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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Commitment vs.monogamy

So many of us have this romantic notion of meeting "The One" and living happily ever after in never-ending marital bliss...
Wake-up call: it does not exist. It's true,but not necessarily sad. We just have to be realistic about our outlook on life and our expectations. There is no "happily ever after", but there is happy "here and now". Yes,romance still exists. It just takes work.. And flexibility..And understanding..
I AM a romantic. I want to experience the kind of beauty that comes with that kind of feeling about someone and going forward in life with a partner. But you have to keep an open mind about love if its ever going to work out and I think that means you have to relinquish control. I don't think it's something you control or really choose-it sort of chooses you.
Love is almost like a bottomless abyss. Defence mechanisms for keeping yourself safe from falling down that abyss or "surrendering" to a relationship are jealousy,withholding part of yourself "just in case",unnecessary conflict,being critical,infidelity,covert hostility or being in touch with who the other person ISN'T, instead of who they are.
We do this because we don't want to get hurt. And every single one of us was hurt at some point by someone we loved.
These days we are as human beings are a lot more complicated. We're also become more weary and more demanding. Men and women are developing higher expectations and sometimes that places too much pressure because your partner is not always going to be everything you want.
Its very difficult to find someone who can wear all the hats of passionate lover,trusted confidant,pillar of support,life coach and domestic helper. High expectations will only lead to anguish. Dating is far more rewarding if we define the kind of role we want a partner to play in our lives.
We have to learn to embrace and appreciate our differences and enjoy the fact that we all evolve differently.
For a while now, I feel I understand things better when it comes to what I want out of life. It didn't happen in a flash; its more of a slow process of gaining wisdom and then you reach a point where you realise that you've figured things out in a general way.
So everything becomes easier and you look at life through these lens of greater self-awareness and know how to live more happily and enjoy everything more. Life becomes less of a struggle.
Commitment is in your heart and in your mind. It has nothing to do with a piece of paper or huge 2 karat diamond on your finger.
It's about weathering the storms and finding it in your heart to forgive, even when your partner hurt and disappointed you.
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. How much you truly love your partner, when all the initial "chemical lust" wore off and the dust settled? When all those little cute quirks of the other person become annoying, when you truly need your space,at least once in a while...
Monogamy is not natural. Not for animals, not for human beings. To me, true commitment is about loyalty, about "having your partner's back", no matter what goes on with you or around you.
The most successful couples (both hetero and gay) admit to having "flings" and even semi-serious months-long affairs with people other than their partners. But they always reunited with the ones they truly love and care for, the ones they committed to.
Yes,it could be absolutely heart-wrenching to watch someone you love go off and have a fling. But that's the question you need to ask yourself: how much does this person mean to me? Will I be better off without him/her? Do they truly make me feel "complete"? Will someone new ever be able to fill their shoes?
Let's face it: everyone will hurt or disappoint us at some stage. We just need to figure out which ones are worth suffering for.
Life is not black and white-it's all shades of grey. It takes a lot of skill, and,yes,experience to navigate through it. If you can do it together with your partner, so much the better.
Ultimately, it's the ability to handle "open"  that cements longevity of the relationship.
Different people have different ideas of what "open" means.
To me,there are 2 versions of those.
Version A: all partners in it together. No, not necessarily all having sex with each other. Not at all. It's more of a "commune" thing, where everyone is aware of all the partners and everybody provides emotional support to each other. For instance, if my girlfriend has another girlfriend, not only we are all friends, but when I had especially shitty day or something major happened and my girlfriend is not immediately available (let's say she's at work), I can call on that other girl and expect a shoulder to cry on and understanding.
I am a big believer in a "safe place"-that's where you go to and expect complete and full acceptance and understanding,even if you are dead wrong, just because this person/people love you and it's "us" against "the world".
So in Version A safe place would be provided by everyone to everyone in that relationship.

Version B is slightly different. It's when you have a committed relationship with one other person, yet it's understood that there would be times when either one of you will go out and see something yummy and partake in it. It means nothing. To me it's just like having a drink of water when you're thirsty: you have it,thirst is quenched and you don't think about it anymore,as there is nothing to think about.
Here's how this version works: if my girlfriend went out and saw a tartlet she felt like putting her fingers in (provided said tartlet was willing), she can certainly help herself. However, if it so happens that I need my girlfriend that night for emotional support (see above:something happened, I had a horrible day,etc), I expect her to withdraw her fingers from the tartlet and come right over and be with me,because I am her partner and I need her. It would not bother me the slightest bit that she was with someone else just minutes before. What's important is that she's there for me. That's commitment.
Having someone help you doesn't mean that you failed-it just means that you're not in it alone.
In my opinion,that's how long-term relationships survive. It's about give and take. You can't take all the freedom from the other person and expect them adore you forever. It just doesn't work. It breeds resentment.
Bottom line: it's all about being thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is worth it's weight in platinum and if we all put a little more of it into our relationships,chances are, we'd all be a lot happier.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that post... That thing about "The One"... that phrase makes life sound like some Kafkaesque new age version of arranged marriages where you get hitched at birth but you don't get told who to and then you spend your whole life wandering around in isolation eternally uncertain of whether or not you've found them...

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