The last year has been an experiment in the pursuit of my own relationship truths. In the process I’ve had the opportunity to engage others in conversations about dating, sex, secret identities and ideal relationships. While other’s perspectives have been helpful in clarifying my own, I have learned that looking to friends who appear to have successful relationships as a model of my own happiness is one piece of the puzzle. The other and perhaps more challenging piece is acknowledging how limiting our commonly held beliefs about relationships can be. Thinking about this more and more has challenged my ideas of what I want and even declared whole-heartedly in this blog.
I think that revisions based on experience and new knowledge are important so I will end this post with an explanation I gave to someone recently of my most recent view of romantic relationships. I used to see people I dated as the answer to my question of who and how I would love. I don’t think I’m alone in falling into this trap. Now, I see each person that sparks my passion as an opportunity to explore different levels of intimacy. Rather than beating a square peg into a round hole as I have done in the past, I see relationships as a constructive, ongoing process built from the people that comprise it who are ever-changing and growing beings themselves. What is true of the relationship or level of intimacy today is not necessarily how it will be tomorrow. While this flies in the face of the very reasons we seek relationships in the first place: commitment, stability, predictability, etc., I see it as crucial to my understanding of what people in my life can mean to me at various times in my life. The concept of a relationship as something that is truly relational has allowed me to maintain a level of humility, openness and curiosity in the search for love, to accept the various forms in which it arrives in my life, and to persevere in expressing love freely regardless of how much it is returned.