What is the point of a relationship?

By Unmani Hyde

image by Android Jones

Apart from the obvious reasons of sex and procreation, it seems that relating intimately with others is about exploring yourself. Really it is never about the ‘other’ at all.

The usual way of perceiving your partner would be to see them as separate from yourself, and as someone to negotiate the give and take of love, approval and power. It is always about ‘what can I get from them?’ and ‘what do they want from me?’ You are desperately trying not to expose yourself for the negotiator that you are. You might even make a commitment to be together forever, but if you are honest, your commitment is only to the idea of the other.

When you identify with the thought ‘me’ then you will assume that there is a ‘you’ out there. ‘Me’ and ‘you’ meet as thoughts, imagination, manipulation and negotiation, but this is never the real meeting. We long to drop all that, and just open in trust and love. But we have learnt that this world is not safe to let down our guard, so we go on imagining the boundaries that separate us. The truth is, we don’t know how to relate to others without these negotiations. We can really feel naked and lost without them. But in this nakedness is the possibility for a real meeting. This meeting is more innocent and childlike because we meet in not knowing how to meet.

If there is the willingness to meet honestly even if it means exposing what might appear to be ugly or shameful, this means being willing to risk losing the other for the sake of what is true. The commitment is then to the truth of what you are, rather than to your partner. Even if the negotiating goes on, but you are willing to risk exposing and admitting this to your partner, there is the possibility to open together in a deeper, more honest way. Relating then becomes about an endless losing what you think. Paradoxically both partners are using the ‘other’, completely selfishly, as a way to explore themselves, but at the same time there is a more trusting, open and loving connection.

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