One of my dearest friends (who is actually a proper, published ‘writer’), still finds the time to follow most of my news by reading my little blog. Thanks H! She’s in a very longterm, very committed relationship, and is one of my inspirations in that regard. She calls me once in a while, or we meet on the beach for a walk and non-stop talk, while I update her on all my romantic gossip and adventures.
Today she sent me this article called ‘A Non-Tragic View of Breaking Up’ , who’s opening paragraph drew me right in:
News of the end of relationships tends to be greeted with deep solemnity in our societies; it is hard not to think of a breakup except in terms of a minor tragedy. People will offer condolences as they might after a funeral.
This in turn reflects an underlying philosophy of love: we are taught that the natural and successful outcome of any love story should be to seek to remain with a person until their or our death and (by implication) that any break up must be interpreted as a failure governed by overwhelming hostility on one or both sides.
But there’s another scenario in which we understand that we are separating not because our relationship has gone badly but, precisely, because it has gone well; it is ending because it has succeeded. Rather than breaking up with feelings of hurt, bitterness, regret and guilt, we’re parting with a sense of mutual gratitude and joint accomplishment.
I emailed her back immediately: ‘YES!’
Of course it’s sad to say goodbye to the intimacy and future plans you’ve made with someone; after all, I was going to move to Melbourne for a year with my old long-distance flame in 2018, and I’m a bit bummed that didn’t happen; HOWEVER, I have had an incredible and unexpected year’s adventures instead with ‘The Comet’ (for example, trekking for 3 weeks in Nepal with my son and hers was certainly not on my radar when my old love and I broke up), so I’m full of gratitude.
Ideally, I would one day like to find myself in a committed, monogam-ish relationship with an amazing human being, and I’ve known since my early 20s that I’ve got big work to do on myself to get to that place.
Hello relationship books, especially on Attachment Theory.
Hello online dating.
Hello challenging cultural norms around monogamy/hetero and homosexuality.
Hello journalling and self-reflection/analysis.
Hello long periods of singledom/celibacy, mixed with periods of multiple dating/polyamory.
Hello to turning 53 in a month, yet drawing closer to my authentic, loving self at last.
Loving and saying goodbye. Loving and leaving. Loving and weeping while knowing it’s ‘the best thing for both of us’.
Yes, I’ve done that a few times, and I’m so grateful. Digging down into the expectations or needs of your partner in your relationship is not comfortable, especially in the beginning, when it’s a delicate seesaw of growing your connection while not falling too fast or inappropriately if that’s not what the other is seeking.
Communication is indeed key.
I’m coming up to a year now with ‘The Comet’, and there have been some very uncomfortable conversations, especially for 2 feisty, independent, adventuresome women who don’t particularly conform to expected boundaries of behaviour.
Being honest but remaining kind is a good tactic; and walking while you talk it out helps too.
I’ve said all along: ‘I’ve no idea where this is going, nor even where I want it to go yet. We are very different, plus you’ve come out of a longterm relationship fairly recently. However, I’m willing to take a risk, because you inspire, delight, teach, and nurture me. I already know I’m a better person for spending this time with you [I could say that after just a month to be honest]. So let’s just keep seeing what happens. And whether it’s You, or the Person who comes after you, or the Person after that, I know I am moving slowly and steadily along the Path of Love, loving as well as I can in each moment.’
For which I am truly, madly, deeply grateful.
Back to the article:
Normally, we imagine love as a kind of ownership: full of admiration, two people agree to buy one another as they might a static beguiling object. But there is another, more dynamic and less hidebound way to interpret love: as a particular kind of education. In this view, a relationship essentially comprises a mutual attempt to learn from and teach something to another person; we are drawn to our partners because we want to be educated by them and vice versa: we love them because we see in them things that we long for but that are missing in us; we aspire to grow under the tutelage of love.
Check out the article HERE if you didn’t already. Especially if you are a dating person; I think it’s a beautiful, philosophical approach that resonates perfectly for me.
Thank you again H, and Happy Pride month to everyone too: Love is Love ❤