I love that scene in the Steve Martin movie, The Man With Two Brains, where he’s speaking to a large wall portrait of his deceased mother, asking whether he should marry a rather unsuitable woman, and he asks the portrait, “Mom, give me a sign, should I or shouldn’t I?” Suddenly a dark storm comes up, hurricane-like wind rushes through the house sending papers flying and the wall portrait begins spinning crazily on the wall, while a disembodied voice shrieks “Nooooo!!!!!!!” Steve Martin looks again at the portrait and says, “Just a sign, Mom, any kind of sign.” We laugh, but we’ve all experienced it, being blindly oblivious to messages and guidance, since in retrospect they loom so large. Two weeks ago, my roommate and I decided to change our living arrangement before it affected our friendship. We got out just in time.
In our quest for more hang out time, earlier this year we’d made a hasty decision to share space, not realizing the impact on the rest of our lives. For one thing, our attraction process in other areas of our lives. If we were grumpy with each other, my business would slow to a halt and he’d have no job offers. A few months into it, we saw the tip of the iceberg and we changed course. Within a day of deciding to make a change, suddenly he’s getting calls back for jobs and I’m attracting more business. I also get an offer by mail to purchase some acreage I own in Texas, and a letter of a class action suit I’m grouped into for a $15k investment which went belly up in 1996. The last time that happened, I ended up with almost $9,000 of unexpected dollars, years after the fact. The next day he’s offered a job he begins next week, the exact job he wanted and the exact shift he wanted.
Like the warning of Steve Martin’s mother, we should have known ahead of time, we had plenty of clues. Within days of moving in, I am knocked down with a tummy bug and his respiratory allergies are through the roof. An auspicious beginning. Last week we laughed to realize that his respiratory thang is gone, as well as my temporary snow blindedness, signs we took as us having made the right decision.
Do we regret the experiment? No. Had it not happened, I might still hold the myth that I might want to share physical space with someone later down the road. I find I’m not real good at sharing space. I learned a lot about what I react to, what I expect, how I respond in different circumstances, and how selfish I really am. My world indeed revolves around me.
I get the whole myth of the idealistic “partner and soulmate for life” thing. It’s just not been my experience that there is someone I can live 24/7 with, platonic or otherwise. I am not even convinced the soulmmate has to be a romantic or sexual partner. Even if I took all the best parts of all the favorite boyfriends and husbands, and combined them into one person, I would not want to be glued at the hip with them.
When any of your ideas are met with resistance, of any kind, stop and analyze the resistance as a metaphor relative to something going on in any area of your life. When the painting of Mom starts spinning crazily and shrieking “NOOoooo!!” don’t ignore it. Get out, like we did, before it affects the relationship. Trust me.