George Carter
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Freedom in Relationships

| Monday 20th May, 2024

As I muse on my past relationships, I realise something relatively profound.

I don’t know about how your relationships have been going, but mine all seem to feature a resistance to change.

Now, I’m an explorer – I like to change. I like to try new things. I like to try different paths. I’ll try growing my hair long until one day I’ll buzz it all off. I’ll go get a piercing and absolutely love it until I don’t and I take it out.

I don’t believe I have to be fixed in any way… Life is change. I am a verb, not a noun. Give me a label and I’ll probably prove it wrong some time within the next six months.

But the relationships I’ve been in have resisted those changes. I feel I’ve been judged, ridiculed or at least had to justify each of my decisions, each of my changes.

Ive been accused of going through “phases” or not sticking with anything.

I fail to see where the problem is! When you’re trying stuff out, you don’t stick with it. For example I wanted to try archery, so I set a goal to get good enough to enter a tournament and not come last. Six months after I started, I hit my goal and then asked myself a question… “Do I want to shoot enough arrows every day to become really good at this?” The answer was “no, I have other things to try”

But where does this resistance come from? Today’s revelation is that I believe it comes from fear… If we allow out partners to change, they might just change so much they don’t want to be with us any more.

To me that is not a good enough reason to hold someone back. In fact, it’s a terrible reason.

If you restrict someone from being themself, sure you will probably get to stay with them. But also, the person you’re getting to stay with becomes a shell of themselves. This is the path to frustration, to bored relationships devoid of zest and life.

(I am not just throwing blame at my partners here, I’m pretty sure I’ve been just as guilty)

The solution? Allow your partner to be whoever they are. Ask your partner to allow you to be whoever you are. And allow—encourage, even—each other to grow.

If you grow apart, that is fine. Sometimes paths meet. Sometimes they part. Let’s enjoy walking the path together while they are together, and let’s acknowledge and take action when the paths are diverging.

The best description of love that I have seen is: “wanting the other person to be happy and free”.

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