Why an open door might be the most romantic thing for your Love
‘I was feeling insecure you might not love me anymore’
― John Lennon
John Lennon was all about peace and love and even beyond his personal beliefs, he’s not someone you would imagine (no pun intended) having trouble in the affairs of love. Yet, he is human and we all are often afraid of losing the one we care most about in this world.
I grew up traditionally like many people from small towns. What’s worse, I grew up with Disney and the hopes of finding my perfect princess like even more people. So marriage to me was the epitome of romance in my eyes. It was just assumed for me that the base of any good, long-lasting shared life would be a commitment made in front of hundreds of people in fancy clothes and an overtly large cake.
It didn’t take long for me to come around to the idea that marriage was an outdated ceremony. One that could be seen as the death of romance in a relationship. That is the way I lived through most of my relationships through my 20s, ‘It isn’t romantic unless I know I can walk away.’
And though my ideas of romance and commitment and love have evolved and grown, I still hold some truth from all of the above. Through a bit of hope and little more experience, I can see the romance on both sides of the marriage argument or more directly, the argument for commitment in love, legally bound or not.
We all need to find a balance of complete security in the ones we love and appreciate the wisdom of the insecurity inherent in all that we have in life, especially our partners.
What we will talk about here isn’t about blind commitment and forcing it to work, nor is it about how marriage is no longer relevant and ruins the people involved. It’s going to look at how we can use the fear of losing the one you love to keep the one you love.
A Paradoxical Truth
It is a comforting thought to have a guarantee that someone is going to stay with us forever. It is a chance to show somebody all of our best faces and reveal our greatest virtues.
Yet, whenever we have committed to someone by word or legal documentation, we may find ourselves slacking on the virtues and showing more of our ugly faces. It could very well be possible that the best way to be better to our partners is to add a pinch of insecurity to the mix.
It’s a bit paradoxical to think we would give our best to someone that may leave us at any moment, but by knowing we may lose someone may help us hold back, at least a little, on our more self-indulgent sides.
This is not to say we should constantly threaten abandonment to our partners. However, from time to time, we should accept and embrace the fragility of our alliance. A solemn promise of forever is very romantic, but the idea that there may not be an ‘us’ next month could be a gentle reminder of how romantic that effort towards commitment really is.
‘Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.’
― Alan Watts
Don’t drown in insecurity, but benefit from the underlining truth that nothing will last forever. This is not to say love will die but may transform, like energy, from one type of love to another. Even Einstein in a letter to his daughter came to the ultimate conclusion that the greatest and most fundamental force of the universe is love. (An article coming soon on the spectrum of love.)
It is very unromantic to be insecure, but paradoxically, it will help each appreciate why they remain together. If we believe we are irreversibly attached to one another, we risk not being grateful for one another’s positive sides, or we risk not noticing all that our partners do for us and for our well-being.
One of the most romantic writers of all time, Shakespeare, infamously kept a skull on his desk to remind him of the death of life and no doubt, of love. Everything is impermanent no matter how true the intentions are at any given moment. Accepting constant change is the best way to appreciate what one has, especially in love.
Whether we know for sure if Shakespeare kept a skull on his desk to simply remind him of the fragility of life or if he also applied the same concept to love, we should have our own metaphorical skull around our love lives.
Let’s be honest, our commitment to love is not an ever-present and powerful conviction that runs through our veins every second of every day as we would like to believe. Sometimes the reality is that the end of our love is hiding in the shadow of what we think our love is and should be.
This shadow element to our love seems to make our love a little more innocent and sweet in a certain way. The wolf hiding in the shadows before he devours the bunny. Unfortunately, to completely ignore the danger in the shadows can lead to a false sense of security in our emotional relationships.
In truth, we may not see ourselves so acclimated to our partners that we would overlook the possibility that they may one day no longer be with us. Though in our day to day lives, we may treat them as such. As if some omnibenevolent god has already declared that they are ours, to wake up beside every morning, rather than a gift from said god that was offered to us as the delicate and undeserving mortals we are.
Another Surprising Benefit
Another advantage to good insecurity is it makes it a lot less likely to be so easily irritated and sour towards one another. If we feel we have no other choice but to stay, our frustrations and complaints are just running up against a brick wall. And this wall may get so high that our unhappiness may go hidden.
We stop listening to each other or even respect each other because why bother when you don’t feel there is any alternative than to just be stuck with that person. We could try to threaten them, but that carries no weight. We can scream like a spoiled little child-king and stamp our feet to be heard, but we are only laughed at.
[We all laughed at Joffrey, didn’t we?]
If we know we can walk away at any moment, the relationship will feel insecure in a way that can produce the sweetest fruit. We can state our problems and know we are heard because our words carry more significance. And our partners can also retaliate in equal force.
Being insecure that the other person may just leave can bring us back to those infantile stages of the relationship when empathy and care and general effort to please was much more part of the equation.
Leaving a state of insecurity in the relationship can help both parties focus on the importance of being exciting or helpful or interesting. It makes it a decision to stay. A decision to stay in a loving and authentic way rather than feeling trapped in a prison with no key.
It may be a sweet gesture to tell someone, and ourselves, that we will never leave them, but it could also turn out to be the worst thing to do for all involved. There is no doubt some truth to the idea that marriage is the death of love, but it shouldn’t be blamed on marriage, only our limited idea of it. The true death of love are those paradoxically romantic words: I will never leave you.
‘What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.’
― Alan Wilson Watts
We should be thankful and enjoy the idea these words give us when we hear them or give them, but we shouldn’t let them trap us into many of its asphyxiating consequences.
As we may have read before in my enlightening article about Conflict and Coitus, most fights come from a feeling of insecurity, and if those feelings are heard, felt, and validated, they are usually followed by some pretty amazing naked time.
Besides make-up sex from the aforementioned article, one of the unsexiest things someone can feel is to know they will never allow themselves to be of any appeal to anyone but their partner or that they are simply invisible to the rest of humanity.
‘The problem with human attraction is not knowing if it will be returned.’
― Becca Fitzpatrick
What others may want, like a subtle slip of the hand into our partner’s bra, is what we want. If she’s still looking good when she goes out, yes, she may be doing it for her confidence, but it is also for the betterment of both your sex lives.
Think about a time you saw them being ogled or being flirted with or - god forbid - doing the flirting themselves at the last party you attended. Seeing how they are still sexually appealing to a group of strangers will make sex seem like anything but a chore with them.
Throw in a nice fight or display of their possible independence is usually when a couple will have the most intense sex they will have. We won’t make the mistake of seeing them as an obedient pet or piece of forgotten furniture for some time after that. Jealousy, for all its negativity, can be forgiven for at least bringing the erotica back into the mix.
Keep it Real
Now, to actually benefit from insecurity, the threat has to be a real possibility. We can’t just say it with empty words because our partners know we would never do anything like that. Either because we are too committed or because we don’t know how to use a bank account or because we don’t even have a suitcase to pack.
There has to be a very mature awareness and understanding that it is entirely possible for you to be on your own. If you can’t manage your own finances, create your own social life, or buy your own eggs and milk at the store, your threats will fall on an unconvinced audience.
‘I ought not to doubt the steadiness of your affection, yet such is the inconsistency of real love, that it is always awake to suspicion, however unreasonable; always requiring new assurances from the object of its interest, and thus it is, that I always feel revived, as by a new conviction, when your words tell me I am dear to you; and, wanting these, I relapse into doubt, and too often into despondency.’
― Ann Radcliffe
Keeping a bit of insecurity in the relationship isn’t about trying to always leave your partner. It isn’t about trying to make things not work. It is about comprehending the best requirements to make things work together.
Accepting insecurity in the relationship shouldn’t be weaponized to manipulate your partner into doing things for you, but it should be a quite whistle in the air to make sure that you are both choosing to be with each other every day that you are.
Just by having a secure sense in your own ability to survive on your own without your partner will be all that you need to do in order to make your special union one of two independent and sexually alluring individuals rather than two desperate, option-less people.
It isn’t romantic to be too frightened to face life alone. But to actively know that both you and your partner are capable of having an interesting life without each other, but still choose to be with each other - for pleasure, for enrichment, and for growth - you will have a true romantic love…
For now. :)