Tag Archives: long term relationship

Random Musing: Love = Freedom

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A MOMENT OF TRANSPARENCY: I fully admit that I have very different ideals when it comes to partnerships and relationships. Not “better or even worse” just vastly different.

I believe in family, I just also believe the family structure and dynamic can look many different ways. That all of them are okay and that they can all be successful as long as the parties involved are on the same page, maintain open honest communication, do things from a place of love , and share a common goal. The truth is there is no “One Size Fits All” when it comes to family, relationship, or love and trying to fit into a box that doesn’t fit ultimately causes unnecessary pain for the people involved.

There are many issues that pop up in long term relationships and many of them stem from the belief that our partners belong to us (love/commitment equals ownership), if someone loves us then they alone are solely & fully responsible for all of our happiness, wants, and needs, and if our partner loves us they will always know what we need and do what we want (and if they do not then they must not really care).

I am polyamorous , no this has nothing to do with my sexual orientation (for some reason people think this means you want to have sex with any and everybody…NOPE! FALSE! NEGATIVE). While I do enjoy sexual expression as much as, well maybe even more than the next person, the way I am wired, sexual desire is inspired by the emotional, intellectual, & spiritual connection I have with an individual. You can be physically alluring but if the other boxes are not ticked then more than likely I will pass on the pudding. I honestly prefer & desire deep connections built on friendship that can be explored fully and grown long term.

What it does mean is that I acknowledge my ability to care for, love, & maintain deep intimate relationships with more than one person at a time. Those connections may all look very different but each is beautifully fulfilling in it’s own way.

This also means that it is not in my nature to think that simply because I love someone and they love me that it means they will never ever care for or feel deeply for anyone else. Also it means that I know that any attraction or interest my love may have or find in another human being doesn’t negate what we have, what we are building, or what they feel for me. There is no sense of competition, because I am who I am and they are who they are. No one brings exactly what I bring to the table. It’s natural to enjoy, be inspired by, and attracted to new things. It’s called being Alive 🙂

The world is full of variety and diverse experiences. I would never attempt to control the opportunities for growth, expansion, friendship, expression, & love that another human being may get to experience on this life journey (this includes my family, children, friends, & lovers). Especially under the guise of Insecurity & Fear artfully disguised as Love.

Many people believe “well if they love me then I would be enough for them. They would have no desire to explore new things or meet new people. They would do as I say. They would feel as I feel”. That is limiting, destructive, & foolish thinking in my opinion.

It is only in “LOVE” that we attempt to imprison one anothers being. We cling tightly and attempt to hold on for dear life. We feel that someone may attempt to take this thing we hold so dear. It is our “Precious”. So we try to lock it away, hide it away, control it, manipulate it, we be damned if someone else is going to have the opportunity to enjoy this thing.

Trust me…I truly do understand where this intense obsession comes from & why…Simply put “Love” makes us feel good, connected, a part of something bigger, full, whole, complete, and we will do anything in our power to maintain and keep a hold of the thing that we feel is the reason for our intensely good feelings. That however is where the illusion begins…

Our partners, lovers, friends, family, etc. are not the source of the feelings they are merely reflections of the LOVE that resides inside of us. Yes, they add joy to our lives, keep us company on this journey, give us warm hugs and stir our emotions (both positive & negative). They help us learn more about who we are, what we want, & what we need….BUT they are NOT the fountain from which the love flows…WE ARE….They are merely a conduit to reflect the essence of the love we exude & give, back at us.

The truth is…(I know this will be hard to accept or believe)…we often don’t love the objects of our affection we simply love how they make “US” feel. This is why we loose it when we think something else might gain their attention and become their point of focus. This could be a new job, a new person, a new exercise regimen, going back to school, starting a new business, pursuing their dreams…The list is endless. We get so afraid when we think we might lose the source of our Good Feelings. When the reality is the Source of our Good Feelings can never be taken away because it lives inside of each and every one of us.

Call it what you like…the semantics matter not to me. Call it God, Love Energy, The Source, Magick, Your Essence…. this is the true place that fullness, connection, and completion resides. Not in the beings we choose to share the life journey with. Yes they add to it but they are not it. This is why I have no issue with those I love living their best life, yes even if that includes connecting deeply with other people . I support it and encourage it. The truth is when I love you I wish the best for you and realize that “the best” in any given moment may come from a source outside of me.

For me Love equals Trust & Freedom. I trust those I love to know what is best for their hearts and souls (even if it’s not something I understand ). I trust that our connection is solid enough for them to always be open and honest with me about what they feel, need, & desire. From that place of trust I grant them Freedom to live, love, do, & be themselves in every aspect (not just when it’s in line with my way of thinking, convenient for or beneficial for me). I have no desire to limit their experiences or lock them down. I will always be honest about how I feel but will also try my best to honor the place from which they are coming as well.

Now understand this does not mean that I never feel insecure or unsure, or that I don’t get angry or irritated. Believe me I do. But when those feelings arise I know that it has more to do with me than someone else. It means that there are issues surfacing that I need to address and attend to. So I sit with the feeling and explore them to understand where they come from and why. I know it is ultimately “MY” responsibility to slay my own dragons.

You may ask, “Well how in the hell can one build a family or grow a commitment with all of this Freedom going on?”….lol. The truth is with open honest communication and a shared end goal this is very possible. See long term commitments such as marriage are simply a combination or mixture of two or more elements. A union, alliance, fusion, blend, amalgamation, combination, merger…You get the Idea…LOL. It is a United Front: A Team that is working together towards a common end goal…Be it Raising Children, Strengthening Familial Bonds, Spiritual Growth, Building Community, Building Wealth, Personal Development, etc. The possible shared goals are numerous but the point is there is an agreement in place within the union and a sense of mutual obligation and commitment to whatever the team has deemed the End Goal to be. This agreement will look different for everyone’s relationships. If everyone involved is fully committed to the same end goal then allowing freedom to your lover will not hurt you or your relationship as their choices will always take into consideration the impact on the end goal of the union. Now if everyone is not then that is a whole different issue that needs to be addressed.

The most beautiful part is that there are many different types of relationship paradigms (structures). It is vitally important that we take some time to figure out what type looks, works, and feels best for us and that we are honest about this with those who we decide to connect & share our lives with. The truth is this also takes time and maybe even some trial and error until we discover the right fit. It is very important that as you make new discoveries that you share them especially if you happen to make these discoveries while already in a committed relationship and this will require possible shifts and adjustments to your standing agreements or the relationship itself. (Yea I know that sounds scary and Change scares us because we do not know what it might bring).

The reality is that we are all in “Multiple Relationships” already. We call them different things and the level and depth of each one varies but they are all important to us for their own unique reasons and we would totally resent anyone walking into our lives and telling us that we must terminate all of these connections and agree to never build any new ones if we are going to love them & have them in our life. So why do we do this on a daily basis to the people we say that we genuinely love and care for?

Understand I am not here to convince anyone of anything or change your minds. But I am here to ask the pointed questions and who knows maybe it will open up some much needed dialog on the subject of relating and relationships.

Shared from a space and place of love ~ Twin Spirit

My Blog: www.MyBeautifulUglyWorld.wordpress.com
My Music: www.iAmTwinSpirit.com

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Random Musings: Partnership vs Ownership

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REPOST:

My previous position on how to be happy in a relationship can be summed up as “Don’t expect anything of anyone.”

Now I think my advice is, “Don’t expect everything of anyone.”

I believe the divorce rate, and even higher rates of dissatisfaction and sexual dysfunction in marriage, result directly from unreasonable expectations of marriage.

My ex-husband was absolutely my best friend. He was an excellent best friend too. Best friendship was absolutely not enough to keep me married to him.

I now know that I left him for two main reasons. At the time, I thought I was leaving him because he wouldn’t get a full-time job or help out around the house as much as I did. After four years of him working part-time and leaving the majority of domestic work to me, I became convinced of two things. He would never work as hard as I did, and I would never be okay with that.

I remember screaming at my husband about paid work and housework and him crying in response. I’ve never felt like more of a piece of shit than reducing a grown man I’m supposed to build up to tears by telling him all the ways in which he wasn’t good enough.

When I left him, the only thing that made breaking my best friend’s heart was the absolute certainty that being alone would be better for him than being with someone who constantly demanded more from him than he was willing to give. I knew that if I couldn’t love him as he was I had to let him go.

I’ve spent the past five years asking myself whether I could have made our marriage work. Of course I can never know. But there is one thing I’ve learned that will make my next marriage, should anyone else be foolish enough to marry me, completely different from my first.

I now think of a marriage as a business partnership.

I’m not saying that’s how everyone thinks about it or should think about it. Marriage is a complicated word with myriad meanings and connotations. It’s a legal contract, a religious rite, and a set of social expectations. Just the legal definition alone is complicated, as the fight over gay marriage revealed. Marriage impacts literally thousands of laws and taxes, not to mention private privileges like health insurance, adoption, and hospital visitation.

But let’s simplify for the sake of argument. I want to discuss marriage the legal contract.

The main purpose of a legal contract binding two people together “for life” is to facilitate their sharing ownership of assets and children. Erecting a barrier to exit in the form of divorce then makes it easier for the state to divide assets and access to and responsibility for children equitably.

If I get married again, it will be because I want to share assets (and maybe children) and I want to erect a barrier to exit.

I realize this sounds unromantic. Because it fucking is.

It sounds unromantic because we’re taught to expect our spouse to provide everything to us.

Of course they’re supposed to share assets and maybe children with us. But they’re also supposed to be our best friend for life, which entails its own set of crazy-high expectations. Besides your spouse, how many best friends have you had in your life?

Probably more than one, maybe even concurrently! That’s because people grow and change and grow together and drift apart and meet different needs at different times. Somehow saying “I do” doesn’t change a damn thing about that reality, but we expect it to.

But that’s not all! While concurrently equally running the business that is a household and being our best friend for life our spouse is also supposed to be our one-stop-shop for sexual excitement and intimate fulfillment. And if you can’t get it up for the person you just argued with about how much to put toward your 401k and watched get the stomach flu then you’re a failure of a human being!

“I believe we’ve been acculturated to expect some types of commitment to each other’s needs in a ‘primary’ relationship.” Not just some types of commitment but total commitment, and to all of each other’s needs. Marriage, to most people, means you expect one other person to meet all your practical, emotional, and sexual needs, both now and forever.

I may be unromantic, but you all are fucking insane.

The height of your expectations is directly proportional to how disappointed you’re going to feel.

So to save marriage, we have to come into it with reasonable expectations.

You absolutely must lean on your friends for emotional intimacy. The way the culture devalues friendships and puts sexual relationships on a pedestal is wrecking our marriages. Your spouse cannot and should not be your everything. You must have a best friend or three that you’re not married to. I wish I’d known how lonely I was in my marriage. I had a best friend, and I thought that was all I needed.

You absolutely must rely on outside sources for sexual excitement. I’m not even pushing poly here, because it’s a hell of a time suck. I mean read erotica, try new toys, role play, and watch porn.

At the end of the day, there’s only one part of marriage that is fundamental. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be outsourced, but it does mean that if you’re going to outsource it you really might as well divorce. And that’s the business partner part. The person who owns the assets with you really should be the one who helps you manage them.

You don’t own your partner’s heart. You don’t own your partner’s genitals. Sure, they let you use them sometimes. But never, ever, mistake your partner for anything other than a full and complete person who owns themselves and their parts. What you do own jointly is your assets. And so for that reason you two need to work together on how to manage them.

The reason I think divorce was inevitable for me is that we weren’t good business partners.

He and I could not come to an agreement on where, financially and geographically, we were headed in life. Nevermind how to get there. I wanted to move out of Birmingham, Alabama and live in a nice condo in a walkable part of a southern city. This required that both of us work full-time. He wanted to live in a less desirable location and work less.

Being friends and lovers with your spouse is, of course, a good thing if you can manage it. And a good business partnership requires a certain level of honesty, closeness, and positive regard.

But what you need to get go of is the expectation that your spouse will always and forever be your closest friend and your only source of sexual excitement.

When you stop expecting your partner to be anything other than a good business partner, you free both of you from fear. They no longer do things for you like be a good friend or lover because they’re afraid of disappointing you. There’s nothing less motivating than an expectation. People are the best at being friends and lovers when they feel appreciated. They are worst when they feel like no matter how hard they try they’ll only meet expectations.

Letting go of those expectations means other friends, and even other lovers, won’t change the bedrock of your family. It means a new friend or crush no longer sends fear signals to your brain. Instead, you can enjoy their enjoyment of other people knowing that your role as business partner is secure.

It means they can have other favorites and you’re still going to be co-founders because your relationship isn’t built on feelings and lies about what love means. Viewing your spouse as a co-founder means your relationship is built on hard work toward a mutual goal.

Sometimes people divorce when they realize their spouse isn’t a good business partner. Maybe positive regard declines or a difference in vision becomes apparent.

But too often, people divorce because:

1. They can’t meet all their spouse’s expectations

2. They’re not getting their own expectations met

3. They don’t realize it’s not the person, it’s the expectations themselves that are the problem

 

People know they’re not getting all their needs met and they don’t know which ones are reasonable and which aren’t.

What I want if I get married again is a shared set of reasonable expectations. I want a partner who shares with me a vision for where our little company is going and how to get there. I want someone who is strong enough to look around and feel confident that they can get everything else they need elsewhere, should they need to. I want someone who takes responsibility for their own needs instead of expecting me to be everything to them. In other words, I want a good co-founder.

This view of marriage is both narrow and expansive. It’s narrow in that while there are many, many people I might want to have sex and be friends with, there are very few people who share my goals and vision for achieving them closely enough that I should go into business with them. But it’s expansive in that when you realize what marriage is for, anyone is up for it demographically. That means gay, straight, intergenerational, and plural marriages are all perfectly acceptable ways to divide and conquer.

As for me, I’m in a weird place. While my ideas about marriage may not be romantic, I still like marriage. I love efficiency, and marriage offers plenty, in the forms of division of labor, specialization, and economies of scale. But my goals are ever-changing. And not one of them requires a life partner to achieve.

As to whether I’d be a good wife this time around, I’ll tell you this. I’m not going to take responsibility for your emotional needs. I’m not going to promise to provide you endless sexual excitement. I refuse to be held responsible for what happens in your head. But to someone whose goals and vision aligned with mine, who expects me to work hard, be ethical, be transparent, and maintain positive regard if you do the same, I’d make a hell of a wife.

By: Cathy Reisenwitz

Original Article Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-reisenwitz/make-your-spouse-your-co-founder-not-your-best-friend_b_9060360.html