Why do we need permission to be ourselves in a relationship?
Flexibility—and not just in the bedroom—is one of those key pieces of being in any relationship.
Much to our demise, that flexibility (or compromise) doesn’t always work, especially when we start to forgo our needs and wants for our partner’s desires.
Think of how many times we’ve heard our friends breathe a sigh of relief, and say, “I can eat my peanut butter chocolate swirl ice cream and drink whiskey in bed while stretching out naked and Netflixing Orange is the New Black now that he/she is gone,” or the ever common one, “I can hang out with my friends, fin-a-lly.”
That’s a great feeling and all, but why not give ourselves permission to be/do these things while we’re in an relationship instead of waiting until it dissolves, and, by default, we have permission to be ourselves once more.
The most soul-lifting relationships exist when we can say our truth while still being with the ones we love.
So how do we maintain our flexibility while being true to ourselves during a relationship?
It’s not easy.
It takes guts.
At the age of 19, I learned that it was necessary for me.
I had been dating my high school/college boyfriend for two years, and we were home for Christmas break from college. Of course, there wasn’t much to do in my hometown area of the foothills to the east of Sacramento.
My boyfriend wanted to go visit our fellow college classmate, and so I borrowed my mom’s car to drive us over to his place. On my way to our friend’s house, I drove past the small local airport, which had a sign for flight lessons.
As I sat there tapping my foot while the guys played video games, I mumbled something about having some errands to do, and took off, literally.
I drove my mom’s car back to the airport, and fearlessly strutted in to take my first ever flight lesson for 10 bucks.
It was the best damn thing that I ever did for myself.
The pilot let me co-pilot while we were flying over my hometown area—I looked down to find all the cars had turned into ants, and the Sierras glowed with snow in the distance.
I had found my flexibility in this moment of being true to myself.
I wasn’t playing a video game, I was living my life—even the scary, breath-taking seconds like flying.
As I learned how to navigate the plane with my feet, I realized that even though I was in a relationship, that didn’t mean settling. I gave myself permission to be who I needed and wanted to be from that day forward.
As for my college boyfriend, our relationship fizzled out for a combination of reasons, and I set off on new adventures, but we still remain close friends to this day.
Author: Jessie Wright
Editor: Catherine Monkman