Monday, May 30, 2011

A Few Thoughts on a "Rest of My Life" Love Relationship



I seem to be finding myself engaged in a lot of conversations about love relationships these days. Obviously, starting this blog and having people read it is a catalyst. Some of those conversations have come directly from posts written here. However, others had nothing to do with this blog, and I think that, perhaps, it's really an "up" set of topics for me right now.

One of the issues that keeps repeating itself over and over again is how often people cling to a specific story about what the "perfect relationship" is. Everyone's version of this is different. Mine is primarily a story of a dynamic, spiritually driven, rest of our lives partnership. But regardless of the details of the story, what seems similar for most of us is the tendency to be attached to that narrative, and believe that when the person who fits that narrative comes, we'll know it.

The problem is, I don't think we always "know it" when a great potential partner arrives in our lives. In fact, I think the very story we have about what "should happen" often overrides the recognition of a person who might not fit the story exactly, but actually is a better match for you than someone who completely fits the narrative.

There's another theme I have noticed which seems to cause a lot of misery. Namely, the attachment to finding that "one and final love," that "soul mate," the person "you'll be with for the rest of your lives." As people live longer, and as the norm moves further away from, for example, remaining dutifully married to someone regardless of how the relationship is functioning, I believe it's more likely that we will experience multiple "powerhouse" partnerships over a lifetime.

You might outlive a partner by twenty years, and end up with another who is wonderful for you in different ways perhaps. Or you might have an amazing relationship with someone that, in the process of the relationship itself, changes so dramatically that the connection between you is permanently altered. Sometimes, this ends up leading to an end of a love relationship, and and shift towards a platonic friendship.

Although in all honesty, my aim in life in regards to love relationships is to be in a lifelong (or close to that) partnership with one woman, I'm realizing more and more that how I relate to the fluidity of relationships will impact whatever comes in the future.

For example, if I am open to the possibility that what life might bring me is a few "powerhouse, spiritually driven partnerships," then I'm less hung up on finding "The One."

Furthermore, the times I have been most destructive in relationships were tied to fears that whatever I did was going to bring it to an end, so learning to let go of the view that you're gonna screw up your "only chance" actually makes it easier to be present with conflict, for example, and do or say something that has a better chance of keeping your relationship intact.

So, it's interesting to consider these stories and how they impact what we are doing. Even if you're in a long term relationship, these narratives might be overriding your understanding of your partner and even yourself. What you think is commitment might just be slavery to the narrative you have. Don't take my word for it though, check for yourself.

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