Or a chronological infant, obviously. Only then are you 100% justified in needing the undivided attention of your primary caregiver. But for adults, this has to be the unhealthiest paradigm allowable. So if you are in a relationship where either you or your partner demands this, you need to do some serious reassessment.
Yes, I know that we have been sold the “you and no other” myth and it is hard to shake the cultural idea that jealousy is somehow romantic. It is not. It is either a healthy intuitive red flag that lets you know your partner is not trustworthy or it is a glaring testament to your own insecurity.
In today’s hyper-connected world, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones as well. Online socializing has made it possible for us to reconnect with people near and far who may have slipped through the cracks in our lives. In truth, the more people we manage to forge healthy bonds with, the better off and more well-rounded we become.
Obviously our intimate partnerships and “best friends” belong in a different category and these are the people we “drop everything” for when there is a need. HOWEVER—excepting a chronic illness, NO ONE should ever be in perpetual NEED of our attention. None of us is meant to be “all things” in any situation—that is an unrealistic and unfair pressure that creates an imbalanced ecosystem that is very difficult to recalibrate once established.
The early stages of “romance” can be addictive and heady for sure; our beloved does temporarily hijack our senses and all roads during that time do seem to lead to him or her. This is a wonderful experience to have, but it is not a sustainable reality. If you do decide that this person is a “keeper”, then the real work of forging a meaningful partnership begins.
If you have any level of maturity, then you know that these relationships are not meant to be a lifetime of hearts and roses. We choose our partners ultimately for very practical reasons—compatibility, financial stability, raising children, mutual growth opportunities. Within the context of a truly thriving partnership, there must be room for not only all kinds of “outside” experiences but also other people.
The idea that infidelity is simply a product of opportunity is absurd. Affairs happen for myriad reasons, but if the ONLY reason was opportunity then you did not have a relationship worth saving. A healthy connection is always at its baseline about TRUST and RESPECT; without these two things, what you really have is a house of cards, ready to tumble at the slightest breeze.
If you love somebody, set them free is the epitome of good advice no one wants to take. But love is not a prison; and when it is real, no lock and key are ever required. If you truly love someone, all you could ever want is their greatest good, and vice versa; within this context, the magic can happen.
If you and your partner are committed to living your best life together, you will support each other in work, achieving dreams and fostering connections apart from your own. All of the great marriages I have encountered in my lifetime include a wide and varied circle of friends and a lot of independence. Healthy love is interdependent, not co-dependent and the more experiences we have, the bigger the toolkit we bring to the table of our partnership.
Time to grow up. Unless you are a toddler (or chronological infant) you should not require ANYONE’s UNDIVIDED attention, INCLUDING your own. Open your mind and heart to new people and experiences; deepen and foster the good relationships you already have and allow your beloved to do the same.
The more you know, the more you grow. The more you grow, the happier and more secure you become. The happier and more secure you become, the less you “need” ANYONE’s attention.
The less you need ANYONE’s attention, the less you need anyone’s approval.
The less you need anyone’s approval, the more bad-ass and self-actualized you become.
The more bad-ass and self-actualized you become? The sky’s the limit.