The Emotion Analyzer

Here’s a question I’ve had a chance to ask recently,

How does a relationship go for you?

Does that makes sense? I can’t think of another way to word it, without sounding overly-analytical (a charge I’ve been accused of more than once). But it’s an important question since obviously different people see relationships differently. This in defense to the oft-repeated instructions to ‘not think so much!’. I mean, how can I not? It’s like telling a person to ‘not breathe so much’ or something like that. Do I like, literally, count the breaths I take…or thoughts I have? Do I hang a NO ENTRY board across my forehead?

I have it quite figured out in my mind (never mind the fact that I don’t have one success story to back it up). A basic framework model of assessing relationships. True to my nature, it’s a checklist (a series of them actually). So here goes the one titled ‘Indications that it’s a great first date’:

You two:

  • Don’t run away at the sight of each other
  • Get beyond the first hello
  • Are able to talk about things other than how both of you know the person who introduced you, what the weather is like and the latest movie/book/play
  • Laugh (and not nervously)
  • Lose track of time at least once (“I didn’t realize how long we’ve been talking!”)
  • Want to meet again

These are the action points of the first meeting and if you should proceed further only if they ALL check off.

Let’s go one level higher and discuss the ‘Key Areas of a Relationship’:

  • Attraction
  • Comfort Level
  • Shared Grounds (hobbies, beliefs, social circles)
  • Complementing (as opposed to similar) Personalities
  • Respect
  • Fun
  • Committment

Each one needs to be constantly monitored for absolute level and vis-a-vis the others. All of them are important but the actual weightages can vary from relationship to relationship and over time as well. Conversations, meetings and incidents are opportunities to explore and validate each of the important areas.

Sometimes it gets confusing. (Hell, whoever said love was easy?) For example,

  • Differing points of view can extend your Respect for each other’s intelligence and independence but what does that do to Comfort Level and Complementing Personalities?
  • How does sex play out – If there’s too much Comfort Level, do Attraction and Fun suffer?
  • Is Committment possible without Attraction or can it actually cover for the lack of it?
  • Can Respect replace Shared Grounds? And vice versa?
  • How important is Complementing Personalities? Can a relationship sustain if it is strong on the others but not on this?
  • How do Fun and Committment offset each other? Or do they clash and inevitably get entangled with Respect?

That’s all the lists I’m going to put up on this blog (and if think they’re brilliant, remember you got it here first!). I can just see a whole lot of men I know shaking their heads in disbelief. Oddly enough, women are the ones accused of being ‘over-emotional’ and not practical enough.

Personally I don’t see any problem in being analytical about relationships. Being analytical is not mutually exclusive to being emotional. I can be and am, both. After all, your emotions are your most valuable resource – they dictate how you feel about what you do and hence who you do it with and how well you do it. Damned if I’m going to fritter them away without an eye on the balance-sheet of the relationship. Besides, don’t forget that I am a woman; I was born with a masters degree in Relationships and a Ph.D. in Emotion. 🙂

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on January 14, 2009, in Relationships, Seriously speaking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ph.d in Emotion??? huh now you are getting emotional……. 🙂

    //// * Differing points of view can extend your Respect for each other’s intelligence and independence but what does that do to Comfort Level and Complementing Personalities?

    Yeah but it all goes well only if it is a dynamic balance.btw both…. a static equilibrium…. tends to make it like a corporate contract…….

    ///// * How does sex play out – If there’s too much Comfort Level, do Attraction and Fun suffer?

    Attraction– may be……..depends onur personal criteria for attraction……….(wow now i am thinking have i attracted her with these comments?? :))

    /////// * Is Committment possible without Attraction or can it actually cover for the lack of it?
    it can cover for lack of attraction but tends to result in static equilibrium(corporate contract [previous comment])
    I would like to believe it is not possible without attraction(works out for my idea of a relationship) and attraction is necessary but not sufficient…

    /////// * Can Respect replace Shared Grounds? And vice versa?
    Hmm….. it does but i doubt that case will again go to the corporate contract stage….

    ///// * How important is Complementing Personalities? Can a relationship sustain if it is strong on the others but not on this?
    am getting redundant.. here…..again leads to corporate contracts..

    ///// * How do Fun and Committment offset each other? Or do they clash and inevitably get entangled with Respect?

    Am not sure i can comment on it as i understand the question…

  2. Comfort level is great for sex I think. You can* have a candid discussion and ask for what you want and what u can do.

    Attraction/ chemistry is kinda basic. Otherwise how is a partner different from a friend. Eg- I have several guy friends and the only person that tugs my heart is the hubby.

    Respect/ common ground- isn’t that essential for love and/ or friendship?

    Hmmm now I am beginning to get confused. BUT the hubby and I were best buddies before love made an appearance.

    Ok now I understand your first question. To me it went like this (in its over simplified version)- some common ground, A LOT of respect, friendship, attraction, love, commitment.

    I’ll prolly come back and comment some more, when I have this processed..

    La Vida Locas last idea: An update

  3. @ anand: Hmmmm…..that’s a lot to think about. Thank you for the detailed comment.

    @ La Vida Loca: Waiting for comment part 2.

  4. You have certainly thrown out a lot. :mrgreen:
    I want to say one can *think* about relationships, or one can *feel* about them, analyze them to death on the lines of what’s normal and what’s absolute, what’s relative, what’s everybody doing…and so forth. But that just doesn’t work for me (us).

    My joy comes from the mundane/ everyday stuff,accepting him as he is, looking at the hubby and thinking that he is indeed a fantastic guy and that I chose right. And the old stand by emotion, points to joy.

    I realize this is a cliche, but it works for us.

    La Vida Locas last idea: Truth time

  5. @ La Vida Loca: I don’t doubt any of that. For the rest of us who haven’t been so lucky with finding someone like that, analysis is all that keeps us entertained.

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