The Emotion Analyzer

January 14, 2009

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?
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. :-)

I call myself a chronic thinker. A few centuries ago, I'd have been called a Thinker. Or burnt at stake for being a witch. My degree is my passport to the world of respectability. I moonlight as a troubled poet, a warrior princess and a closet sorceress. I am all of these and yet none of them is all of me. All I was born to be really, was a story-teller. Scheherazade, Galelio, Cleopatra and Salvador have passed through. This time round, just call me IdeaSmith.
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Deepti Lamba
January 15, 2009
01:52 AM

Ideasmith, its best to be pragmatic even in love;)

January 15, 2009
02:11 PM


when it comes to thetwolimbedendangeredspecies of the opposite gender all deliberations and analysis take you to the precipice...after that one is faced with two choices...withdraw or leap...(this conjectural temporal research can be vouched for by dee and ss)


Ayan Roy
January 15, 2009
03:51 PM

A very interesting read. Never seen such critical dissection of relationship guidelines - almost Spock like in your logic and questioning :-)

I must say, it requires a very high level of self-awareness and self-observation to be able to understand one's emotions and analyse them so critically, and to be able to answer the questions you put forth.

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