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If Relationships Aren’t “Forever” How Does That Change The Nature of Relationships?

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Changing the parameters of what we expect from relationships can bring freedom… But it can also rewrite the rules of relationships. What’s important going forward?

With Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and http://SexGeekSummerCamp.com.

Cathy: Someone wrote in and said, “Should we stop seeing relationships as made for life? What’s the alternative in terms of the conditions of relationships? How do we define the future of the connection?” 

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com. 

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com. 

Reid: Today’s video, the future of relationships. I don’t know, what do you think Cathy Vartuli? 

Cathy: For life until death do us part isn’t working well for a lot of people. They said that over half the marriages end in divorce, and 1/3 of the marriages… 

Reid: The other half end in death. Booyah! No, that’s not what you were going to say? 

Cathy: No. 

Reid: Okay. All right. 

Cathy: Only 1/3 of the ones that remain are happy. 2/3 of the people that stay married… 

Reid: And the other 1/3 just feel like death? I’m on a roll. This is great. 

Cathy: No more coffee for you. 

Reid: No more coffee. 

Cathy: So, how do you define a relationship? Because we are socialized to think that you find the right person and you invest in a long term relationship. You want to have it sustain you through your golden years and be there for you at the end, but is that the best thing for you? Is having a less long term commitment useful? 

Reid: I have a lot of views on this stuff. I talk about dating new species and changing the metrics for what we view as healthy or successful in relationships. 

Cathy: Depth versus duration? 

Reid: Yeah. What used to be duration, the longer you were together the more successful your relationship was, I don’t think that’s where we are right now. As a survival strategy, as a tribe, or as a family unit trying to breed enough human beings that live long enough to pass on the genes are pass on the family farm or save the village, then staying together longer makes sense. But that’s about a very particular kind of frontiersman goal of survival. There are a lot of places in the world that relationships are still about survival, but if you’re watching this video on a smartphone or on a laptop, inside a house, not worried about being eaten by an animal, you might be in a different place than 300 – 400 years ago. A thousand years ago, socially speaking.

If you make relationships about being happy, staying together if it’s not making you happy means you shouldn’t stay together. Then the metric becomes about being real and transparent and going deep with people and being honest and not about duration. 

Cathy: Well I love how you talk in Relationship 10x, is a program you have. You ask people, “Why do you have relationships?” It’s kind of a default in our society. You’re supposed to be in a relationship. If you’re a desirable person you are obviously in a relationship. Like, what’s wrong? But really, what does it add to your life? Most people aren’t conscious about that. They aren’t saying, “What do I want to get out of being in a relationship?” Once you define that, it’s a lot easier to decide what you want to create. Do you want to create we’re going to stick together no matter what? Or let’s stick together as long as it’s good for both of us and meets our mutual goal of creating a child. 

Reid: Yeah. I think “no matter what”, air quotes, as a phrase for anything is probably not useful in this day and age, unless you’re talking about your heartbeat or trying to be healthy. You know, I’m going to try to be healthy no matter what. That kind of absolute applied to relationships is murder to your own happiness and someone else’s or your family unit. So, when you remove that and you actually start looking at why am I even in a relationship to begin with or why are we in a relationship, and then you can have a real conversation about it. If it’s making you happy or not. If you’re being fulfilled.

That doesn’t mean that raising kids, as an example, isn’t going to be a bitch sometimes. 

Cathy: I mean there are going to be bad days and maybe bad months or years, but are you generally fulfilling the mutual agreement of what you want to create. 

Reid: Most of the time, we just have this expectation that we’re supposed to be in a relationship. I will make the joke of why are you wearing underwear? Or pants? Most people just, “Well, we just wear underwear. Or pants. Right?” And then you’re like, “Well I don’t know. Do we?” Do you have to be in a relationship? Do you have to stay together? And at this point in American culture at least, I know and lots of people because I’ve asked this question, know just as many people who grew up in divorced families that are super well adjusted, and a lot of people who grew up in families that stayed together and they’re completely fucked up. 

Cathy: We were glad when our parents divorced because it was less stress. 

Reid: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You and your sister? 

Cathy: Yeah. The fighting had been miserable. 

Reid: So yeah, we have more data than we did about what makes for healthy human beings. When you come at it from that perspective, what makes for healthy human beings isn’t always that you stay together no matter what in the relationship. 

Cathy: Yeah. So, define for yourself. And that’s something, a really useful technique when you meet somebody that you think you might want to take it deeper, find out what their intentions for a relationship are too and maybe make agreements. As long as we’re supporting this for each other and we’re not harming either of us to be here, let’s keep going. 

Reid: And that kind of looking at assumptions in culture, deconstructing them and reclaiming and building what you want as an act of empowerment, that’s a pretty sophisticated level of being a human being on this planet and it takes a little bit of work. However, I think you get a lot more satisfaction out of it than having to do something if life becomes a get to. It’s not always easy, but it is kind of simple when you look at it. But you have to take your time to figure it out. Once you get used to it, it’s kind of cool. 

Cathy: Please leave comments below. Why are you in relationships and how long do you think they have to be to be a good relationship? 

Reid: Thank you for that question. You rock oh question-asker. Ask more questions too because lord knows, we’d run out of things to do here.

 

More articles on improving your communication and relationship skills:

Co-Dependent But Want To Salvage The Relationship?

How Can You Tell If You Should Pursue A Relationship Or Not?

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