peanut butter & jelly
Hey guys! I have something really interesting for my post today: an anonymous article submission. I can't encourage you enough to read every word of it. While possibly controversial, not only is it an important opinion but it's truly one of the most powerful things I've read in a very long time.
→ If you would like to submit a post or idea you can do that HERE.
Read below and enjoy!
It’s difficult to show someone just how much you care about them when your ideas of what that means don’t line up. They want texts every day, and you usually can’t find your phone. They appreciate a thoughtful birthday present, while you forgot your own birthday last year. They won’t see anybody else, and you want to see other people.
That progression might be read from “idiot” to “asshole.” The assumption tends to be that the partner most open to an open relationship is the one least committed to the current one; sexual faithfulness exists as such a sacred expectation of relationships that people can be filled with self-loathing for even having desires beyond their partner. To think of someone else is heresy, and out of shame such thoughts get filed away in the deepest, darkest wings of the mental archive where the mind does not wander willingly. But that place is not away; out of sight is certainly not out of mind. Such a process is an injury to the mind and to the relationship, and like all injuries, will only worsen when unaddressed.
Where is the equity in causing a partner to shame themselves and repress their desires? Fundamentally, such situations stem from establishing expectations for each other – whether consciously or subconsciously – that aren’t actually based on the dynamic of the relationship.
Expectations are asymmetric, and they damn well should be because people are asymmetric too.
In reality, only two broad expectations seem to apply across all relationships. These terms and conditions are simply to trust, and to be present. They’re codependent:
I need you to trust how much I care about you, and...
I’ll prove it to you by making sure that when I’m with you, you’ll feel more respected, appreciated, heard, and comfortable than you can when I’m not.
Trust is arguably the harder piece, as it comes down to the partner to accept. Without trust, being present holds no credibility and no value. The reality is that social norms tend to guide us to believe that trusting someone is singly contingent on their ability to keep those pants locked down tighter than Fort Knox.
But why? Why is trust hinged on how I’m sharing my sacred space? Why is the
assumption that if I don’t preserve my sexuality singularly for my partner, I simply don’t care? The spectrum of physical attraction and emotional connection is a blurred one, with no two people drawing the same line between them. Some cannot distinguish between the two, preserving their holy temple solely for those deemed emotionally worthy to worship. These people are passionate and present, and face little distrust as there’s no question about who they’re present for. On the other hand are those that are outliers by number and outcasts by social designation.
Such people identify the emotional and the physical like peanut butter and jelly; objectively better together, both are still damn good by themselves. This sorry lot will sometimes only desire the one with no intention of adding the other; it’s called being horny, and it’s about as wrong as being hungry. Or thirsty.
Unfortunately, harboring such thought is treason by modern standards, simply for the trust it depletes. If I can’t trust you to keep your sexuality just for me, how can I trust you to really care? While this thought process is understandable, it’s also unfair because it assumes selfish intent. The supposition of self-interest is incredibly misguided, and exists because those that harbor it have an aneurism trying to fathom the alternative. That alternative is that if I want to see other people, and I’m not selfish, then I don’t mind you seeing other people too.
A monogamist is having heart palpitations somewhere.
Because I can understand how physical attraction by itself can guide me to action, I can certainly understand how it might lead someone else to the same situation. At this point the casual observer will come to question the value of commitment in such a situation, wondering why the people involved don’t end whatever they have going on and just commit to pursuing that peanut butter.
The answer is difficult, where the intangible meets the inarticulate: something deep enough to seem intrinsic, and fleeting enough to not be quantified.
Essentially, it’s a matter of the ability to present emotional connection and value. When someone truly matters – and you care enough to want to matter back – you will find the right ways to present that affection. Such cannot be presented to every sexual partner, for lack of that same level of care. There’s little room for objectivity in such a situation, where desire is strong to both find satisfaction with others and fulfillment with the one that matters. On a simpler level, we simply can’t be together every moment of every day. But when we are together, I will be there and you’ll know it. I’ll be enough for you; that’s what matters. So, if in those moments we are apart I’m seeking satisfaction from someone else, you can know that it’s not from a lack of care, and you can trust that it’s not from a lack of presence.
None of this is a popular opinion; many may view it as objectively wrong. That’s alright. If you read any of this, you’ll understand that ideas aren’t meant to perfectly align. You probably wouldn’t keep them around if they didn’t challenge you or make you think. Care for them enough to give them the space to care for you, in ways you might not have otherwise considered. If you do, you might just find greater depth to the connection than you originally thought.
Let them be the crunch to your sweet, because peanut butter belongs with jelly.
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