Why do I have romantic relationships? What do I get out of them?
I have romantic relationships to fulfil my desire for romance. More, I have them because romantic relationships tend to have an emotional intimacy that I crave. Not to say that I don’t get emotional intimacy from non-romantic relationships – I have, and I do. But in this case I have someone to build a story with, to build something with.
I have a certain metaphor that I like to use that explains a lot of how I view love. I’ll give a short(ish) synopsis.
Love As A Home
When I start a relationship with someone we start building a metaphorical house together, starting with the foundations – what do we want our relationship to be, at the moment or moments we start it? What concepts resonate with us so much that we want to incorporate them into our relationship? Where do we have space to grow, in the context of the relationship?
Once we have this laid out (no matter if it changes, just the initial layout) we can start building.
Do we want to have a sexual relationship of some sort? We build one room for that.
Do we want to do kink together? If so, what kind, in what roles, etc.? We build a room for that.
Do we want to go out on dates? If so, how often do we have space for? We build a room for that.
Do we want to spend time just cuddling? We build a room for that.
Do we want to travel together? We build a room for that (maybe on wheels?).
Do we want to give each other big hugs? Room for that.
Do we want to nerd out about Doctor Who, music, politics, cats, whatever? Room for that.
And so on, and so forth. For each thing, we build rooms. If we agree that it is a big thing to both of us, we build a big room. If it’s a thing that we agree that is not a big thing for us right now, we build a smaller room. The idea being that this gives room to change and grow as the relationship changes and grows – we can remodel and resize rooms as we see fit. It encourages purposeful communication – do we agree on these things? Do we agree on what size we want the room to be?
If we don’t agree, then what can we build that may work for now? Because we can revisit it until we find consensus, or find a space that works for the both of us, even if it isn’t ideal for either.
Also, my house with someone doesn’t interfere with their houses with other people. We have our own space to develop our homes and they will all look different and will all be unique (because all relationships are).
In long term relationships, like with older houses, we need to be sure to keep up “maintenance”. We need to keep having these conversations, keep up with each other as things change in our lives. We can’t just let it go, and hope for the best for too long.
The main point being – I love building these houses with people. I like the romance rooms. That’s why I have romantic relationships.
To clarify – this metaphor does not just apply to romantic relationship, even though that is the context that I developed this metaphor from, back when I didn’t have a great idea how to contextualize my non-romantic but still meaningful relationships. I do want to come back to this idea of non-romantic houses, but this post is already quite long, so I’m going to leave it be for now.