Have Relationships Evolved?
Are relationships, as we used to know them, a thing of the past? I will be 46 this year, that is hard enough to face, and I realize that my ideas of love and relationships are quickly becoming outdated. A quick glance through most hookup or dating apps will show you a buffet of people who aren’t looking for anything serious or just dating. And there is an increasing number of people that say they are in open relationships. As I am scrolling through all of these profiles on an early weekend morning, I am left wondering who these people really are and what is it they are looking for out of their lives. Then as I am thinking this, I am left to wonder what I am looking for and if my ideals are the problem.
I would say that most of us have gotten our ideas of love and relationships from those that are closest to us, that would mean our parents, mostly. Whether their relationship was good or bad creates our jaded view of how we perceive love. Throw into the mix fairy tales, Hollywood, and our friends experiences and it becomes a hodge podge, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Is any of it right or wrong? How do we differentiate what is or isn’t? It all starts with how we see ourselves, what we see as our ideal mate, the traits we find desirable, and how we want to be treated. The truth is that there will never be that perfect or ideal mate. To understand what we want in both a relationship and a person requires us to do a bit of soul searching and it feels that many of us no longer want to take that requisite time. Instead, we see the world changing before us in so many ways and feel that we need to evolve and catch up, but we haven’t even decided what we are catching up to.
Why have we moved away from relationships, is it a fear of intimacy? Or is it a fear we may miss our perfect match/better match? Honestly, these two things are as old as dating itself, it just seems that they are larger now. And I somehow always meet the overly cliched guy that says he is way to evolved for a relationship. His spirit is too wild to be held down by just one person, that kind of modality is too boring for him. What, exactly, does that even mean? It means you have no care of anyone else’s feelings just what your cock is telling you to do. Hell, just say “My name is Stephen and I am an unhinged slut,” I would respect you more. Sometimes, I would like to peek in their head and see what chain of events led him to this point. It’s the instant gratification syndrome, probably had a parent that constantly gave into their very whim, told them just how amazing they were, and no one would be good enough for them. Or they were constantly rebuked by their parents and were left not being shown enough love that they felt their only way to justify themselves was by getting those feelings from as many as they could. A constant hole to be filled, yes pun intended.
Modern Relationship Types
An article on XDViral.com talks about the five types of modern relationships. It is an interesting view on how they have changed. The first is the Friends with Benefits relationship. Many of us are familiar with it, but it is becoming much more prevalent. It’s not confusing, it simply is what it says two people who have no true commitment to one another getting together for the simple act of sharing human connection. The problem is that at some point the relationship changes and often the friendship cannot be resolved. Next is the one they call Relationship Weekend. This one is a bit of a new term for me, but essentially, it’s a relationship with no real boundaries and only accessible by their free times. The downside is that there is rarely an emotional connection. Then we move into the Open Relationship, where the participants do not feel that monogamy should be the defining factor or love. It is the ability to have intimate connection with people that do not require the deeper feelings or emotions. The trust comes from where your feelings lie, not with interactions with others. Distance Love is the next type of relationship we are seeing more often. Basically, where you fall in love with someone that is separated from you by distance. These often lead to feelings of frustration and may only get together every couple of months to help satiate those feelings. The last one is what this calls the One Shot, more aptly known as the hookup. It is where you both meet and have some kind of response and decided to get together. Is anymore needed to describe this one???
Now before I go further, let me quantify this a little bit. I do believe there is a possibility to have a healthy open relationship and be committed to another person. That type of dynamic takes complete trust and love from the both people. It also requires a lot of rules to function at optimum level. At the same time, I have seen plenty relationships implode from being “open.” Especially if one partner starts to work around the rules and is getting attention in a way, they feel their partner no longer can provide. Again, it take complete love and trust, many of us are not in a place to be able to give or receive that. So, typically when I see open relationship the first thing that runs through my mind is that it is one sided open. What I mean is that the person proclaiming an open relationship is the only one who think it is, in fact, open. They are the ones that are saying they need you to host or “we are open, but we don’t tell one another.” That is the red flag, the fireworks exploding in the dead of night, the klaxon going off warning of impending danger. To quote Ghost,“Molly, you in danger girl.” Stop, drop, and roll the fuck right out of there. Don’t sit there in quiet judgement of me saying this, I did quantify it with I could believe that an open relationship can happen. But you also need the honesty of it all to make it work.
The reason for an open relationship is left to the couple to decide, only they know if it will work. Some will argue for an open relationship because being in a committed relationship cannot prevent them from being attracted to another person. If attraction is the only reason you want an open relationship, then neither it nor your current one will work. Attraction is a chemical reaction to a given set of circumstances, how we choose to act on them is a choice. It is true that you can’t stop attraction, that’s why you can be attracted to the smell of roses and also mint toothpaste. But you really can’t brush your teeth with a rose. Just because you are attracted to another person doesn’t mean you need to fuck them; you can appreciate them from afar. Hell, that is what they make museums, it allows you to appreciate art that isn’t in your own home. A variation on the open relationship, but without the commitment to just one partner is the polyamorous relationship. This would be where a person has many sexual relationships without the fully vested emotional aspects. Each relationship can be treated as equal but separate. This, like an open relationship, is a type of relationship works best when all parties involved understand the nature of the dynamic and have open lines of communication and trust.
What’s the T?
Sometimes I feel many of us will get into a relationship out of fear of being alone. This seems to happen more the older we get. We don’t want to think about being older and alone, so we find someone we can tolerate and make a go at it. This type of relationship can often be another version of the open relationship pitfall. These are the ones that will talk about how they and their partners play alone, but know they are doing it. One of the partners may concede to this setup so as not to lose the safety of the situation. It is amazing how fear can make you do things that are not in your normal repertoire.
The end result is that somewhere along the way, we lost the dedication to love and being in love. We became a society of instant gratification and as such have been the worst enemy to ourselves. It is far easier to meet someone on a site like Grindr, go to their or your place, trade body fluids, and the go on your way than taking the time to learn what someone likes, show your vulnerable sides, and develop a bond with them. Many of us have forgot what those connections feel like and the states of euphoria they can cause. Are they for everyone? Surely not, they never were but they do not diminish what they are for those who seek them out. The foundation that remains important for any is communication, this is where we need to focus our intent. Talk to those we are involved with on any level. Express what you want and feel, talk about the differences and see if you have a mutual meeting point. If not, parting ways as friends isn’t bad either. Then end is that you have grown and learned something new about yourself.