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The Business of Relationships

I asked a guy friend of mine (a man I had once been madly attracted to..who I felt was this "ideal" dude..) about what made him choose his latest girlfriend. I was going to use this for a sweet, sugary V-day themed blog. I was anticipating fawning and overall gushing. But…his answer wasn’t what I was quite expecting.

Q: I’m working on my blog.....and I wanted to know if you could answer a general question:What’s are the qualities that your girlfriend has that sets her apart from other girls that you dated in the past (i.e. the "i need to lock this down" qualities) ?

A: It is interesting you asked that question ... I have come up with two conclusions--

1) I KNOW she loves me and is fully devoted to me. Not like I’m the center of her universe, because we both have lives outside of our relationship, but more along the lines of I know that I/this relationship is one of her top priorities. She makes most decisions with me/our relationship in mind-- from career choices to grocery shopping

.2) for the first time in a long while I feel like I’m only dating one person, not a woman's momma, not her friends, not her co-workers . . . in past relationships my girlfriends' friends or family have had a large influence on our relationship. I don’t have to deal with "what u need to do, girl, is . . .” type drama, nor do I have to hear "well, my momma said that you . . ." she isn’t trying to hear that stuff. Oftentimes other people's words, comments, and un/solicited advice have a detrimental impact on a relationship. the two people in relationship generally know what's best for them. I’m glad we lean on each other rather than leaning on someone else.

I sat there and read it twice. I mean, he did what I asked and I can’t be mad at that. He answered the question (quite pragmatically but very valid responses that I respect). But his answer seemed more like something you would answer at a job interview. Gosh...this isn’t what I expected. I was left with so many questions. Where is the emotion? Are you equally as devoted? What about aesthetics? Not once did I read she was beautiful, smart, family-oriented, etc. How does she make him feel? How do you make her feel? What about a spiritual aspect? Love? Where is the love? (Yes..she loves you but do you love her???) I felt like he was talking about his business partner and their venture capital than a relationship.

I don’t expect most men to expound on that, but I would at least have some general hinting toward emotion that. However, his answer let me draw a very simple conclusion that I’ve been noticing lately.

“Relationships are about business. Not emotions”

In looking for a partner and a mate you want to spend the rest of your life with, emotions play a big part in it. I’m learning now that isn’t the case with everyone and perhaps not the mindset of our educated people. If you are Cliff Huxtable, then you are looking for Claire (or at least Claire “on paper”) and emotions are on the last of the list. It’s about what THEY can do for you? Not necessarily what you can do for them..or what you can do together. In an era of “me”, a person feels a relationship is important if that person puts them first. How will you mesh financially? Will you all be a “power couple” that concurs it all? It’s not really about “Do I love her?” Love is quite secondary. It’s about “is this relationship as cohesive and doesn’t “disturb my flow”?

In some small way, In talking to my guy friend, I realize why WE could have never been. I am all emotion at times. I don’t know if I’m “good on paper” or could have made him a “top priority” (yet Lord knows I wanted to try). The opinions of my family are indeed important to me and I lean on them for guidance (not necessarily them having the final say). And however “aesthetically pleasing” I was to this dude (if I was at all), I certainly didn’t have “it” he was looking for. And after 8 years of wondering, I finally made peace with it. He only contacted me if he wanted something.

But, I will say I learned something in asking him this question. I learned in modern day relationships, you need to be a lot more self-serving and take “feelings” out of the equation. Damn how a person makes you feel…how attractive they are…how nasty they can be in the bedroom, it’s all about what this person brings to the table and what they can do for you.

“Ask not what you can do for the relationship..but what the relationship can do for you!”

I’m not sure if this philosophy works for me. I feel personally that relationships should be 50% business and 70% emotions. Yes, that adds up to well over 100% but you should be giving well over 100% anyway in a relationship.

I think I’ll try to balance my heart and head a lot more.


  1. I think people are more in love with saying I'm married to a.... as opposed to saying I'm married to the one I love. It's all about image in today's society and people will sacrifice their happiness in the name of being vain.

    Not to say your friend doesn't really love his girlfriend I think it just works for them.

    Happy New Year to you.

  2. I think he answered the question from a strictly qualitative relationship view. And the first sentence says it all, "I know she loves me because". .
    Men look at it differently than we do. I stopped trying to understand it.

  3. Great blog. Keep up the good work.

    Stop by sometime.

  4. I agree with you. Not once did he mention "love", or "adoration", or that he just knows "she is the one for him in more ways than one". Not that he needed to say all that - in those words, but at the very least something that eluded to it. It does give the appearance of a relationship of convenience - HIS convenience. He has finally found someone that plays by the rules he wants her to play by and that's what makes this a relationship for him. The fact that she puts him first, the fact that there are no external forces involved (there shouldn't always be, but a certain amount of it is healthy), etc. I don't know...seems like some key things are missing to me. But, that could just be me.

    Great post!

  5. Totally a relationship/marriage of convenience. I wonder how she'd feel to read how he answered that question. Most likely pretty hurt and perhaps surprised. It makes you wonder, do folks get married for love these days, or has it become strictly a business deal? "Okay, so you can do xyz for me...? Well I can do abc for you.... So let's sign on the dotted line."


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