RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE

 

Man Looking Under Hood

“Your service life may vary…”

 

The culture of replaceability and technological obsolescence

As a culture, we’ve grown accustomed to industries and services that afford us the luxury of replacement over maintenance and repair. It is further enhanced by the love of new and evolving technologies over existing tried and true products that are developed and produced at affordable pricing to allow designed obsolescence. At best, it’s manufacturers who’ve created products that are intentionally designed to limit user maintenance, tune-ups and repair from their daily life and in many respects from the product’s service life almost entirely. We’ve also developed economies that afford us the tremendous ability to outsource those tasks and services that we would rather not due to nature of that labor, the environmental conditions of that labor, technical skill required to undertake those jobs and the time requirements associated with doing those functions. It’s a remarkable first world achievement. The hidden underbelly of this effect is that we are not cultured to the ideas, concepts or practices of maintaining other elements in our lives that need and require those skills and management abilities to flourish. We simply have excised the concept of maintenance from our lives. This cultural mindset has taken root into the sexual market place, where it is vastly easier to replace a partner than it is to learn the skills and management ability maintain a relationship, let alone repair deficiencies due to standard wear and tear, or exercise restraint in operational use to prevent a breakdown. The hidden cost is dramatically high, emotionally, financially and physically. This cost plays and radiates out from an individual personal level, to the family, into a cultural and ultimately within a society as a whole. The inability culturally to maintain and support personal relationship structures, such as marriages, has proven to collapse entire social cultures and threatens greater societies on a whole.

The nature of maintenance

Maintenance on a basic level accounts for operator observation to the performance of the system being utilized, the characteristics of the environment in which the system is being utilized and how that affects the system standards of performance and wear and tear expectations, the life cycle point of the system, standard conditional use benchmarks for inspections, testing and servicing of subsystems and to the servicing and replacement of subsystem faults, as they occur or ideally before they actually fault, as part of a service replacement schedule, to include integration of safeguarding practices. Having relationship maintenance skills and management protocols and abilities in place to ensure care, appropriate handling and servicing of the relationship and your partners needs will help afford for the relationship’s reliability, quality, longevity, provide increase relationship safety and to preserve invested relationship capital and equity.

Vehicle maintenance analogy

If we choose to use a vehicle as our model for a system, maintenance would start with the driver being cognizant of observable traits, characteristics and performance levels for the vehicle… He’ll notice when the tires a low, when the vehicle pulls to one side when being driven and the unique characteristics of the engine sounds as it moves along, accelerates and decelerates. He will also recognize the environmental conditions in which the vehicle is being driven will affect performance and maintenance requirements… stop and go traffic is very different from highway driving… not only will your mileage vary, but so to the wear and tear. Don’t get me started with racing and drifting… (It amazes me how many guys treat their relationships like something out of the movie Fast and Furious and are perplexed when they wreck it.) Likewise the life cycle point of the vehicle is important… simply the age of the vehicle will dictates the degree of maintenance requirements, as well as expected performance. Brand new vehicles need to be broken in and handled with care, as do antiques. Vehicles in their service years need increasing servicing, as the demands on their individual subsystems mounts (hydraulics, oils, belts, tires, brakes, transmissions etc..). These subsystems should be inspected and tested prior to anticipated fault points, not just evenly periodic intervals or mileage benchmarks. A hard driven vehicle pulling considerable loads will need more care and attention than if it was simply being taken out for weekend country drives. Lastly the operator will include safeguarding measures to prevent corrosion, ensure structural integrity, and safety considerations whether that comes in the form of washing and waxing a vehicle to prevent corrosion, the driving practices that limit damage, or the safety practices of wearing a seat belt and having appropriate insurance coverage. Intimate interpersonal relationships can draw directly from this analogy, even though the major subsystems will be quite dramatically different, the key then is knowing what they are.

Maintenance is not repair

Repairing a relationship once broken is not maintenance and should never be considered as such. Utilizing a system beyond its breaking point is terribly poor maintenance practice and management, yet that is precisely what most people do with their relationships because we lack the skills, experience and proven ability to do otherwise. Repair should be closely linked to a one-time costs and expenditure limits associated with brining the relationship back to fully serviceable condition. This is to ensure the appropriateness for one to make the repair in the first place, to obtain operational effectiveness afterwards and to make sure that a series of subsystem failures do not exceed one’s maintenance expenditure limits. Sadly people too often keep investing heavily in relationship repair when they shouldn’t be, that the repair are unlikely to result in operational expectations and that smaller sub-issue failures ultimately exceed the value of repairing the relationship. This isn’t to mean that there are not cases where it is entirely appropriately to completely salvage a relationship and completely re-structure, re-tool and to rebuild it, but those cases are few and far in-between and in the majority of the cases always involve children.

Willful misconduct

Worse off than negligence are those acts of willful misconduct either in damaging the relationship initially or through the consequences of our failure to appropriately manage the relationship repair once the initial damage is done. This occurs when we are hurt, angry and vengeful and we lash out in defiance to our partner, the situation and ultimately from the emotional dependencies from our past that are triggering and inflaming our response. When we harm our partner and our relationship in response to a relationship fault, we ultimately hurt ourselves. The inability to recognize and respond appropriately to boundaries, to control one’s emotional impulses and resolve personal emotional dependencies apart from relationship issues will invariably lead to the wrecking of the relationship, from our own accord, not from the original infraction. We are never justified in damaging others or our relationship in seeking a resolution to a fault or infraction. Relationships and partners handled in that regard don’t need repairing, should be classified as unserviceable and ultimately junked in quick order.

 

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Emotional Needs Communication

I was not a lion, but it fell to me to give a lion’s roar.

You needs, wants and desires matter. They should matter to you. They should matter to your partner. They should matter to society. If your needs, wants and desires don’t matter, the message is you don’t matter. If that is the case, that needs to change (period) and it needs to start now!

 A modern evolutionary fitness test…

We cannot expect un-expressed needs to be accurately fulfilled, if we don’t communicate them. When important relationship emotional needs go unrecognized, are continuously ignored or devalued, emotional distress and relationship problems result, often taking the form of communication breakdowns and emotional disconnection leading to the whole calamity of relationship breakdown and failure. Not having the balls to speak up, especially to yourself about your needs, wants and desires is an evolutionary failure. You simply are not at a basic level providing for yourself… What society, woman or child can expect you to “Man-Up!” to them, your responsibilities, or promises, if you first cannot “Man-Up!” to yourself?

A lion’s roar

We must take responsibility for ensuring our needs, wants and desires are not jut communicated, but interpreted in the manner we intend.

 Be aware of your objective

Understand what it is that you’re trying to actually accomplish. What is the purpose of the communication? For example, it is foolish to focus on behavior tasks (closing of cabinet cupboards doors) if the real purpose of the communication is really about respect and consideration (a respect for your shared living environment and unmet expectations of personal behaviors while living together).

 Be honest about your own needs

If we are not clear or honest about our needs when we are communicating, the message will get lost. Much like the mail, we need to accurately address the intended destination to have our message delivered properly. Without a doubt, at times this will be very difficult emotionally to initiate, but it is incredibly important to have the personal courage, conviction and respect of yourself to enact.

 Communicate in the positive

Requests framed in the negative; e.g. “don’t do…” sets a negative tone, doesn’t inspire change, and repeated often enough it becomes debilitating to the health of the relationship. For instance, If you’re trying to get your partner to change their sexual performance, instead of saying “Baby, don’t use your teeth!”, it’s vastly better received if you state “Baby, remember to use your tongue!”. You can capitalize on this emotional momentum by showing displays of gratitude, which are appropriate rewards and powerful motivators to further promote desired change.

Speaking of displays of gratitude and powerful motivators to promote change (this is for all my female readers); random, frequent and gratuitous acts of oral sex is the male equilivant of giving a woman flowers… we can never get enough of them, it tells us we’re special to you and we love the women who do so. It cost so little, but means so much and goes so far! Do take note and let me know your results.

 Message confirmation

Often we cannot be certain how of if our message is being received. During these times, particularly if the message is critical, it is advisable to get feedback or confirmation of the message. A simple question like, “ Can you tell me what you think I meant by what I said” clarifies any ambiguity and provides valuable clues as to how your message was received and interpreted.

 Bring respect

In holding an emotional needs conversation, it is crucial to remember that this is about the relationship, as much as it is about your needs and as such we need to take into account how this newly expressed information is received by our partner. Asking a sincere and genuinely intent question, something like, “how does what I said make you feel?” goes a long way in securing the safety and emotional security bond the two of you share. Intimacy isn’t just about the fucking… where the emotions go, so too does the sexuality… preserve both by safeguarding them.