My very simple view on relationships.
My Theory of Relationships
This is not a scientific study, nor does it hold any factual information, other than how I understand relationships. You can pick up a science based book that can break relationships down into each little section, how this chemical works this way, which causes this to happen. That will probably get you nowhere unless you are a scientist. You can also pick up a psychology book about relationship that will explain all of the different human needs that we have and how you respond to them. There are also the teen novels with vampires and werewolves that give you their view as well.
All of that is great, if that is what you are looking for. If you want an easy way to look at relations as a whole, this method might possibly be what you are looking for. It is really simple; people are divided into 4 Sectors of 4 circles, each circle being slightly smaller and inside the previous one. Think of the Sectors as pieces of a pie. Each sector takes up one quarter of the pie. This will not be true in each case, but we will get to that later.
The outer circle is what I like to call the Everyone Circle. This is the person that everyone gets from the time you first meet them. This is the carefully crafted personae that we show the world. We did not craft it on purpose, it just happens over time based on our experiences.
The circle just inside this one I like to call the Friend Circle. I know, predictable names right? Well I told you it was simple. This is where all of your work and casual friends live, along with some relatives and maybe even a few enemies. Very rarely do they ever make it any deeper than this level. They know things about you that the general public doesn’t know, and quite frankly, has no business knowing, but that is about it.
The third circle, this is the Inner Circle. Yes I used that term. This is where your close friends and relatives live. These are the people that would know more about you than anyone else other than yourself. These are your confidants. The people you trust with the deepest darkest secrets that you are comfortable telling them.
The fourth circle, which is the really tiny space right in the middle, is the My Circle. This is where you and you alone live. This is the area no one ever gets access to. These are the thoughts, fears, dreams, and deeds that are only for you to know about. This is the place that houses the deepest darkest secrets that even your inner circle cannot know.
Just remember EFIM. These are the circles with which a person is made up of. Pretty simple and self-explanatory isn't it? Looking back at it now, you already knew all of this, just maybe didn’t have a picture for it? Well know you do, so if you stop reading now, you still got something out of it. You might want to stick around for the next part though. It gets better.
Those circles can be neatly divided into 4 equal Sectors, with the bottom right Sector being the Private Sector. Top right is the Professional Sector. Bottom left sector being Public Sector, and Top left is the Other Sector. That gives us PPPO (Public, Private, Professional, Other) to go along with our EFIM Everyone, Friends, Inner, My). This completes what I like to call the diagram. It is the circles and sectors that make our relationships up.
Now that we have defined our matrix, where do we go from here? Well, we start discussing relationships of course. That IS what this is about.
Each person, based on where they fall under the PPPO acronym, will need a portion of your circle for themselves. A co-worker that you barely know may need a part of the Professional Sector of your Everyone Circle. Following how it works yet?
A close friend that you also work with will need a part of your Professional and Private Sectors. That person gets to go a little deeper, all the way into our Friend Circle.
So that is how it works.
Each person in our lives is defined by how we categorize them in our circles and sectors. We allot each person a certain part of ourselves. As we get to know them better, we give them more of us. There can be overlap of course, since we are not with everyone we know all the time.
None of that above is the reason for me writing this down and sharing my system. Instead, this is how I process. It gives me a reference of dealing with people. The purpose of this is for me to share with the readers how I look at relationship, not everyday relationships, but intimate ones; boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, and wife.
You see, I have been married almost 20 years at the time of my writing this. I wanted to put onto paper my thoughts on how relationships work, or at least how I came to understand my relationship with my wife.
At the beginning of our relationship, my wife got a portion of my Personal and Private Sectors, about down to my Friend circle. I did not let her in all the way. So she spent a lot of time around there. Sometimes she moved into the Other Sector and Professional Sector, but never moved close to the Inner Circle where she should have been the entire time. A lot of that was due to my low self-esteem and trust issues.
In the first few years I cheated on her several times. That causes both people to compete for the same space in the circle. Since two people cannot occupy the same space at the same time, it causes a conflict.
You see, the issue here is not that I cheated, and yes she knows and stood by me, or what it did to her, but it is about what it did to the relationship. There is no me or her in this scenario. I took her space, which was rightfully hers since I gave it to her through marriage, and tried to overlay someone else on top of it. I tried to make two people occupy the same space in the diagram at the same time. It is not possible. The diagram will always correct itself in the end, one way or the other.
As I have aged, less and less people occupy space inside my diagram. That is because I have learned that my wife, who I love more than anything, gets to have all of the space in the diagram any time she wants. She allows people to be inside her space now, even though it is my diagram. This is the compromise that makes relationships work. Trying to introduce a new love or lust interest into her space would cause a conflict, and in the end someone, and by someone I mean me, is going to end up extremely unhappy.
My wife does not occupy all of my space all of the time, but she has that option. She does however have input in whom she shared that circle with and any conflict is easy remedied by one simple rule. She wins. That’s it. There is no need for any other rule.
I guess the point I am trying to make through all of this rambling is this. If you are seeing two people, eventually as things start to get more personal, they are going to try and occupy the same space. No matter how slick you think you are or how good your game is, eventually it will cause a conflict. To avoid that conflict, you will have to decide what is important to you. Which space or spaces would you want your significant other to occupy and do you trust either of those people enough to control your diagram.