The above question is adapted from a line in the musical ‘Rent’ – a full on tear-jerker of a movie that traces the lives, romances and ill-fated stories of a bohemian crew living in New York. This particular quip comes from a scene wherein a woman tries to convey to her partner (through song, obvs) that she is, and will continue to be faithful BUT that she cant stop other people admiring her from afar. Women in rubber, or otherwise. For some reason this lyric always stuck with me but perhaps not for the reason you might think.
Confidence and the Forbidden Fruit
Confidence, or moreover, Self-Assurance, is Sexy. More often than not, when we find ourselves in a significant relationship, the love and security that it offers exudes from us in some form of imperceptible glow such that we seem to get more attention from potential suitors/romantic liaisons.The same can be true as you smash fitness goals, get promoted, hit certain milestones in life – your confidence swells as much as your shoulders fling back and, as the old Greek proverb proffers, before you know it, ‘Success has many friends’.
What about when we turn the tables, from being the hunted to the hunter? I’m sure there are deeper seated issues that lay behind the decisions of some of my friends to only ever chase after the guy/girl that was unobtainable. Damage Limitation? Good sport? Some Primal Peacocking Instinct? Whatever it is we can all fall guilty of thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side.
Within my own wider social circle (read: Facebook Feed) there exists a broad range of relationship standpoints. To list a few:
- Happily Committed and Busily Arranging all Things Behind the Picket Fence;
- Monday-Thurs Monogamous but Footlose and Fancy Free Friday Onwards
- Free and Single Like to Mingle
- Satisfied and Celibate
- It’s Complicated (Thanks Facebook for normalising that one)
- The Three Amigos
- Tinder ‘Hang-Outs’
For options 2-7 and others it seems that the idea of staying with one person for the long run, indeed potentially until your days are over, is considered either outdated or some Hollywood Construct. You could fall into the trap of thinking that this is a very modern phenomenon but any casual glimpse into Greco-Roman society, for example, would show it to just be part of the rich tapestry and history of the affairs of the human heart.
Moral and religious convictions aside – how can you choose the right path?
Assume the Position
Well, my preferred position in this argument when it comes to others, is a pretty Swiss one. At the absolute least I refuse to judge anyone for the path they choose to take.
People are beautiful and People are Unique. So it makes sense that when you put two people together that the resultant relationship is likely to come out as just that.
In my life, however, it would have to come down to a decision and a commitment to one person for as long as it takes. Now hear me out here. I am no lothario, neither am I Dr Phil nor am I fully versed in the ebb and flow of many long term relationships. But as someone who loves people and seeing them fulfilled it does enter my mind often….what is that pulls us away from monogamy?
Mum and Dad got a divorce so I dont walk under the weight of a Chocolate Box relationship ideal hard to live upto. And yet, despite that, when someone very close to me recently broke up with their long term partner – it wrecked me. I’ve always felt the same way when I see long time couples go their separate ways.
What it all boils down to for me is that feelings, like people, are fickle. One proverb says that the ‘Heart is Deceitful above all Things’. There will always be someone hotter, younger, more flattering, more emotionally available, right?
The grass will always be greener, but it tends to be the most green wherever you water it.
So it’s all about where you’re aiming your sprinklers?
For me, at least, yes. As an ardent, tempered yet fiery type I’ve oft been one to move onto the next shiny thing or whatever zeitgeisty trends catches my eye but with romance, I’d like to think that when the opportunity presents itself that, after time, testing (the mettle) and investment, I could look beyond the feelings and strap my self in for the long term. Bumps and all.
To round off the horticultural analogy, ultimately, we know that the grass is greener wherever you tend it. Love takes work. Loves takes sacrifice. Love costs. Love, even needs pruning too. But, love, when it’s a consistently shared investment, always blooms in the long run.
Mignon Mcloughlin puts it ‘A successful (relationship) requires falling in love many times, always with the same person’.
Love is a choice. A decision, in vulnerability, that requires an everyday decision to believe in and work for the best of the other person.
But as I said, I’m deffo no pro. What does it look like for you?