Updated: Jul 13
With the recent revelation of the problems in Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's marriage I decided to repost this blog. Having been married for 27 years to the same person I can attest it's no easy feat...you transform, the relationship transforms, but if it's done right, your romantic partner becomes a direct catalyst for your growth. All of our relationships do. So when the going gets tough, instead of crumbling under the pressure, look for ways you need to expand, transform...things you need to shed. Instead of focusing on what they're doing, focus on who you need to become. That's the secret to any successful relationship and that's what all relationships come to teach us.
This blog is about one aspect of finding happiness in relationships and is directed primarily at those at the beginning stages. It's an important but often overlooked process...make sure you're on the same page.
As human beings we bounce between the desire for freedom and the desire for security in life. And one place this shows up is in the confines of romantic relationships. This cauldron brings us face to face with our desires, fantasies, morality and fears.
A married man sees a beautiful woman in a bar and wants to sleep with her. He lets the moment pass by, but now there's frustration or regret over being married. Or, he takes the woman up on the opportunity, now he's consumed with guilt. Or even worse, his wife finds out, divorces him and takes his children and his money.
There is a spectrum of desire for romantic freedom. It's fluid and I think it's important to know where you are on the scale and pick a partner that resonates with you. Otherwise you're headed for disaster.
On one side we have monogamy. Many people desire monogamy. They love the security it provides. The opportunity to raise a family and creating a life with another person is very appealing. The nesting aspect, the friendship of having someone you can rely on that truly loves you is a pearl of great price. Many people love hanging out on this end of the spectrum. I disagree with the camp that says humans are not designed for monogamy. And I'm sure those articles are written by those with a penchant for sleeping with multiple partners. I think it's important to know that not everyone wants or considers sleeping with multiple partners desirable. These are the couples who will meet in college and go to the nursing home together.
On the opposite end of the spectrum you have those who want total freedom. The idea of sleeping with the same person night after night is completely boring and they'd rather cut off their own foot. They love the excitement of finding someone new. They have no desire to have the 2.5 kids, a mortgage etc. At least not if it means being tied to the same person your whole life. These are you non-committers.
There are other points along the spectrum. For example, some believe in being committed to a person while they are with them but the whole 'death do us part thing' is not particularly interesting. Let's call them serial monogamists. They'll enjoy who they're with for a while, but when they grow tired, they'll move on. These are the three and four maybe five marriage people. Every time you turn around they've left someone else, even sometimes after being in a relationship for an extended period of time.
Another person might slide in and out of these scenarios depending upon life circumstances, experiencing any one of these different forms to varying degrees i.e., I was monogamous, but I cheated, I have multiple partners, but now the idea of having a family appeals to me etc., but at their core they have a preference. What's yours?
Society places a lot of pressure on us to conform. We have this pattern or template and collectively we think everyone should fit in the pattern, but oftentimes there are many who do not. The trick is to know who you are and choose your partner accordingly. If you desire monogamy, you'd never want to corral someone who desires sexual freedom into a marriage with you. Again, that's a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, many people are doing this which is why the divorce rates are so high. And the resulting pain from a divorce... emotional and financial and the impact on the children can be devastating. If you desire sexual freedom and find the notion of committing to one partner for the rest of your life absurd, resist the temptation to get married, even though your friends are doing it, even though she's crying because you haven't proposed, even though your mom wants grandchildren. Resist. Resist. Resist. Unless you feel you can change. If you're not sure... wait. If you don't honor your true self, you're just going to cheat or leave later and that interferes with your good Karma. The universe doesn't take to kindly to us hurting others.
There are three things that are the pillars for a happy life. Your health, your career and your marriage or relationship. If one of these areas is out of whack, it will have a huge negative impact on your quality of life. Do you prefer monogamy? Does serial monogamy appeal to you? Or are you a total swinger?
Turn inward to answer this question and I mean really go deep. Who are you really? Some people want monogamy, but fall into infidelity out of insecurity or a diminished quality of self esteem. They cheat because they need something to make them feel better about themselves, or they have control issues or mommy issues or some other level of dysfunction. This is not what I'm talking about. This person needs to do some soul searching and repair their damaged ego and psyche. When I refer to those with a desire for sexual freedom, I'm talking about a psychologically healthy individual who is evolved and aware, deciding that monogamy is not for them. Is this you? If it is, you owe it to yourself and another human being not to choose someone with a preference for monogamy. I don't care how beautiful or rich they are. Do the right thing. Hold out until you find someone with your same preference. You'll have a much better chance at being happy in life. Deception, guilt, sneaking and hiding can be real killjoys.
Same if you're a serial monogamist. Tell the person upfront that you don't necessarily buy into the life long partner scenario. Be upfront about your desire to just see where the path may lead for the two of you. The universe will always honor honesty and truth.
Generally speaking, and studies have shown, most human beings prefer monogamy and I personally find my comfort here. I prefer the friendship, the "idea" of security and the predictability. Throughout history the sages and avatars have all extolled the value of love. It lifts us to the highest heights and takes us to the lowest lows, and is a healthy part of the human experience. Personally, I believe most cannot be complete without a healthy loving relationship. Relationships are an incredible part of our growth process and (no judgment here) if you refuse to commit and just continue to move on, generally speaking, it's harder to grow. Relationships serve as a mirror for our dysfunction. Issues of pride, anger, compassion, even jealousy, will all come to the surface in the pressure cooker of a relationship, specifically a marriage. Because of the nature of love, it tends to bring out the qualities of ourselves that are undesirable. Once we see what is there, we can begin the process of transcending those undesirable qualities. For example, if I have a problem with anger, how will I move beyond it when every time my girlfriend makes me mad, I just get a new one.
Begin the process of standing in your truth. Get to know yourself so thoroughly and deeply that you make sound decisions that put you on the path to a happy and fulfilled life. Know who you are and what you want and when anything comes into your experience that is not a match to who you truly are, bless it and send it (or him or her) on its way. This is the key to a happy life.
To your journey,