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Relationships

.. are an ocean and a horizon.

Voluntary & Involuntary 

  • Some relationships are by choice. You seek them out, like friendships, partners. Let's call these voluntary.
  • Some relationships are enforced. Like coworkers, siblings, family. Let's call these involuntary.
  • The dynamics of both are different.

Dynamics

Starting a voluntary relationship is an act in itself.
You reach out to someone at a bar or online or on the street.
Several things cascade from there..
  • You assume the other person is open-minded to a relationship.
  • You don't know them, so you start to validate them – 
    • is (s)he smart, hardworking, carries positive energy etc. etc. – all the good things. 
    • Often we are also looking for some negatives, so they can be exploited. I suspect a lot of Game is built on the negatives.
  • They start to validate you.
  • You validate them positively, or not.
  • They validate your positively, or not.
  • Depending on this initial validation, a transactional dynamic gets set up, which hopefully gets followed up.

Contract

Relationships are contracts, implied in these initial interactions, and extended in following ones.
As in all contracts, they carry benefits and liabilities.

The liabilities require a price to be paid. 
Be prepared to pay it. 
Pay it responsibly.

Bond

Synonymous to contract, the relationship is a bond as well.
By definition, a bond is binding – a mild form of imprisonment even?

Offer this imprisonment responsibly.

Goal

What is the purpose of relationships?

Of course, obtaining the benefits is obviously valuable.
But what about the liability? Where lies the value in this?

150

Robin Dunbar postulated that 150 is the cognitive limit of the number of stable relationships that humans can maintain comfortably.

Social media networks however blast this metric. 
But it makes sense: why you could have a hundred, thousand and million friends & followers, but yet remain without meaningful relationships.

On the flip side, it would be interesting to write down the name identifiers of ALL the real relationships we nurture, and see how that compares to the Dunbar Number.

150 could well have been the size of the primitive man's tribe.

Judging People

Toxicity is introduced to a relationship as soon as you start to judge a counterpart. 
Instead, look for opportunities to practice Dharma to them.

Honesty

.. leads to Intimacy and Vulnerability 

Man-Woman

6 Pillars

According to Esther Perel, the basic language of relationships has 6 pillars. 
I am assuming here that Esther meant them in the context of man-woman relationships, since she is a marriage counselor.
  1. Make them feel valued, recognised and appreciated
  2. Connect — live in their reality, and let them live in yours
  3. Mutuality — I am there for you, just because of you, no self interest
  4. Respect, admiration, inspiration
  5. Reciprocity
  6. Trust
    Esther also draws attention to the narcissistic nature of the woman. 
    To enjoy herself, let go, she has to be totally relaxed.
    To make love with you, ask yourselves if she will make love with herself.

    Anima & Animus

    Carl Jung unravelled the psychological necessity of men and women for each other in his Anima-Animus thesis.

    As a man, I strive to understand women in the Eve-Helen-Maria-Sophia model.
    At the same time, in order to understand how women perceive a man, it's important to understand the 4 levels of development of the Animus.
    • Man of physical power
    • Man of action and romance
    • Man as a professor, clergyman, orator
    • Man as a spiritual guide

    Monogamous Marriage

    Anima & Animus are the root cause of marital problems.  As time passes, both man and woman transcend these 4 developmental stages.

    Unfortunately, while we are educated on a whole bunch of useless shit in our developmental years, we are not educated to evolve the relationship with our partner according to their unconscious psychological transgressions. 
    As a result, in successful marriages, people are lucky to figure it out themselves. 
    And of course, they put in the hard and painful work necessary to make their marriage work. 

    In unsuccessful ones, ±50% in western societies, this lesson goes lost on the couple.
    That's not entirely a bad thing, if children are not involved, because the man and the woman end up finding new partners who are more compatible with their psychological state at that point in time.

    Love

    .. is not a feeling, it is a skill. (Allan de Botton)

    Loving, and being loved are 2 different things.

    • Being loved is the free unconditional love we receive as a child.
    • To love, someone, is to apply charity and generosity of interpretation of them.

    Compatibility is a consequence of love, not a cause.

    If you keep following your feelings, you'll most likely make a big mistake in life.

    Relationships are about teaching too.
    Successful couples allow each other to teach, without bitterness, fury or humiliation.

    • A great teacher doesn't mind if the lesson is being lost on the pupil.
    • You cannot teach by humiliation.

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