Minimizing The Importance Of Commitment In Romantic Relationships

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Minimizing The Importance Of Commitment In Romantic Relationships

In today’s world, the notion of staying committed to someone is becoming an increasingly difficult proposition with which to follow through.  And yet it would seem natural that people would want to have a committed relationship, not only for the intimacy, support and structure that it offers, but also as a defense against the entropic effects of the experiential vacuum in which we all are living as a result of modern technology.  But to have a committed relationship implies not only the desire for something but the capacity to move forward and obtain it.  

Many people today want an intimate committed relationship, but somehow either find the way to sabotage it or else are simply too numb to be able to carry out the search for someone.  People sabotage relationships sometimes because they need the kicks of breaking up in order to feel alive.  Sometimes the focus is on being unable to provide one’s own internal grounding in order to be able to bond with another person in a sustained way.  In such situations, it becomes hard to develop an internal grounding without sustained organic stimulation from some predictable external source.  It is hard, but definitely not impossible.  An internal living environment is not exclusively dependent on the external living environment for the way it becomes configured. Some people just naturally have stronger internal sources of organic stimulation.  Women with their more complicated female biology have organic stimulation from their periods, their pregnancies, and their breastfeeding. This gives them a greater sense of internal grounding which is particularly useful in an external world where organic stimulation has been covered over and even eliminated.  It gives them the ability to stay in an emotional space better than men and to not bounce around emotionally from partner to partner as much in the experiential vacuum. 

 What this means is that at a time when people are constantly tempted to seek out new sexual partners as a result not only of better contraception, but also as a defense against our numbing living environments, women are better able to maintain emotional commitments as a result of their groundedness in their own more complex biology.  They have their own strong commitment to their  biology, if nothing else, through their menstrual cycles, and this groundedness in itself  acts as a model for bonding organically with people outside of themselves.  This internal organic stimulation fights off the internal numbness that tends to pervade all of us in today’s world and raises in women in a way that men can’t possibly imitate today.  Which means that, generally speaking, women tend to be the more reliable partners in romantic relationships in modern times.

The more that many men become immersed in the experiential vacuum that increasingly envelops them as a result of the increasing covering of their fields of experience with modern technology and its effects, the more numb they become, and the more difficult it becomes for them to absorb organic stimulation, even when it can help to stabilize them and ground them and provide them with a template for intimacy in romantic relationships.

Now obviously there are some men who are sufficiently grounded to be able to maintain an intimate romantic relationship.  In today’s world, such men would probably have softer more female natures.  On the other hand, not having the complex female biology to sustain such tendencies, these men also can start floating off in a vacuum.  How many men do we hear about who after a long stable marriage decide that they want to run off with their secretary and even start another family?  It is as if their grounding of many years has failed them, and their capacity to stay in a committed relationship has simply melted away.

I am not trying to imply here that women don’t ever cheat on their significant others.  And anyway, many people today seem to acknowledge their incapacity to stay committed to one person in a monogamous relationship and so there has developed a kind of institutionalization of cheating.  It is called polyamory.  In polyamory, a couple agrees that both people in the relationship have the right to seek other sexual partners.  I have heard of cases where the couple participates in a closed circle, sort of like a group marriage.  In other cases, the couple agrees that both partners have the right to find lovers outside of the committed relationship wherever they want to.  Furthermore, there are cases of group marriage where there are no primary partners, and each sexual partner is considered equally important.

Many preliterate societies are either polygynous or polyandrous (one man, many wives and one woman, many husbands).  The polygynous households tend to be physically close to one another, so that it is like one compound. In polyandrous relationships, the husbands are frequently brothers.  So, in both these cases, there are institutional attempts to minimize the divisiveness that could come out of these arrangements.  Anyway, both of these forms of marriage have practical purposes.  Polygyny is adopted by societies that want to grow their population, whereas polyandry is used by societies that want to stabilize their population.  Polyamory is used to satisfy primarily the needs of individuals and not groups.  To me, it just creates confusion for offspring rather than increased grounding.  It represents the institutionalization of sexual kicks rather than an augmentation of romantic grounding.  It represents an exemplification of sexual entropy, rather than a defense against it.  And in the end, the opportunity for meaningful romantic commitment is moved to the side.

Acerca de Laurence Mesirow

Durante mi estadía en la Ciudad de México en los años setenta, me di cuenta que esta enorme ciudad contenía en sus colonias distintos "medio ambientes vivenciales", que iban desde muy antiguas a muy recientes; desde muy primitivas a muy modernas.Observé que había diferencias sutiles en la conducta de la gente y en sus interacciones en las diferentes colonias. Esta observación fue fundamental en la fundación de mis teorías con respecto a los efectos de la tecnología moderna sobre los medio ambientes vivenciales y sobre la conducta humana.En México, publiqué mi libro "Paisaje Sin Terreno" (Editorial Pax-México), y luego di conferencias para la U.N.A.M. y la Universidad Anahuac. También, presenté un ensayo para un Congreso de Psicología.Ahora que mis hijas son adultas, tengo el tiempo de explorar mis ideas de vuelta. Le agradezco mucho a y en especial al Sr. Daniel Ajzen por la oportunidad de presentar mis ideas.

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