… The Sandbox Metaphor

“Less Fussy” vs “Elitist”


The sandbox metaphor explains the difference quite well.   A normal child, the “less fussy” kid, freely invites other children at the park to join him/her to play.  Such kids are fundamentally inclusive; they readily welcome other children into the sandbox. The “less fussy” can more easily settle into a long term relationship as they have such a larger pool of potential “friends.”

At the other end of the spectrum are the “extremely picky,”  sometimes referred to in psychological circles as being “elitist.”  Being “elitist”  has a profound influence on the ability to form close relationships. These people are a small minority, and they have a greater chance of having a weak or dysfunctional  marriage.  Simply put,  in this short life, they often do not find the right person.  Their sandbox is so small, that only a few possible candidates are suitable to play in it. The odds that they enter a marriage where they are “mismatched” are greater.

sandbox_playIt’s not that they dislike the children that they excluded form their sandbox.  They simply find them less interesting than the select few that are allowed to enter the “smaller” sandbox. In fact, sometimes the “extremely picky” look at those they rejected from their tiny sandbox and ponder… he seems like such a lovely person… in fact, he probably is a lovely person… but why is it that I do not want to play with him?

mr-fussy-book1Often the extremely picky are mistakenly labeled as people who are unable to love.  Sometimes this may be true, but possibly they were matched with the wrong person. Perhaps the extremely picky are locked up and of the 30 keys on the table, only one will open the lock. For the less fussy perhaps a dozen keys will open the lock. This doesn’t require a brilliant statistician to determine who is more likely to have a sour marriage. Intimate relationships are tough, and the “elitist” factor is just one of  many.


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8 Responses to … The Sandbox Metaphor

  1. roberto says:

    For most the rest of your life is too long to remember. Most could not have imagined the significant changes in life (people, places, circumstances) over a decade or two. And if the change hasn’t been significant, life might be too long to remember. Yes mas3399 …give it your best shot. Boredom often contributes to wondering fantasies as well as to excessive alcohol use. Have experienced this rest of your life boredom. I believe that marriages need something beyond the “two become one”. God…children…interests…sacrifice…perhaps a sprinkling of insanity. To exist is boring; now to live, well, put on the cowboy boots and dance. Ever notice that the people in romance movies are seldom married. “God is great, Beer is good, People are crazy.”

  2. mas3398 says:

    I think we try, and should try.Trying is what living is. Analyzing is just too boring. Get out there, and give it your best shot.

    • croppable says:

      I agree… keep trying… regularly make new friends of the opposite sex…and forget about analysis… is she or he the right one. Just get out there and make friends and have some fun… and then, one will stand out… one with whom you would look forward to spending the rest of your life with.

  3. roberto says:

    Thought provoking LNV: My daughter Facebooked me an interesting article that gives credibility to the power of suggestion and false memories. Given our decisions/lives are based largely on our past experiences (house of mirrors) then feeling cropped may be sometimes rooted in false memory experiences (growing up). Meaning, I am a victim, I will be victimized through my life. Moreover some people live more isolated than others; don’t like the person they are with, and neither feel emotionally attached nor want inclusion. I drift in-and-out of the happy-box trying not to kick up too much sand.

    Click to access Loftus-%20Creating%20False%20Mems.pdf

  4. lnv says:

    As a father, a husband, brother, son, and person out and about in the real world I have experienced many levels of “the croppable”—and am no where nearly done.
    Theoretically speaking, everything can break. Any relationship can burn and crash whether we are implicated or not. Some things are out of our control. Others are not.
    Speaking psychologically, there is such a different feel among the various types of relationships (father, husband, brother, son, colleague, etc.). The most deeply felt difference probably falls on that old fault line: nature/nurture. There is such a difference between my children mirroring me; and my sense of mirroring (and internalizing) my parents. Yet, who is to say? The bond between man and woman, though forged outside genetic links, probably has even deeper roots in the unconscious projection of self on others.
    And yet, speaking philosophically, no matter the cost, the possibility is always there of a total break. For whatever reasons loss is built into the system.

    • croppable says:

      The first sentence was profound: “As a father, a husband, brother, son, and person out and about in the real world I have experienced many levels of “the croppable”—and am no where nearly done.” Thanks, LNV

  5. crop says:

    When two become one the synthesis creates necessary individual change and adaptation. So much depends on one’s past of giving up fast or making it last. When a couple decide to marry: Is it until they tire of it? Until one finds someone less boring? More beautiful? It is important to try to understand oneself and ask how others see you before until death do us part.

    • croppable says:

      I like your posting name crop. Now we move further, no longer using croppable or cropable only as adjectives to describe problematic relationships. Now a new verb is introduced into the English language: “to crop”
      An angry girlfriend yells to her boyfriend, “If you don’t stop playing golf three times a week, I will crop you out of my life.”

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