I have rather radical thoughts about love, sex and #relationships. I wish to state them, because I am getting increasingly itchy about the compulsive prudery pervading everything these days, even as divorce rates soar, premarital sex thrives and acceptable public opinion continues to chase some vampire romance-like view of love as an absolute – one true soul mate, etc.
I’ve been married twice, had a long live in relationship that was better than the marriages, divorced once, separated twice. And I have learned from all those.
Currently, I describe myself as solosexual with detours and am happier than I’ve been in a long time. I no longer believe in marriage and even less in monogamy as a commitment. I have successfully ruined excellent friendships by marrying them. Some have even improved after breaking off. What have I learned?
About myself, I have learned that I am not a suitable candidate for 24/7/365 relationships. Too intense, too close. I am too idealistic, too uncompromising and too unwilling to accept the mediocrity of daily life once a relationship mellows into a comfortable habit that usually settles comfortably into the woman making compromises for a happy family life. I don’t stop working at it, and I feel betrayed by my partner stopping working at it. I most certainly don’t do well relating with the world as someone’s belonging – even a cherished, precious one.
I am also quite asocial and even when things are going well and like ample space for me to be left alone with my thoughts. I’m not interested in anyone’s socks, playing 20 mushy messages or how their day went, unless they have something to share or something seems off… or on. In turn, I like a man leading a happy and fruitful life not needing rescued from himself or his tanhai. Together for joy, not compulsive habit.
It isn’t easy for the man either to be held answerable for the actions of a woman who does not even notice convention, let alone toe it. Even one who accepts my freedom feels resentment over being asked questions he feels obliged to defend over things he never felt strongly about. Why? Because I’m his woman! Apparently that means he is responsible for all I do and for running a customer care service for unsolicited opinions about bringing me in line – which he is most incapable of doing. This pretty much decimates a man’s ego in today’s society, so a wife like me ain’t exactly happiness for the man either.
I find the best intentions eventually collapse into a resignation of “too much headache”. Yet of course, I am incapable of being someone I am not. Someone tame, someone who colors within lines, someone society will approve of. Nor would I, if I could.
I have stopped believing in love as a relationship. Love, to me is moments of intense affinity that we chain together with a relationship in some desperate hope of more sense of belonging coming from the same source. To me, love is a feeling that simply is or isn’t. It cannot be controlled by rules about where it should manifest and where it shouldn’t. It also never goes away entirely. A memory can trigger it about someone you don’t even like anymore.
I have learned that relationships die because the people in them stop making them work. In my experience of myself and others, more relationships have died from willful hurt and neglect than from someone “straying”. From simply being too lazy to improve on a good thing till it goes broke and then too lazy for the phenomenal effort it would take. For those who believe in monogamy, any straying comes much after a sense of belonging is lost. For those who don’t believe in it, the straying is irrelevant to the relationship anyway. Yet such a big fuss is made of loyalty to a partner, and so little about continuing to nurture a relationship. I believe in loyalty. Intense, committed loyalty, but not rights, including exclusivity over what another person is allowed to feel.
I do not wish to limit another. I do not wish to be limited by another. Love ought to be what expands us, not preventatively limits us.
Does this mean I no longer love? I do. But I don’t set it in concrete. I feel it, am enriched by it, and am free of it once the moment passes without obligation. I feel no need for love to have a consequence. To turn into sex or marriage or a proposal or resentment over being unrequited. Or even be expressed. I have nothing against a relationship evolving either. Sometimes it does. But it doesn’t “have to” and have to with “the right one”. There are many right ones, with people who resonate and moments of meaning, and there are none that are always, tediously right.
Do I not believe in relationships? I do. But I’d like my partner to walk along. Independent, together. Our relationship is between us. I commit to nurture it, to treasure it and to fight for it when it is in trouble. But I do not commit to being owned by it. I do not commit to it overshadowing all other relationships or limiting their potential – including the potential for genuine, heartfelt intimacy. I would not want to own another either.
For someone who has never had simultaneous relationships and is absolutely disinterested in casual sex, it is surprising how strongly I have started feeling about rejecting monogamy. Would I have had? I honestly don’t know. I’m quite content as a “solosexual” and currently feel no need for anyone in order to have a happy sexual life. The issue is the principle of it. Having thoroughly disliked the chains of being one half of a couple, where I have to dumb myself down and cater to expectations of what a part of a couple should be, I no longer am willing to get into all that. It is unpleasant.
And I have found there are many kinds of love, with many kinds of people. Many kinds of intimacy, that enrich, expand, grow with time, fade, metamorphize. There are many kinds of togetherness, of independence. They stretch across ages, genders, locations. There are even loving, caring relationships with men (gasp!), where both feel attracted, stated, yet there is no sexual relationship. Because there are no rules that say that “you’re repressed if you don’t sleep with people you love and are attracted to while you are single” either.
If there is one thing I have found common to these relationships, it is that there is a sense of grounding. Of being exactly who I am. Of being cherished, and of cherishing in turn. Of being accepted, appreciated and accepting and appreciating in turn. Of freedom, and yet being securely held. And it is all love.
My relationship is with the person. It is between the two of us. If it gets between me and the world, that is not acceptable to me. Because my first commitment is to myself. Self owned.
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