Freedom is a big value for me. This is a value of the masculine heart. The masculine in us is yearning to break the chains, to remove the restrictions. I remember since my teenage years getting expressively rebellious every time, I was feeling limited in any way.
And this was a challenge in my relationships. As much as I was longing to merge with my partner and I loved the idea of spending every night together, I had hard times committing because I was feeling restricted. I couldn’t find the sweet spot between 1) protecting my individuality, preserving my free space, pursuing my own dreams, being spontaneous, doing things on a whim and 2) being in a couple and taking into consideration my partner when making a decision, planning something or taking a step….
Maybe you have experienced a similar dynamic in your relationships?
What has changed for me? Few deep insights into how relationships work and how blessed we are for the amount of control we have in them.
I will share these insights with you and will prompt you to make some checks for yourself.
- You are always in the right relationship. The role of your partner is not to make you happy. It is to trigger you. He needs to show you what hurts inside of you, so that you can give it attention and allow healing to happen. So, it is not about limiting you, but about freeing you up.
Next time when you feel triggered by your partner, don’t react and don’t allow the emotion to fully take over you. Stop. Breathe. Look inside of you. Ask yourself “why am I angry or sad (or whatever you feel)”? “Where this comes from?”
Don’t fall in the victim role. Don’t blame. Don’t judge. Just ask these questions and see what comes for you. A story from your past? A pattern you’ve experienced before?... Let deeper understanding emerges.
- The understanding of what a relationship for you is. When you have a strong value which on a first glance conflicts with what relationship brings/requires, you are likely to (subconsciously) sabotage your relationships. But if you understand what relationship really brings you and why it is important for you to be in one, you start to hold lighter to some of your principles.
My suggestion for you here is, ask yourself “why do I want to be in a relationship?”. It doesn’t matter whether you are currently single or in a relationship. Let the question sink in and see what answers come.
When things like “warmth, coziness, family, sharing my bed with someone, I don’t like going to dates” etc come, ask yourself again “yes, but why”?
And then deeper answers will come like “I want to experience all possible orgasms with someone I trust” or “I need a mirror to truly know myself” or “I am afraid to be alone” or “My mom will finally stop nagging about me being single” or whatever comes to you.
Then, ask yourself again “yes, but why?” and you will go deeper. Maybe things like these will come “I want to share myself fully with someone” or “This is the only way to really know myself” or “This is how I want to grow” or maybe other ones.
And keep on going with another “yes, but why?”. The exercise is for 7 times to ask “why”, in order to go to the root of why this is important for you.
When you find your deepest reason, you will easier overcome your fears and you will be more likely to work on yourself to replace your self-sabotaging behaviors with a more constructive one.
- In EVERY relationship there are contracts – explicit and implicit. It is really healthy to put on the table what is important for you (the type and level of freedom I want, for example). More explicit the contracts are, easier it is to navigate the relationship (for both partners).
I will give you a silly example. One of my love languages (oh, “love languages” is a good topic for one of my following emails) is Gifts. For me, receiving gifts is a very powerful way to feel liked and loved. For my partner, Gifts is not a love language. For him whether he receives a gift or not doesn’t matter much, and he doesn’t put much attention into buying/preparing a gift for someone else.
So, at the beginning of our relationship, I stated how important it is for me to receive gifts. To close the gap between what I need and who he is, together we put in his agenda all the dates throughout the year for which I want to receive gifts – birthday, name day, woman’s day etc
This way, we’ve created an explicit contract.
If you are currently dating someone or are in a relationship, see for which of your needs and desires you can make explicit contracts. Ask your partner what is important for him/her as well.
4. Freedom and commitment are not opposites. Freedom without limitations is an illusion. Without limitations, we will be lost in the space, with no direction nor feeling of belonging.
For everyone who recognizes my previous urge to break free, read this carefully: One of the values of a relationship is that it comes with a frame, a fluid one, but still a frame. Setting limitations for each other is a gift, not something to fear.
The freedom in the relationship comes from the ability to negotiate the limitations, to test where they yield and to try to push them back.
These are some really interesting dynamics and can be strongly bonding if both partners stick to an open mind, loving heart and even better - playful attitude.
Just experiment and check in regularly how your body and your heart feel.
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