about whether or not she cared about philosophy. However, it does have said heavy implications and so I expect her to demonstrate to me that she is at least concerned about the health of our relationship through actively trying to discuss emotions, intent, emotional projection, and so on. I don't think it is at all too much to expect that she should want to actively invest in the health of our relationship. 

Now, I think it's important to delve into why I think this kind of thing is happening. To start off, my girlfriend's father has always been very outspoken specifically on matters of political philosophy, and economics, and business, and pretty much anything he can draw out a basic, though usually completely false, conclusion for. But that is making it sound nice. The reality is that he is an alcoholic watermelon. He is anti-logical, verbally abusive, deeply cynical, and narcissistic . Having to listen to him make a variety of quickly-fleeting claims every day, from very unimportant issues like "Why don't they just make dishwashers so that they collect your dishes from the counter and then put them away after they are clean?" to more important issues like "The government should just nationalize the cell companies because I can't be bothered to understand the tragedy of the commons." have taken their tole on her ability to trust, or to empathize with the concept of a comfortable and inspiring objective truth. Now, this doesn't bother me because she doesn't want to talk about politics with me. I really don't think that is the case, though I would certainly probably get on her nerves about it anyway. But I understand that completely. The problem is that, because of her dad having effectively destroyed her ability to empathize with truth by constantly destroying the spirit of rationality, she has been forced into this pie in the sky land where up is down and black is white. My very far-fetched opinion is that her method of dealing with her father's emotional issues was to simply stop accepting that there can be such important truths at all that would arouse the attention of her fundamental emotional framework. The twist is, again only opinion, that though she has been right to deny any credibility for her father, she has essentially still internalized his consistent entrenchment of anti-rationality in also denying that credibility to the scientific method by false correlation. In other words, I think she is denying arguments as a whole rather than the specific qualities of people's arguments which she experienced as misleading and false in her father's constant rambling and deeply disturbing verbally abusive behavior. 

I think that it is a result of this that she is now so irritated when I ask her to consider fundamental questions of philosophy as they effect our relationship. 

Rather than get to specifically into who said what and why, I want to just get my main point across and see what people have to say. 

I think that the things I have to say are important, and even though I always intend on backing them up with an argument. It therefore deeply hurts me that my girlfriend can so easily shrug off, even just my own personal inspirations, but more importantly; the truths which I have reason to believe deeply affect our relationship. In fairness (and that is the goal after all), my girlfriend has also been vocal about my lack of interest in her interests; things like wanting to dress up for halloween, to give a perhaps oversimplifying example because it is recent. And it isn't like she feels rejected because I don't actively want to dress up and do that thing with her. Clearly, it is more complicated than that. Given the open sense I pose her with questions about our relationship, she - from simple things like halloween and other not singularly ground-breaking issues - is concerned that I don't have a very long list of "Reasons I Love Her". 

But I think she's right about that, and it scares me. It hit me today and I tried to explain it to her - when we got together at first, we had more in common and, of more import, less out of common. However, not knowing each other that well, and more importantly neither possessing the inclination to rationally analyze our emotions - personal or inter-personal, we perhaps allowed ourselves to emotionally continue signing those long-term verbal contracts prematurely - out of touch with a sensible reciprocity to our ability to understand the meaning of our relationship. Of course, she wasn't interested in this concept, but was instead stunned and distraught at this apparent attack on the foundation of our relationship, or at least that's what it seemed like she was reacted to. 

My girlfriend is never the one to raise these questions, she will only get upset when she perceives that something I am doing causes her frustration. One of the main issues or at least indicators for me is that my girlfriend can be so distraught, as if to be caught off-guard like she had no idea we had issues, when I pose these very fundamental questions, and yet so professedly happy about the state of our relationship and silent on any position regarding the fundamental questions. I believe that if every time she stormed out or stone-walled me, I had for some reason never gotten irritated and begun asking these questions, she would never bring them up and so they would never come up. Our relationship would then be a completely logically dysfunctional relationship, where we routinely professed our profound love to those around us, but snapped, screamed, and refused to speak to each other 85% of the time. It seems to me that rather than confront the issues we clearly have, my girlfriend would rather just express feeling betrayed when I disappoint her with a lack of concerted interest in specific instances. 

With that said, it is a common issue with us that I have changed my mind fundamentally a couple of times. This hasn't helped with her view of me in comparison to her father, regardless of whether or not that is fair. When I first came to care at all about politics, it was because of hallucinogenic drugs and I gravitated naturally to the extreme left. From there, I began to realize that I had very little in the way of explaining important concepts. Ron Paul sprung me out of that, and at that time I was sure that his word was gospel. My girlfriend sees this as a flipflop. I then moved on to Rothbard and began denouncing Ron Paul where I could then see fit. This was seen by my girlfriend as a flipflop. But part of my moving on to Rothbard was a transcendental difference in methodology and understanding. It was that it didn't matter that it was Rothbard putting forward any given argument. It was now clear to me that truth wasn't derived from authority, but that truth was derived from a rational investigation of reality through the medium of our sense. But now my girlfriend will always warn me not to be too vociferous with my claims for fear that I may later retract. As one may presume, I take this to be extremely offensive, a sort of paternalism intended to protect me from my own lack of intelligence. I have tried to explain to her that this last transition was truly different in kind, and that if she had any particular concerns to voice them so I could deal with them. But she never does so. All she does is lash out in this paternalistic way. 

The only reason to continue on like this would be for some reason to believe that she may yet come around to the logic of my thinking, or at least show me the error therein. 

I'm not sure if I really believe she is capable of it, or if I simply want to believe it because of the clear short term emotional pain it involves. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my personal rant. I appreciate any advice anyone has to offer. 
 


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#2
RoseCodex

RoseCodex
  • 140 posts

Hrmm I have a few scattered thoughts, I hope can be of some use.

How do these topics usually come up?  Do you feel that you make an effort to always steer every conversation to philosophy?  What kind of philosophy do you talk about?  Is it always about politics, or do you talk about your relationship as well?  I think it is a male feature to delve into abstracts and principles, while women tend to focus on practical aspects of relationships. This is something we can learn from them.  I can only speculate, but I get the impression that you are doing a lot of lecturing, or if you do ask her questions, she avoids or ignores or tries to change the subject.

Have you ever attempted to question her father when he says these things, or seen her try to do this?  My guess is that at some point she has tried, and received a violent verbal backlash - my impression is that the father says these things out of emotional impulses, and wouldn't like to be questioned.  This would explain her fear of questioning or delving deeper into your ideas.  You can talk about political philosophy all day and she will not come around to the logic of your thinking, because its not about logic.  It's about her experience with men and their opinions. 

 

Rather you ought to ask about her relationship with her father, and with you.  Perhaps you are afraid to really do this because you are afraid of losing her?  Why is this?  What do you really value about her as a girlfriend?  Tell her.  Be honest about your frustration, and your willingness to change your behavior, and to be questioned or obejcted to without emotional reaction or judgment.  This is the security which she lacks with her father, show her how it can be different.  And you have to be willing to give her the same consideration you want her to give you.  Otherwise it would seem to her that you are bullying her in the same way her father does.  Again, I am totally speculating given the limited information you gave.  Please tell me your thoughts on this.

One more thought - Is there something meaningful your girlfriend does care about, anthropology, art, whatever?  You mentioned that at one point you had a lot in common.  It would help if you showed that you are willing to listen and engage in conversation on her terms, otherwise you can't expect the same of her for you.  Again, you have to give her consideration.  Healthy relationships are about balance and equal standards.  A lot of women feel that men talk too much and don't listen or care about what women think.  Given your description of her father that is most likely the case for her as well.  I hope that stirs some thought.  Good luck,


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Well, I try my best

To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

 

#3
ThomasDoubts

ThomasDoubts
  • 178 posts

    Being no relationship expert, I feel nonetheless obliged to reply, if for no other reason than to empathize.  With the exceptions of the hallucinogens, and leftist political beliefs, I can identify with almost everything else described. 

 

   

Now, I think it's important to delve into why I think this kind of thing is happening. To start off, my girlfriend's father has always been very outspoken specifically on matters of political philosophy, and economics, and business, and pretty much anything he can draw out a basic, though usually completely false, conclusion for. But that is making it sound nice. The reality is that he is an alcoholic watermelon. He is anti-logical, verbally abusive, deeply cynical, and narcissistic . Having to listen to him make a variety of quickly-fleeting claims every day, from very unimportant issues like "Why don't they just make dishwashers so that they collect your dishes from the counter and then put them away after they are clean?" to more important issues like "The government should just nationalize the cell companies because I can't be bothered to understand the tragedy of the commons." have taken their tole on her ability to trust, or to empathize with the concept of a comfortable and inspiring objective truth. Now, this doesn't bother me because she doesn't want to talk about politics with me. I really don't think that is the case, though I would certainly probably get on her nerves about it anyway. But I understand that completely. The problem is that, because of her dad having effectively destroyed her ability to empathize with truth by constantly destroying the spirit of rationality, she has been forced into this pie in the sky land where up is down and black is white. My very far-fetched opinion is that her method of dealing with her father's emotional issues was to simply stop accepting that there can be such important truths at all that would arouse the attention of her fundamental emotional framework. The twist is, again only opinion, that though she has been right to deny any credibility for her father, she has essentially still internalized his consistent entrenchment of anti-rationality in also denying that credibility to the scientific method by false correlation. In other words, I think she is denying arguments as a whole rather than the specific qualities of people's arguments which she experienced as misleading and false in her father's constant rambling and deeply disturbing verbally abusive behavior. 


 

     

 

For me, the story played out 3-4 years ago, before I found FDR, while I was happily riding the Ron Paul bandwagon.  My girlfriend, at the time (spoiler alert), had an abusive childhood.  Her father was as verbally abusive (with some added physical abuse for good measure when he could get away with it) as any man I've personally known, and who's political beliefs were as strong as they were indefensible.  I never engaged him on the topic for the same reasons I don't argue with members of the flat earth society, and to my knowledge niether did she.  Your paragraph above could be no more accurate of a description of my ex's childhood.  It's eerily precise. 

 

     My relationship lasted about 5 years, the first few of which were enjoyable, if a bit meaningless.  The longer it lasted, the more conflict took place.  Though I would have described it differently at the time, most of the conflict centered around the issues of what it means to love someone.  The reasons we began the relationship were in hindsight superficial, but at the time seemed like ideal reasons to justify the relationship.  The more she let down her emotional guard to me, the more evident her abuse became, and the more tragic it's consequences appeared.  I foolishly (?) tried to drive a wedge between her and her horrible family, and encouraged her to become financially independent of them, and myself.  She resented it, and defended her abusers to no end when confronted, despite lamenting them at seemingly every opportunity. 

 

     Though I wasn't an anarchist, I was very much interested in political philosophy and economics, while she had no interest whatsoever.  The longer we were in the relationship, the more our differing interests became apparent.  I hated The Real World and Jersey Shore; she hated learning things (mostly) and all of my intellectual interests.  When I would try to engage her on the topics that I found interesting, she would show her love by smiling, and unhappily listening to me talk.  When I was done talking, the conversation was mostly over, due to boredom or her inability to think critically/uphold her end of the conversation.  I would push for more give and take, but it was almost immediately apparent that I was subjecting her to some form of torture, while she seemed to think that listening and feigning interest would be sufficient to earn my future participation in an interest of hers, which I wouldn't enjoy.  To the outside world, we were obscenely happy together, but in private, our relationship deteriorated over the years to the point where we spent most of our time arguing, snapping, and fighting over the most trivial of things.  It took much longer to learn experientially what should have been painfully obvious; we had little in common.  Ironically, as an economics/finance major in college, I fell victim to the sunk cost dilemma in continuing attempts to repair the relationship.  http://www.investope...ost-dilemma.asp   We even doubled down, by moving into together.  All this did was double the misery for each of us, but for a variety of reasons, it continued far too long.

 

     I really approve of, not that he asked : ),  a definition Stefan used of love:  an involuntary response to virtue.  I'd like to say it would have been greatly beneficial to me 5 years ago, but I might have just thought of him as a wimpy bald philosophizer, or defined virtue such that it validated my preconception of love.  Nothing teaches quite as well as experience. 

 

     I hestitate to give any advice, if for no other reason than that I failed to repair a relationship in a similar circumstance, and didn't cope particularly well with its termination for a period of time.  The great thing about free will is everyone gets to decide every day who they're going be.  However, overcoming the inertia of psycologically engrained behavioral patterns is a daunting task, particularly in a dynamic relationship with second order implications.  I'll leave it to others, better suited to give you advice, but I thought I ought to express my empathy, and let it be known that you obviously aren't alone in your experience. 


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---You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
---If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
---We made too many wrong mistakes.
 

---BTC: 1FaLSExuPM69T4ehGyTEXEMYTDPEfT1cDF    


#4
Chris Laforest

Chris Laforest

  • 5 posts

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to add to this conversation. 

The issue is truly important to me and I am very grateful. 

You have given me some new thoughts, and I am going to consider them. I'll report back when I have something of meaning to add with regard to my experience. 

I think I may have been too closed and lectury in the past and that this has reminded her of her father. I have been trying lately to be less so, and more open to listening to her since that is what I want from her. We had a great conversation the other night and I actually enjoyed what she had to say. I think it's a good start. 

Thanks again


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#5
travioli

travioli

  • 31 posts

That sounds like an ex I used to have--disinterested in philosophy and like hostile towards it. I think this also had to do with her dad, a way of her avoiding the legitimate suffering of that monster of a person. Anyway, that's a really tough spot you have. May I ask what you do find of value in this woman, like why you--were in the beginning and are--attracted to her? Just to get some perspective.


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