October 1, 2021
Does unconditional love truly exist in a marriage?
A friend of mine, who is also in an affair, sent me the following by Kristina Flour on “Unsplash” (https://unsplash.com/@tinaflour)
“Basically it was this. There were fundamental parts of himself, really important parts of him, that he felt his wife had rejected or that he simply didn’t connect with her on. As a result he couldn’t share them with her and he neglected them. This neglect was leading to a subtle internal fracturing for him. It was manageable until he hit that connection point with someone else; then that fracture became excruciating enough to risk it all. We’re not talking about mere attraction here, we’re talking about real connection. Connection that makes you feel seen and known. Connection that makes you inspired and excited about who you are. Couple that alignment with charm, intelligence, physical attraction and availability and you’ve got yourself the invitation.
“…The irony here is that when we marry, we ideally marry with a sense of being fully seen, known and accepted by another person. That’s what makes it special. Our partners are to be the keepers of us in our totality. They commit to loving us in that totality even if who we are changes, and it DOES change. To truly live in this space is to know ultimate freedom and frankly that is what most people seem to be seeking in an external relationship. Freedom to be the person they can’t be in their marriage and be loved without the conditions of conventional marriage; primarily that you won’t emotionally or physically connect in any meaningful way with another person. Infidelity has most often been seen as a failing of the people engaged in the action. Can we stop to consider it might be a failing of the construct of conventional marriage itself?
“More often than not in conventional marriage what we end up creating is a false sense of safety by hiding those parts of ourselves that may hurt our partner or cause rejection. We forgo critical change. We put our souls in stasis. We become a version of ourselves that “works” for the other person. We succumb to a shared fear of rejection by the person who’s promised to not reject us under any circumstances. We cheat ourselves and our partners out of the opportunity to really know the power of unconditional love. I submit that if you can’t trust a person with the totality of who you are, with the pain that comes from change, with space asked for and freely given, or the choice to love you no matter what; it seems that monogamy is beside the point.
“Our culture is not challenging us to embrace authentic unconditionality within marriage. We indeed start our marriages with some very strong conditions that almost guarantee fear will rule our relationships instead of love. We are told that all this suppression eventually works; that we eventually overcome our childish restlessness. We will settle into our sacrifice, appreciate the safety we’ve created for ourself and our partner, and we will feel great accomplishment for enduring it all. We never acknowledge the great cost of emotional detachment, shame and grieving that are often required to sacrifice one’s self to conditional love.
“Unfortunately we have so few love stories where two people stepped into their fear, laid themselves bare, held to their truth, chose to support and love the entirety of the other and continued to love each other for eternity; married or not, monogamous or not. This is the love I aspire to. The one where no hiding or sacrificing is required. A love that resides in the light and grows as wild flowers do; in firm soil, unmanicured, unfettered, unconditional. . . forever.”
This hit me hard. I can see so many parallels in this to my own relationship. I know Things about my MM I am certain his wife has no clue about. I love him unconditionally. I want him to be his authentic self, which I am struggling do myself in order to be happy. I know he cannot live that married to her. A few weeks ago he mentioned wanting to do his art full time, and mentioned casually we should get a place where I can write and he can do his art “in a nurturing setting”, which tells me his wife does not see his art as anything viable. This saddens me. I know he really enjoys his art and is quite good. He probably could live off it, if he could get it out there. It’s sad she doesn’t encourage him. I get it, his art, as a fellow creative.
In return, he knows things about me I could have never told my ex, even when we were married. I would have been considered “dirty” or a “whore.” That mindset is why I could not share. His judgment, and the judgment of others, is what held me back from my happiness. It is still something I struggle with. It’s just another form of control, of not letting the other person grow and change. It’s stagnation.
Only when we decide we need to care for our own selves and be happy in our own lives, can we break free. It may hurt others along the way, but if those others cannot accept and celebrate your own authentic self, they don’t deserve to be in your life.