I talk to at least fifty people every day – texting with my sweeties, answering comments in my blog, solving tickets at work, social networking with editors and fellow writers.
At the end of the day, I have to summarize that in a report for my wife.
Its not an official report, of course, though that would have the satisfying ring of a blue folder being dropped on her desk, perhaps stamped with the words CONFIDENTIAL. But at some point, I have to summarize the interesting things that have happened to me, lest we have these awkward conversations like When did you become bisexual? or I rather thought youd tell me your family was killed in a chemical accident.
Which means at some point, theres an algorithm that runs through my head that separates my daily events into rough categories: SHOULD CALL RIGHT AWAY, AMUSING ANECDOTE TO BE TOLD OVER DINNER, JUICY GOSSIP, SLOW MUTATIONS IN MY THOUGHT PATTERNS. And in this algorithm, certain events are discarded as not worth mentioning, else I might as well sit down with Gini and read off every Tweet Ive sent that day.
The trick to a successful relationship, Ive decided, is in fine-tuning those algorithms.
See, a bad filtering algorithm will discard events that would be danger signals to your partner: maybe you dont think much of the fact that Cassie squeezed your ass at the Halloween party, but your partner probably wants to know. The issue is that your algorithm had written that butt-squeeze off as a drunken lark, whereas your partners been noting the way that Cassies been hanging close to you at parties, laughing a bit too loudly at every joke. To her, Cassies a step in an escalating attraction that will need to be handled one way or the other; to you, its nothing.
Hence, theres going to be a bit of a clash when this fact is revealed to her later.
Likewise, bad filtering algorithms dont necessarily take into event the little day-to-day slides in attitude that often kayo a relationship. We all know some couple where the one partner just got more and more dissatisfied with her life, quashing it all down because hey, I have a good home and a decent job and this should make me happy even though it doesnt – and then one day they explode into a flusterstorm of rebellion and run off to Indonesia to tend llamas.
Thats a bad filtering algorithm because it didnt convey the daily frustration in an effective way.
I think the reason Gini and I have thrived for so long is that weve established a set of pretty good algorithms. As a flirty poly guy, I text and email a lot of people… But I also relate any significant incidents that I think might be leading to either a ramping up or a damping down of affections. And Ginis fine-tuned her algorithms to let me know about her overall moods, so that I can monitor her to make sure shes doing well.
The end result isnt perfect, of course; if she did read through all of my mails Im sure shed find a few surprises, and shell occasionally forget to mention that something happened to our daughters today. But mostly, weve gotten a good handle on providing a daily snapshot to each other that lets us know how were feeling.
Thats the danger I worry about as I move towards more experimentation with BDSM; its a new situation the algorithm has to deal with. Since Im a novice at this sort of thing, I dont necessarily know what is significant in my evolution, leading to a weekend where I just sort of exploded at Gini about a bunch of incoherent feelings I had that she had to walk me through. Its hard for me to summarize things like top drop and the intense spillage of emotions that arise after a scene when I cant even really process them myself… And that concerns me, because Im worried I may do something that to me is insignificant, yet to Gini would be a huge billboard of NO NO DO NOT PASS, and dont let her know because my algorithm erroneously filed as DISCARD.
Yet I think that if youre gonna make it work in the long-term, you need to make sure your compacting algorithm is stable, efficient, and open. The alternative is to not translate the significant events in your day-to-day life so that your partner knows and can deal with them… and that never ends well.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.