Growing up with one main caregiver (mostly a mother), we humans are early on conditioned to believe in the exclusivity of the one-on-one love relationship. The values of loyalty, morality and responsibility depend on it, we are told. Still, as people today enjoy unparallel freedom of physical and virtual travel and variety in experience, the statistical frequency of break-ups in relationships of couples 20 and over nears 80%.
Could it be that traditional rules imposed on society at a time where people had an average life expectancy of 35 years do not apply to us anymore? Could it be that we all experience sexual drives at work inside ourselves that make strictly enforced monogamy a lifelong struggle? Who actually benefits from it?
Possibly it is easier to acknowledge this human side inside ourselves and embrace it as what it is – a lifelong hunger for experiences, for learning, for growth, for change, for excitement – and grant each other this freedom, despite maintaining steady relationships. Most couples hold each other hostage, believing this is true dedication – and eventually they start resenting each other for what they are: roadblocks in each others quest for development and learning. Shouldn’t we be together because of free will, not because of obligation? Can we stay together as functioning family units despite allowing each other sexual freedom?
At this point, the argument of steady family relations and security for children is usually raised. Coming from Europe (where the divorce rate is much lower than in the U.S.), I have experienced more steady family relationships where both partners discreetly granted each other sexual freedom. It seems that given the opportunity, both partners make only moderate use of the possibility – but experience a great deal of freedom. Similar like with the “War on Drugs”, the aggressive no-tolerance policies in the U.S. have created more drug addicts, more divorces and less family stability than in Europe where both issues are handled differently - by assuming the individual’s responsible behavior.
I believe we must learn to be loyal to ourselves FIRST, before we can truly be loyal to another person. We are coerced into exchanging overbearing, lifelong promises to be officially recognized as a “love unit”. As we accept obligations toward our partners, we must accept an obligation toward ourselves first: to be truthful to ourselves and our own changing needs.
We all follow our own personal path in life. Sometimes our path runs parallel to a partner’s path for a while, sometimes it crosses over, sometimes the paths venture away from each other. We need to be true to our own winding path and not panic, only because the partner’s path heads into another direction. Our partner’s growth, development and change should not be a threat to us, just like our growth and maturing should not be a threat to our partner. Sometimes, changes in a partner challenge us to become more tolerant and grow ourselves. At other times, the divide becomes so massive that the separation of the “love unit” becomes inevitable. This does not mean the relationship has “failed”. It means that we have grown as much with each other as we could. The relationship was a success and we go our own way, following our path, hopefully with continued love and respect for each other.
Relationships that only fill a void, an empty space inside ourselves (where our self-love should be), usually don’t last. The fabric that holds them together is dependency (or even addiction) instead of love. A sound basis of self-love and balance/harmony with oneself must be established before we can seriously engage in a relationship that can accommodate each other’s growth and last in a healthy way.
Last Updated (Sunday, 28 February 2010 04:43)