Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Now it is just the two of us. Me and Gloria.

"You see, as I creep closer to my mid-thirties, I feel even less capable of a serious long-term relationship. It's not that I think relationships make me half a person, but rather, I believe that I make the choice to become half a person in a relationship. The only way I know how to have a relationship is to lose myself completely. You know?"

And the reality of this statement fills me with an overwhelming sorrow.

"Gloria, you must have some perspective on this. Look at how your feelings about marriage have changed over the years. How did you personally reconcile your needs for independence with your desires for partnership?"

"Ingrid, that’s a brilliant summing up. 'It's not that I think relationships make me half a person, but rather, I believe that I make the choice to become half a person in a relationship.' We’ve been encouraged to be half people, so we look for our other half in a man – but of course, no one can supply our other half because we’re unique. Romance is two half people looking for completion. That’s why it’s so intense, and also why it can’t last. Love is two whole people -- trying to help each other to become their unique self."

"The guy who wrote The Little Prince said "Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. What advice would you offer women today about rebelling against societal assumptions that marriage and partnership complete you?"

"Because I grew up in the era when you were literally supposed to marry your identity, marriage always seemed to me a little like death; the end of all choice. Gradually, I realized that no one way of living is right for everybody -- and that I was truly happy not being married. The laws were also lousy; you gave up almost all your civil rights by marrying. Now, we’ve spent thirty years equalizing the laws, and there is the idea of marriage as a partnership of equals. That made it seem possible for the first time. "

"However, as long as we’re not whole in ourselves, we keep looking for the impossible – someone to complete us – and we may keep being man junkies."

Revolution from Within, I wrote a chapter on love versus romance, and field-tested it on a lot of women. See if that helps. (For example, if you make a list of everything you want in a man, it may be the list of everything you need to develop in yourself.) But I think you’ve already done the hardest part, which is to brilliantly diagnose the problem that lies within yourself – and that gives you the power to gradually change. (I think we make progress in a spiral, repeating similar circumstances, but in smaller ways – until one day we realize after the fact that an old pattern has just gone.)"

"Thanks Gloria."

And I'm reminded again that it's progress, not perfection.

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posted by Pop Culture Casualty @ 10/04/2006 12:38:00 AM |


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