Are You Shackled in Your Relationship?

June 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Relationship Space

In men’s minds, Buck’s Nights are the last night of freedom for a bloke, before he is shackled to the missus. Equally, feminist theory would suggest that marriage enslaves women to a patriarchal servitude.

So are shackles and enslavement really part of a relationship? Or is this language that we use to hide our real commitment to a lifestyle that is commonly one of alliances and partnerships?

Is any of that REALLY how you see your partnership with the love of your life? Is that how it is in the real world?

How do you remain an individual and become a partner? How do you keep those two different elements in balance in your daily existence, and to your satisfaction?

You’ve only read a few words, and already you’ve been bombarded with six questions. Strap on your seatbelts, readers. If questions can be like the IEDs set by Iraqi insurgents, then reading this article is going to feel a little like the challenge of driving a convoy along an Iraqi highway!

What does Freedom mean in a relationship?

How do you KNOW you have freedom in your current relationship? Do you HAVE any freedom?

Are you satisfied with the level of freedom you currently have in this relationship?

How do you offer freedom to your partner?

What are the necessary elements to nurture and create freedom in a relationship?

If it weren’t for preparing this article I would never have even thought about freedom in my relationship. I don’t experience my partnership with SweetP as limiting me in any way. In fact, quite conversely, I look back on my 34 years with SweetP and am confident my life would have been more limited without him and our relationship.

At Casa Pink Apple, I know have the freedom of my own opinions and the freedom to share and debate them with SweetP. I respect his right to his opinions as he does mine, even when we vehemently disagree!

I am convinced that we can’t solve a problem together unless I have heard (and listened to) his thoughts and feelings about it, and vice versa. It’s part of the information seeking process that starts a problem-solving exercise – even if it’s about what we’ll cook for dinner.

How do I know I have freedom? I think it’s because I feel safe. I am totally confident that no matter how arrogant, frustrating, or dogmatic I may be, or how strong, confident, and insightful I may be, I am loved with all my faults.

It took 20 years to believe that the unconditional love I could see (and kept endlessly testing) was not a mirage. My life’s experiences told me not to trust anybody. So learning something different, and believing it was OK to trust that wonderful safe feeling were hard-fought successes for me and for an extraordinarily patient man!

How does Freedom work in a relationship?

Does keeping your own family name, or adopting a joint name give you that freedom?

Is freedom about financial freedom? Does freedom mean protecting the assets you bring to the partnership, as well as the assets you create jointly in the partnership? Is it about having individual bank accounts?

Does it mean you can decide to remain child-free?

Is it about who does what chores on the weekend?

Does freedom mean sexual freedom and an “open relationship” where other sexual partners are accepted by both of you? Or does it just mean you can play out some of your sexual fantasies together in the privacy of your own space?

For us freedom simply means knowing, acknowledging, understanding and owning our strengths and weaknesses and allowing each of us to “play to our strengths” and balance out our limitations between us.

On a functional level, that means things like SweetP paying the bills and managing our finances, because he’s a mathematician and I’m FAR from interested in any numbers except how much we can afford for me to spend!

However, that also means my organisational soul got to devise the reminder system so that bills got paid on time, which is something the not-so-practical scientist isn’t as good at focusing on.

Go On! Let’s Hear About Freedom From You

Come on, let’s get some opinions and comments from you.

What are the necessary elements to nurture and create freedom in a relationship?

How do you make that work in your life?


One Response to “Are You Shackled in Your Relationship?”
  1. Annie says:

    Such a worthy subject Chris since many marriages / relationships have failed on just this issue. For me it’s about balance again.

    Example – you give your partner the freedom to play sport Sat & Sun because you love them and want them to be happy. They’re exhausted in the evenings, hence you have no quality time together where you can relax and enjoy one another. Hmmmm what’s wrong with that picture?

    One wants children, the other does not.

    As you always point out Chris, the communication must take place first and foremost so that these issues are discussed and agreed and the parties know what giving the other freedom will mean.
    Weighty subject!!