Relationships and dating

Infidelity

Something cruel and unforgivable or a natural part of being human? Something in between, or perhaps both? Nevertheless it’s a provocative topic. Because it questions and ruins the notion of exclusiveness and the concept of conventional relationships. It’s one of our biggest fears, to be cheated on and not being able to trust our partner. This post is not about justifying it, nor to doom it, it’s about the things around it and how we can deal with it. 

How to handle infidelity?

So, being exclusive tends to be the norm in relationships but are we really meant for that? People cheat all the time, hurt each other, lie to each other. It’s like we’re trapped in this norm but are not able to follow it, with the consequences of hurting the people we love. And is infidelity physical or emotional? And where to draw the line?

I like the relationship therapist Esther Perel’s TedTalk about infidelity and why we cheat. She says infidelity has existed since marriage was invented and so has the taboo against it. So if it’s such a common act in our society, why do we understand it so poorly? Check it out, but finish reading my post first.

When we talk about trust in relationships I feel it’s often associated with being faithful. “Do you think you can trust him?” is a way of saying is he going to be faithful, as if it’s the core of a relationship and everything that matters. Not “do you think he will make you shine, lift you, understand you, inspire you”. However, I know exclusivity is in fact the foundation for many people and something that defines a relationship.

But why are we so focused on protecting our access to our partner and eliminate all risks of sharing? We might be afraid of losing our partner, which is natural, but trying to control that won’t help. I believe people will always make their own choices anyway so it doesn’t matter if we worry.

What's the core?

Many relationships start off with trust issues and control, maybe because it’s a state of uncertainty when everything is new. There are couples who focus more on worrying and stalking social media accounts hunting for signs, rather than showing each other love. I believe the key to a healthy relationship is to give your partner all freedom you can – and a little bit more. Even if it’s scary. That’s always my advice to people who start dating someone (says the woman who’s been single for 4 years haha). I’m not saying it’s easy and that I walk the talk. But letting jealousy impact a relationship is nothing but unhealthy, especially in the beginning.

The core should be you want your partner to be happy. And this requires getting rid of your ego. You never own your partner. You have a relationship and share many things together, but you are still two separate individuals, with separate dreams, desires and integrity. Losing that perspective is losing respect.

So there are no rules at all? You should let your partner sleep around? Well I do think we need rules, or rather defining the relationship and talk about our needs. For example telling your partner that you love attention and you tend to be flirty in social contexts, or you actually need to sleep with others now and then but it’s purely sex. What if we could talk about these things? And what if we could also allow it, without harming the relationship. Or is jealousy inevitable in those situations? And what if it turns out you give your partner freedom and she/he is more interested in fucking the whole town than spending time with you? Well yes, maybe you’re just not a good match then. If someone really wants to be with you, their actions will show that.

Lately I’ve met many people with interesting views on relationships and sharing. They have come far with their personal development, believe in openness and some are willing to share their partner if she/he wants to go and explore. They still have their core of love and commitment, and they communicate a lot in order for it to work out. What inspires me with these people is they are so calm and free. Less lies and darkness, more openness and a lot of communication, listening and understanding. They are not limiting their partners and the purpose of the relationship is not to be exclusive, it’s to let each other grow and enjoy.

Can openness eliminate jealousy?

But, if you really love someone, why would you wanna share this person? It hurts like a thousands cuts just thinking about it. Right? I don’t have the answer but we have all been there, we met someone who rocks our world and we want him/her just for ourselves when we have fallen so hard. But even then in the very beginning when things are magical, this little worry can still occur, “what if I will lose him, what if he chooses someone else”. But what if we can let go of this anxiety and just feel love? Once again, at the end of the day people make their own choices that are out of our control so don’t waste your energy on the negative thoughts.

I doubt there’s such thing as the unfaithful type, although I think people are either more adventure or security focused. Infidelity is complicated and can happen for many reasons. I do want to clarify that when infidelity hurt other people which it usually does, it’s sad. Everything that is built on lies is harmful, that’s why I suggest a bit of openness and new ways of thinking. I’m not pro or against, I just think it’s a topic worth discussing since it occurs everywhere; in our lives, in the hip hop lyrics, in our culture.

My point is to emphasise that we block ourselves too much by focusing on keeping our partners for ourselves and that maybe it’s time to talk about how we really want our relationships and how much attention from other people we actually need and in what ways. You don’t have to be a victim for the norm, you can create the relationship you want with the rules you want that will make you and your partner most happy.

Open your heart and mind. Love more. Talk more. Worry less. Trust each other.

<3 Anna

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