We all know those people who like to whine about romance. Whether they are in a relationship or single, they seem to get a kick out of bitching about it. Their life’s struggle is their partner, or lack thereof. But the reality is that we can set our minds to enjoy our own plots of land. Screw this grass is always greener thing- we can choose to be happy now. We can also choose to change something.
But I have noticed, for the most part, it isn’t that hard to be in one state or the other. It’s the transition that’s murder. (Even as I am writing this, the fuse is lighting and the mission impossible theme song is starting to play in my head…)
This applies to so many states in life: changing careers, having a child- all of it. But for the sake of this argument, let’s just stick with relationships for now. There seem to be avoidants and addicts when it comes to romance. (And of course MANY shades of gray in between.) There seem to be serial monogamists and serial polygamists. Don’t worry, this won’t be my commentary on right and wrong when it comes to sex, unions or adult arrangements. But it feels like people seem to break into these two categories. I am about to make some major generalizations, so hold on tight.
“Relationshippers” These folks long for compromise, group input and a sense of being collectively responsible. This can be with anything- large or small. From major decisions in business to things as simple as which wine with dinner; these folks want to do things together. Within this group, self-awareness may vary, but the common thread is the ability and desire to live dependently.
“Singleboaters” These folks long for freedom, autonomy and a sense of self governance. This can evidence itself in the way they make their choices even while inside groups. While they may appreciate feedback from others, when it comes down to it, they are usually pretty comfortable taking on the responsibility, credit or blame. Self- awareness also varies, but the common thread is the ability and desire to live independently.
Some people choose these states. Some people are conditioned by them (society, personality, life situation etc). But the tricky bit, the one I am watching in my relationships and those of my friends, is the transition. It’s all well and good to always be surrounded by people. It’s also well and good to spend lots of time alone. It’s getting used to the one state when you are accustomed to the other that can throw us into turmoil.
Specifically with romance, I find this interesting. I know people who I would consider to be serial “relationshippers”. Most of these people are strong and interesting humans and to a greater or lesser extent, they are functional, healthy and self-aware. But they spend very little time alone and whenever one thing ends with someone they are in another relationship before you know it. Like really quick. There is an interesting window here and the transition between being with someone and really getting used to themselves just doesn’t happen. Somehow, they just don’t let it.
Then there are those who just can’t seem to keep a relationship going. These “singleboaters” have been single for most of the time I have known them and while things come and go, nothing ever really sticks. Most of these people are loving and open humans with lots to share. Also, to a greater or lesser extent, they are functional, healthy and self-aware. But they are more used to making their own decisions and spend very little time experiencing this sort of necessary dependent dynamic that sustains relationships. They meet someone interesting and start something up. But the transition between being autonomous and being comfortable sharing consistent space and time with someone else just doesn’t happen. Somehow, they just don’t let it.
So far, I basically fall into the second category. But to be frank, I hate this “us against them” thing. Dividing people by their current life situation can seriously undermine our humanity. At the end of the day we all need love, we just go about cultivating it in different ways which is something I am growing infinite respect for.
But my current premise is that if you are committed to working on yourself, you will be better equipped for the transitions as they arise. It’s about letting out and the letting in. And no matter what, we should be aware enough to avoid being compulsive. We should work to be conscious of our own patterns and propensities so that we don’t become dysfunctional in our own lives, however they are turning out. Because in every instance, by becoming something you weren’t used to being, you are presented with an amazing opportunity to grow. And by becoming truly self-aware, we can know when it’s time to climb on-board and when it’s time to jump ship.
“Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to ultimately become yourself.”