Your Everything is within reach. Set aside the fear and choose to love all the way!
Your Everything is within reach. Set aside the fear and choose to love all the way!
The idea that we aren’t suited to monogamous relationships has been a subject of debate for ages. Hopel
essful romantics will argue that not only are we suited to monogamy, a monogamous relationship is the best possible relationship attainable. On the flip side are those who’ll claim monogamy is an unnatural dynamic for us. Things like our biological imperative are frequently referenced as rationale by not just polyamorists, hedonists, and sensualists, but by everyday folk who’ve simply had difficulty making monogamy work.
This topic was in the news recently thanks to a candid interview Playboy magazine published with actress and chanteuse Scarlett Johansson in a bit of shrewdly deliberate Valentine’s Day counter programming. E! News expanded on the topic in an article that quotes a number of other celebrities like Ethan Hawke, Cameron Diaz, and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, who voice support for the contention that monogamy just isn’t workable.
Ms. Johansson, while respectful and reverent of the theoretical concept of monogamy, claims it’s “hard work” for “everyone.” Then makes the leap that her claim “proves that it’s not a natural thing.”
Ms. Johansson has been married twice, so undoubtedly a lifelong monogamous relationship is something to which she aspires. But her extrapolating her own inability to achieve one into it being an unnatural concept for everyone is both presumptuous and laughable. She hasn’t done it, so therefore it’s not doable. Really?
For sure there are probably plenty of people out there, both in and out of monogamous relationships, who either wholeheartedly agree with the “unnatural” characterization or who are open to the possibility that Ms. Johansson is onto something.
For what it’s worth, here’s where I come down on the subject of monogamy. I can understand why a high percentage of people feel it’s unattainable or unsustainable, that it’s ongoing hard work, a grind. Even unnatural. If one isn’t in a relationship characterized by True Love, not in an Everything relationship, then the bottom line is that it will absolutely be an effort to remain in that relationship in a monogamous way. Imagine perpetually trying to get the square peg in the round hole. It just ain’t happening, no matter how hard you try. To varying degrees, that applies to a pretty big percentage of romantic relationships.
The heart seeks not only love but True Love. That’s the romantic Holy Grail. The Powerball Trillion-Dollar Jackpot. To realize a True Love/Everything relationship, you’ve got to be willing to define exactly what’s important to you in a partner and a relationship, then, when you manifest/meet that person, be willing open your heart fully without expectation. You gotta give big love to hope to receive it. That’s just how it works.
From my own personal experience, as someone who’s been married and divorced, and nearly married a second time before finding True Love in middle age, I can assure you that monogamy and True Love are a seamless whole, inextricably connected to each other. Monogamy isn’t “work” when you’re in an Everything relationship. It’s the opposite: your connection to your partner is so deep, strong, and ever growing that the notion of other possibilities is absolutely irrelevant.
It’s surely the case that for celebrities like Ms. Johansson and Mr. Hawke there’s no shortage of opportunity, of possibility, available to them. Perhaps that reality undercuts the conviction and fearlessness required to open the heart fully, be truly vulnerable and exposed, since those choices carry with them the risk of failure. With so much opportunity, there’s less motivation to step outside the comfort zone, to risk rejection. Why freely offer more of yourself than you’re comfortable offering, when someone who you consider a perfect match is happy with whatever you’re willing to offer? Oh, it turns out they’re actually not down with your limits? Adios, then! Who’s next?
To reiterate, just opening up your heart to someone doesn’t mean you’ll end up in a True Love relationship with them. There’s always the chance of rejection. But if you want an Everything relationship, want True Love, you’ve gotta give everything of yourself. No holding back. And do so without expectation of reciprocation, by the way. Hope for it, yes. Never expect it.
True Love is out there, Scarlett! Don’t let cynicism and doubt forged by past experience obscure that truth. Don’t let fear keep you from enjoying an Everything relationship. And for anyone in a relationship who agrees with the idea that monogamy might not be natural, that it’s perpetual hard work, maybe it’s time to evaluate whether you’re stuck in the square peg/round hole dynamic, bearing in mind that there are no right reasons to remain in the wrong relationship.
So you’ve met a phenomenal person you’re quite romantically excited about and vice-versa, and things are off to a strong start. While there are infinite possible ways to meet and begin a relationship, once underway there are only two possible eventual outcomes: you either end up together forever, enjoying Everything, or you don’t.
While there can be myriad variations of and details associated with “you don’t”–all those whys and why nots–there really are only two underlying scenarios that can lead to that outcome. From the guy’s perspective, they are:
Wrong girl, Right time
Wrong girl, Wrong time
Completing the spectrum of scenarios that either lead to Everything or don’t, from the standpoint of a guy seeking his Everything, the desired outcome is obviously:
Right girl, Right time
Anyone who thinks in a symmetrical/completist manner may wonder if a possible variation is missing on the non-Everything side, namely Right Girl, Wrong Time–the culturally ingrained “the one who got away.”
There isn’t. Quite simply, if you don’t wind up together in a lifelong relationship characterized by True Love, she was not the Right Girl for you, period. No matter that you were together for a few years, were married, have children together, etc. She is not the one who got away. The Right Girl does not “get away.” In other words, having your Right Girl is fully synonymous with having your relationship Everything. Except in the case of an untimely passing, one cannot have had Everything.
Each of the two non-RR scenarios has variations:
RR is quite straightforward. It is, simply, Everything in both directions, i.e. True Love. Crack out the Cristal and toast to your mutual good fortune!
Zooming in a bit on the concept of Wrong time, there can obviously be a range of considerations that make the timing component unfavorable. You or she could be dealing with a health issue, an emotionally all-consuming family situation, a period of intense financial difficulty (this characterized my situation for several years, during which, in addition to having scant resources for dating, I also questioned the likelihood of an RR situation arising for me). It also sometimes happens that you meet a potential soulmate while either you or she isn’t entirely unattached, relationship wise.
For guys, it should be fairly evident that the most difficult scenario is the version of Wrong Girl, Right Time where the sense that she’s not the right girl comes from her, not from you. Regardless of the specifics of a given WR situation, though, the result can be a dynamic where you, she, or both of you are biding time, i.e. hanging onto what you can of the relationship while you, she, or both of you keep an eye out for what’s next. We’ll cover the perils of biding time in a future post.
While the WR and WW scenarios are sometimes easily identifiable, or manifest quickly, it can also take time for what you thought/hoped was a RR relationship to resolve into either WR or WW. This can take mere weeks…or decades. Basically, those of us looking for Everything may view new relationships through RR-colored lenses–we so very much want to find our Everything!–especially in cases where we haven’t precisely defined the nature of the Everything we seek.
Similarly, RR can also take time to congeal. In cases where RR becomes the outcome, sometimes you may know it in your heart of hearts from early on but that awareness is not as quick in coming for her, vice-versa, or you both arrive at that conclusion, and not always simultaneously, after being together for a while. There’s no preferred path to RR. Here, as in most things, results trump process.
While the “True Love at first sight” version of RR is clearly the most unabashedly romantic and whimsical, RRs arising from that rather rare circumstance are functionally no different than RRs that take a bit more time to manifest.
Since Everything can’t be forced, it’s best not to over-analyze your relationship to the point where you suck all enjoyment out of the present moment, and/or apply undue pressure on your potential soulmate, yourself, and the situation in general. Because by doing so you run the risk of turning a potential RR into a WR. Instead, be true to yourself and follow your heart. If she’s your Everything, and vice-versa, this approach will yield positive results.image credit: http://www.sharonebardavid.com
While we all have the desire to be attractive to the opposite sex (those of us who are heterosexual, that is), and for members of the opposite sex to know that we are, in fact, attractive to their kind, be sensitive to how the words you’re using to describe your exes, what about them appealed to you, how you felt about them, etc. may be received by your partner.
As a guy, clearly it’s an ego stroke (self-applied) for a drop-dead-gorgeous woman you’re dating to register the fact that you were previously involved with another attractive woman (or women). On one level this can be a positive, even productive bit of knowledge, since to a certain extent it can be validating of her attraction to you. But don’t overdo it. Also—and it hopefully goes without saying—specific mentions of sex you had in the past could turn into a minefield you may find yourself trapped in for a while.
At a certain point in time in the development of a relationship characterized by True Love, any topic can be discussed openly, productively and in a way that further fortifies your connectedness, but even in cases of True Love, the establishment of a safe, loving, accepting, honest environment wherein both parties are at liberty to discuss anything typically doesn’t happen overnight.
Does this imply that you should plead the 5th if asked about past relationships? Absolutely not. Just be mindful of the possibility that, although it’s not entirely rational and is typically sub/unconscious, a woman you’re getting serious about may—understandably, as she is, after all, a complex emotional being—on some levels want to believe that she’s the only woman who’s ever mattered to you, whom you’ve loved, etc.
Additionally, the more praiseworthy you are of your exes, in whatever regard, the greater the chance that she will wonder about the sincerity of your praise for her in those areas…or your lack of praise in those areas. Or whether your attention might be diverted by someone else who’s strong in those areas.
Likewise, we guys can be susceptible to these perfectly natural feelings and insecurities. After all, we want to be special, to stand head and shoulders above those who came before us and be so perfect for our prospective soulmate that there’s no chance she’d ever be open to the temptations of another guy.
But I submit to you that wishing your beloved had never loved anyone before she loved you, or that she never had sex before you, or climaxed with another guy—or a boundless number of other actions/thoughts/feelings that are important to you—is entirely and utterly counterproductive.
While I’m not saying you should run out and have a tee shirt made emblazoned with “Ask me about the love of my life’s ‘pre-me’ orgies!” the reality is that it is precisely her individual experiences, and yours, that brought you together so powerfully. Had one thing been different for her, or for you, or even had they happened in a different order, it’s probable that you wouldn’t have connected the way you did.
Think about that for a moment.
So rather than harbor any negative feelings or insecurities about her past, you should (privately—no tee shirts!) be thankful for and genuinely celebrate it. And while the reverse also obviously applies, again, use good judgment and sensitivity when covering this type of potentially loaded ground, especially when your relationship is “early days.”