As someone who writes about love, sex and relationships, I’m a keen observer of how people connect romantically, sexually and intimately. Over the past decade alone, this landscape has transformed with new and evolving types of relationships, sexual experiences and connections being openly discussed, attempted, abandoned and pursued like never before.
I believe this type of exploration and boundary testing is a fundamental part of humanity’s evolution. If you are a consenting adult, go forth in whatever way feels right for you.
However, often it seems that when we are in an intimate connection with another, we respond to their needs and requirements rather than checking in with our own. Women in particular often fall into this trap but I have observed the same behaviour in some men too.
Many years ago, when I interviewed people of all ages about the concept of partnership, most had never sat down and asked themselves what it meant to them as an individual. What did they believe was important in an intimate partnership?
When given the space to contemplate this question with someone who had no interest or agenda in judging their response, it was amazing how quickly they could share this fundamental truth. Many surprised themselves with the clarity this realisation brought with it.
Those interviews are currently queued up and await the finessing required to become a book. It’s on my to-do list.
Meanwhile, I look around and am concerned about some of the contorted relationships people willingly enter and stay in, even when it’s clear they are designed to accommodate their partner’s needs, rather than their own. This is an unhealthy choice that will not deliver alignment with self.
If you have the time, I’d encourage you to sit down in a quiet spot with just you, a pen and some paper. Ask yourself, what does partnership mean to you? Then write down your answer. Once you’ve done this, read over your words and see if they line up with your current relationship dynamic. If not, there is clearly something you need to look at.