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February 8, 2005 / TildeWill

The Thing About Relationships

I was home today recuperating from my cold/flu and I was thinking about all the people I know who are either recently our of a relationship or are looking for a new one. Now I love my analogies, so I came up with this:

Starting a relationship is like two people betting on the same horse. You have to bet it all to win big, and if you hold back you risk missing a great opportunity. The race could be decided early on that your horse will not win, or it could come down to the last second. It is okay to be sad if you do not win, but one should not be too surprised, for such is the nature of gambling. Sometimes you get lucky and there is a consolation round, sometimes you just have to go home empty handed.

The important part is to recognize that each relationship involves some degree of risk. At the end of each relationship you have the same choice every time, to try and bet on the same horse that did not win last time, or to find a new horse. In some cases a horse can win after it has lost, in some cases it cannot. To be able to tell the difference is a task even the greatest of horse betters have not mastered and such is the challenge posed to each person’s heart.

May all of us find our winning horse.



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  1. Someone / Feb 9 2005 10:29 am

    Very interesting analogy. However, it should be pointed out that there’s a decided difference between gambling on a horse and gambling with one’s emotions. Money is, ultimately, a thing, a construct that is grounded upon rationality. Emotions, by their very nature, are not. One can use reason and rationality to determine which horse to bet on, which card to play, etc., etc. When it comes to relationships, rationality MAY play a part but it may not. In a lot of cases, it does NOT play a part.

    Think of it this way — you can choose to bet on the horse How Fast on the third race at Hialeah mainly because that horse has won 9 out of its last 10 races. You could also determine that the jockey riding that horse has never lost a race. Rationally, it’s a DAMNED good idea to bet on that horse. When it comes to relationships though, one cannot always use reason. I mean, do you look at people with a view towards their “track record”, i.e. “Hmmmm……. I should consider dating X since she’s only dated 3 guys and so I can easily get into a relationship with her” or “I should consider dating Y because the past 5 guys she’s dated has said she’s easy” or, better yet, “I should consider dating Z because she’s great in bed according to the last 9 guys she’s dated and she’s a great cook”?

    To select relationship possibilities on such bases would be the height of shallowness. Would you not agree? Should relationships not be based on mutual respect, attraction, and, dare one say it, love? So in selecting possible relationship partners, should not one ponder questions in that same vein? To wit, “Maybe I should consider dating A because there’s mutual respect between her and I, we get along, and she’s someone whose company I enjoy”? Or, better yet, “I should consider dating B because she seems to like me, I seem to like her, we get along, and we enjoy each other’s company”. After all, if you and your partner do not enjoy one another’s company, then what the heck are you in a relationship for? If it’s just for sex, then that ain’t no relationship. You’re basically bed buddies who satiate each other’s animalistic and lustful needs with each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with THAT but ……. I don’t think it’s really a relationship, is it?

    Perhaps a relationship is one that is based on emotions — those indefinable and almost ineffable yearnings within us that are (mostly) beyond the bounds of reason. After all, if one is truly in love, then almost no matter what the object of your love does, you’ll still be in love with them. One might say that love is a form of temporary insanity — regardless of what reason and rationale say, you want that person and you’re willing to go to any lengths for him/her. Look at Romeo and Juliet — reason would dictate that they could not have each other and yet they still did want one another …….

    I agree that your analogy is somewhat apt. However, one must be mindful of the limitations of such an analogy ….. Relationships ARE a gamble. Horse racing is gambling. That’s pretty much where the analogy ends.

    Just my $0.02 …….

  2. Will / Feb 9 2005 11:39 am

    I disagree with you disagreeing. I think my analogy is an excellent one which your above statement serves to reinforce. You state that one can take a logical approach to both gambling and relationships, but that it leads to shallow relationships. Those types of gamblers are also considered “heartless” is the books of many, those people who do not “feel” a good bet, but rather they play the odds.

    You argue that relationships are based on emotions and I couldn’t agree with you more. But I think that you neglect that there is a great deal of “feel” to most bets. Additionally there are many elements that are out of your control in betting just as they are in a relationship, health of the horse, the mental state of the rider, the random fly that will spook a horse just enough to cause him to slow his step. Or what about the people that bet on a horse just because it wears that person’s “lucky number” even though the hose is a looser? You could easily equate such thinking to that of Romeo and Juliet. It seems foolish and futile until that horse does win and the end justifies the means.

    I stand by my analogy, and I thank you for helping me to expand upon it.

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