How do we connect deeply with another human being without sacrificing who we are in order to make the “relationship work”, or conform to some standard of what we’ve been told relationship needs to look like?
I was just sitting with a girlfriend, and she was describing how in her partnership, both she and her partner have agreed to not go in and “save” each other.
They trust each other to take care of themselves, and not collapse into a merged identity of saving and co-dependence, simply because that what’s romance is “supposed to look like”.
She was also saying that their relationship triggers a lot of their friends, namely because of the level of freedom each partner has to do what they want to do, go where they want to go, without needing permission or approval from the other person.
My experience is that along with the fear of losing love, there can be an intense desire to control the actions of the person (or persons) we are in relationship with, because certain actions could threaten our sense of safety and identity in the relationship.
This isn’t to say that we as partners shouldn’t care or be aware of our impact on our partners, however, I see a trend where it seems most romantic relationships are playing out some “Victim — Savior — Perpetrator” dynamic from the “Drama Triangle”.
And here’s the thing, it isn’t “our fault”. We’ve been conditioned by society, by reality TV, by porn, by Disney into what our relationships (especially between a man and a woman in a sexually intimate relationship should look like).
I feel a big part of our “work” right now is looking at where we as individuals are still playing into conditioned cultural relationship dynamic where we are literally taught to give our power away.
For myself, much of this has been looking at where I’ve been attached to feeling like a victim in relationship with men, looking at where I still want to be saved, and looking at where I have manipulated through sex appeal and wit to get what I want.
That’s a big part of why I’m choosing to engage in 6 moon cycles of no penetrative sex (meaning no penis inside of me for 6 moon cycles).
It’s allowing me to remove a part of the equation (the desire for or agenda towards sex) that can subconsciously or unconsciously motivate me to give my power away, or try to take power from the man I’m in connection with.
I don’t want to control anyone, and I don’t want to be controlled. I want all of my relationships, especially the relationships where deep intimacy and sexually intimacy may exist, to be ones where I am showing up in my sovereignty, and creating space for the other person to do the same.
After all, how are we supposed to create deep healing and connection in our communities if we are all walking around subconsciously sexualizing each other and pushing an agenda for sex or emotional commitment?
Strong communities begin with strong individual relationships, which means looking at how we contribute to agency and empowerment in our individual connections.
Our relationships are meant to be deeply pleasurable, fulfilling, and expansive. We are meant to feel nourished. We are meant to feel free. We are meant to feel seen and loved and deeply cared for.
And it begins with us being honest about the places where we would rather be in control than in connection, and the places where we would rather feel comfortable than feel truly alive.
Let us play in this game of expansion and sovereign relating together. We can always find a bigger sandbox in which to play.