Single File: Love Partnership (Continued)
I read in women's letters the signs of their struggle to find an answer to their quandary. The feeders of the race, the gender asked to nurture those around them, women today are asking for -- no, insisting on -- emotional reciprocity. At the same time they confide in me their fears, they insist they will not settle for less than partnership in their love life. Their news is full of change: They have traded security for freedom, self-sacrifice for self-fulfillment, the hunt for a savior for a hunt for a nurturing partner.
Emotional connection with a friend is the answer blowing in the wind; right now we're poised on the brink. The partnership that is the logical next step brings a mutually beneficial love affair whose dynamics go beyond gender, and thus, beyond roles. It simply doesn't matter who does what -- in the kitchen and in the bedroom -- as long as it gets done and neither partner is being exploited. Of course there will be times when one partner gives 80% (it's not possible to maintain a 50-50 balance day to day), and that's understood between partners. The bottom line is that role-playing comes to an end, a finale welcomed by sincere and ardent lovers.
Years ago, Abraham Low, a psychiatrist, discussed the interplay of sovereignty ("I am") and fellowship ("we are") within a loving relationship, and the importance of both partners satisfying both needs. Neither gender knows the definitive secret to successfully maintaining intimacy and identity within a single relationship, but I feel certain that from the discomfort of single women striving to make room for both elements in their relationships will come satisfying solutions.
The single world has traditionally been on the firing line, spurred to find new answers by its freer and more mobile way of life. As its numbers continue to soar -- worldwide -- single life is changing married mores and governments around the world, and will continue to do so with no end in sight. Its influence is changing thought patterns of all generations and every sort of duality. And as the unmarried hammer out their solutions, we all are watching.
There is a powerful reason society is listening to the answers coming from the single world: All of us, marrieds included, have a "single" core that is our individuality -- our personhood. (All of us at some point in our day walk single file!) And so, each of us will respond to a romantic arrangement that goes beyond gender to fill individual needs as well as shared needs.
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