Mr. Grey & Miss Steele ~ The Halfway Point

I stopped reading at the end of Chapter 16 late last night. When I start again, it’ll be with Chapter 17 and page 290.

Which is just a little past the halfway point. Not yet sure what to make of the book, but there have been some ideas, questions, thoughts on my mind…

Is chemistry essential for a successful relationship? What IS chemistry?

Chemistry often defies definition. Sometimes we want it to be there, try desperately to feel it even. And it’s not. Then when we aren’t expecting it—don’t even want it present. It is there. And it cannot be faked or forced.

We can all think of examples of couples who seem to ‘fit.’ And couples who don’t. It’s true that we never know what goes on behind closed doors, but I have long thought that couples who don’t ‘fit’ and yet hang in there (unhappily) are perhaps trying to push the square peg into the round hole—instead of cutting their losses and finding the square hole. It is often easier to stick with what we know, even when it doesn’t work—than to move on, not knowing what the future holds.

I’m 41. I’ve been through a divorce. A brief relationship during/after the divorce. Dating as a teenager. And dating as an adult. What I’ve learned? I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m quite sure of that!

But I do know that chemistry is essential for me. I’m not willing to be in a relationship without it. What is the point? I may not be able to define it, but I know if it is there. If we are honest, it is either THERE or it is NOT.  Life is difficult enough and relationships aren’t always easy (or Perfect). And so personally, I’m not willing to do battle to find affection/chemistry for somebody. When the right chemistry is there, everything else tends to fall into place.

Human Nature…

I see the human sides of Mr. Grey and Miss Steele. I don’t hate either of them (yet), nor do I think badly of them.

So Mr. Grey uses sex as a form of control—or tries to. I’m not even sure I can say he manipulates (yet) because he is completely straightforward. And thus far has exerted his control in a fair (and even kind) fashion, without malice.

Honestly, nothing in the book so far is ANY different from the thousands of ‘bodice rippers’ that many women read every day.

The difference? There is the negotiation of sexual acts considered outside the range of ‘normal.’ Or the hint of them. So far, there’s been a spanking. (And the ‘bodice rippers’ sometimes have that, especially the historical romances set back hundreds of years ago…)

How many of us use control to get what we want?

There are MANY ways to control others. How many people use money? Or social position? Or dangle a job? Or use the kids? Or make threats? Which leads me to a big question that’s been on my mind while reading…

What type of control is the most damaging?

I find myself questioning whether emotional manipulation is worse than physical? Is it worse to chip away at another’s self esteem and self-worth with words? To use words to gain control and take advantage of another? Can words cut deeper than a slap on the behind? What about those who withhold affection, sex, tenderness? Is that equally as damaging to the spirit? Because it is certainly a means of exerting control.

I can’t help but wonder if ANYBODY who places conditions on a relationship is doing the same as Mr Grey? Just using different methods. And maybe to a different degree? Is there an unidentified (and unspoken) Dominant and Submissive in many relationships? Is the ‘game’ the same, but with different currency required for approval? Is it worse, more damaging when it isn’t spelled out?

The whole, “I’ll love you if___________.” Fill in the blank.

If you’re thin enough. If you act a certain way. If you do what I want you to do. If you marry me, buy me the house I want, make enough money, do as I say….

Taken several steps farther, there are those who place conditions on all of their relationships. With their friends, parents, children. It is just their way. I have known a few in my life. And though I don’t think they are ‘bad’ people, or even wrong. I do tend to keep my distance, because that personality isn’t one that I am overly compatible with.

My last thoughts…

I notice that they call each other Mr. Grey and Miss Steele during conversations and the more mundane activities such as dinner, graduation, etc. It is during the intimate moments and when they drop their guards that they use Christian and Anastasia.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Mr. Grey is pressing for his paperwork and agreements, trying put the relationship neatly into its little box—with labels and rules. And Miss Steele is supposed to be the innocent victim. Yet, she seems to hold her own, thus far. She seems to turn the tables on Mr. Grey. Meaning she has her own power—and instinctively knows when/how to use it.

There you have it. An accounting of thoughts/ideas that have bounced around in my brain while reading…

Note to Cheryl Sadler: Get a copy. (Don’t wait for the library copy.) This might merit a ‘discussion’ at a local winery soon. Could be fun, right?