Pretty Wings Series: How To Love In Such A Way A Partner Knows They Have Individual Freedom
Mood Music: Pretty Wings by Maxwell
Growing up I attended a very small family oriented Methodist church.
Everyone who attended the church was like family and like family, I knew their usual behaviors.
One older gentleman was married to his wife for over sixty years and when she unfortunately died, I saw a huge change in his behavior. He became more involved in church and community activities than ever before.
Though it was obvious he missed his wife dearly, he was a positively changed man. I noticed the same phenomenon with my grandfather after my grandmother passed. My granfather seemed totally less restricted.
After a conversation with a co-worker, I learned this was a common occurrence.
Men and women after long bouts of marriage evolve into different people after divorce or death.
It might be the seeds of grief that make them more social, but usually the case is that they have more freedom to do some of the things they might have always wanted to do, but felt restricted by their partners.
This idea was not only shocking to me, but also a little scary. I am a Sagittarius and among all the things that Sagittarii desire, freedom is top priority on our list. I never want to fall into any type of relationship where I’d have to wait for my partner to leave or die in order to be free to be myself.
Having my freedom stifled makes me flighty and miserable in ways you’ve never seen. I started questioning myself and wondered how can one love in a way where each party feels free.
Not free to cheat or not call for weeks at a time, but free to pursue dreams, be happy, and enjoy activities and events that don’t always include the other partner.
It took some souls searching to figure out, but muddle with me through the mud as I try to define the parameters of love that is free and lasting.
Love Isn’t Prison
Freedom in love is important to not only romantic partnerships, but also familial relationships and friendships.
Without certain freedoms, a child can feel afraid to grow up and develop their own identity. Without certain freedoms, a friendship can fail because one party might feel the right to have other friends outside of that friendship or pursue dreams has been inhibited.
For example: I have been wrapped up in writing lately, staying up at ungodly hours of the night, because I must get it out when the muses hit- otherwise the moment of creativity passes.
I don’t do well with long phone conversations and texting when I have the urge to write. Because of this, I have been a little distant with just about everyone. My family has been semi-understanding, but one friend has been taking it personally.
I’ve explained over and over the reason, but she can’t seem to understand that when I don’t answer the phone it doesn’t mean I hate her, it just means I’m in a certain flow that can’t be disturbed.
Even though she knows that writing is my passion she’s trapping me, or so I feel, into long winded conversations that I’m just not totally present for.
This situation made me realize a major point: Love must be understanding and see that a person is not a possession that one can use per need.
Love allows a person to be free to pursue their dreams by proving occasional space; conversely, it cannot be a one-sided relationship either.
I shouldn’t be angry with this friend when she needs space either. It’s a mutual respect that each party must extend to the other for any type of relationship to work.
Communication is Key
Sometimes it isn’t easy to give the people you love freedom, because when they are distant it often feels like they don’t care about the relationship, but this is when communication becomes a necessary tool.
It’s crucial to have a conversation with your partner, parent, or friend and say:
Hey, I want to purse this dream, take this class, or do this thing. I might not be present in the way that I was before, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you and care for you all the same.
If the listening party truly loves you, they will be understanding and give you the space you need to flourish as an individual. They might even become an instrumental part in helping you accomplish a goal if you let them in.
However, you can’t totally distance yourself from a relationship when you have an individual goal in mind. What is any type of partnership if only one person is present?
You must find that sweet spot where you are pleasing yourself, but also being an active lover, friend, or parent.
Little things such as a sweet text, a phone call, a sticky note in a lunch box, maybe even a whole weekend where you just spend quality time with a person is a nice way to communicate:
Yeah, I’m doing this particular thing for myself, but I love you a lot and I’m going to find meaningful ways to show I care.
Why Love Needs Space
The downside of not allowing a person to be free in love is that you stifle the things that make them an individual.
After a long period of being stifled, a partner will lose their identity and become a mere reflection of you, not the unique person you originally feel in love with. Another downfall is resentment.
To me resentment is the a major killer of many relationships. When you resent a person for what he or she has done that’s just about the end of loving them.
Few relationships can come back to a loving place when resentment nestles in. Who wants to be looked at as the person who hindered someone from pursuing their dreams?
But much worst who wants to be looked at as the person who pursued their dreams so much they forgot to love the person who loved them the most?
Love is Balance
True love is a balance of allowing each party room to spread their wings and each party showing that they truly care and are supportive in the process.
In a partnership, no one person’s need is more important than the other- being passionate about your dreams is just as important as being passionate about the person you love.
Love is Freedom
One of my favorite lines of a song is in Saving All My Love by Whitney Houston, where she boldy declares:
Love gives you the right to, be free.
Overall, in life we must love in such a way that everyone is pleased and being abandoned by a dreamer or stifled by a dream inhibitor is not very pleasing to anyone.
Love in such a way that each party is free to flap their pretty wings, but also each party is sure that they are loved and secure in the affection you show daily.