Ambivalence

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There’s this relationship book on ambivalence that I’ve read a few times.

Full disclosure, I’ve read ALL the relationship books.

Like, really. All of them.

Back in college a friend was looking for me in a book store and when she found me she said, “I just knew I’d find you in ‘Relationships, Self-Help and Sexuality.”

And for the record, some of those gazillion relationship books, especially some of the more “popular” ones are utter & complete garbage. (Here’s a review on one if you want to go down that rabbithole.)

But there’s one in particular that I found especially useful. It was so useful I’ve read it a few times over the years and have given it as a gift at least a dozen times.

Recently a good friend was telling me how his sister was trying to get him to read one of the, in my opinion, rather useless relationship books. And I started pondering what books he might actually benefit from.

I hadn’t thought about this book on relationship ambivalence in a long time. After all, the BadEvent Husband really does have this figured out.

“Honey, it’s just a log.”

But then I started thinking about my Eventing Ambivalence of the past year.

And that, just maybe, that book on relationship ambivalence might play a useful role in BadEventer’s current state.

Ambivalence in eventing swings somewhere on the pendulum between Apathy and Insanity.

The closer to Apathy you get, the more things like the fitness work of eventing, all those trot and gallop sets just seems like lunacy.

Aren’t there other things to do? That’s when 3 foot hunter rounds, followed by mimosas with the girls, sounds like it might just be the ticket.

Why work so hard to train your horse for 3 phases that each essentially untrains them for the next?

It’s no secret the better your horse is at dressage the less independent they tend to be to the fences.

The braver they are on cross country the less careful they tend to be in show jumping.

GRC Photo

And the more careful they are in show jumping the less they tend to care for cross country.

“Insanity in the midde” is a serious understatement.

And yes, of course there are fabulous horses that make all 3 phases look easy, but the Fischer Rocana’s of the sport are the exceptions not the norms.

The closer on the pendulum from apathy to Insanity that you get to the insanity part, instead of dreaming of hunter rounds & mimosas ……it’s more along the lines of…….

Maybe I don’t need to run that 5 star after all. Maybe just surviving an Advanced horse trial is good enough to ……….

Check – That – Box.

So back to that book on ambivalence…………….

It sets out some basic parameters. The premise is that if you have ambivalence about a relationship, then you need to “diagnose” it like a doctor does an illness. The idea is that weighing pros & cons is far too complicated. Instead, based on lots of research, it sets out a series of simple yes / no questions. And then each question concludes with something like, “Most people that answered no to this question were happiest if they left (or stayed)……..”

I found it to be a pretty novel approach. Chapter one started with something like,

“When your relationship was at its very best. Was it ever really any good to begin with?”

The point being, if it was never good to start with, there is no “good time” to recover. And though I don’t think it quite said this, it basically said, “If your relationship was never very good to start with, there is no where for it to go and you can stop reading this book because you already have your answer.”

I took The Zebrasurus & 2.0 to an event last week.

Dressage was…..

well dressage.

Which has never been my favorite thing, in spite of some pretty outstanding scores in that area.

Then they both jumped double clear in show jumping, and for once I felt like I completely knew what I was doing. It’s nice when you make all “the right” choices. The many MANY days of just trying to remember to breathe & blindly flailing towards the jumps are finally in the past.

Cross country was next and the Zebrasaurus came out like a maniac because he hasn’t competed in ages. So in his normal modus operandi, he left out strides everywhere and was quite bold.

Let’s be real. He is a unicorn.

The new kid came out of the startbox and ran past his distance at jump one.

Um, ok, that’s the wrong answer for jumping things that don’t fall down.

So I galloped up to jump two and thought I’d give him another chance to make a better decision.

NOPE! He ran past his distance again.

And yes, you can clearly hear me say the F word in the video.

Jump 3 was another repeat.

I quickly realized I was really going to have to manage him, because he was not making good choices. And poor choices plus solid fences is just no bueno.

I sat him on his rear and essentially forced him to do a better job on the rest of the jumps on the course, racking up a ton of time penalties.

Both grey ponies jumped all the jumps.

I kept the horse between me & the ground.

I did my job keeping them safe.

True to the BadEventer mantra, a number is better than a letter.

And when I came off course, it was……

well……

it felt more like work

than something I do for fun.

So I went home to work on getting someone who was wrongfully convicted out of prison and that just seemed like something more worthwhile.

And hence the ambivalence.

If you’re so inclined, please check out my True Crime Wrongful Conviction podcast called Aggravating Circumstances.

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