Congratulations humanity, you did it. You successfully broke romantic relationships, fuckers. Don’t worry though because you replaced it with something better. The desire for partnerships. I hear you exclaiming “what the fuck is the difference?”. Well there is a difference and it’s quite distinct.
In previous generations relationships between a couple were quite often defined by the female obeying the whims of the male. The male provided the income and the female looked after the home. It’s just what society expected, there was no such thing as an equal partnership.
Since the rightful emancipation of women this has shifted substantially. We attempt to meet on a level playing field and create an equal partnership. At least that is the expectation, but more often than not we flail around like a frog in a sock not having much concept of how we should be doing that shit. Why? We are the transitional generation stuck between the old service model and what comes next.
The examples we are given are those of our parents and grandparents, which do not always serve to show how things should be done in the modern age. In my case, the example was my parents having a dysfunctional relationship even if it was loving. Something I somewhat emulated leading to my own divorce.
I am not saying there is a problem with couples who enjoy looking after each other in a more ‘traditional’ sense. But there should be discussion and communication rather than expectation. I am not going to say to my partner “serve me wench”, but if she wants to look after me she will.
Sure you can have one without the other. Successive generations lived on the ‘servant that you occasionally have sex with to make babies’ model of relationships. But could you have a partnership without a relationship? You sure can, and it’s just as unhealthy.
You know that couple. The one that stays together because of the kids or because it is convenient to do so for other reasons. There are plenty of high profile examples, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton. They stayed together throughout numerous scandals and affairs because they work well as a partnership, even without a healthy relationship. While this may work, it is not a functional way to achieve happiness in our personal lives.
So what does an ideal partnership look like in the modern era? That is a good question as it really depends on the people involved. My partner enjoys looking after me as I do her, so we share the workload on whatever we are doing at the time. If one of us is tired or having a bad day, the other helps to carry the load. It should happen organically and should never be about ‘counting points’ so you have one up. If it is, you are failing.
As we are in that transitional phase there will be tension and disagreements. You will likely have a conflict between the partnership and relationship aspects of your relationship at some point, due to mismatched expectations and misunderstandings. What is most important is recognising these issues for what they are.
At the end of the day you need to find the person that matches your weird. Everyone has a different sort of weird even if we are reluctant to admit it, and if you find a partner that shares that kind of weird you will be happy and the relationship will thrive. Happiness is the ultimate objective after all.