Just the other day I was relaxing in my living room couch listening to an adamant girly voice belting, “you don’t own me, you cannot tell me what to do…” on the radio. As I listened to the song, I began to understand why I’ve always appreciated it. I am the quintessential free-spirit. Even though I love romance and relationships-at least the idea of it, I have been told by past partners that I am a commitment phobe.
In the past, I refused to submit to such accusations, defending myself as an independent, strong willed introvert. Listening to those lyrics on a Saturday evening (yes, It was a lovely dateless night), I began to seriously question those allegations. Was I a commitment phobe? And if that was the case, what did it mean for my relationship future? These thoughts led me to ponder the concept of being in a committed, romantic relationship.
Our experience with relationships are based on boy meets girl, they fall in love, become inseparable for a little while until a growing bubble somewhere decides to burst. Maybe boy starts to get tired of being with the same person for months on end (what human being doesn’t like diversity?) and finds his eyes wandering. Maybe the girl discovers that the man is no longer as romantic as he used to be when he wooed her with flowers and candy-been there! The comparisons, the fights and the possessiveness take over. All of a sudden because we have professed love to one another, our partner is not permitted to talk with a member of the opposite sex and even if they do, there are boundaries that cannot be crossed because guess what? They belong to us!
We forget that before we met the person, they were single that is, made their own decisions-owned themselves. Before we fell in love with them, the way they walked into a room and attracted the opposite sex, or the way the walked, talked or laughed was the sexiest thing in the world and made your heart flip flop in several ways. However, six months, a year into the relationships, we all of a sudden find those traits irritating, annoying. How dare he or she walk into a room and draw attention? Why is he or she smiling at the other person like that? What a flirtatious (you know what)!
I considered these notions and realized why I have often preferred the single lifestyle to a relationship. So far being single has been more stress free than when I am coupled up. Don’t get me wrong, I believe relationships have their place in the broader scheme of things. Being committed to one person can not only be morally and spiritually uplifting for both parties, it is also healthy for the general society at large. Especially with the high HIV and STD rate, one cannot afford to promote permiscuity. However, there is commitment based on choice and another kind that is based on the fear of letting go or being lonely, which gives rise to the need to possess your partner who frankly was not brought into this world to satisfy anyone’s need for emotional security.
I enjoy observing couples who have fun with each other, who choose to be with each other out of love and respect for themselves and their partner; a man or woman who is willing to let go of their partner if they realize that it is in their partner’s best interest or that it makes them happy to be free. Relationships are learning experiences and sometimes once the lessons have been learned, moving on is the best thing to do. Breaking up becomes a blessing for both parties and not a curse as our society has programmed us into believing because we have adopted this happily ever after notion of love that in many cases is impossible to attain. If a partner leaves or “cheats,” we should learn to let them go as peacefully as possible. They belong to themselves and one must respect that. And we should try to avoid the tendency to hate all men or all women because of what one or two persons may have done to us in the past. I have had to learn this very important lesson the hard way. If you don’t attempt to own me, I won’t do the same with you. This equates to less drama.
In conclusion, if my objection to being possessed by another makes me a commitment phobe then frankly, I am down with that.