It seems to me that in a healthy romantic relationship, both people give and take in just about equal measure. But life experiences (i.e. mainly our parents--I always blame the parents) can turn us into unbalanced people, who either give too much, or take too much ... or do neither. And recently, I was thinking that when it comes to giving and taking, we humans can be broken down into four groups.
Before I get into the four types, let me tell you why I've been thinking about this stuff.
Over the last few days, I've been feeling very excited about how tough and independent I am (so I think). After all, I moved from a new apartment without real help from anyone except the movers I hired; I pushed all my heavy furniture around the new place to figure out how best to arrange stuff; I stuck a few tools and nails in an old fanny pack and did some minor household renovations. A woman needs a man like a fish needs a power drill!--I thought.
Last night, however, after getting home at 11pm--after a long day and a very physically exhausting weekend--I went into the bathroom to take a post-gym shower ... and the light fixture blew. In the ceiling, which must've been about 11 or 12 feet up. I said a curse word, then took a deep breath. I'd seen an old ladder in the basement, near the recycling bins, so I went down to get it--and carried it up four flights of stairs, straining every single muscle so I wouldn't bang the thing into the banister and wake my neighbors. I got the dilapidated contraption into the bathroom and set it up. It certainly didn't seem very stable. Very cautiously, I took one step, then another ... when the ladder lurched, the light bulb fell out of my hand into the toilet, and I landed more or less in the sink, up close and personal with the faucet.
At midnight--as I was bathing by candlelight, after painstakingly cleaning all the glass out of the john bowl--I couldn't help but think the whole fiercely independent thing is not all it's cracked up to be.
That got me thinking about relationships and neediness. I thought about a guy I'd dated, once upon a time, whom I never felt comfortable asking for any kind of help--right down to changing a light bulb--because he didn't like the idea of doing anything for me that might symbolize co-dependence. I thought about a male friend who still more or less always helps his pathetic, helpless ex-girlfriend out of every mess she gets into ... even though she's living with some other dude now. And I thought that when it comes to dating + mating, there are a few different kinds of people:
Type #1: The excessively autonomous human. These peeps are too proud--or too ashamed--or feel too unworthy--to ask for help, but aren't terribly willing to give it either, because they think, I take care of myself--and you should take care of yourself, too. These people often tend to have low self-esteem and unsupportive or abusive parents.
Type #2: The excessively needy human. The kind who take-take-take, but can't (or won't) give very much. These people often tend to have unsupportive or abusive parents, too; or they have some kind of addiction or mental illness; or they have a narcissistic personality disorder. Or all of the above.
Type #3: The excessively supportive human. Who give-give-gives, but isn't very good at receiving. These people often tend to come from single-parent homes, and/or to have had parents who were distracted or absent, often due to work-related reasons. They tend to be very ambitious and desirous of power. They, too, are often narcissists. They obviously have a so-called "savior" or Jesus complex. And, for reasons that are apparent, they tend to work well with Type #2's.
Type #4: The human who can give-and-take (in roughly equal measure). These people are, I imagine, the most well-adjusted and happy of us all.
Lovelies ... what do you think of all this? Is there a type I'm missing? Have I made some unfair generalizations? Which kind of type are you?
I'm probably closest to #1--although I like to think I am capable of giving emotional support to friends who need it, and I have certainly been on the receiving end, too, of A LOT of emotional support from my friends (and from my dear readers).
(PS: Guys, I'm having trouble using the blog commenting tool at the moment, due to some computer changes related to my move. So come visit me on my Facebook fan page in the meantime, if you want!)