Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome to my Home

Deepak Chopra wrote a story in which the wizard Merlin said to young Arthur: “I once walked around like you, and when I looked at a person, all I saw was a form of flesh and bones. But after a while I noticed that a person lives in a house that extends that body — unhappy people with messy emotions live in messy houses; happy, contented people live in orderly houses. When I see a house, I am actually seeing more of that person.”  From this article.

I recently broke it off (after 3 dates) with a lovely woman whom I liked very much.  When I visited her home, I knew I could never be compatible with her.  It was a mess, and she had warned me that it was so.  Still, I went over, knowing that it would allow me to see her at her most honest self.  And I knew I wouldn't be able to get past it.  I was torn, should I just tell her that we could continue to date but that I couldn't go to her house because of my allergies (when it really was the pet smells and the general state of the place)?  Oh, believe me, I thought about it.  Did I say she was a lovely woman?  She was.  And I knew that to continue to date her, giving her false hope, was deeply wrong.

I wrote her the most honest, yet diplomatic, email I could.  Yes, email.  Somewhere in our conversations she had mentioned that she prefers this method of breaking up -- and I was kind but truthful.

On the flip side, if I went to a date's house and they were a neat freak and OCD about their surroundings, I would break it off with them as well.  I require cleanliness and order, but not at the expense of living a life enslaved by my domestic proclivities.

When my daughter was little and I was a single mom, the state of my house was the least of my worries.  I chose not to fret about it.  Bed left unmade?  Who cares?  Dishes piled in the sink?  I'll get to them in the morning.  I wasn't going to let it drive me crazy, and that was fine for that time in my life.

But now...I'm a growed up woman, and I'm dating growed up women, and I expect a certain level of order in their homes (and in mine).  Does that make me shallow?  Or am I just being real about what environments reflect about the people who live in them?  And I know what I want, and what I don't.

This dear woman may find a compatible partner who is not bothered at all about the house.  I hope she does - she deserves someone to love.  She has many great qualities about her.  Holding out hope for her, and I am proud of myself for not pretending it wasn't an issue.  Pretty good for a serious co-dependent who shies away from difficult conversations for fear of hurting someone's feelings.  And she deserves someone who really likes all the parts of her.

14 comments:

  1. I am sure glad I looked past that with Dave. In 1998 when I first saw his house I was blown away. He had so much junk everywhere! He is the kindest man I've ever met...

    Now I am the one who tends to let things get messy...a complete shift. My emotions are messier than his too. Oh well.

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    1. I love Dave! Yes, good thing you looked past it. In this particular case, I could not. If the other circumstance had been compelling enough, I might have been able to -- but truly, I could not be in the house because the strong smell from her animals. Sigh. No judgements here, just a difference of our needs.

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  2. Oh, you would really hate my home office, and dislike my bedroom and the former family room (now the dog room, and bike and electronic workshop -- totally owned by my husband and the dogs). Depending on the day, you'd probably think the front of the house (kitchen, living room, dining room) looks OK -- right now, it needs a good vacuum/dusting/clearing, and my daughter left a sewing project + ironing board sitting around, and there are a bunch of books that I need to do something with -- but all that will be gone by thanksgiving. I used to be very neat, especially in public areas. I think that is easier to do when one has less stuff -- we have lived here 17 years, and it sure piles up.

    You went through some changes in recent years, unloaded a lot of stuff; and you also aren't working. If I was starting over in those kinds of ways, my space would be fresh and shiny, too. Just sayin. xoxoxo

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    1. as I said, I'm not info neat freaks, either~! There's a balance, for me. Sometimes the place looks like a hurricane hit it, sometimes it is clean and orderly. The apt. is so small that if I don't keep on top of the clutter I would get buried by it.

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  3. Hmmm. Interesting ideas. My wife used to be the most orderly person I have ever known. Living with me for 34+ years, though, has worn her down a little; she is more like I am. But, come to think of it, I'm much more like she was then than I am like I was then. She's changed a little in 34+ years; I've changed a LOT in that time; put another way, she devolved just a touch and I've evolved quite a bit.

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  4. I think as we get old, it's smart to figure out what we can live with and not waste our time trying to change others to suit us. In that sense, you were showing wisdom for you both.

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    1. So true, plus age and illness disables the energy we once had for maintenance. For me it was all about esthetics and mindfulness. Now it's all about the moment and meditating on that 1/16 inch of dust on my bookshelves.

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    2. I can understand age and disability...she was neither old or infirm, or disabled. This was a athlete who had a strong body, and a professional woman. People seem to be very defensive about this post....I'm not rejecting anyone because of their living conditions. I had to reject her because she was quickly becoming romantically attached and I knew I couldn't go that route with her given that I would be expected to spend some time at her house. She owns her house keeping issues and is - rightly so - fine about the shortcomings. She's busy. It's not her strong suit. She has other, more important things to do. I get it.

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  5. I think Rain makes an excellent point. The flip-side of that is if you could have fallen in love with someone first and then seen their drop-dead messy house, would you still love them? I think we each get to draw the line at what is acceptable and what is absolutely NOT. Makes me wonder what behavior I might reject right away, or what someone might automatically reject about me.

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    1. See, that's my life's story. I fall in love with someone with scant information, and when the information comes through and it's unacceptable (to me) I still love them and think I'll get over it. Now I know myself well enough to know that I do have some bottom lines.

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  6. You seem almost apologetic and you should not be. Honesty is always to best route to take. Kudos for being courageous enough to be honest rather than protracting a hopeless relationship. You were kind and did the right thing.

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    1. thank you; yes, I did want this to go further if I was repelled by her living conditions. I've ignored red flags before and it has led to disaster.

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  7. My house may be considered to be messy because it is a hub of activity, but it is CLEAN! I could not live in a dirty house, and if it smelled bad, forget it! This is a primal thing and best that you backed out before getting in any deeper.

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    1. exactly - I'm an artist, too, and sometimes I have projects piled up, books scattered everywhere, but it is clean. THAT I can handle.

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