Excerpt from Open Monogamy: A Guide to Co-Creating Your Ideal Relationship Agreement
By Tammy Nelson, Ph.D.
Being a couple does not make you one person. This may be against popular current opinion, as our romantic version of love seems to be some kind of idealization of oneness, of completing the other, of finding one’s other half. Being differentiated means that you each have different interests and are not merged into one person just because you are a married couple. Love today seems to be a perpetual pursuit of the “other” in order to complete an empty sense of self, one that is destined for emptiness and aloneness without a partner.
Through fairy tales and stories, our society teaches young girls about women who need to be woken up, who are asleep until a man comes along to wake them. These pre-sexual women have no experience with life and remain in a dormant state until they are introduced to love through a more experienced adult male who is oftentimes older and worldlier. With a kiss and the promise of marriage, he brings them to life.
Love in our society is attributed to longing, the waiting for completion, for the other to make one whole. Particularly for women, the lesson is that they should wait for the right man to come along, the one, the only, the perfect partner, the soul mate.
This idealized partner will make us feel complete and we will never want for more or for another.
Riding off into the sunset is the equivalent of the end of the road; when we have finally found “the one,” means we are on the road to marriage, and we are never expected to want more.
The fact that the fairy tales never show what happens after sunset, after dark, in the marital bed or the next morning, love becomes a mystery to be solved over time in a desert of information.
The lack of good sex education in this country leaves young people with the assumption that good sex comes only after an abstinent state of waiting, and that without explanation or education, eroticism magically appears in a lawful marriage with another sometimes-inexperienced partner.
Are you still seeking your fairytale? Would you like help from a focused, supportive group? Learn more about Dr. Tammy’s online women’s therapy group.