Sunday, October 3, 2010

How We Relate

Often, we find ourselves hooked on forms that we follow because they are familiar, even if our own experience with them has not been successful.

Often times when people have relationship questions, they are thinking about getting married or divorced. It is common for a person to be looking for a third marriage even if they have been married and divorced twice already. But if your experience has been that way, a new idea might work better.

One woman came to me for a reading and when the question of two lovers came up, she announced that she would not choose between them, she would simply keep them both. Of course, some people might not agree with this approach, but trying something different is for the person looking for a different solution.

Last week, when a famous movie star died they noted that he had been married six times. And I am sure you have also read about other actors and actresses who have been married that many times. You would think at some point they would just acknowledge that that model of relationship is not working for them and stay single. But I think what is happening there is that they are really so used to seeing relationships through the context of that form, that they cannot imagine a relationship in another form.

I have met other people who are not movie stars or pop stars or celebrities who also have a track record like that, so the idea is not just about famous people.

Some people who travel a lot for their business end up separated from their partner for frequent or long periods of time. Some people enjoy it that way, some just accept that it is part of the job, and others don't like it and it ends up tearing at the fabric of the relationship.

Once again, it is how people relate to the forms. Where one person might find the absences intolerable, another welcomes them.

We are at a time when many different kinds of relationships exist simultaneously. Within this article I am not trying to discuss all forms of relationships, just the most common.

Expanding our concepts of relationships seems to be necessary. About 1 out 2 marriages ends in divorce, but 50 years ago, getting a divorce was considered a disgrace and could prevent you from getting invited to certain groups and events. So the divorce rate was lower, but that was because some people stayed in a lousy situation rather than fight the social stigma.

Today, we have more choices. In most cases, people would not think twice about whether a person is divorced before inviting them to a social event.

Now when people are meeting and discussing themselves, disclosing that they have been married and divorced before is no big deal.

It all has to do with how you see your possibilities. Years ago, it just came to me when I was filling out forms that asked me about my marital status, I thought about checking divorced again. Then I thought that choosing that word to define myself is like saying that my status is all about my failed marriage. But that is not true. I now choose the word single whenever I have a form to fill out.

Why? If you are legally divorced and available for dating again, doesn't the word single define your current state?

Use a parallel example. Would you define the rest of your life as the person who used to work at XYZ Corporation but lost their job to outsourcing, or would you present yourself to new people as what you do now?

Certainly presenting yourself as who you are now and what you do now will further you progress in creating a new career path.

So give it some thought when you consider your options and what works for you. Maybe just continuing to date will serve your social needs better than another marriage. Maybe we have set stumbling blocks in our own path if we fail to consider other options.

Maybe the woman who chose to keep both lovers is going to thrive with her choice, instead of letting one go and marrying the other.

What made me think of all this in the first place? The idea of a person having six marriages. Plus the fact that so many people express a desire to marry again even if they have had a number of unsuccessful previous marriages.

We all have to make our own choices, it's just that sometimes we offer ourselves to limited a range of choices and then insist that it must be that way.

Perhaps the person who allows themselves more or different choices will cope with the ebb and flow of life and the ebb and flow of relationships better than those who confine themselves to the limited options.

That is for each person to decide. I am just offering this observation.

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