The vast majority of men in the Universe would kill for one of these. Granted, this tends to be that bit of the man that thinks like a hulking, rugby-playing, wife-beating tosser, but I think we've all got a bit of that somewhere deep down.

I, too, once longed for a low-maintenance girlfriend. Imagine the careless freedom of not having to demonstrate your utter infatuation at least once every thirty minutes, spend ridiculous amounts on flowers, train oneself not even to look at other girls in the street even unto the possibility of collision, and spend every minute wondering if you're looking devoted enough! Imagine the delights of only shaving every other day and not having to hide one's porn collection! Ooh, I'm going all blissful just thinking about it.


My current¹ belle is, indeed, a low-maintenance girlfriend, and it turns out not to be the utopia one might expect. Mainly, this is for the sole reason that:

a girl who does not constantly demand displays of affection is acting exactly like a girl who doesn't want any.

If you have even the occasional twinge of insecurity (and for those of you who don't know me, my entire psyche is one single seething mass of emotional hangups) this dichotomy will prey on your mind long into the night. 'Is X incredibly sane and well-balanced or does she not give a fuck? Am I the luckiest man alive or just cheaper than a vibrator?'

...which, by extension, ends up with one becoming a high-maintenance boyfreind, constantly demanding displays of affection etc. etc. It still ends up being cheaper than buying presents all the time, though.

[ 1 ] "current" means current at time of writing. It goes without saying that despite the unmitigated whingeing in this node, I hope she will remain my current girlfriend long into the future.² Okay. You can take your fingers out of your throats now.

Hmmm... e2 is becoming my shrink....

[ 2 ] Well, the future didn't last that long. Oh well, heigh ho.

In the wake of quacky's wu below, I'd like to make it clear that my GF is, in fact, sane and well-balanced, it's me who isn't. This whole wu is supposed to say be careful what you wish for, but I didn't make that quite clear enough.

What's to like about a partner who has no time for you?
Who could (or should) tolerate a companion that doesn't feed your need?

A low-maintenance girlfriend is certainly preferable to a high-maintenance girlfriend, and on this single point I agree with you, lagrange. Where we part ways though, is in our definitions, or functional specifications maybe.

By low-maintenance girlfriend you seem to mean someone who doesn't want your focus or your appreciation. Or maybe, to put a finer point on it, someone who doesn't require that appreciation. Is this 'low-maintenance' or merely self-reliance or self-trust? (forgive the therapy-speak...)

There is a large (but subtle) distinction between "does not constantly demand" and "doesn't want." Not to attack your logic or your grammar, but really... one must be very careful how one states things. Words are very powerful catalysts for behavior.

I sense a species of carelessness in your desire for the "low-maintenance girlfriend." I mean: would you truly want a woman who would stay with the "hulking, rugby-playing, wife-beating tosser" that you say lurks in me, and all men? Of course, there is a hulking tosser in all us men -- though I prefer the term "pirate." But, by now, shouldn't we be smart enough to keep the pirate in his proper place?

Now, I'm not at all saying we should bow down to that Good Woman therapist created for us by Western society -- cull out all our rugby impulses, soften our souls, and shamefully sheath the tools we are given. But seriously, can't we be whole people? I love the "what is a man good for" species of so-called feminist jokes out there. They say we're just cheaper than vibrators?? Okay then... How about giving us the freedom and respect sex toys get?

The whole mistake of all this talk about women and men I think is all the "men are this... women are that, men need this... women need that" crap. Who knows what Men need? or Women need? (Don't get me wrong, a whole lot of that stuff is fascinating and enlightening and really fucking funny!)

I lost someone important, someone who I thought at the time was the perfect low-maintenance girlfriend. Know why? Because I doted on her and needed her, and became the archetype of the high-maintenance boyfriend. What killed that relationship, and killed the Me that started that relationship was the reaction I had to her independence. Why did she cheat on me and then leave me? Because I wasn't an equal to her. Because all my vitality came from her reactions to my affection. Because I lived for her. My self-sacrifice led directly to my self-effacement. What we're talking about is enmeshment (sorry, another therapy word...): being entirely defined by a relationship.

My True Low-Maintenance Girlfriend already has a life, and a strength all her own: but just what makes that a nightmare? Our grandfathers... did they need someone else to measure their worth and vitality? What has happened in the last 60 years to make lifelong partnerships all about self-validation and self-esteem? Oh sure: nurturing, care, love, affection... those are all great. Just fine. But how is it that we consider ourselves adults these days when we don't even feel okay without a lover for a mirror?

Here's what I mean by "low-maintenance girlfriend" just so it's clear: she is self-sufficient, not especially even financially or materially, but self-sufficient -- she trusts completely in the self that only she can ever know; she could be apart from me for ANY length of time and still be okay, and I would be okay, because I'm not basing my self-worth on her or her attention, nor is she on me or mine; I love the affection she has to give me, and I understand its limits, because my affection toward her has its limits too. If she is too swamped at work or a symposium or a class to remember anniversary flowers, that is a happy thing, I am proud of her: as she is proud of me for not needing to see her smile glow when I praise her beauty.

Your question: "Is X incredibly sane and well-balanced or does she not give a fuck...?" is telling. What about the first clause is so threatening that it leads you to pose the second clause as an alternative? The tragic question (I think) is this: whatever convinced us we should undertake lifelong partnerships before we really trust we are sane and well-balanced... alone?

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